Just 10 days after we published The Golfing Toolbag, Adam Scott suffered one of the worst-ever major meltdowns, handing the Claret Jug to Ernie Els. Coincidence? Yes! But still not a good look on a man with good style otherwise.
Q: So my cheap Target sunglasses finally broke recently, and I'm upgrading to Randolph aviators. In regards to frame style, my instinct screams bayonet, but I've noticed toolbag frames are usually bayonet. For the up-and-coming, detail-driven magnificent bastard, what is your recommendation? —Sky
A: Never ignore a screaming instinct, we always say. They happen to be right a lot.
While we agree that some toolbag frames are bayonet, Randolph Engineering aviators with bayonet temples are worn by two of our all-time favorite fictional characters: Col. Kilgore in Apocalypse Now (upper left) and Don Draper in Mad Men (upper right), both of whom would certainly qualify as MBs.
As long as you don't shave your head into a mohawk, wear an oversized Army jacket, and plan on assassinating a presidential candidate, you're good.
Welcome to the 3rd Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge, sponsored by our all-time favorite eyewear and sunglass outfitter, Allyn Scura.
The challenge: Identify the nine bespectacled or sunglassified MBs above and you will be entered to win a pair of Allyn Scura frames ($175 value) — like The Legend favored by reigning People "Sexiest Man Alive" Bradley Cooper — or a $100 credit you can apply toward any vintage frames Allyn Scura carries. It's entirely up to you.
To enter simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with the names of the men pictured, and in the unlikely event of a tie — this is the hardest contest yet — what they all have in common. One entry per email address. Good luck. The deadline for this contest is next Friday, March 9th.
Q: What brand/model/style of glasses did Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis wear? —Ray
A: Al Davis likely took the sure answer to this question to his grave. A Google search says they are vintage Alain Mikli shades, but our best guess is these are vintage or custom Vuarnet — indicated by the V-shaped bridge — a company which was acquired by Mikli in 2009.
Either way, finding a pair will be more difficult than finding an answer to why Davis made JaMarcus Russell the #1 pick in 2007.
Meanwhile, you didn't ask, but we couldn't help but notice Petty's scarf has a message for our readers. It's saying, "Don't do me like that!"
We know this is a signature look for Petty, but if you ask us, what it says is, 'I've been waiting for the Sundance Catalog to add an ascot page for years, but still no luck. I'll guess I'll use this scarf. And, uh, how do you tie an ascot again? Well, this is sort of close, right?"
Next week, we're posting a scarf-tying guide that will feature 7 ways to tie one. The Petty won't be on the list.
Magnificent Bastard is collaborating with this year's Michael Bastian x Randolph Engineering collaboration and giving away a pair of the MBxRE sunglasses. What do you have to do to win? Simply identify the six celebrities wearing Randolph Engineering frames below and identify the Randolph Engineering frame they're all wearing (hint: note the singular use of the word "frame") and email your answer to email@example.com.
The winner will get to pick their favorite MBxRE frame whether it be the Sportsman, the Aviator, the Aviator II, the Intruder, or the P3 in any combination of frame and lens color. It's between a $165 and $225 value. The deadline to enter is Friday, October 7. We'll put all the correct entries into our Super Bowl XLV hat and pick a winner to be announced on Monday, October 10. Good luck!
The correct answers are:
A. Jon Hamm B. Ewan McGregor C. Johnny Depp D. Liev Schreiber E. Elijah Wood F. Tom Hanks
Q: MB: Based on your recommendation, I have been wearing the Persol PO0714 sunglasses. For all their moving parts, they have held up well. However, the silver hinges where the temples fold in half has become tarnished. I have asked an authorized dealer and looked on their website without any luck. Do you have any recommendations? —Erich
A: Don't do anything rash — that bug's a feature! Tarnish is just nature's way of achieving artful dishevelement. While we don't necessarily welcome it on our soup spoons, we think a little looks great on a pair of Persols.
