Carrera Sunglasses for Men

Carrera Sunglasses for Men

When I was approached by Carrera to take a  look at their eyewear and write a sponsored post, I felt inclined to do so because of the fond memories I had of the name: as a child growing up in Germany I played with Carrera slot racing cars, Porsche created the iconic Carrera car and my father had a pair of Carrera sunglasses. The one thing all of them have in common is their namesake, the famous car race Carrera Panamerica.

Carrera Porsche Design in Green unfolded

Carrera Porsche Design in Green unfolded

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Carrera sunglasses, outline the brand’s history and share a new style.

Carrera Porsche Design Foldable Sunglasses

Carrera Porsche Design Foldable Sunglasses

History of Carerra

It all began in 1948, when Wilhelm Anger founded the Wilhelm Anger Werker company that specialized in the manufacturing of plastic glasses. At the time, plastic sunglasses were in their infancy and Anger was a pioneer in that sector. Why exactly the Austrian founder Anger chose to name his brand Carrera in 1956 is uncertain, however I suspect his admiration for the race car drivers of this legendary 1950 – 1954 race in combination with a desire to create eyewear specifically for sports may have had something to do with it.

Wilhelm Anger

Wilhelm Anger

In 1964, in a further pioneering step, Anger patented Optyl®, a new form of resin which was hypoallergenic, extremely durable, and 20% lighter than all other plastics used in the sunglasses industry. The resin provided permanent elasticity and dimensional stability, meaning it would adapt to the wearer’s face with a “memory effect”. Most people do not know the impact this material had on the industry but to this day, 90% of all high end sunglasses are manufactured with Optyl. Being so close to the Alps, Carrera produced innovative ski goggles and helmets at first. At the same time, the Austrian Udo Proksch designed VIENNALINE sunglasses as well as the premium Serge Kirchofer line until 1976. In 1966, the company expanded into the licensing business and began manufacturing sunglasses for fashion brands. In fact, the first fashion sunglasses by Dior in 1966 were made by Carrera.

Vintage 1980's Carrers

Vintage 1980’s Carrera

In, 1977, Carrera International moved their headquarters to Traun in Austria and a new line of sports sunglasses was introduced that turned out be a huge success for the company. Just two years later, a collaboration with Porsche was announced and so Ferdinand Alexander Porsche designed the Carrera Porsche Design Collection, which had two hallmarks: interchangeable lenses and foldable models that allowed for easy and compact storage. Today, original pieces from the Porsche collection yield prices north of $500. In the early eighties, Carrera expanded into the subscription market and entered collaborations with Boeing in 1986, the America’s Cup, and made appearances at the Olympics in Montreal and at famous bike races. At the same time, they introduced the sunjet collection, which turned out to be rather popular. In the nineties, the brand expanded into bicycle helmets and eyewear before the company was sold to the world’s largest manufacturer of sunglasses: Safilo Group

Carrera Sunjet from the late Eighties

Carrera Sunjet from the late Eighties

In the following years, the manufacturing plant in Traun, Austria continued to produce premium Optyl sunglasses for brands such as Dunhill, Dior and Playboy. However, in 2004 the Italian Safilo Group decided to move production abroad, which led to the closure of the plant in Austria.

Carrera 5003 in Gray

Carrera 5003 in Gray

Carrera 5003

Today, Carrera continues to reissue famous styles, such as the Carrera 6000, 6008 or Champion. At the same time they keep launching new models and styles, such as the 5003, which is not entirely new but is inspired by the sunjet collection of the late eighties.

Front Side View

Front Side View

Personally, my head is far from small, and hence regular off the peg sunglasses often look comically undersized. The temples have a tendency to bend slightly outwards and apart from that disadvantage, they also push uncomfortably on my head.

