Shockingly enough, the sole purpose of sunglasses is to protect your eyes from the sun. But while it’s tempting to settle on one pair and be done with it, your cycling goggles are simply not fit for an afternoon down the beer garden.
Because let’s face it, a poor choice of shades can scorch your look, as well as your retinas, wherever you are in the world. So, we spoke to the experts to shine some light on the shadiest sunglasses mistakes in the book (lest you ever rock wraparounds poolside again).
Your Sunglasses Don’t Match Your Style
If you boast a signature style that requires just one pair of shades, lucky you. But since most men’s 9-5 is far removed from weekend pursuits, several pairs are necessary to flit between the office and off-duty.
“Sunglasses are all about the way they make your face look, so find a pair that suits your face shape and your wardrobe,” says British designer Oliver Spencer. “They should sit just as well with your suit as they do with your swimming trunks, and everything in-between.”
That means keeping your aviators for the beach, your tortoiseshell wayfarers for the commute and your Oakleys for your next triathlon.
You’re Wearing Them Indoors
Sadly, rap music videos aren’t real life. So that rules out wearing sunglasses indoors (and dousing strippers in dollar bills).
“Unless you have a medical condition, a starring role in The Matrix or go by the name of Anna Wintour, you have no business wearing sunglasses indoors,” says Style.com’s senior menswear editor, Rob Nowill. “It’s wildly pretentious, and downright cheesy. What’s more, it’s bad manners to neglect eye contact with people you’re talking to.”
You’re Not Wearing Protection
In the summer months, half-naked bodies aren’t the only things you shouldn’t stare at. Locking eyes with the sun itself can seriously compromise your eyesight if you’re not wearing the right kind of shades.
“Many eye conditions are triggered by excessive exposure to sun rays, so it’s important to invest in quality protection,” says Omar Hassan, head of professional services at Vision Express. “Sunglasses with a UVA and UVB block will reduce the risk, so always be on the lookout for the CE, British Standard or UV 400 mark as this indicates adequate UV protection.”
You Assume A Particular Style Suits Your Face
Wide-leg trousers may be en vogue, but not all builds can pull them off. The same rule applies to those reflective round lens sunglasses you’ve been eyeing.
“Shapes are different sizes and suit different frames, so mix it up and see what works best for you,” says Mark de Lange, founder of sunglasses brand Ace & Tate. “As a general rule, a rounder face tends to suit a square frame and a squarer face tends to suit rounder frames, with varying degrees in between.”
You’ve Got Your Dimensions Wrong
You wouldn’t buy a suit that doesn’t fit, so don’t do the same with your shades. Most sunglasses are marked with measurements to give you a greater idea of how they’ll sit.
“Frame sizes are important as each person’s head has slightly different dimensions, so consider your face width and then factor in the main features,” says David Lochhead, co-founder of British spectacle designer Finlay & Co.
“Most sunglasses will have three measurements hidden inside the frame: the first for lens width, the second for the gap between lenses and the width of the nose bridge, and the final offering the length of the arm.” As a general rule, the overall width of the frame should roughly match the widest part of your face.
You Still Own A Pair Of Novelty Sunglasses
Post-Freshers’ Week, novelty sunglasses of any kind are off-limits. And even then, they were still pretty lame.
“It’s inevitable that many people will opt for an inexpensive pair of novelty sunglasses, but these don’t effectively protect your eyes,” says Joana Tandoc, the in-house optician at Swiss spectacle outfit Acuitis. “Not only do they look cheap, these sunglasses don’t offer any real UV protection, especially if you’re partaking in watersports in which extra light is reflected and absorbed by the eyes.” Plus, you’ll look like a dick even before you fall off the jet-ski.