Now, if your silver hinges have turned black or are crusting up, that's another story. In that case, our glasses expert tells us that jeweler's rouge, applied via a cotton buffing wheel (which itself is attached to a grinding wheel), should do the trick. A good optician should offer this service.
Q: There are a few of us out here for whom summer consists of more than watching golf on TV and sipping watermelon sidecars. Your stance on sunglasses reveals an effete sensibility and offers no help to the runners, bikers, hikers, and Sunday afternoon softballers who can't exactly get away with a pair of Randolph Engineering Aviators (there, your monthly plug is taken care of). There has to be an athletic frame out there that is more practical than a fashion pair but still cool enough to get some looks at the postgame bier garten. —Joe
A: Clearly you don't watch golf us as philosophically as we do, Joe — we're pretty sure we burn more calories scratching our heads at Phil Mickelson's questionable course management than we ever would standing in center field watching some tubby slugger who flunked Little League playing make-believe like he's Albert Pujols.
We'd also like to point out that combat-ready sunglasses qualify as hiking-ready too, even if you're anticipating some serious incoming fire from the local bluejays. Perhaps more importantly, if you're truly planning to engage in some high-level physical activity, ditching your sunglasses altogether is your best bet. When was the last time you saw an elite marathoner, a 6-time Wimbledon champ, or even a world-class sexter wearing sunglasses in the heat of battle?
As for getting looks at the postgame bier garten, there are no sunglasses on earth with the ability to make you look cool while wearing a softball uniform. So change, put on a pair of sunglasses that are purpose-built for sedentary leisure, and raise a cold one to the effete bastards who are always willing to consider life's big issues on your behalf.
Q: Is it okay to kill a tree to make sunglasses? — Chris
A: We've noticed this trend too, Chris, and we admire the business model. The more trees you turn into sunglass frames, the hotter the planet gets, the more sunglasses you need. It's what economists call a virtuous circle.
We're kidding, of course, because trees are a sustainable resource. (These days, plastic sunglasses are a sustainable resource too — something's gotta be done with all those empty bottled water containers and more and more sunglass manufacturers are making frames using recycled materials.)
So, yes, it's okay to kill a tree to make sunglasses. Plus, you'll be adhering to the MB principle of organic materials if your frames are made out of wood. If you're looking for something specific, we like Shwood's Oswald frames in walnut. Hand-crafted in Portland, Oregon, they look both sleek and a little artfully disheveled, because they don't quite have that perfectly machined look of plastic frames. We're pretty sure Cary Grant would approve.
Q: Your 5/25/10 post on the John Lennon clip-on sunglasses is interesting but impossible to find. I've worn P3's for years. Good enough to storm the beach at Normandy, still good enough for me. But P4's? Can't find them and I've asked some old optometrists and they've never heard of them either. Google doesn't turn up any clues either. Any suggestions? --Scott
A: We've asked our glasses expert for further clarification. "Even people in the industry don't use the terms 'P3' or 'P4' correctly, or at all," he says. "Find 3 people who use the words, and you'll get 3 different explanations, ranging from 'It's a military code word for the frame style,' to 'It's the relationship between the a and b dimensions.'
"Our understanding is that P3 refers to '3 points' -- the P3 shape is like a rounded, upside down triangle ... it has 3 points. Similarly, a P4 has 4 points and is usually a trapezoidal shape. If you look carefully at the photo of Lennon with sunglass clips, you can make out that he has P3 frames underneath and a P4 sunglass clip over them."
To attain the same effect, we recommend you purchase these vintage Polaroid aviator clip-ons. That way, your brain can imagine the world living as one all it wants, but your face will be packing the fire-power of two branches of our Armed Forces.
One thing we forgot to mention when we launched the contest is that non-Rx lenses are part of the deal. So if you are a recent Lasik patient and just need a pair of shades, you can turn the AS Legend frame into a pair of sunglasses, like Bradley Cooper has done here.
How sharp is your eye? Identify these nine bespectacled MBs and tell us what they all have in common. If you win, your eye -- eyes, actually -- will be looking sharper than ever. That's because we're giving you a pair of Allyn Scura frames ($175 value). Or a $100 credit you can apply toward any vintage frames Allyn Scura carries. Play now!
