Dressing a man is an exercise in precision and refinement. It requires the discipline of perfect military cadence and the deft technique employed by those who have mastered playing Rachmaninoff concertos. To dress a man is to use only the best - a perfectly cut suit, a tailored shirt, a tie knotted with just the right heft, and shoes that bear no scuffmarks. It is also about restraint, knowing when to pull back.
So it is with caution that a man must choose his armour, especially his sunglasses because they are the first point of contact. They are also the only acceptable head accessory for men. The diamond stud earring from your Duran Duran phase and mid-life crisis gold necklaces are not appropriate.
Aviator sunglasses are your best bet because they suit every face shape. They are also timeless and lend the wearer the aura of being a member of the jet set. Just ask Michael Kors, king of aviators. I prefer the classic aviators by Ray-Ban, the choice of the US Air Force.
In the past couple of years, however, many fashion houses have produced their own interpretations of aviator sunglasses, including Gucci, in gold and tortoiseshell this season, and Dior Homme (above, right), which has opted for all-black. The former are great for summer lunches and pool parties, and the latter are perfect for early evening soirees where a jacket is required.
Lacoste has also joined the aviator trend with slightly larger, bronze-coloured frames. But be warned: frat boys and posers have given aviators a bad rep of late by wearing them with polo shirts with popped collars.
Wayfarer-style sunglasses (top) are also idiot-proof, and the vintage Ray-Bans are making a comeback. John F. Kennedy wore his while sailing his boat, The Marlin. So did Andy Warhol. But if you find that the new wave of Ray-Ban wayfarer wearers a little too Jonas Brothers or High School Musical for your taste, fear not, because Prada has released its own version (below). The frames are slightly bigger but rendered in that classic dark tortoiseshell frame. The stainless steel bridge is a nice accent.
A more affordable pair are from Polo Ralph Lauren, which come in a completely black finish. The lenses are about three-quarters the size of regular wayfarers, making them ideal for guys with smaller faces.
Don't make the mistake of placing your glasses on your head, though, as Jackie O was wont to do. This look doesn't translate well on men. Also, don't use those dangly neon bands that connect one end of the sunglasses to the other: it's tacky and reeks of style deficiency.
If you want a more funky version of the wayfarer, in the manner of Kanye West, Super sunglasses from Italy, available at Harvey Nichols, may just help you channel the look of a fashion-savvy hip hop artist. The glasses come in Day-Glo yellow, fire engine red, tie-dye, or black and white stripes.
There are also styles which you should avoid altogether: the wraparound kind from Oakley. Don't get me wrong, these are nice if you're playing beach volleyball or mountain biking but not for strolling around SoHo or Hollywood Road.
Martin Margiela released a pair of sunglasses that basically look like a rectangular strip of plastic plastered across your eyes. There are people who've hailed these as must-haves but I personally think they recall the awful taste of Arsenio Hall circa Coming to America, and one hit wonder Vanilla Ice.
But then again, with the summer release of Star Trek you may be forgiven for wearing such glasses. That is if you don't mind being labelled a Trekkie.
Dior Homme, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2162 8008
Gucci, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2524 4492 Lacoste, Central Building, Pedder Street, Central, tel: 2530 2810
Prada, Alexandra House, Central, tel: 25255 2989
Ray-Ban is available at LensCrafter, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2295 3619
Super at Harvey Nichols, The Landmark, Central, tel: 3695 3388