Photographed by Stephen Mark Sullivan

ROBERTO CAVALLI 5041 from Marcolin
Metal frames are like the significant other your parents hope you’ll choose— professional, practical and not too wild. Unfussy and reliable, with very few issues, they wait on the sidelines while oversized, brightly colored zyls get all the attention. Yet so many customers (especially men), even after flirting with trendier looks, settle down with a solid pair of wire frames, and now a younger generation is discovering the material’s minimalistic coolness. Optical frames have adapted the navigator and aviator shapes from sunwear, and retro shapes are being reinterpreted. And the property that makes metal so unique—its shine—is being amplified in thicker, reflective frames. These new styles make metal a fashionable choice as well as a smart one.

–Iris Johnson