One of the staples of the beach party movies of the ’60s was Eric von Zipper, an antagonist who was also a comic foil for being sartorially out of place among the surf crowd with his leather jacket, motorcycle boots and black sunglasses. The first two were absurd, but the latter is a look that many still try to pull off at the beach. Style hint: when at the shore, wear frames that match the sand in which you are frolicking—save those brooding dark shades for your mysterious nightlife persona.
A spectrum of frame colors complement the tawny beach, including tans, browns, rusts, yellows and reds. At the lighter end of the spectrum, they are often called Havanas. It’s unclear whether the name reflects the beaches of the Cuban capital or the color of the cigars made there. Their older siblings are tortoise-shell, or horn-rimmed, frames. They share the mottled complexion of Havanas, but are darker in color. They are so named because they were originally made from the carapace of turtle shells. Now that kinder heads prevail, they are made with acetate, the same durable, lightweight plastic used for Havanas.
Havanas also come in a variety of shapes. The Ray-Ban Nomad Legend Gold (at top, $183) has a Wayfarer frame, a classic style for seven decades. Persol’s Terra di Siena (at right, $261) shares the trapezoidal lenses of the Ray-Ban, but with a flat front and the signature Persol temple treatments. The Brioni frames (at left, $440) mirror the blue-tint lenses of the Persol’s, but are closer to an aviator’s teardrop shape. All are ready to soak up the sun.