2020 Sunglasses Trends: What to Look for When Buying Shades This Year

A look at the sunglasses trends we are most excited about rockin' in 2020.

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As we begin to make our way into 2020, thoughts inevitably turn to the hotter months. For us at The Boardwalk that just means one thing: looking ahead to the 2020 sunglasses trends we are most excited about rockin’ over the coming year.

Our predictions for what will be hot this year include glasses to suit every style. If you don’t fancy flat-top sunglasses, then shades with smaller lenses might be for you. Or, maybe sports-luxe specs will go better with your day-to-day style.

There is also still plenty of room for people who prefer classic designs. Grabbing a pair of aviators with an accentuated top bar or squared off lenses is one way to choose a classic style while staying up-to-date. Or you could choose retro acetate frames with a tinted lens or block colors.

For me personally, as soon as the sun comes out I’m grabbing a pair of all-black flat-top shades. Or a pair of small square sunglasses. Or maybe visors. Or… get back to me on this.

2020 Sunglasses Trends

Heavy Brow Sunglasses

Cutler and Gross 135302
Cutler and Gross

Heavy brow sunglasses are those that have a thicker browline than normal. They come in many styles but are most typically found on wayfarer or aviator inspired glasses. Heavy brow shades give the wearer a strong look that shows they mean business. One of our all-time favorite examples of heavy brow sunglasses are those worn by Henry Cavill in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The shades pictured accentuate the heavy top by contrasting the acetate on the brow-line with thin metal at the bottom of the lens. Check them out on Cutler and Gross.

Flat Top Sunglasses

Tom Ford

Sticking with browlines the next trend to look out for is flat-top sunglasses. These are frames where the brow-line is completely straight. They can be combined with angular lenses for devastating effect. The Tom Ford Spring/Summer 2020 collection features some fantastic heavy browline flat top sunglasses that, in our opinion, are the standout items in the collection.

Small Lenses

In many ways, small lenses are the opposite of the trends above. Instead of being a powerful statement of intent, on the surface, small glasses appear far less intimidating.

Don’t let the size fool you, though. Small lens sunglasses can create an equally large statement. Just check out the ones Tyler the Creator wore the 2020 Grammies. Even without the pink bellhop outfit he wore the glasses would still make a splash.

As seen in the pic above, RetroSuperFuture does some great smaller frames including the Issimo (pictured) and the Caro.

Sports Luxe


Sports Luxe has pretty much taken over the fashion world so it only makes sense that it is taking over sunglasses too. Sports luxe sunglasses come in many forms although we are particularly partial to shield or visor styles. Sporty styles also work well with colored lenses, one of the other trends on this list.

Check out more sports luxe sunglasses in our article on some of our favorite shield-style shades.

Aviators With a Twist

Bottega Venetta

Aviators aren’t dead, they’re just changing. Some of the best shades we’ve seen recently have been classic aviators with a unique twist. This could be an interesting lens color à la Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, or it could be a bar on the brow like Adam Sandler in Murder Mystery, or embellishments on the temple or nose à la Will Smith in Bad Boys for Life. Either way, these changes are breathing a ton of new life into a classic style. You can check out the pictured Bottega Veneta sunglasses at this link.

Geometric Shapes

Ray-Ban Octagonal Glasses

In 2020, prepare for more straight lines. Round or oval sunglasses are getting squared off into octagons or hexagons, while aviators are losing their curves and going all angular. This is a style we love to see on metal frame glasses, such as the Ray-Bans in the picture above.

If metal shades aren’t your thing, then look for angular acetate frames. Combining a straight brow-line with a square lens is a look we particularly enjoy.

Bolder Colors

Thierry Lasry

We love tortoiseshell glasses here at The Boardwalk, but we can’t help feel that sometimes they feel a little… dated. And not necessarily in the retro way we want them to. A trend that is going some way towards fixing this is sunglasses with block colors.

The color injection can come in a variety of ways. Choosing a frame with an eye-catching color is one way. Adding small blocks of colors to traditional frames is another way to get in on this trend. Perhaps the biggest statements can be made by two-tone frames.

Thiery Lasry does colored classes particularly well. The brand has a relatively limited number of shapes but each one comes in a large variety of colors. Check them out here.

Tinted Lenses


Related to the above point are glasses with colored lenses. We’ve seen a ton of great looking pairs with seventies-inspired yellow tint lenses. However, this isn’t the only way you can do this.

While retro colors go well with retro frames, more out-there colors go better with modern sporty styles. Check out the Balangciaga glasses at this link (pictured above) for inspiration for how using colored lenses can really help you stand out.

All Black

Saint Laurent

Can black glasses really count as a 2020 sunglasses trend? I’m not 100% sure. But, if you don’t like the sound of block colors or tinted lenses then your best option this year could be to go all out and avoid color completely. Extra points for combining a black frame with the darkest lenses you can find. Saint Laurent (pictured) does an excellent line of all black sunglasses you can check out here.

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Duncan Elder

Duncan is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Boardwalk. He's a menswear writer who has spent the last 15 years developing his own sense of style, which lies at the cross-section of mid-noughties indie and Uniqlo-inspired minimalism.

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