Oakley blades are #2 on the original Top 10 Ways to Look Like a Total Toolbag list, but henceforth there's a tiny bit of slack MB will yield on this sartorial rule: they're OK if you're a Chilean miner who just spent 69 days underground. (But we'd much perfered seeing them emerge in Persol 0009s.)
Toolbag icon Roger Clemens has previously been on these pages for his banded collar shirt and double-breasted suit, but he really brought the heat yesterday thanks to HTH (Human Toolbag Hormone) and an obvious midlife crisis: frosted hair, sort-of goatee, and reflector blades. Thanks, Rocket. We look forward to the trial in April, 2011.
Following the lead of the Commander-in-chief, Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Iraq yesterday with what we believe to be the highest-rise jeans west (but for the moment, east) of the Euphrates. The denim, combined with that blazer, the Tiger Woods belt, and the tassle loafers is setting the worthy causes of aviator sunglasses and exposed ankles back 20 years.
Vacationing on Martha's Vineyard, we get another look at Obama's casual wardrobe, and it has not improved much since the infamous first pitch.
Left: JFK with classic American Optical Saratogas, in slim-fit pique polo with sleeves hitting at bicep. Right: Obama with Maui-Jimmyish Ray-Ban 3217s, in Hefty bag-fit Coolmax polo with sleeves hitting at elbow.
Q: Long time reader. How do you like the glasses Tom Cruise is sporting in his latest flick? --Hector
A: Tom Cruise is oh-for-three at the Oscars, but your question got us thinking. If the Academy ever gives an award for Lifetime Achievement: Eyewear, he'll be a strong contender. It doesn't matter if he's playing a boyishly charismatic high school pimp with a dynamite smile, or a boyishly charismatic Nazi with a dynamite smile, he always demonstrates a fearless, daring, almost reckless willingness to commit to whatever eyewear the role requires.
Those Persol 2931's Cruise is wearing in Knight and Day that you're asking about are definitely a high mark -- we are certified fans of this approach to sunglasses -- but for us he reached his zenith with the eyepatch he sported in Valkyrie. An eyepatch is a gimmick, sure, but as everyone from Sammy Davis Jr. to Snake Plissken to David Ogilvy can attest, it's a remarkably effective way to inject your persona with a sense of mystery, gravitas, and sex appeal. Especially if you only have one good eye.
In your recent post "Cool Sunglasses for Summer 2010", I believe the Cary Grant sunglasses from North by Northwest are Persol P0714's. Just thought you and your readers would want to know in case people wanted to get a pair for themselves! --Alex
A: Alex, you're getting your classic movie sunglasses mixed up. Steve McQueen wore Persol 714's in The Thomas Crown Affair (bottom). While Persol 714's are folding sunglasses, Grant's sunglasses broke in half while he was being stowed away by (the ridiculously sexy) Eva Marie Saint. And that's not the only reason we're virtually certain Grant's aren't Persols:
* They're lacking the trademark silver arrow
* The first known big-screen sighting of Persol was on Marcello Mastroianni in Divorce Italian Style (1961)
* Persol was first introduced to the U.S. in 1962
* North by Northwest was made in 1959
A definitive ID of Grant's sunglasses definitely requires more research, and we've got some of vintage eyewear's best minds working on it, but we suspect they're what we originally thought: horn-rimmed eyeglasses fitted with tinted lenses.
Q: You seem to really like the aviator style for sunglasses. Do you consider them MB for eyeglasses as well? --John
A: Aviator frames without tinted lenses are like non-alcoholic beer or vegetarian Beefaroni -- they're missing the thing that makes the thing the thing! To illustrate our point, look at Bradley Cooper in tinted aviators (top) and GQ Style Editor Jim Moore in aviators with clear lenses. The former displays classic MB style. The latter, as we've observed in the past, looks like our high school algebra teacher. If you want to stay on the winning side of this equation, leave the clear aviators to Moore and Lumberg, mmm'kay?
