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Spectacles, more than any article of clothing, can define you. Would Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier be as immediately recognisable without his Bakelite owl eyes? Would US President Theodore Roosevelt be rough-riding "TR" without his pince-nez glasses?

Because they are worn on the face, and every day, it makes sense to invest in a pair that you truly love, and that speaks of your individual taste and style. If you're a classic kind of guy that might mean round 1930s-inspired frames (known as panto style), perhaps in tortoiseshell; if your taste is more 1960s inspired it might mean a thick, black pair of frames; and if your vision is uncompromisingly modern it might mean a translucent acetate pair.

Whichever style a man favours he should remember that something sitting on the face should harmonise with both his features and his colouring. This means that the size of the frames needs to be in proportion to the size of the head, for reasons of visual balance, and of comfort, and the colours need to work. The combination of colours is entirely subjective, but it's unarguable that the stronger the colour contrast (and the thickness of the frame) the more conspicuous the frames and the bigger the statement. Messrs Aristotle Onassis (heavy frames) and Sven-Göran Eriksson (rimless) represent the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the visual impact of their frames, while the high contrast between Sir Michael Caine's pale skin, and the dark, oversized frames he wore in The Ipcress File, is also informative. To see how eight men have used glasses to express themselves, click through the slides, above.

Words by Mr Mansel Fletcher, Features Editor, MR PORTER