In the fifties they were for squares. In the eighties, punks. And most recently they've been the domain of the skinny-jeaned. But these days you don't need a subculture membership card to get away with thick frames. Though a proclivity to drop Gore Vidal's name into casual conversation helps, all that's really required is commitment. If you have what it takes to own the look, these bookish beauties can give your face a big lift.

1. To pull off Clark Kents, it helps to have Superman bone structure. (Tiny eyes and high cheekbones tend to get lost behind heavier glasses.) The stronger the features the better, but even if you don't have a chiseled jaw, these frames bring plus-size noses and expansive foreheads into proportion.

2. They used to come exclusively in black, precluding anyone without dark hair from wearing them. Today's blonde and brown frames allow guys with fairer complexions to bulk up too.

3. Thick specs can tame a protruding brow line. Just make sure the top of the frame sits squarely on your brows—not above them.