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The Icon's Guide to Sunglasses

Steve McQueen

Here’s one thing we like about sunglasses: not a lot’s changed. If it looked good in ’56, it looks good now. So to help you settle on your own personal style for the summer, we’ve brought together some of the most stylish gentlemen ever to block out UV rays, together with the modern equivalent of their signature shades.

Steve McQueen Persol Steve McQueenIf you get to be cool enough, they start naming sunglasses after you. (Guess why we started with him.) In McQueen’s case, it’s a chunkier version of the aviator, good for driving, smoking and getaways.

Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard Garrett Leight HamptonThis one’s the cinephile. You’ll see the same tortoise-shell model on half the crowd at Film Forum (frequently inside). Best when paired with world-weary cynicism.

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. Prada Linea Rossi 50LSWe’ll come out and say it: RDJ’s one of the most adventurous shade-wearers of the modern day. (There’s a reason he’s one of the few gentlemen on this list who’s still kicking.) He also pulls off the wiry, graded look better than anyone else out there. Take notes.

Jean-Claude Killy

Jean-Claude Killy Oliver Peoples ConnollyLadies and gentlemen, the 70s. This squared-off aviator is the outdoorsy option, popularized by one of the best skiers ever to come out of France. (No, not Charles Bronson.)

Marcello Mastroianni

Marcello Mastroianni Persol 2720SIn 1963, these were the most modern shades you could buy. Almost 50 years later, they still look more like the future than the past. They’re best when peered over, wondrously.

Secret Service

The Secret Service Tom Ford Hudson SunglassesThey’re not celebrities exactly, but the stone-faced gentlemen of the secret service have done more for sunglasses than any actor we can think of. (The shades are actually company policy, to make sure you can’t tell where they’re looking.) Technically the service prefers Oakleys, but in the name of style, we thought we’d give them an upgrade.

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise Ray-Ban WayfarersWe couldn't have a list without these. The classic is still the classic, spotted on everyone from JFK to Corey Feldman—whenever anyone wants something that says “rock star.” It still works.