How to Wear Wayfarer Sunglasses | Curated Mint

Wayfarer sunglasses are the ultimate in robust smart/ casual sunglasses. They are iconic and have a very rich history in contemporary popular culture. After a few years of anonymity, they have emerged again as the most desirable pair of sunglasses that every man should own.

Sunglasses originally had a very practical purpose to protect your eyes from the sun and to enhance your vision when impaired by light or glare. As with most modern accessories, they have since become an extension of your personal style; A tool in which to showcase individual personality and flair.

Although there are lots of types of sunglasses, the wayfarer design is a timeless option when it comes to choosing your next pair of sunglasses. The charm of these trendy sunglasses has crossed all boundaries of gender, age, and style to become the coveted accessory for every fashion conscious individual.

Wayfarer Sunglasses

First of all, what are Wayfarer sunglasses? Wayfarers are a style of sunglasses with a more chunky design than that of aviators. They have a distinctive trapezoidal frame with sturdy temple arms which, according to the advertising campaigns at the time, gave the sunglasses a more masculine look. Ray-Ban Wayfarers took advantage of the new plastic moulding technology of the time and marked the transition to a period of eyewear made from plastic.

Large Wayfarer sunglasses were popular with iconic figures, much like Steve McQueen sunglasses were. Figures throughout history such as; JFK, Martin Luther King, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Andy Warhol wore them the best. Being a huge seller, especially nowadays,  they have not always proven so popular. Made in 1952 they were very successful during the 50s and 60s but interest dropped significantly in the 70s. They once again proved to be hugely successful in the 80s but the chunky plastic frames died out again in the 90s. A resurgence in contemporary trends for vintage clothing has seen an increase in interest in the Wayfarer style. Modern designs mean that Wayfarers are now available in a variety of styles, colours, and sizes, so they can work for virtually anyone, male or female.

Wayfarer Style Sunglasses

Now you know what they are, you need to know if they will suit your face shape. Choosing the right sunglasses all centres around how they balance your natural features. Luckily Wayfarers have got to be the only style of sunglasses available in the market, which are suitable for every kind of face shape.

Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sizes

  • If you have an oval-shaped face then Wayfarer sunglasses, with their stout shape, will counteract your face’s natural length. Choose larger Wayfarer sizes to make the face look smaller.
  • If you have a heart/ diamond-shaped facethe Ray-Ban classic Wayfarer is the best choice. The thin nose bridge and sunglass rims, compliment the delicate shape of the face perfectly.
  • If you have a square-shaped face then Wayfarers with slightly curved frames will soften the look.
  • If you have a round face then choose Wayfarers with an angular or straight square shape, which present a slim effect and make the face look longer.

Selecting the right men’s sunglasses styles are key. Wayfarers sit naturally high on a person’s face, regardless of shape, which means they are more diverse than other styles, such as aviators, which can make some face shapes look droopy. Ideally, you want the frame should sit as close to the eye as possible to prevent stray light from entering through the sides or the top of the frames. The varied versions of the Wayfarer style mean that they complement all face shapes, enabling all individuals to enjoy the fun.

How to Wear Wayfarers

Wayfarer Ray-Bans have been worn by many a politician, artist, musician, and actor throughout the years so there are no rules when matching your outfit with your sunglasses. This style works with an urban, punky, preppy, vintage, or smart look so they’re not off-limits to anyone, regardless of your style.

There a few rules however when it comes to sunglasses etiquette in general. Here is The Curated Mint’ exclusive list of do’s and don’ts for wearing sunglasses:


  • Take off your sunglasses when you are inside. It makes you appear disrespectful and as though you have something to hide.
  • Take off your sunglasses when at an outdoors business meeting. If possible, choose to sit somewhere in the shade when conducting business as being able to look someone in the eye is an important part of communicating.
  • Take care of your sunglasses as you would with any other item of clothing. Scratched lenses and loose temple arms are a result of being tossed in a bag or in your car. It looks unprofessional and sloppy. A proper case will ensure the longevity of your sunglasses.


  • Wear the wrong style of sunglasses to the wrong event. Brightly coloured frames or swish cycling glasses are not for work. A classic Wayfarer in black or tortoise-shell is perfect for crossing that smart/ casual boundary.
  • Wear your sunglasses on top of your head. If you need to take them off put them in a case or the chest pocket of your blazer or shirt. Putting them on your head will stretch them and it looks too casual.

Best Wayfarer Sunglasses

The best Wayfarer sunglasses will look stylish but also have their practical uses too. After all, the main purpose of sunglasses is the protection from ultraviolet radiation (UV rays). Extended exposure to the sun can have some pretty nasty side effects and may even impair your sight over time.

Often people will think that the darker a lens is, the more sun protection it will offer but this is not true. Darker lenses do not offer more protection. Instead, many experts recommend looking for sunglasses labelled as UV400 for optimum sun protection.

