Sunglasses are an essential part of your holiday wardrobe and they’ve always been the hottest, (or perhaps that should be coolest), accessory. But, there’s more to consider when looking for the best sunglasses than might first meet they eye. It’s easy to pick up an inexpensive yet stylish pair from a market or high street fashion shop. But as an optometrist, I cannot place enough importance on the quality of lenses and the protection they should offer. Sunglasses should meet certain standards for UV protection, visible light protection and impact resistance. Don’t confuse the depth (darkness) of the tint with its ability to filter out the harmful rays. Look for a CE mark on the lenses (or ask your optometrist or dispensing optician). This ensures that the sunglasses are compliant with British Standards. (BS EN 1836:2005 if you’re interested!).
Once you know that, the fun of trying them on can begin.
How To Choose Sunglasses According To Face Shape
It’s useful, but not essential, to determine the face shape. This by no means an exact science, so this is a just very general guide. There are six categories, but often, one face will share characteristics from one or more. Because of this, it’s worth trying several different styles to see which looks, fits and feels better.
Best Sunglasses For An Oval Face
Oval faces have slightly wider cheekbones and gentle narrowing at the forehead and jaw. Features are usually even and symmetrical. Almost all frame styles suit so be brave and make a statement with style and colour.
Best Sunglasses For A Round Face
Round faces have soft angles and noticeable curves. The cheekbones are slightly wider with an equally wide forehead and jaw. Choose a bold, angular frame. The lower rim should sit just above the cheekbones.
Best Sunglasses For A Square Face
Square faces are generally the same length and width across the cheekbones, forehead and jaw. Choose a frame with rounded or oval lenses if you want to soften the angles and ensure the frame is wider than the cheekbones.
Best Sunglasses for A Heart-Shaped Face
Heart-shaped faces are widest at the temple and narrowest at the chin. Sunglasses with detail on the lower portion are very flattering because they draw attention downwards. This gives the illusion of a longer face. The frame should be slightly wider than the forehead for balance.
Best Sunglasses For A Triangular Face
Triangular faces are widest at the jawline with a gradual narrowing across the forehead. (The opposite to a heart-shaped face). In this case, spectacle frames or sunglasses with detail on the upper part of the frame draw the eye upwards. A frame that is wider than the forehead will balance out the jaw too. Cat-eye frames work beautifully.
Best Sunglasses For An Oblong/Long Face
Oblong, rectangular or long faces are narrow across the forehead and cheekbones. Choose over-sized styles with a thick frame.
How To Choose Sunglasses According To Holiday
Best Sunglasses For A City Break
Berlin or Buenas Aires, New York or Milan, a city break can be a super-stylish affair, so think high fashion and cutting-edge design. Be like Jackie O and make a statement with oversized styles and a more is more attitude. Rimless angular styles and those with glitter ooze glamour and the trend for coloured lenses continues. Make sure your coolest accessory impresses in every boutique, gallery and restaurant.
Best Sunglasses For Adventure Holidays
Function is key, but you can be a winner in the style stakes too. For water-sports enthusiasts, polarized lenses are an excellent choice. They cut out up to 98% of reflected light, reduce glare and improve visibility of hazards and others in the water. A grey tint gives the best colour-perception, a hydrophobic coating sheds the seaspray and floatable frames will sit pretty on the surface until they can be retrieved.
Cyclists and climbers should choose wraparound styles which fit snugly around facial contours to keep wind and spray at bay. The closer the fit and the wider the wraparound, the less peripheral vision will be impeded by the frame.
For every sport, frames must be hard-wearing, lightweight and impact resistant. Comfort grip nose fittings will prevent them slipping down and a head-strap will ensure that sunglasses are held securely in place in every weather condition.
Best Sunglasses For The Beach
Retro glamour translates well to beach holidays, so choose cat-eyes if a nod to nostalgia floats your boat. Opt for maximum protection with over-sized frames and ensure the fit remains snug on sun-oiled noses. Plastics and acetates stay cooler to the touch than metals and plainer designs bode better than textured. Crystals and embellishment, by virtue of their sand-attracting properties, are perhaps best avoided.
My face has characteristics from two face shapes. The cheekbones are slightly wider than the rest of my face and I have slight narrowing at the forehead, (hidden by my fringe!) This fits into the description of an oval face. However, my chin is noticeably narrower than the rest of my face- I have quite a prominent jawline/chin. This fits into the description for a heart-shaped face. To balance this, I chose a frame that is very slightly wider than my forehead.
I’m going on a beach holiday so I took my own advice and chose a simple, lightweight, unembellished frame made of titanium. It’s from STEPPER and is the SI-30120 in navy. with grey lenses. I love the matte finish and the contrasting trim across the top of the frames.
Choose the right sunglasses for your face shape and your type of holiday and you’re guaranteed to shine! And if you fancy some bright frames for your prescription glasses, this is my guide to choosing coloured frames.