Q: I've been trying to find sunglasses like the ones John Lennon wore in this photo. Any suggestions? (Feel free to comment on how great they are as well.) --Zach
A: Imagine there are no designer sunglasses, Zach. It isn't hard to do...
In such a world, even millionaire rockstars wear "P3" frames issued by the government's nationalized healthcare program. And when it's sunny out, they slap on a pair "P4" clip-ons. This, at least, is what our glasses expert tells us Lennon is doing in that pic. While we're dubious about the common-man pretensions underlying the gesture, we can't argue with the aesthetic results. Done right, eyewear layering equals artful dishevelment. The key is to make sure your glasses don't match your clip-ons too closely. If you need more inspiration, see Woody Allen circa 1968.
Q: We can all agree Wayfarers have peaked in popularity and aren't even a consideration for sunglasses this summer. Aviators are timeless, but not original. What's the recommendation to separate from the Wayfaring pack and be able to say in a few summers, "I've been wearing those for years." --Sean
A: If you own any Wayfarers, send them to a needy Third World celebrity. Even in the Risky Business era we never wore 'em, and never will. Aviators, on the other hand, are like black boots: every MB should have at least one pair in his wardrobe.
But if you're wanting to be out ahead of the trend curve -- and it sounds like you do -- put tinted lenses in a pair of horn-rimmed eyeglasses. Done most famously by Cary Grant in North By Northwest more than 50 years ago, and restared 5 years ago by Johnny Depp with his pair of vintage Tart Arnels, they're trending. See Robert Downey Jr. at the Oscars (in the Oliver Peoples Sheldrake), and Bradley Cooper in The A-Team, opening next month (in the Allyn Scura Legend). But skip the blue lenses for brown or green. They're TH (Too Hollywood), or just plain TTH.
Q: With spring well underway, it seems an appropriate to engage in the time-honored game of "ID the sunglasses" -- Jon Hamm sports these, in my opinion, to great effect. They seem to offer the wearer UV protection along with hiding a gentleman's lusty glances from pesky wives or mistresses who may be lurking around. What are they, and are my MB instincts correct? --Andrew
A: Don Draper's sunglasses are Randolph Engineering aviators, of course, and have made numerous appearances on the big screen, too, most famously on Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) in Taxi Driver and Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) in Apocalypse Now. Most of Mad Men style is on the wrong side of the trend curve, but Randolph aviators are as timeless as daytime drinking and womanizing. Get 'em here.
Q: No comments about Tiger's Nike sunglasses at the Masters? I hope they enhanced his game, because they did nothing for his already lacking MB-ness. --Nate
We know Woods spent the last few months in sex rehab, but based on his appearance at the Masters, we're wondering about the cure. To our eye, it looks like his therapists have simply stuck a pair of super-dark blind-guy glasses on him in the hope that they will prevent him from spotting trashy blonde blabbermouths in the gallery. And fed him a lot of donuts. On the bright side, he's wearing a collared shirt. And every day you can stay off the mock turtlenecks is a good day.
Q: Can you identify these sunglasses worn by Johnny Depp in the movie Blow? I've not been able to find any leads. Thanks. --Rick
A: There were a handful of companies that marketed this aluminum frame in the '70s. The ones Depp is wearing are called the "Fast Back." They were pre-fabricated sunglasses with not very good lenses. As you can kind-of see (bottom pic), there are no openings in the frames to install a lens (typically metal frames open somewhere and are reattached with a screw). Replacing these lenses require what's called "cold popping," i.e., it's forced in. It may be OK for a sunglass non-corrective lens but may be tricky to "cold pop" certain Rx lenses.
If you'd like to buy a pair, our friends at allyn scura are ready to take your order.
Q: Hey guys: I am really liking the Allyn Scura site a lot - thanks for the tip about the Apollos. Could you give a recommondation about a style and color/colors that you like in the sunglass section?
