Take your looks to scaling heights in the slickest shades money can buy.
This is no click-bait. I promise you; the build-up is befitting for this style of men’s sunglasses! Drum rolls please: It’s aviator sunglasses for men! All shades are cool, but aviators take it a notch up because arguably, it is one of the most ‘masculine’ of men’s sunglasses out there. There’s a reason people distinctly associate rugged manliness to aviators. No wonder then that cops (both on and off screen) and people in power like to be seen in them (American President Joe Biden is a fan). Like so many key pieces in menswear and men’s accessories — the origins of this style of men’s sunglasses—can be traced back to the military; air force to be precise!
A BRIEF HISTORY
Back in 1929, a US Army Air Corps Colonel worked with Bausch & Lomb to create men’s sunglasses that would protect pilots from the terrible glare while up in the air. The prototype was designed in 1935 and replaced the bulky goggles worn by military pilots, which would frequently fog up at high altitudes. They were crafted with a lightweight metal frame and brow bar that could easily fit under a helmet. The lenses were given the now-iconic teardrop shape, which covered the wearer’s entire field of vision, and green lenses to reduce blue light eye strain and cut through glare. In 1937, the brand introduced these shades for men—called the Ray-Ban aviator—to the general public. Now you know! Another label, American Optical created another pair called The Original Pilot—which was worn by the entire crew on NASA’s Apollo 11 to the moon!
TYPES OF AVIATORS
▶ Classic teardrop: The OG aviators! Even after almost a century after its invention, the original design (teardrop)—still reigns supreme. A cult classic, this style of men’s sunglasses is now available in a variety of frames, lenses (even gradient and mirrored ones)—but the gold frame and black lens pair is much loved, as it’s super hot! Whether you’re a pilot or a college student—these will keep you looking fly! The teardrop shape works on diamond, heart, oval and square face shapes the best!
▶ Square: Referred to as ‘navigators’, these aviators for men, deviate from their conventional teardrop lens shape, and are a touch squarer. This will make you stand out in a sea of classic aviator-wearing men. The American Optical version named The Original Pilot is the one that the astronauts wore to the moon, like I had mentioned earlier. This style works on most face shapes, but square ones for obvious reasons.
▶ Sporty: Oversized, fun and a bit flashy—these sportier versions are great for someone who works hard and plays even harder! Major movie star and pop star vibes with this style of men’s sunglasses. They also come in orange and yellow lenses, which have a retro/vintage feel about them!
STYLE THEM RIGHT
The right men’s accessories will amplify even the simplest of outfits. Aviator sunglasses for men, do the same. You need to look effortlessly cool to pull off these shades, and not the other way around! Aviators vary in size, so, it’s important to get the right proportion of frames for your face and plus the correct fit.
The bridge should sit comfortably. If it is too short, it will be too high on your face. If it’s too wide—it will droop low, down your nose. They will cover your eyebrows, as they were designed to cover the entire eye socket. If the aviators you’re trying on don’t at least partially cover your brows—ditch them and go for a size bigger!
Now, let’s check out some ways to style these glorious shades…
▶ T-shirt + Jeans
Men’s accessories are a game-changer, if you know how to use them to your advantage that is. Aviators are statement pieces in themselves, so it’s best to keep the rest of your look simple. Pair them with a crew-neck tee, denims and sneakers and you have an effortlessly cool look! You could wear the T-shirt with a pair of chinos or trousers too! Darker lenses work well with anything casual because they ooze sexiness and a touch of masculine cool. You could even wear one with a tank tee like actor Tiger Shroff on lazy summer afternoons.
▶ Outwear + Chinos/Denims
There are endless options of outwear—bomber jackets, trench coats, winter coats, blazers or shackets! So many men’s accessories can be used to amp up the style. Or just choose this style of men’s sunglasses! Go for a monochrome look—in a leather biker jacket, black tee and denim combo. Actor Vicky Kaushal sports a great outdoorsy outfit too. Or if you’re planning a hill-station vacay, throw in a beanie and a long warm jacket. Or take cues from actor Ranveer Singh for a fun and quirky look: Pair a white tee and denim jacket with a gold framed clear aviators and a neckpiece. Wear pyjamas at the bottom while attending online classes or meetings and swap them for blue denims while heading out!
▶ A Suit
Some might call this a risk, but if you have a well-fitted suit, I’d strongly recommend teaming one with aviators!
The king of refined cool, Formula One ace Lewis Hamilton keeps it classy in a suit with a double-breasted jacket and contemporary shades. Actor Shahid Kapoor looks like a rockstar in this fun jacket, aviators, a black formal shirt, and loafers.
You could also go for a pair of aviators with mirrored lenses for a badass look—one that screams confidence and says: Don’t mess with me. Just make sure they don’t go into ‘tacky’ territory. Coloured lenses have become popular lately and add an eccentric touch. These team well with athleisure, sportswear and can look good with Hawaiian shirts or other off duty looks.
When it comes to men’s accessories—people usually reach out for watches, shoes and belts first. Sunglasses for men are, in fact, a solid way to show off your personal sense of style. What I love about the aviators in particular—is the fact that you can wear them to work, after-work parties, by the pool, beach or snow-capped mountains—and look gloriously handsome! So, the next time you head to shop for new frames—do yourself a favour and get a pair of aviators!