How to Wear Sunglasses
Sunglasses are cool. This is indisputable. Just think of the iconic sunglasses worn in classic movies.
Susan Sarandon in Thelma & Louise.
Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2.
Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
But the coolness of sunglasses isn’t so much about the person wearing them as it is about finding the right sunglasses and wearing them appropriately. This is harder than it might sound.
Why? Because our faces are all different shapes, and it can be challenging to find the right sunglasses for the right shapes. And also because, for whatever reason, there’s a lack of sunglass etiquette in the world — and we’ve all picked up some bad habits.
So, here’s a look at how to wear sunglasses, both finding pairs that fit your face and wearing them at the right times.
Women: Find the Right Pair for Your Face Shape
Here’s a look at four different kinds of faces, as well as the types of sunglasses that work best for each. As always, keep the rule of opposites in mind as you shop. To prime the ideas pump, I’ve recommended some different products for each face type. Here goes …
Tons of actresses have square faces, because square faces (for whatever reason) look spectacular on camera. Who’s a good example? Olivia Wilde comes to mind. She’s a beautiful woman whose face features sharp angles across the brow and through the jawline.
Square-faced woman are indeed beautiful, but they can benefit from sunglasses that help soften their look. How can sunglasses do that? By adding the curves that are missing from the natural shape of the face.
If you have a square face, look for round or oval frames, and try cat-eye and semi-rimless models as well. Also, choosing neutral colors can also help soften a square face.
To help you get started, here’s a look at my favorite pairs of sunglasses for women with square faces …
1. Super Sunglasses Women’s Lucia Surface Sunglasses — Best for Square Faces!
The semi-rimless look can be a good fit for women with square faces. And this pair of Lucia Surface Sunglasses offers a rimless style that’s a perfect fit for square faces. If you look at the marketing photo that includes a model, the model they chose for the shoot has a beautifully square face — and the photo gives you a perfect idea of what these glasses are going to look like when worn.
The Lucia Surface Sunglasses combine all the little characteristics that make a pair of sunglasses work for square faces: the cat eyes, the rounded lenses, the light colors. This is the total solution for square faces, which is what makes it our top choice.
I love that the Sabre Vacation Round Sunglasses are round without being too round. If you are searching for sunglasses that look great for a square face, this pair is a great option that isn’t too dramatic. Available in three different colors, I love the summery ivory frame/bronze lens model that’s pictured here. Fair warning: These are non-polarized, but they do offer full UV protection.
This pair of Fendi Women’s Round Sunglasses offers a more dramatic take on round lenses than the Sabre version above. I just adore the triangle detailing at the corners, as well as the lighter colors. This is a fun pair of sunglasses that is going to be ideal for square faces.
Ah, round faces. They have the natural softness that square faces lack, though they are no less attractive. Round faces often feature full cheeks, rounded chins or wider foreheads — or some combination thereof. When I think of well-known round faces, I think of the talented and gorgeous Felicity Jones.
When you’re searching for a pair of sunglasses to jive nicely with a round face, look for a pair that offers the missing angles and lines. You need some edge to complement your face’s natural contours.
Wayfarer sunglasses are perfect for this. They tend to be wide along the top, which has a slimming effect on wide foreheads. And they have just enough angle to balance the softness of a round face. In short, they make a round face seem thinner and longer.
Also, look for embellishment, prints and bright colors when searching for sunglasses for a round face. These features will also help balance the overall look. Thin or clear bridges can also help boost the power that angled glasses have on a round face.
To help you get started, here’s a look at some of my favorite sunglasses for women with round faces. (And, I should know what I’m talking about here especially, given that I am a round-faced woman …)
1. Electric Leadbelly Wayfarer Sunglasses — Best for Round Faces!
Have fun trying out different lens and frame color combinations when you choose the Electric Leadbelly Wayfarer Sunglasses. They are pictured here with matte honey frames and melanin grey lenses, but you can test out five different frame colors and two different lens colors. And this pair also offers the classic Wayfarer appearance that’s ideal for round faces.
I absolutely love the tint of the tortoise shell in this pair of Wayfarer Sunglasses from Saint Laurent. When you are blessed with a round face, these sunglasses deliver a beautiful print and the edges you need to balance out your contours. And, best of all, tortoise shell isn’t going out of style like some other prints might.
There’s a beautiful simplicity in these Tahira Wayfarer Sunglasses from Kate Spade. The color is black crystal, and the lenses are silver mirror. But more so than the colors, it’s the angles of this pair of sunglasses that lend themselves perfectly to round faces. This is a great pair to help you find balance, even though it doesn’t offer the prints and bright colors that also help with round faces.
Do you have an oval face? Consider yourself blessed when it comes to shopping for sunglasses. Because of the natural shape of your face, you can pull off nearly any look, which means you can choose the sunglasses you love — without worrying about how they complement your unique face.
Jessica Alba is the quintessential oval face. The typical oval face is balanced, featuring high cheekbones sandwiched between narrow chins and narrow foreheads. When you look in the mirror and see an oval face staring back, you are fortunate to have the ideal facial proportions.
So have some fun shopping for sunglasses. The only thing to avoid would be oversized frames, as they will distract from your natural proportions. If you’re looking for a place to start, though, try finding horizontally oriented rectangle frames that will further balance the length of your oval face.
