You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get high-quality sunglasses that protect your eyes and also kick up a T-shirt and jeans. In fact, buying affordable, good-looking sunglasses may be the better move — especially if you’re prone to dropping pairs in the ocean or leaving them behind at brunch.
When it comes to finding the perfect pair, style blogger and menswear influencer Parker Smith says to “buy based on feeling. If you put a pair on and you instantly feel more confident, those are the ones.” To help narrow down your search, we asked Smith and other stylish men to recommend the best sunglasses under $200 (and then added a few pairs we like based on their suggestions). Below, 13 $200-or-less pairs you can buy right now, from classic black Wayfarers to trendy tinted styles.
Best classic black sunglasses
“My first pair of sunglasses were Ray-Ban Wayfarers and I wore them all the time,” says Smith, who remembers his pair costing less than $100. Today, they go for just more than $150 — which is still a very good deal for this classic style with an angular yet rounded shape that’s universally flattering (and probably one reason why Ray-Ban Wayfarers have been seen on about every cool guy we can think of, including JFK, Muhammad Ali, and Ryan Gosling).
To ensure you’re buying quality lenses, look for styles from legacy brands or companies known for making performance sunglasses, like Bolle, which got its start making safety, skiing, and cycling goggles in the 1960s (and still specializes in this type of gear). This pair of matte-black frames with green lenses is a bit wider and more rectangular than classic Wayfarers, making it good for guys with rounder faces.
Stylist Joel Moore, who also blogs about menswear, recommends these simple matte-black shades from French brand Izipizi, which he wears almost daily. “They’re nothing too crazy, and they go with everything I own.” He particularly likes that they cost less than $50, especially after losing his last pair of black shades when “they fell into the ocean in Puerto Rico.”
Best aviator sunglasses
Donnell Baldwin styles men for a living, and has sourced sunglasses for private clients as well as for male models on photo shoots. His hands-down favorite shades are aviators, a shape he says look good on most men. “I’ve worn my Ray-Ban aviators for more than seven years,” he says.
Stylist and image consultant Patrick Kenger, who mostly works with clients in the tech world, loves aviators — specifically this squared off pair that fictional menswear icon Don Draper swore by. “After finally binge-watching a few seasons of Mad Men last year, I was really inspired by some of the menswear in the show. Specifically, I was a huge fan of Don Draper’s shades.” The actual pair worn by Jon Hamm in the show are by Randolph Engineering and will cost you over $250, but this very legit dupe has a much lower price tag.
Moore likes Kenzo’s angular twist on the classic aviator, which he notes costs far, far less than other designer shades. “I bought my Kenzo pair on a trip to Italy last summer and thought they would be much more expensive. I like that they’re a little bit different than the classic shape.”
Best Clubmaster sunglasses
Baldwin loves the vintage look of Clubmaster frames, which have wire on the bottom and thicker plastic on the top. “I love that style! They make me think of Buddy Holly and Malcom X.” He likes to get frames from Warby Parker because of the company’s affordable and easy-to-shop styles (which he notes can be ordered as prescription shades).
Ray-Ban is also famous for its Clubmaster sunglasses, which it offers in several color combinations.
Best square plastic sunglasses
Smith likes this clear pair with green lenses from California-based Raen Optics, which specializes in trendy-but-wearable frames outfitted with Carl Zeiss lenses. “Having sunglasses for different occasions is ideal,” according to Smith. “For instance, the pair you wear while driving needs good coverage but also won’t create blind spots.” Transparent frames mean you can see through every part of your glasses, so no blind spots ever.
For a more under-the-radar brand that’s still affordable, Baldwin suggests Sun Buddies. “They’re really good for the price, make a wide range of styles, and collaborate with other cool brands.” For instance, this pair the company made with Carhartt, which are a tiny bit oversize (for more visual impact), but still classic-looking thanks to the tortoiseshell frames.
[Editor’s note: While these tortoiseshell frames are sold out, Sun Buddies’ translucent yellow and black Grace sunglasses are still available.]
Best round plastic sunglasses
For a fully round pair, Smith recommends these sunglasses from Australian brand Quay (pronounced key). “In my opinion, it’s way cooler to have something from a smaller brand that a lot of people might not know, versus having the recognizable pair from the mainstream brand everybody and their brother is wearing.”
Best tinted sunglasses
If you don’t want to look like every other guy wearing traditionally dark-tint lenses, Kenger suggests a blue-tint pair, like these ones from Carrera. “I like sunglasses that have just a bit of uniqueness to them, whether that be color or frame shape. Since sunglasses are only on your face for short periods of time, I like to encourage clients to go a bit bolder with their sunglasses and have some fun. These are polarized too, so that’s a huge plus.”
When Moore wants to punch things up, he’ll pull out this mustard-tint pair from Crap Eyewear — a brand he’s “obsessed with.” The bold color may seem hard to pair with other clothes, but he assures these sunglasses will go with most outfits because they’re transparent. “They work like a neutral, and even though they’re kind of funky, the fact that they’re translucent makes them easier to wear.”
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