The perfect pair of sunglasses can totally rock your summer. It’s the one accessory that instantly communicates style, mystery and even a great sense of humour or a certain seriousness.
Take, for example, one of Lindsay Lohan’s favourite styles -- an elegant modernised cat eye (Dior’s Bagatelle) that suggests Catherine Deneuve respectability rather than Paris Hilton frivolity.
Effective as they are as a fashion statement and mood booster, designer shades can also make a major dent in your budget, with high-quality lenses running $200 and up. So it makes sense to choose this season’s pair with an eye, so to speak, on fresh new shapes, great frame colours and lens tints -- and most important of all, the silhouette that flatters your features and channels your personality. To find that elusive pair, you’ll need an open mind, the stamina to try on at least a dozen pairs, and a sunny afternoon.
Choose the Shape That’s Right for Your Face
There’s no hard-and-fast rule for choosing frames for face shapes, but the experts suggest these guidelines for finding a flattering pair.
For round faces:
Metal frames with adjustable nose pads will keep lenses from resting on fuller cheeks, says Eden Wexler, who has the title “Celebrity Shades Consultant” for Solstice Sunglass Boutiques. Excessively round or square styles will exaggerate facial roundness, she adds.
For square faces:
Avoid frames that are flat on the bottom, as this will mirror the face shape. Instead, suggests Wexler, “look for a frame that has some curve or uplift -- that’ll draw attention away from the jawline.”
For narrow faces:
Choose a frame shape that’s rounded or curved to add a touch of width to your face.
For every face:
In general, frames should be wider than the widest part of the face. When trying on sunglasses, do the “smile test.” “If the glasses rise up off your nose bridge when you smile, they’re not for you,” says Wexler. Eliminate pairs that press against your brows, touch your eyelashes, or squeeze your temples or your nose bridge.
Build a Sunglass Wardrobe
“Think of your sunglasses as you do your earrings,” says David Gonzales, owner of Fred Segal Eyes, in California, who’s known in Hollywood circles as the “Sunglass Whisperer” for his savvy ability to match faces with the right frames. “They’re like hoops and studs. You wear different things for different situations.”
To that end, he suggests at least two pairs: an updated aviator for sporty outings, and frames with a classic Jackie O vibe for dressier affairs. Beyond that -- if it’s in your budget -- the boutique owner recommends picking up a pair that’s just for fun.
“Experiment with colour,” suggests Gonzales. “Try a champagne frame with a bottle-green lens or a soft-gold frame with a plum lens.”
Frames studded with crystals, shields (glasses with one continuous lens instead of two separate ones), big splashy logos and super-oversized styles. “In general, ostentation is out,” says Solstice’s Wexler, a point that Gonzales echoes. “My celebrity customers now look for subtle details that suggest personal style,” he says.