When it comes to fashion accessories, every wardrobe should contain a fabulous pair of sunglasses. However, with so many different sunglass shapes and styles, not forgetting brands and trends, it can definitely feel a little overwhelming at times and it can be tricky to choose a perfectly fitting pair. Finding the perfect pair of sunglasses or specs which suit your face shape is essential to make you look and feel your best.
Many moons ago… many, in my former life, I worked as an Optician. In fact, I practised for over eleven years before deciding to follow my dreams. So, talking about sunglasses and spectacles, and how to choose the perfect pair to suit your face shape, seemed to be a perfect blog post topic.
While personal taste obviously plays a key role when choosing a pair of sunglasses or specs, there are a few other factors that can help you decide too. The shape of your face plays a huge part in whether a pair of sunglasses or specs looks good on you. There are different styles suited for every kind of face shape, and with a few tips, you can be sure that you’ll find a pair that looks great.
Identifying Your Face Shape
The first thing you need to do is identify your face shape. Most faces fall into one of the following four types:
Round – Round faces have a rounded forehead, wide cheeks and a rounded chin.
Heart – Heart-shaped faces have a wide forehead, wide cheeks and a narrow chin.
Square – Square faces have a wide forehead, wide cheeks and a wide chin.
Oval – Oval faces have a narrow forehead, wide cheeks and a narrow chin.
If you’re not sure which face shape that you resemble (shown above) then try following this simple tip to help you: With your hair tied back or off your face, take a mirror and either a lip or eyeliner, lipstick, or a dry wipe marker. Next, looking into the mirror, trace an outline of your face onto the mirror. Compare the shape you’ve drawn on your mirror to the four shapes above – the closest match is your face shape. Simple!
Which Sunglasses Suit Which Face Shapes?
Round Shaped Faces
A round face essentially means that the horizontal and vertical measurements are equal and your cheeks are the widest part of your face. Round faces typically have softer angles in the brow and jaw lines. A round face shape suits more angular sunglasses, and should stay away from round frames – they’ll only make the face appear wider than it is.
Rectangular, squared-off or angular frames help to balance out the softer features of a round face and give the appearance of a longer face. Rectangular sunglasses balance your round features and elongate your face, bringing attention upward. Another great option is a pair of classic cat-eye sunnies with sweeping angles as these too create definition in your features and offset softer lines. Try not to go too oversized as large frames will overpower your face.
Frame styles to try: Wayfarer, Square, Cat Eye, Butterfly
Frame styles to avoid: Circular lenses, Small frames, Oversized frames
- Topshop Phoenix Cat Eye Sunglasses £14
- Free People Amsterdam Sunglasses £22
- Fendi FF0238S Cat Eye Sunglasses £156
Heart-shaped faces are wider towards the top, so you should go for sunglasses which aim to detract from the width at the top while exaggerating the width at the middle. Frames that can help broaden your jawline and direct attention downward to elongate features are also flattering, and shapes that are parallel and extend past the width of your face will complement your strong jawline. Wide-bottomed sunglasses are perfect for heart-shaped faces, as they balance out the discrepancy between the varying widths. Rimless or light-coloured sunglasses also help to draw attention away from the top of the face. Aviators are another great option as the sloping silhouette contrasts a v-shaped chin.
Classic aviator sunglasses are a good fit for the proportions of a heart-shaped face, as are wayfarer styles and exaggerated cat-eye silhouettes, which flatter a delicate chin by mirroring the angle of the jawline. Be wary of anything with a heavy upper frame or you run the risk of making the face seem top-heavy.
Frame styles to try: Rimless, Wayfarer, Sport, Aviators, Cat-Eye
Frame styles to avoid: Top-heavy, Embellished
Square Shaped Faces
Square face types have a strong jawline and pretty much equal measurements horizontal to vertical. Therefore, rather than adding definition, you’ll want frames that soften your jawline and brow. Soften your features with curvy frames, such as an oval or rectangular pair with rounded edges. Circular glasses help balance a square facial structure, particularly if you choose a slightly oversized style. Modern cat eyes that curve downward will also balance your angles. When in doubt, approach angular frames with caution.
Frame styles to try: Aviator, Round/Circular, Oval, Cat Eye that curve downwards
Frame styles to avoid: Square, Angular
Oval Shaped Faces
If you have an oval-shaped face, then you’ll generally find that almost every style of sunglasses suit you – lucky you! Because the width differences between the top and bottom of the face are naturally balanced, you’re free to choose the frames that give your preferred effect. Go for rounded styles or a slight cat-eye to lift the cheekbones and accentuate your angles, and try to avoid anything too exaggerated as it can throw off the balance of your features. If you want to maintain your face’s natural balance, then wider frame styles such as Oversized, Wayfarers or Aviators are a great choice. While most frame styles work, very small frames may exaggerate a narrow eye line.
Frame styles to try: Oversized, Wayfarer, Aviator
Frame styles to avoid: Small, Narrow
- Ray-Ban Aviator 3025 001/3E £85.90
- Victoria Beckham Rounded Aviator £125
- Ray-Ban Classic Wayfarer £92.90
For all face shapes, think about what kind of statement you wish to make with the sunglasses. If you want to stand out from the crowd then a larger, bolder frame may be the way to go. Striking designs, such as those with elaborately decorated temples, are real eye-catchers and will ensure that you don’t go unnoticed.
When weighing up which style of sunglasses to buy, remember that it’s about protecting your eyes as well as looking stylish. So, it’s important that certain UV-protection criteria are fulfilled. This means that, if possible, the frame should be as broad as your face at the temples, so as to prevent light from getting in from the sides. The frame should also cover the entire eye area or even be a bit higher, so that light doesn’t shine in from above. Additionally, different lens types will be more suitable depending on your lifestyle.
All sunglasses sold within the UK (and EU) should have a CE marked on them – typically on one of the arms. For adequate protection, experts recommend sunglasses that reflect or filter out 99% or more of UVA and UVB light, with wavelengths up to 400 nm. Sunglasses that meet this requirement are often labelled as “UV400”. Always look for a CE, UV 400 or British Standard Mark
Another thing to consider when buying sunglasses is the darkness of the lens. This actually has nothing to do with UV protection, but instead the varying levels of brightness. You may be surprised to learn that lens colour has no impact whatsoever on UV protection. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The UV protection is provided in the form of a clear coating on the lens, no matter the depth of tint. Darker lenses cause pupils to dilate, which makes eyes more vulnerable to UV rays and, therefore, UV damage. So, if you’re keen on a pair of darker sunnies then make sure they come with adequate UV protection. Otherwise, you could be doing more harm than good. In the UK, lens colour is generally rated from 0-4, 0 being clear, 4 being the darkest. Category 4 lenses are the darkest and are useful on very bright days, but be aware that these aren’t suitable for driving. Again, all this information should be provided at the point of sale either via stickers on the sunglasses, stamped on the arm or in an information leaflet.