Men’s accessories are a slippery slope. One too many rings or misplaced piercing can push you from style pioneer to fashion try-hard in an instance. In general, when purchasing any sort of outfit adornments, our advice is to tread lightly and remember less is more. Sunglasses, however, are the one exception.

For many of history’s most stylish men, an iconic pair of shades was not only a calling card, but an embodiment of their entire personality. From James Dean’s Tarte Arnels to Anthony Bourdain’s beloved Persols, a signature lens is a fundamental part of any developed wardrobe. When you hear fashion folk preach about the beauty of “a uniform”, one perfect pair of sunglasses is undoubtedly part of said kit. While some of you might be inclined to buy multiple pairs for different occasions—which ostensibly makes sense and, by all means, go for it—our recommendation is instead investing in a single frame that becomes a potentially lifelong part of your look. Considering glasses quite literally obscure a significant portion of your face, search for a pair that’s loud enough to make a statement, yet timeless enough as to avoid trend. Above all, make sure the glasses are reflective of your personality.

That said, navigating the myriad shapes, colors, frames, lenses and brands is mind-numbing. Thankfully, we put together a guide that breaks down exactly what you should buy and why. And if you’re still stuck, we went ahead and picked out a few timeless styles that collectively will work just about anyone.

What Are Polarized Lenses?

The most common question when purchasing sunglasses is: Should I buy or care about polarized lenses? What even are polarized lenses? The answer, in short, is yes you should care. While many are under the assumption that polarized lenses offer additional protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays that is, by and large, false. In fact, polarized lenses are predominantly designed to minimize glare. When sunlight refracts off of horizontal surfaces, it tends to reflect horizontally as well, an angle which your eye has difficulty processing—resulting in a potentially blinding glare. Polarized lenses, as opposed to normal sunglass lenses, contain a special laminated filter which blocks said glare while allowing vertical light to pass through. The result is a cleaner field of vision that allows for true color perception, reduces strain on the eyes and overall improved visual comfort. While not necessarily “safer” for your eyes in the short term—you should still avoid staring directly into the sun—in the long run polarized lenses are a superior option.

What Shape Should I Buy?

The next big question: What frame shape is best suited for my face? The answer is: whatever you feel most comfortable in. Even more so than clothing, sunglasses are all confidence. If you’re going to rock a wild pair of Matsuda titanium miniature square frames or go full turbo with the Oakley over the head goggles a la Vin Diesel in Chronicles of Riddick, if you have the charisma and swagger to pull it off, anything goes–regardless of facial disposition. That said, there are a few general guidelines as to what frame is best suited for which face or head shape.

First, fit is everything. Great sunglasses should sit comfortably on the bridge of your nose, and the temple (the proper name for the long portion that connects the frame to the ear) should sit snug along your, well, temple. Any additional pulling (or space) will alter the intended silhouette. As for lens shape, play to your features. If you have a wide face, consider a square or rectangular frame to elongate yourself. If your head is relatively square, circular frames provide strong juxtaposition. Lastly, in terms of size, aim for a happy medium that doesn’t feel abnormal in comparison to your actual head. That’s pretty much all there is to it. The rest—confidence included—is up to you.

Tags: summer-style, summer-fashion, spring-style, spring-fashion, celine, kuboraum, mykita, maison-margiela, anthony-bourdain, oliver-peoples, persol, ray-ban, sunglasses