Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
Aviator sunglasses are arguably the most iconic style of sunglasses out there. Originally released in the late 1960’s, aviators are recognizable by their large, asymmetrical lenses, thin metal frame, and horizontal bar above the bridge. While most of these design features remain on aviator glasses to this day, with the large number of companies producing this style of glasses they’re are many deviations from the original.
1) Vuarnet: Pilot Swing in Gold
Vuarnet’s Pilot Swing sunglasses are their interpretation of classic, aviator style sunglasses. The general shape of these glasses, with their thin metal frames and lopsided shaped lenses, are true to the original. However, Vuarnet added their own spin with the dual-colored titanium frame, which has the additional benefit of making these frames as strong as they are lightweight. Each pair of these sunglasses are made in France from the highest quality materials.
Available for $370 from Canoe Club.
2) American Optical: Original Pilot
They’re called the Original for a reason. With operations spanning three centuries, American Optical is the oldest eyewear brand in the United States and created the silhouette we know as the Aviator. The Original Pilot has been under military contract for over fifty years and you can buy it to the same specifications: steel alloy frame, True Color glass lenses, straight bayonet arms, and yes, made in USA. It’s also totally configurable to your preferred lens shade and frame color, plus it’s a total bargain.
Available for $99 at American Optical.
3) Ray-Ban: Aviator Glasses in Gold
It’s impossible to talk about aviator glasses without talking about Ray-Ban, given that their then parent-company Bausch & Lomb also claims to have invented the style. While Ray-Ban offers dozens of different aviator styles we’re partial to their Aviators in Gold, which feature gold colored frames, a well-coordinating lens color, and clear temple guards. Each pair comes with a durable leather case so you can be sure your frames will stay well protected.
Available for $150 from Mr. Porter.
4) Globe Specs: The Barracks – The Dixie
Globe Specs is known for producing high-end eyewear that takes inspiration from classic styles while remaining unique. Their The Barracks – The Dixie aviators feature rectangular lenses with a similarly angular bridge, but curved top bar. They’re constructed from monel metal frames with acetate accents, and all the high-end finishes you’d expect from a pair of made-in-Japan frames.
5) Serengeti: Medium Aviators in Gunmetal
Serengeti’s Medium Aviator are a great option if you are interested in a pair of high-end aviators but don’t want to spend too much money. They are constructed from a gunmetal colored frame with traditionally shaped, polycarbonate lenses. These frames are available in multiple sizes, which makes them much more versatile than many high-end sunglasses on the market.
Available for $77 from Costco.
Plus One – Thom Browne: TB-015 Sunglasses
Thom Browne is known for uniquely proportioned clothing, so it comes as no surprise that their eyewear is as well. Their TB-015 Sunglasses come in a range of unique colorways, but they all feature an acetate “sweatbar” across the top bar, titanium nose pads, and three color stem caps. The frames are fully constructed from lightweight and durable titanium and made in Japan.