Here’s my rundown of best sunglasses for women with oval faces …
1. Panda Monroe Bamboo Sunglasses — Top Pick Overall!
This is the end-all for me when it comes to sunglasses. I own a pair that I can get away with (as a round-faced woman) because they deliver just enough angles. But this is really the perfect pair for oval faces.
Why? Because these are well-balanced and horizontally oriented, which means they will perfectly divide a well-proportioned oval face. The bamboo-style frames are to die for, adding enough texture to intrigue without overwhelming the overall look — that is, you can wear them with anything. And they are also polarized, which means you get the very best in lens technology.
Choose from among two different frame colors, natural (which is pictured) and a darker brown. The price is right, too: You can get the Panda Monroe Bamboo Sunglasses for about half as much as you’ll pay for other options.
The Jacques Marie Mage Molino Smoke Sunglasses are absolutely beautiful and picture-perfect for oval faces. They are a bit louder than the top pick above, but some women want glasses that are a little louder. The blend of translucency, pattern and smoke lenses is really smooth. You can’t go wrong with choosing this pair.
Are you interested in playing it more down the middle? There’s something classic and right about these Gucci 1027 Sunglasses. They offer the horizontal balance that an oval face needs, and they also deliver a remarkable elegant and simple style that is head-turning for just how unadorned it is. If you like things buttoned-up and beautiful, snag a pair of these from Gucci.
Think of heart-shaped faces like upside-down triangles. That sounds harsh and impersonal, but heart-shaped faces are attractive and intriguing — Reese Witherspoon being just one great example.
What are the signs of a heart-shaped face? The browline is broad, and then it tapers down to a narrow chin. Individuals with heart-shaped faces often enjoy high cheekbones, too.
But what about sunglasses for heart-shaped faces? Start by looking for clubmaster styles, which have a retro appearance and frames that follow the strong browline of a heart-shaped face. The strong browline of clubmaster glasses helps to send attention downward on your face, which evens out your proportions in a flattering fashion. Tortoise frames also work perfectly on heart-shaped faces, as do light colors.
Here’s a look at my favorite sunglasses for women with heart-shape faces …
1. Persol Clubmaster Sunglasses Havana — Best for Heart Faces!
Something about these Persol Clubmasters caught my eye. Clubmaster is the quintessential 50s and 60s style of sunglasses, and I feel like this pair captures the spirit and aura of that era so well. The tortoise shell detailing along the brow is what sealed the deal for me.
This pair from Gucci is a lot like the pair in the Oval Face section. It is striking in its simplicity. This is a serious pair of sunglasses that offers serious style, too. I love the coloring, the shape, the gradient lenses, and I love how these sunglasses angle downward ever so slightly — which perfectly follows the shape of a heart face.
What’s more classic than a pair of Ray-Bans? These Women’s Highstreet Aviators are a nice fit for women with heart-shaped faces. Like some other pairs, you can mix and match the lens and frame colors to achieve the perfect look for your face and your personal style.
Attention, Women: Rules for Wearing Sunglasses
Now that you know what types of sunglasses will work for your shape of face, it’s time to address when and how to wear them. Here are six simple rules for wearing sunglasses. Follow them, and you’ll allows look fantastically cool and appropriate when wearing shades:
- Only Outdoors: Let’s start with the simple one: Don’t wear your sunglasses inside. This is obvious, right? Well, not to everyone. I often see both men and women wearing sunglasses indoors, and I often wonder why they’re doing. Unless your name is Jack Nicholson, don’t try this.
- Only During Daytime: This one’s obvious, too, right? Sunglasses at night is a cool 80s song, but it’s not a good approach for wearing shades. When there’s not sun, there’s no need for sunglasses. We’ll leave it at that.
- Go for Quality: This post hasn’t really addressed the quality of sunglasses, but it’s important. Make sure you spend the money to get good sunglasses rather than opting for a pair of throwaways you find at a gas station. Quality sunglasses are going to be better at protecting your eyes, they’re going to last longer, and they’re going to look better.
- Not a Mirror: So, you have mirrored sunglasses, huh? Not a good excuse to use your sunglasses as an actual mirror. I prefer the approach of opening my iPhone camera, reversing its direction and looking at myself on screen. At least I can pretend I’m on FaceTime with someone.
- Not a Hairpiece: Sunglasses aren’t mirrors and they are hairpieces either. If you’re not wearing them, put them in a pocket or in your purse. They aren’t meant to pull your hair back.
- Take Care of Them: I recommend investing in good sunglasses, and I also recommend taking care of them. Keep them in a case, clean them regularly, don’t get them in chlorinated or saltwater, which can leave those nasty splotches on the lenses. A good pair of sunglasses will last for years and years if you’ll commit to taking care of them.
- Err on the Side of Caution: Are you wondering whether or not you should take off your sunglasses in a certain situation? If so, err on the side of caution and take them off. It’s never so bright that you can’t take off your shades in deference to a person or a situation.
Final Thoughts on How to Wear Sunglasses
I have a round face, and I can’t tell you how tempting it is to buy a pair of round sunglasses when I see options I like. But I know I can’t pull them off, and so I have to stuff that temptation and move on to more angled options.
But here’s the thing about sunglasses: There are SO many different models out there. You can absolutely find one that works for your face. Don’t make the mistake of investing in a nice pair of glasses that don’t fit your natural appearance just because you like the way they look on the rack. They won’t look nearly as good when you’re wearing them out and about.
Do you have a go-to pair of sunglasses for your face shape? If so, let us know in the comments section. Or, you can always use our contact page to get in touch with us directly.
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