When it comes to sunglasses, few brands have so consistently been coveted by those in the know as Persol, one of the most iconic you can buy. The Persol 714s were the go-to shades of the king of cool himself, Steve McQueen, who rode motorcycles like he was born on two wheels and in his spare time learned to fly a World War II-era biplane.
The brand is based in Turin, Italy, and every frame is made by hand. Its founder, Giuseppe Ratti, was an optician in his family firm, and upon hearing World War I pilots complain about the glare that they dealt with while flying missions, worked to create smoked lenses that would minimize glare. And so the brand’s first style, called the Protector, was born.
Persol has remained at the top of its game for decades. Need proof? Stream the original Thomas Crown Affair, hailed by many as the most stylish film ever made. It starred McQueen, who wore the 714s in the film; you’ll know them by their brown acetate frames and light blue lenses.
Persol’s 714s are pricey, but lots of other sunglasses are now 50 percent off. They’re pretty much the pinnacle of understated cool, and now are marked down just in time for summer.
Normally $395, these sunglasses have acetate frames, slim construction, and a laid-back vibe.
Regularly $260, these have the signature Persol keyhole bridge and a minimalist look.
These tortoiseshell shades ooze class, with an understated shape and few flourishes beyond the brand's signature arrow (which can be monogrammed). They're marked down from $367.
Classic metal shades with gold frames, these are a full 50 percent off. A quasi-aviator frame, without the preciousness.
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