This is not the case with the Carrera 5003 sunglasses; the frame is naturally wider and they fit my head very well. They are all made of plastic in China. When I took them out of the bag the first time I thought they were almost too lightweight but frankly, sunglasses can never be too light. At less than an ounce, these glasses are so comfortable to wear because I don’t feel them. Upon closer inspection I came to appreciate the subtle two-tone matte and shiny design. Now, generally we all have a tendency to consider heavy goods to be of higher quality. For example, when we touch a solid metal frame we associate workmanship and solidity with it.  Just think of the old cameras made by Leica or Nikon. They are all metal, built to last and they feel like a tank. However, in everyday life, you quickly realize they are too heavy. Sure, past generations used them day in day out, but why burden yourself if you don’t have to? Science has come a long way and light materials are not always less sturdy. In fact houses that are glued together with special adhesives outperform and outlast traditional screws and nails. So, the same is true for sunglasses – lightweight can be just as stable and more comfortable to wear. I find this feature particularly beneficial when I travel, as I may be wearing my sunglasses all day.

Carrera Temple Design

Carrera Temple Design

In regard to style, these sunglasses are great because the squarish look is different from anything I own. Also, the mix of two tone color and texture appeals because it is different than most sunglasses, yet subtle. We have all seen the squeaky red or light blue sunglasses and while they are fine for a colorful outfit, you won’t get a lot of wear out of them. A subtle model in black, grey, navy, dark green or tortoise shell with a twist like two tones, different textures or special glasses can make all the difference. Interestingly, the textured finish of the temples provides a good grip of the sunglasses on your making them well suited for all kinds of activity such as running and especially biking, because not only will they stay on your head but also keep the bugs and flying objects out of your eyes.

Side View

Side View

Optically, I can’t find any flaws. There is no distortion but that’s usually only something found with inferior sunglasses. At the same time, I can tell the lenses are not polarized.

Outfits

Fresco 6x2 DB Jacket with Pocket Square & Boutonniere

Fresco 6×2 DB Jacket with Pocket Square & Boutonniere

Sunglasses are just like other accessories – you have to match them so they blend with the ensemble and maintain their character. I am really enamored with this fresco jacket because it has such a wonderful color. Since it is half lined, it breathes really well and here I combined it with a yellow and charcoal striped summer shirt, black silk knit tie, pastel yellow cotton pocket square and cornflower boutonniere. As mentioned in another post, it is perfectly adequate to mix pocket square and boutonniere as long as the flower is small and the square isn’t too dramatic. What do you think of the look?

Carrera with Fresco, Boutonniere & Knit Tie

Carrera with Fresco, Boutonniere & Knit Tie

At the moment, you see a lot of dapper gents with their sunglasses in their chest pockets, a multitude of wristbands, a colorful pocket square AND a scarf… it just looks too overloaded. So if I wanted to wear my sunglasses in the chest pocket, I would remove the pocket square because otherwise the outfit would be heavily imbalanced between left and right.

Sunglasses without pocket square in chest pocket

Sunglasses without pocket square in chest pocket

On the other hand, without a boutonniere, it is perfectly fine to put the sunglasses in your chest pocket when you don’t use them. Generally, I prefer to put them behind the square so you don’t see it but you could also wear it as seen below.

Sunglasses in pocket with pocket square

Sunglasses in pocket with pocket square

This casual summer outfit consists of a light blue linen/cotton blazer, white summer shirt, madder bow tie, wool challis pocket square with navy white polka dots with a blue Carrera 5003.

Carrera 5003 in light blue linen cotton sportscoat with madder bowtie & wool Challis pocket square

Carrera 5003 in light blue linen cotton sport coat with madder bowtie & wool Challis pocket square

What do you think of the sunglasses? Would you wear them?

www.carreraworld.com & http://www.solsticesunglasses.com/

16 replies
  1. Mike
    Mike says:

    Sorry to say Sven, but these shades are far away from being elegant.

    In a strange way, they make you look vulgar. And you truly don’t deserve this!

    Not a good choice if you want my opinion…

  2. Sven Raphael Schneider
    Sven Raphael Schneider says:

    HI Mike,
    Thanks for sharing your honest opinion, it is always appreciated. I have a lot of classic sunglasses, and so I don’t mind a bit of change but of course I don’t want to look vulgar ;).

