Your Style Girlfriend

    Borrowed From the Boys: Persol Sunglasses

    12th March 2013


    Guys, can we just talk about how much I love Persol sunglasses?

    …Yes, okay, more on you fellas….but look at these on me! Don’t I look cool?! Okay, okay. I know, back to you. Because on the fellas, they make you look ooh so handsome.


    {Persol, $360}

    When guys wear Persols, I think Ryan Gosling. I think Steve McQueen. I think Jay-Z (okay, and then I think of Ryan Gosling some more) I think just, total cool, dashing, handsome dudes who know how to order a bottle of wine at a restaurant with confidence, but can also open a beer bottle without an opener because they “know a trick.”

    They’re just cool. And capable. These are guys who know that when you invest in quality eyewear, you make an effort not to sit on them the first day you bring them home. Which means, even if you open a few of those beers, or drink a good amount of that delicious wine you just ordered, you’re not going to be a total sh*tshow. Because you’re a grown man. Not a boy.


    According to Persol’s website, this style’s pedigree is well-storied:

    “It was 1968 when an already famous and charming Steve McQueen appeared on set wearing the Persol PO 714 SM model for the first time. The film was The Thomas Crown Affair which elevated both Steve McQueen and his sunglasses to legendary status. Inseparable allies in both his on-set adventures and in his personal life, McQueen, who was a fan of the Persol brand and the PO 714 SM model, owned a personal collection.”

    Tell me: Do you invest in sunglasses, or do you buy yours on the cheap?

    …I swear, I’m not saying that one is better than the other – personally, I have a mix of nicer sunglasses, and a few cheap-o’s (as I call them), but the cheap-o’s at this point have been relegated only to wearing while running and when around my niece, who has a tendency to mash them when she insists on trying them on. I believe if you buy something nice, you can control yourself well enough to keep it looking nice. But I see the merit in both sides.

    • Chris Rogers

      I’m a big fan of quality sunglasses! You really get what you pay for especially in lens quality. I describe quality sunglasses as the difference between regular tv and HD. My go to sunglasses are Randolph Engineering Aviators, I’m also a big fan of Costa Del Mar. My next sunglasses purchase will be some Ray-Ban Wayfarers.

    • ATLien

      I wear quality sunglasses, too. I have two pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. One is all black that I have had for 8 years or so, the other is the tortoise-shell version. I go back and forth between them every few months or so. If I am going out in public and/or possibly going to some sort of daytime drinking event, I bring the all black pair as they are my older pair least favorite and if I lost them, it wouldn’t be as big of a deal.

      I also own some really cheap neon sunglasses that were popular in the early 90s. They are black on the front, then bright green on the sides. I also have a bright orange pair. I wear these specifically at the beach or lake as I am not going to trust myself with a $100+ pair of sunglasses near the water.

      • Style Girlfriend

        I have neon pink wayfarers I got at last summer’s Color Run for runs on sunny days!

    • Moe B

      Man I wish I wasn’t so forgetful because I would definitely love a pair. I had a great pair of ray bans but I’m so dopey when it comes to leaving my glasses behind on the dinner table at a restaurant or the gym locker room. Plus being a law student right now, I don’t have 360 dollars to spare so I’m stuck finding a decent fake pair for 20 dollars

    • redsa6729

      It’s a tough question b/c there’s definitely a noticeable difference in quality between high and low. I used to do the cheapo route and found myself going through a lot of them since they didn’t cost much.

      I have a wider face and it’s actually really hard for me to find nicer glasses that fit (Ray Bans just won’t work). I definitely recommend AO Pilots, which you can find for relatively cheap online. If they’re good enough for astronauts then they’re good enough for me. I also have a couple of Knockaround wayfarers (black and tortoise) which are pretty solid. They’re not as nice as Ray Bans, but they’re definitely much better quality than the kind you’d find at gas stations or mall kiosks. If you have a normal sized face or a head smaller than my gigantic melon, Warby Parker is a nice option. All frames are $95, they have a free home trial, and it goes to a good cause (they take the TOMS route and donate a pair for each one bought).

      BTW-This is my first post after lurking for a long time. Love the site and keep up the great work Megan!

      • Style Girlfriend

        Glad to have you join the conversation!

    • Baxter

      I’ve worn eye glasses since the second grade. I think I had those flip down things when I played 7th grade baseball. Garbage. I tried the transition lenses. Yikes. Don’t get me started. I decided it was time to get real sunglasses with prescription lenses. You’re kind of limited in your selection by your prescription (ratio of lens thickness to frame thickness). I got the Mosley Tribes Santino and shelled out the extra bucks for the special thinner prescription lenses. They came out great! Yeah, they’re expensive, relatively speaking. But aviators are pretty timeless so I’m comfortable with the number of years I can get out of the investment. And I have over 25 years of experience being the nerd taking care of glasses that says I won’t break or lose them.

      • Style Girlfriend

        The flip-down lenses! Hilarious..

    • Michael Bailey

      I definitely go the quality route, but I’m pretty good at babying them. My last pair lasted me for 10 years. My go to glasses these days are a pair of Ray-Ban cockpit aviators. I tried the Wayfarers, but I don’t like the way they look on me. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable in the Parsol’s either. They’re just not my style.

