50 Shades Of Shades
While the diligent among us won’t stored their sunglasses away for the autumn/winter season (UV is year-round, remember?), shades are an indisputable essential for the coming months, unless of course you’re fine with permanently squinting.
But which to choose? The range of frames available these days is dizzyingly diverse, and that’s before you factor in variables like face shape, sun protection and budget.
Sunglasses are not just a style statement – they can attract or repel, be a mirror or a shield. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the perfect pair of sunglasses aptly deserves to be called ‘shades’. With this guide, you can let just the right amount of light in.
Before you even consider style and colour, it’s essential to identify the frames that complement your face shape best.
Oval Face Shape
Those with oval faces will always be lucky in life, since pretty much every haircut or pair of shades will look good on them.
Aviators, Clubmasters or Wayfarers; heavy rims or none – anything goes. The only advice for oval face shapes is to refrain from novelty oversized frames, as they do no one any favours.
Round Face Shape
Those with an undefined jaw and roughly equal face width and length should avoid classic aviators, as the curved shape will only emphasise roundedness.
“If you’re round-faced, aviators will never work,” says Christopher Maul, stylist and fashion director of D’SCENE. “Instead, opt for frames that pack an angular punch or wrap around the face.”
Short rectangular designs and Wayfarers will offset this shape’s natural curvature, helping create definition while also making the face appear longer.
Square Face Shape
Square-faced men with prominent jaws and foreheads will benefit from a little softening up.
“Square faces need some curve appeal, so aviators are your best bet,” says Maul. Along with aviators, round John Lennon-style frames or semi-rimless options will a make a pleasing contrast to all those strong lines.
Long Face Shape
According to Maul: “Those with a long face should look to oversized frames – particularly Wayfarers or shields – which will add width and create a sense of balance.”
For some, shield sunglasses have the faint whiff of the ski holiday about them, so keep these for strictly off-duty wear. Meanwhile, the trusty Wayfarer can be relied on as an easy work-to-play staple.
Heart Face Shape
Heart shapes have to battle with wide foreheads and narrow chins, a contrast that can be difficult to frame correctly.
“Consider something like semi-rimless Clubmasters,” says Maul – a style that, like a heart-shaped face, has a sense of contrast to it.
Round frames can also add balance to this shape if rimless is just not an option – look to fellow heart shape Johnny Depp for inspiration.
Tips & Advice
Once you’ve accurately assessed your face shape and found a frame to match, it’s time to explore the other points of difference that come into play when finding the perfect pair of sunnies.
“Colour says a lot about a man. Unless you’re Joey Essex or a teenager at a rave, steer clear of anything harshly fluorescent,” explains Maul. Instead, stick to more muted hues – “Burgundy, emerald and caramel are a man’s best friends both at work and play.”
Remember that black isn’t necessarily a perfect match for every skin type. “Black frames mean business but can sometimes overpower a paler complexion. For a fail-safe alternative that doesn’t scrimp on class, try tortoiseshell or a dark woodgrain finish,” says Maul.
Colour isn’t just for frames either – it’s also worth livening up your lenses. Rose-tinted lenses are a classic that will add softness to a minimal sports luxe outfit, while champagne lenses can bring a sense of sophistication to tailored attire. Just don’t go matching your lenses to your shirt or pocket square – this often looks contrived and screams over-considered.
Trend-Led Or Timeless Classic?
If you’re torn about whether to go for a classic pair or something more of the moment, cover your bases with something from both sides. Don’t forget that eyewear trends, like others, are fleeting. “The goggles of the 1980s illustrate this beautifully,” says Maul.
“It’s OK to embrace a thicker and fuller frame that’s on-trend, but you should be prepared to look back in ten years’ time with a cringe.”
If you’re investing in something that’s more current than classic, then it’s also worth shelling out for a more wearable pair that’ll not only work now for more buttoned-up environments and events, but also won’t date as quickly. Think timeless silhouettes – aviators, wayfarers, clubmasters, etc. – in black, tortoiseshell or woodgrain finishes.
Key Style: Aviator
For 1970s LA cool, Oliver Peoples and Tom Ford have the duopoly on aviators with tinted lenses and clean-lined wire frames. When it comes to thicker-framed options, however, Ford comes out on top.
Try them in tortoiseshell if you want a good all-rounder. For more affordable options, check out Ray-Ban and Jeepers Peepers.
Will Suit: Oval and square face shapes.
Key Brands: Oliver Peoples, Tom Ford, Ray-Ban, Jeepers Peepers, Reclaimed Vintage, Persol, Cutler and Gross, Eyevan, Acne Studios.