  3. Arsch Sharma
    Arsch Sharma says:

    In my opinion these sunglasses do not belong to the realm of style, I would rather call them fashionable. There’s nothing very wrong with the design of the frame, but honestly, I doubt whether they’ll still be wearable after, say, ten years from now. I actually liked the look of these glasses at first, but then I thought that when investing in a piece of eye wear, one must adhere to more classic and conservative options.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider
      Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      I think it depends on how many sunglasses you already have. In the long run, classic styles will prevail but if you already have 5 or 6 pairs of them, I don’t see the point of getting yet another one of the same in black if you already own the tortoise version.

  4. Caroline
    Caroline says:

    Hi Sven, I disagree wholeheartedly with the previous posters’ commentary. Sunglasses are an important accessory, demonstrative of one’s style and fashion sense. You, sir, look fabulous in these shades — especially paired with the pocket square and boutonniere! I look to the latest Vogue with Kate Upton sporting her similarly timeless black Ray Bans and know that you’re right on target matching your unique style with awesome summer accessories! :)

  5. Daniel Wilton
    Daniel Wilton says:

    Hello Mr. Schneider!

    I enjoy reading your vastly educating and entertaining articles!

    Although the glasses do not look completely conservative, they add a touch of modernity to the otherwise completely retro look, and I believe the gentlemen of the preceding decades and century would have in fact strived to create a modern look. To be more precise, you create the picture of being a member of the gentry; who unlike those of the nobility, have a vision of the future.

    You look the perfect gentleman, and I would love to meet you some day; I believe we would have lots in common to talk about.

    Although the people around me embrace my passion for style, they do not completely understand my appreciation (they call it obsession) of the finer points of style, such as how long the trousers should be (I like quite a bit of socks showing when I sit down), width of lapels, etc.

    It is comforting to realise that there are gentlemen who acknowledge and appreciate such subtle points of detail.

    I am an ever loyal attendee of your posts,

    With deepest respects,

    Daniel Wilton

  6. Next Luxury
    Next Luxury says:

    Wow a ton of info on Carrera on here, was a treat to read! I’ve been avid fan of them for awhile now, so the history part kind of took be back a bit. But Sven I have to say though the blue suit is what caught my eye first, very nice choice paring it with the striped blue dress shirt underneath. But back to the sunglasses, I think the 5003’s look great on you man. Fits your face well, you should for sure wore them often! Thanks, Brian

  7. Ahmed Sajeel
    Ahmed Sajeel says:

    What we tend to forget quite easily and – in these times of ’30’s nostalgia – very regularly; is that all what is classic now, was once new and modern. This style of sunglasses in fact is not radically new and borrows a lot from the eyewear popular in the ’80’s.

    I personally have a strong affinity for Persol, for their comfort as well as illustrious heritage. In fact the folding sunglasses were an iconic piece of work by Persol Model 714S in the ’60’s immortalized by Steve McQueen. Though I have about 7-8 pairs of eyeglasses as well as sunglasses, I am so satisfied that I cannot find reason to look elsewhere,

    Most importantly, to say that your overall look is dashing, would be an understatement of immense proportions !!!

  8. Ahmed Sajeel
    Ahmed Sajeel says:

    Oh and because I wear eyeglasses, I tend to keep my sunglasses in the jacket’s inner breast pocket, as I entirely disagree with the Pitti Uomo inspired / infested accessories overload.

  9. T.H. Mekkes
    T.H. Mekkes says:

    Nice to see a picture of Mr.W. Anger. I worked for his companie and i am verry curious if every
    thing is alrayt with Mr.Anger.

  10. JC
    JC says:

    I think these glasses are as the British say, “spot on” for you. They wouldn’t be right in a more formal situation, buy you already know that. After reading the article, I dug out my black Armani shades and cleaned them up to wear again.

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