    • average joe

      There are really only 2 sunglasses companies in the entire world (hard to believe, I know). Here is one of them:

    • Evan

      Love my Persol 714s. “The quality remains, long after the price has been forgotten.” – F. Henry Royce (of Rolls Royce)

      • Alexander

        This. I mean you can actually get a lot of quality stuff cheaper if you look for it and are ready to get something used, even if you’re aiming for Persol or Rayban. I paid 20€ (~26 bucks) for a used pair of Agent Smith-like ‘old’ Raybans, only thing I had to do is get the frame adjusted and clean the lenses.
        Also, since my eyes are really sensitive to light I seriously NEED sunglasses if I want to leave the house in the summer for a longer time so they’ll have to withstand constant use.

    • Ethan

      I love my Persols as well and investing in quality eyewear is definitely one of those little luxuries that makes a difference (like soft towels… leslie and ben from parks and rec were not lying but I digress). i have a pair of 649s, as well as a pair of clubmasters and I’m looking to get a pair of Ray Ban Meteors next because its wayfarer-like without being completely ubiquitous.

      • Style Girlfriend

        P&R digressions are always allowed.

    • K

      I got a pair of prescription Warby Parker’s that look really similar to the persols—but in a really cool gray color.

      • Style Girlfriend

        Sound cool, would love to see a pic!

    • Adam Wyatt

      Definitely need both cheap sunglasses and the quality ones. Almost always wear a nice pair, but there are some places where the chances of coming back with my pair of sunglasses is too low to risk bringing a nice pair. Sunglasses may be the hardest accessory ever to keep track of…

    • Jeff

      I totally respect quality sunglasses, and understand where the premium is coming from, but ever since companies like Warby Parker and Lookmatic popped up, I find it exceedingly difficult to spend $300 on some wayfarers. I got three pairs of prescription sunglasses from Lookmatic (back when they were Spex Club) for $200, and they’ve lasted until now. And even if I do lose or sit on them, I won’t be completely heartbroken.

      • Style Girlfriend

        Never heard of Lookmatic, will have to check them out!

    • hbc14

      There’s a certain quality to a person who can take care of his/her belongings. Something that has gotten lost in the “oh well, I can always buy another” era.

      • Style Girlfriend


    • Sonny

      I’m a big fan of owning fewer, but higher quality sunglasses (or anything really). I bought myself a pair of the 714 just a few months ago only to find out they’re too small for my giant head. Now I get to see my brother wearing what should have been my timeless glasses!

      • Style Girlfriend

        Oh no! I have the opposite problem – my tiny head usually gets overwhelmed by the frames I like

    • Ana

      The problem with the cheap stuff is that sometimes that’s actually WORSE than wearing no sunglasses at all! Gotta make sure there’s 100% UV protection. That said, Persols are awesome. You can just feel the quality.

      • Style Girlfriend

        so good, right?

    • Derek Waddell

      I have a pair of Ray Ban aviators that I’ve been wearing for years, and they’re all i’ve ever wanted in sunglasses, BEFORE, that is, you showed me these Persols. I forgot all about that brand. Now, it seems, I am in the market for an additional pair. (I’ve been keeping my aviators in this: )

    • Zachary

      I have the Rayban New Wayfarer in shiny black. I love them to death. I have a really hard time shopping for sunglasses because my face is so small that most of them look goofy. When it came time to purchase a nice pair, I figured it’d be safe to go with a classic. I’m all for spending more money on sunglasses; I think that as with most things you buy, you can tell a difference. I take good care of them, of course. I lost them once overseas and replacing them was soooo expensive.

    • John Schulte

      I have two pairs that I wear. Some Ray-Ban black Wayfarers I got in jr. high in the mid-90′s. My brother pointed out recently that they are before they started putting the Ray-Ban Iogo on each pair. I also have a pair of Rayban aviators, which are lighter and good for driving or wearing for longer amounts of time. They don’t leave a big impression on my nose like the Wayfarers.

      Watching Shark Tank recently I saw a company called Proof, sunglasses with wood frames. I’m thinking about getting a pair. They seem to be reasonably priced.

    • Ryan

      God, cheap sunglasses. Nothing worse. I learnt in my late teens: headache inducing because they dig into my head, the paint flakes off in my hair, the lenses are garbage and do very little to protect the eyes. Not to mention losing countless pairs because they’re cheap and you don’t care.

      Good sunglasses are an investment in your eyes.

    • Zach Dunton

      My 714 have lasted me years, if the hinges weren’t getting worn out, they’d keep lasting. Getting a pair of 649′s this year

      • Style Girlfriend

        Very exciting!

    • TJ

      I go to the cheap route because honestly, I can’t afford higher quality/price sunglasses. If I could, I would buy them. I spend the little disposable income I have for clothing on well, clothing. I do love Persols though, and would really really like a pair if I could afford them.

    • Hank Moody

      Hah, even Hank Moody is wearing a pair of Persol 714 :)

    • Matt X

      I bought a pair myself, the 96/S3′s. They’re pretty awesome actually. Persol’s quality is top of the line. My only complaint is that although the SM’s inward folding mechanism is much cooler, you have to be careful not to hit the lenses with the metal hinges. I actually have a few extra sets if anybody’s looking for one. I have extras in basically all the blue lensed colors, both sizes 52mm and 54mm.

    • downtownjewelrybryan

      found a pair of limited steve mcqueens (havana/brown) in a 54 at sunglass hut who is having a memorial weekend sale. it was in the “imperfect” section but i dont see any scuffs at all. to the persol experts…the frame is definitely limited edition (double arrows, has “714-SM” “steve mcqueen” engraving inside the left arm, feels heavy) however the color code says “24/81″ i thought all the limited ones only had blue lenses (__/56)? not a big deal, they look great and only cost me less than half the regular price.