Love the site. --Tim
A: Tim, without knowing a little more about your style, it's a little like asking us what kind of car to buy. However, one thing even capitalists and communists can agree on: A pair of tortoiseshell sunglasses with a nice, substantial frame never go out of style. And Allyn Scura has a pair that can make you look like a Greek shipping magnate without having to divert too many funds from your socialized healthcare program. They're $40.
(From top: Aristotle Onassis, Fidel Castro, Sant'Angelo II 907.)
Even though this photograph came out six days ago, we continue to get queries about it. Most want to know: Did Obama win Bono's sunglasses in a poker game at Davos? Answer: No. These are protective glasses he wore while touring The Chesapeake Machine Company in Baltimore, MD, January 29, 2010.
Q: I was looking for a place to buy a pair of sunglasses like the ones that the character Tony D'Annunzio from Caddyshack wears to the pool. I saw you put them as an example in one of your answers but I can't seem to find where I could buy a pair, or something like them and I was wondering if you knew of a place? --James
A: Was Tony D'Annunzio The Situation before The Situation?
We cannot determine the exact make or model of D'Annunzio's sunglasses. (If you know, let us know.) The closest we think you're going to get -- and it's pretty close -- is vintage I Ski reflectors like the ones 44 is wearing (inset) before he turned into the most powerful toolbag on earth. These always turn up on eBay or vintage eyewear sites.
Q: Does your 2009 endorsement of retro frames still hold for 2010, because I am looking into buying a pair by Oliver Peoples. --Max
A: Eyewear is the most personal of accessories, so buy what you like. But yes, we're still on the retro frames bandwagon (glasses and especially sunglasses) and always will be, simply because they almost always offer superior styling and value. In fact, the only pair of glasses made this century seen 'round the office are these $49 Criss nylon frames, typically issued to penitentiary inmates because they cannot easily be weaponized. But for those of us on the outside they're both super light and surprisingly stylish.
Q: MB Gods, my question is about sunglasses, specifically color. What's your stance on white sunglasses on men? I occasionally see them on pro snowboarders or surfers and they seem to pull it off but the guys I see on the streets in white shades are always toolbag-ish. Partly because they are either Oakleys, really big frames, or both. But mainly because, well...they're white! So white shades: Mag-Bastardly or Toolbaggy? --Kasper
A: Neither MB or TB, more like TTH. The fictional character Max Headroom was able to pull them off, as did Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, but he also successfully wore girls' cardigans, fingernail polish, and even made suicide seem cool. Similar to our answer to a question about pulling off a white blazer, if you have to ask, don't try.
Iraqi shoe-thrower Muntader al-Zaidi, recently released from Baghdad's most stylish prison, says he was shocked and beaten while incarcerated. But apparently these are kinder, gentler torturers than those of the Saddam era. They gave him an early release, allowing him to serve just nine months of a three-year sentence. Why are we bothering to tell you all this? The sunglasses. Even if you run into the Great Satan himself, Muntader, don't throw those at him! Those are definitely keepers.
A: If by "all the celebrities" you mean Twilight series star Robert Pattinson, then you're right. He doesn't leave home without them. But just like Pattinson is at peak, so are the Ray-Ban Clubmaster, and you want to stay on the left side of the trend curve.
Q: What brand and model of sunglasses does Robert Duvall's character, Col. Kilgore, wear in Apocalypse Now? Searching for those for a while and can't figure them out. --Jason
A: We had a strong hunch they were Randolph Engineering aviators, and after contacting their marketing department yesterday, confirmed it. They're $99 and available here. But fair warning: these really work best for Col. and above.
(See previous post regarding Kilgore's slightly less-successful dogtag and bracelet accessorization.)
A: It is indeed difficult to turn the Wimbledon Whites into toolbag, though Rafa Nadal did it last year in the finals. Even the typically MB Roger Federer raised several of our eyebrows with his warmup vest in this year's first round. In between sets, does he moonlight as a waiter? We'll take a round of gin and tonics. Hendrick's.
