It was a confluence of events: Johnny Depp took over red carpets; Russell Westbrook took over press conferences; Warby Parker took over the market. Suddenly, eyewear everywhere was thick and heavy. The so-called “Hipster” glasses marched out of Brooklyn and Silver Lake, colonizing America and a significant swathe of Europe. Today, defendants wear them to seem relatable and broadcasters wear them to seem relevant. Still, the reign of acetate is not absolute. There is a guerilla force in the making. Wire frame glasses are mounting a comeback.
No, not those perfectly rectangular, perfectly forgettable rectangles your father used to rock during tax season; metallic frames with a bit more character and a splashy gold finish are leading the charge. Circular frames and aviator style frames don’t call attention to themselves – they’re thin after all – but they do highlight the wearer’s face. They mark independent thinkers and men who don’t want to hide.
Here are the classic of the genre:
Ray Ban Round Metals
Photo Courtesy of Ray Ban
Ray-Ban may be best known for it’s thick black Wayfarers, but the company pumps out retro-cool frames of many varieties. The Round Metals are part accounting, part rock ‘n’ roll, which is a pretty fantastic combination if you plan to work late and party later. The circular shape makes these ideal for guys with longer faces or squarer jaws.
Photo Courtesy of Stetson
Stetson makes big hats for men with cattle and takes a similar approach to making glasses. The class 178s are modified aviators that look fairly cheap as sunglasses, but pop as eyeglasses. The key? The nosepiece is exceptionally flat, which draws a line between the eyes, making men look more focused. These glasses were made for the outdoors and can take a beating, making them a good choice for coaches, contractors, and other men who work outdoors.
Oliver Peoples Wildmans
Photo Courtesy of Oliver Peoples
No company can claim more responsibility for the nerd glasses boom than Oliver Peoples, which brought Atticus Finch-style glasses to the masses. The brand still hasn't found a shape it didn’t want to forge in tortoiseshell. That said, the company still creates the occasional thin frame. The Wildman Round walks the line between being a titanium take on traditional acetate frames and being straight-up wire-rimmed. It’s a compromise we actually like.
Photo Courtesy of Shuron
One of America’s best and least heralded glasses manufacturers, Shuron has been pumping out memorable frames since they were outfitting JFK. Today, you’re most likely to see their work in well-art directed period pieces, but you should be seeing more of it in the office. The Ronstrong is a classic. The round eyes in combination with the high nosepiece give wearer’s a slightly haughty look. That’s not a bad thing when you’re angling for the corner office.
Randolph Engineering RE FGNs
Photo Courtesy of Randolph
If you’re not buying aviators from Randolph, you’re doing it wrong. The company has been bespectacling flyers for decades and they’ve gotten very good at it. The RE FGN would be at home on a fighter, but they look better in a boardroom. The boldness of the design indicates a seriousness of purpose and a willingness to think outside of the acetate box. Wear them with pinstripes.