- Ray-ban Aviator Sunglasses
- Persol Aviator Keyhole Sunglasses
- He By Mango Folding Aviator Sunglasses
- Reclaimed Vintage Aviator Sunglasses
- Jeepers Peepers Aviator Sunglasses
- Ray-ban Aviator Light Ray Sunglasses
- Oliver Peoples Amanda Hearst Charter
- Tom Ford Jared Brown 50k
- Tom Ford Sunglasses 0tr000571
- Tom Ford Sunglasses 0tr000572
- Cutler And Gross Leather-trimmed Acetate Aviator Sunglasses
- Eyevan 7285 Tortoiseshell Aviator Sunglasses
Key Style: Wayfarers
The original thick-framed Wayfarers should – strictly speaking – be bought from only one brand: Ray-Ban. Its wayfarers come in two different sizes (regular or oversized), so it’s wise to try before you buy in order to secure the perfect fit.
Oakley also has an admirable selection of Wayfarer styles; its Frogskins range in particular includes an impressive array of reflective lenses that give this timeless silhouette a contemporary twist.
Will Suit: Oval, long and round face shapes.
Key Brands: Ray-Ban, Oakley, Jeepers Peepers, Oliver Spencer, Thom Browne, Reclaimed Vintage, Urban Outfitters.
- Ray-ban New Wayfarer Sunglasses
- Ray-ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
- Ray-ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
- Jeepers Peepers Wayfarer Sunglasses
- Vans Foldable Wayfarer Sunglasses In Blue
- Buddy Wayfarer Sunglasses In Matte Tortoiseshell
- Oakley Frogskins Dark Grey Oo9013-32
- Oakley Frogskins Black Ink Oo9013-09 Polarised
- Cutler And Gross D-frame Matte Acetate Sunglasses
- Oliver Spencer Bert Square-frame Sunglasses
- Thom Browne Square-frame Tortoiseshell Acetate Sunglasses
- Our Legacy Faith Tortoiseshell Acetate Sunglasses
Key Style: Clubmasters
Being frank, Ray-Ban comes out on top again here – its half Wayfarer, half rimless tortoiseshell Clubmasters are a vintage classic just waiting to be made iconic.
There are other brands worth exploring though, with Berlin-based Mykita and Californian label Garrett Leight both being good places to start.
For those with square face shapes, Clubmasters that are less top-heavy will work best; a thick bar around the eyebrows will only emphasise a larger jaw.
Will Suit: Oval, heart, round and square face shapes.
Key Brands: Ray-Ban, Mykita, Garrett Leight, Spitfire, Jeepers Peepers, Saint Laurent, Han Kjobenhavn, Persol, Illesteva.
- Reclaimed Vintage Clubmaster Sunglasses
- Ray-ban Clubmaster Polarised Sunglasses
- Persol Clubmaster Sunglasses
- Jeepers Peepers Clubmaster Sunglasses
- Clubmaster Sunglasses In Black
- Spitfire Clubmaster Sunglasses
- Garrett Leight California Optical Washington Sunglasses
- Saint Laurent Sl83 Acetate And Metal Sunglasses
- Ray-ban Clubmaster Aluminium Sunglasses
- Illesteva Corsica Acetate And Metal Sunglasses
- Paul Smith Acetate And Metal Sunglasses
- Mykita Zach
Key Style: Round Frames
Boutique opticians Moscot supply Johnny Depp with his round frames, and with good reason – they’re the near perfect pair of heavy-rimmed shades.
The company’s semi-transparent, acetate Glick model is a favourite and comes in a variety of colours, from black and tortoiseshell to red, green and blue.
Will Suit: Oval, square and heart face shapes.
Key Brands: Moscot, Ray-Ban, Mykita, Cheap Monday, Urban Outfitters, Eyevan, Spitfire, Cutler and Gross, Garrett Leight, Oliver Spencer.
Round Frames Lookbook
- Spitfire Round Sunglasses
- Ray-ban Round Sunglasses
- Reclaimed Vintage Round Sunglasses
- Fade Round Sunglasses In Matte Black
- Round Metal Bridge Sunglasses In Orange Tortoiseshell
- Cheap Monday Circle Sunglasses In Tortoiseshell
- Mykita Crosby Round-frame Sunglasses
- Eyevan 7285 Round-frame Metal Sunglasses
- Cutler And Gross Round-frame Acetate Sunglasses
- Moscot Clear Glick Acetate Sunglasses
- Moscot Clear Glick Acetate Sunglasses
- Oliver Spencer Brown Sid Round Sunglasses
Bearing this advice in mind, it should be that little bit easier to filter through the myriad of options available on the market and find the shades that suit you. Then all you need to do is wait for the sun to make an appearance.
Which styles will you be opting for this summer? And which eyewear brands do you recommend?
Comment below to let us know.