Anyhow, like Nadal, Janko just has TB in him. Look at him at the French, with tank top and matching blades (bottom). And that tattoo, which we're pretty sure says "No fat chicks!" in kanji. Wimbledon's rules can only tamp the TB down. The good news: he's out after the 2nd round.
Q: I have recently decided to do a full overhaul of my old and worn-out wardrobe and go all-out to become a certified MB (I have already started by purchasing a J.Fold V12 black/brown wallet). The journey is long, but with your help I think it's possible. Today my I find myself torn over sunglasses, and I have a few questions for you.
The first question is on lens color. Back in 2001 or so I had a pair of Oakley with a reflective, metallic-blue lens coating. Looking back on it, I wonder if (brand aside) they were a rather toolbaggy thing to buy (my only excuse being that I was 16 at the time). Although I am not considering going that path again, I wonder -- is it ever acceptable for an MB to wear any color other than black/tan lenses or do the other colors (ie. red, blue, green) not conform to the principle of understatement?
The second question is hopefully simple. I know you have already quite reluctantly defined a few lightweight sunglasses (i.e. Serengeti Vedi, Rudy Project Murphy, Maui Jim Kailua and, yes, even Oakley Nanowires) as acceptable for use while performing activities such as jogging. Is it acceptable to don those types of eyewear for everyday use or are they strictly application specific like most activewear? With my facial structure I find "fashion" sunglasses tend to look odd and I would rather continue without than pay for prescription sunglasses just so I can look like a TB whenever the sun is shining. --Adam
A: First of all, we'll cut you a little slack for the metallic-blue reflector Oakleys. You were only 16, preoccupied with acne, masturbation, and trying to find a prom date. Sunglass lens color was not a top priority at the time.
You've sort of answered Part I: The classic sunglass lens colors -- grey (some people call this black), brown, bottle green and grey/green (aka G15) -- are a good way to go for everyday use. They're cosmetically acceptable and functionally have endured the test of time. Here's an excerpt from eyetopics.com on the various functions of lens colors:
Gray sunglass lenses reduce light intensity without altering the color of objects. Thus, they provide the most natural color vision. Gray is the most popular sunglass lens color in the United States.
Brown lenses enhance contrast by blocking a larger percentage of blue light than gray lenses do. Brown lenses provide a warmer appearance to colors and make greens more vibrant.
Green sunglass lenses provide a cool, soothing tone to colors. Though not as popular as gray or brown lenses, green lenses are often used to create the classic look of aviator-style sunglasses (Ed. note: "Green" today is actually grey/green or G15. You may want to consider bottle green popular during the 1950s/60s).
Amber sunglass lenses block all or nearly all blue light for superior contrast. Amber-colored lenses are frequently referred to as "blue blocker" lenses or "shooter's sunglasses." (Amber-colored lenses are popular among hunters because they provide enhanced contrast when looking at birds and clay targets against the sky.) Though these lenses enhance contrast, they also distort colors and may not be suitable for driving and other activities that require accurate color recognition.
Pink, Orange, Rose and Blue
These and other vibrant colors are available for fashion sunglasses. These lens colors can cause severe color distortion and are unsuitable for driving and other tasks when color recognition is important.
Now for Part II: Don't you usually change out of your New Balance running shoes before going to dinner? There are better understated sunglass choices for everyday use than sport shades. If TTH (Trying Too Hard) fashion sunglasses make you feel self-conscious (and hopefully they do), try classic, ophthalmic styles from mid-20th Century (see our sunglasses channel for examples). Too often, guys today, even well-dressed guys, have only one pair of sunglasses or several pairs of sports sunglasses. Ironically, when men get dressed, they make sure their outfit works together and is appropriate for whatever function they're attending. Then they put on our only pair of sunglasses and get into the only car they own (or lease) -- the two weak links in how most men are showing up.
Q: Hey MB. What sunglasses is the baby wearing in The Hangover? --Rich
A: It appears both the baby and the co-star Zack Galifianakis are wearing the BluBlocker Demi Tortoise Nylon frame, which, at just $14.95 seems like one hell of a value in spite of logos on the temples. Lose 'em, sit on 'em, ain't no big deal. Recommended.