The two main materials that the temples, or arms, are made of will be metal or plastic. Plastic frames can be advantageous if you are looking for a wide variety of colours, lightweight materials, flexibility, or a glossy effect.  Many plastic frames also have a hypoallergenic effect.  On the downside, they tend to break easier than metal frames, their colour can fade over time, and if left in an extremely hot vehicle they can actually begin to melt.

Metal frames can be made from stainless steel, bronze, nickel, cobalt, aluminium, etc.  Sunglasses with metal and composite frames generally have the following advantages: enhanced durability, corrosion resistance, light weight, and like many plastic frames can have hypoallergenic properties as well.  On the downside, they are not as flexible as plastic frames, nor do they offer as many colour choices.

Black Ray-Ban Wayfarer

If you want a pair of Wayfarers, keep them in black, unless you’re intentionally trying to make a statement. Black goes with everything. Black sunglasses are smart enough to wear with a full suit but will also translate with a pair of ripped jeans, t-shirt, and pair of trainers.

How to Wear Wayfarer Sunglasses: Smart

While being a diverse shape and design between styles, it’s extremely versatile between occasions as well. This includes pairing your lenses with your best suit. Taking a dose of David Gandy’s style inspiration this look is easy to pull off, even with a three-piece. Just make sure to keep you sunglasses rim simple and coordinating with the tone with the rest of your suit.

How to Wear Wayfarer Sunglasses: Casual

While Wayfarer glasses are a pretty casual item for the wardrobe, that doesn’t always mean they are easy to include. However, creating a look which is defined and bold will cooperate with your glasses perfectly – avoiding the miss-match.

For the transition from Winter to Spring, opt for a suede biker jacket. Then complete the look with a pair of black slim jean and white trainers. Once finished with a pair of Ray-Bans you are ready for the mid-season ahead.

White Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses

In all honesty, try to avoid wearing white sunglasses. Of all the colours that sunglasses are available in, white is definitely not your best option for street wear. White sunglasses should be confined to sports sunglasses on the slopes or in the surf.

Tortoiseshell Ray-ban Wayfarer Sunglasses

Tortoiseshell rims have been favoured by many iconic celebrities throughout the years, a few names include; James Dean, JFK, and David Beckham. Genuine Tortoise Shell frames are very expensive. Traditionally the material is derived from the shells of the larger species of the actual tortoise, the hawksbill turtle, which is an endangered species due largely to exploitation for this material. This has since been banned so genuine tortoiseshell is no longer in production.

Tortoiseshell, or ‘horn-rimmed’, now refers to the colours of the frames. Their classic mottled yellow, honey, brown and black tinged look, is a great alternative to black as they are softer on the face and will complement your complexion better.

How to Wear Wayfarer Sunglasses: Smart-Casual

When dressing turtle-shell sunglasses, always remember they are key to smart-casual – especially when creating a bit of personality to your look. For its detail, keep your look simple and to the minimum with a white Oxford Shirt and a black slim-fit jeans.

How to Wear Wayfarer Sunglasses: Casual

Dressing the turtle-shell down is all about understanding how to create a tonal look. Preferably for the autumn seasons, create your look around neutral tones. However, instead of opting for black denim introduce the classic blues with selvedge denim jean.

Ray-Ban Wayfarers

Few sunglasses have occupied such a storied place in popular culture and history as Ray-Bans and as such, Ray-Ban Wayfarers are one of the best-selling style of sunglasses worldwide. Originally designed in 1952 by Raymond Stegeman for Bausch and Lomb (the then-parent company of Ray-Ban), they were considered to be a radical design change away from metal frames. Currently, the Wayfarer design comes in many different styles: Original Wayfarer, New Wayfarer, Wayfarer Folding, and the Wayfarer Special Series.

During the 1950s, Ray-Ban also released the Ray-Ban Caravans, a squarer looking frame. It was also popular during the 1970s, worn by Robert de Niro in the film Taxi Driver. Three other models of the brand are named Clubmaster, Round, and the most recent one Clubround. But it is the aviator and Wayfarer design that continue to be the most popular design of Ray-Bans. The term ‘Wayfarer’ is actually trademarked by Luxottica (manufacturer of Ray-Ban).

How to Wear Wayfarer Sunglasses

  • When purchasing a pair, your lenses should be polarised and UV protected.
  • Work out your face shape first before settling on what style of Wayfarers to buy.
  • Black and tortoise-shell are the classic colour options to choose from.
  • Take good care of your sunglasses with a hard case and a micro-fibre cloth.

On That Note

They say that the eyes are the window to the soul. We say the sunglasses are the window to your wardrobe. Your sunglasses frame your face and in the summer-time, they are the first thing that people will notice about your outfit.

Often, sunglasses shopping has a reputation of being a daunting task. You’ve got to get the right style, colour, they have to fit, they have to be practical, they have to be in the right price bracket. It can feel like too much effort at first.

That is where the wonderful Wayfarer comes in. This style genuinely suits any face shape, and with only a few small considerations on the lens shape and size, you can guarantee that they will look good on you. There is such a wide variety of styles on option too when it comes to the Wayfarer style that you really can choose a pair to suit your trademark style.

Feature image from Pinterest

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