Q: I know that the "sun never sets on cool" but I think men who wear sunglasses inside are not MBs, no? So wear does an MB place his sun spectacles while indoors or elsewhere? --Robert
A: Robert, your instincts on the un-MBness of wearing sunglasses indoors are strong. Comedian Larry David put it best: "You know who wears sunglasses inside? Blind people and assholes." We've covered sunglass placement very extensively before, but perhaps too extensively. It could just be boiled down to: "Don't look like Mystery from The Pickup Artist."
Q: Disparaging the Wayfarers without suggesting a sufficiently bastardly replacement? Very un-magnificent. I'm in the market for a new pair of shades myself. I can at least spot the toolbag fodder, but nothing has struck my fancy. Help! --Brad
A: We're not totally down on the Wayfarer; just make sure you get a vintage pair. And only wear them around the house.
While we're happy to answer questions about what sunglasses Leonardo DiCaprio is wearing in one of his movies, we've also made no secret of our affection for vintage shades. It's a really easy, affordable way to add personality, uniqueness, and history to your look. You'd think we owned the place as much as we pimp it, but try allynscura for loads of good options. Also make sure to check out klasik.org and Retrospecs.
A: Sorry, there aren't enough distinguishing characteristics even to make an educated guess. However, if you've got the requisite confidence, we heartily endorse big, chunky, '60s-inspired sunglasses like the ones he's wearing. Also, the video is worth watching:
Q: It seems like the Ray-Ban Wayfarers are making a comeback. Are they too iconic to be MB? Or, should you buy them now so that in 5 years when they're really popular you can say "already got them"? --Stephen
A: You needed to buy them 5 years *ago* so that today they could tell everyone, "Already got them, yo." Or just change the subject. Isn't this weather great? While they're still popular, an MB is not following the crowd this late in the game.
Here's the deal: Ray-Ban was bought from Bausch & Lomb by Luxottica in the '90s. They wanted to put their own mark on the brand, throwing away 50 years of American spirit. When tastemakers started wearing vintage Wayfarers in the early/mid 2000s, Luxottica decided to reissue the original style. They prominently placed fucking logos on the front of the frame and on each temple to make sure it was distinguished from copycats. When B&L first issued the Wayfarer, it simply had the "football" shaped shields on the fronts and temples (like our friend Joel, pictured) and an understated "BL" etched into the corner of the lenses. If you must wear a Wayfarer today -- and we don't recommend it -- insist on the original American-made versions.
Q: Is it ever appropriate or acceptable to wear sunglasses indoors and/or at night? I'm not talking Oakley Blades with crazy-ass reflective lenses, but vintage Neostyles and Dunhills with soft blue and brown gradients. I know the official MB stance on the practice, but I hope against hope that there are exceptions. --Michael
Ultra-casual Brett Favre looked surprisingly natural in a suit at last month's ESPY Awards, but he clearly missed the MB memos on camo and graphic tees as he left Green Bay yesterday. Also, those sunglasses veer dangerously close to reflector blades. A true diva needs true diva shades. Like Madonna in Versace.
There has been a bit of discussion about sunglasses lately. "What should I buy?" If you're looking for a way to protect your eyes and put yourself on the fast-track to MB-dom, pick up a pair of Tom Ford sunglasses from Bluefly.
(Note: This site is in no way affiliated with either Tom Ford or Bluefly. We just admire cool shit.)
Q: I'm looking into buying some Ray-Ban aviators (Model 3362). They have silver rims and a grey gradient lens. I've tried them on already and have made sure they are definitely NOT reminiscent of the Karate Kid. When I told my brother, he suggested saving the money and buying some $20 knock-offs that look similar. What's the MB way of handling this situation? --Sean
A: The MB way of handling this situation is to ignore your younger, dumber brother (we can safely assume he is younger; dumber is a given).
This is really bad advice. $20 frames are probably not polarized, and even worse, might not even provide UV protection, essentially doing more harm than good.
If we may make a suggestion on the Ray-Bans: even though it's an iconic brand and the logo is small, they violate the principle of invisible/discreet logos. It's basically on your face, so unless you are getting paid for leasing that high-value real estate, we suggest looking at all the other aviator options in the world, from vintage to Tom Ford to Diesel.
Q: Dearest MB: What's your stance on guys wearing their sunglasses backwards on their head whilst indoors? Actually, what's the best position for sunglasses while indoors? Top of the head? Around the neck? Clipped to the shirt? In the shirt pocket? Clipped to the belt/waistband? Backwards (heaven forbid)? Thanks, MB. You're the best. --Aaron
A: Well, kudos to you for knowing to remove sunglasses while indoors. As Larry David famously said on an early episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm: "You know who wears sunglasses inside? Blind people and assholes." (Top: Designer Michael Kors, who is not blind as far as we know.)
Let's review the options in order of badness, worst to least-worst:
Backwards: Never. Goal of every MB should to not look like Zach Johnson (winner of last year's Masters).
Around neck: This would require a strap of some kind. Croakies? Not cool, even as an ironic gesture.
Clipped to pants: Nothing should ever be clipped to your pants.
Clipped to shirt: We're just not that big on clipping.
A: You cannot really go wrong with aviator sunglasses, no matter what the brand. They fit into that extremely rare category of "Forever Cool", from Ponch and Jon from CHIPS (top), to Tony D'Annunzio from Caddyshack (middle), to Maverick (bottom). Buy with confidence.
Stumped over what sunglasses to wear while running. Most "fashion" shades are not practical for exercise, and most "performance" shades are too Nascar. Little help? —PM
A: Have you tried squinting?
As any MB knows, drinking and running typically don't mix, but if you must publicly display your means of staying in shape, we suggest erring on the side of function over fashion, even if it means swerving into Dale Earnhart Jr.toolbag territory. Your sunwear needs to be lightweight, durable, not bounce on the face, and not fog up, which means you should be looking for metal frames combined with lightweight polycarb lenses (not that cheap plastic shit). It ain't easy (as you suggest in your question), but these options will both a.) cut down the glare and b.) cut down on you looking like an asshole.
An update on those sunglasses Jamie Foxx wore in The Kingdom: We finally got a hold of Armies of the World (the company that did the props for The Kingdom) and they did everything except Mr. Foxx's sunglasses. Which makes sense since we have visual confirmation from several MB.com readers that an extreme closeup reveals "Dolce & Gabbana" on the temple. The only "Armies of the World" we can imagine being fitted with D&G sunglasses are a.) the Italian army, and b.) the Spartans from 300.
Anyhow, the model Mr. Foxx's sunglasses look most like are the 2022s (top), but it's not an exact match. Our guess is it's a bespoke pair, but we're in touch with Dolce & Gabbana for confirmation. If you have any other info, please let us know.
So we're watching the trailer for The Kingdom (opening nationwide tomorrow) and we're like, "Holy shit! Jamie Foxx looks like a total badass MB in that pair of shades!" And then we're like, "Where have we seen these before?" And then it occurs to us that Harrison Ford wore a similar pair -- albeit much less badassly -- in Apocalypse Now (after he did Star Wars, can you believe it?). Then we wondered what that frame was, and until we get a call back from Susan Matheson (costume designer for Armies of the World, who fitted Mr. Foxx and the rest of the cast of The Kingdom), a very, very close version (minus the tapered temples) is the Ray-Ban Caravan, available at amazon for $97.50.
Q: My co-worker and I have been debating for the last few weeks on whether it's ok to wear one's sunglasses on top of one's head or not. He says its as un-cool and as fashionably retarded as both crocs and the phone-waist-belt thingy. I'm not so sure (because I occasionally wear my sunglasses over the top of my head) and sometimes find the utility of the over-the-noggin thing outweighs the geek factor. Perhaps you could settle this dispute once and for all. —SD