Which Sunglasses Suit Me? A guide to getting it right!
So, which sunglasses suit me? (Well, you, but you know what I mean!) Choosing the right sunglasses for the summer can be a bit of a chore. Unless you plan on going to find one of the few remaining sunglasses shops and pretty much trying on every style and size it can be a really hit and miss affair.
Well not anymore. If you take a few simple steps to decide on the shape of your face as well as the look you are going for you can pretty much tick the boxes, narrow down what you are looking at to suit, then pick what you like safe in the knowledge that when they arrive at your door they are not only going to look great but look great on you!
Finally, Don’t forget to enter our competition to win a pair of Dirty Dog Noise sunnies worth £49.99 at the bottom of this article.
You find the best sunglasses for your face, you will need to:
- Determine your face size
- Determine Your Face Shape
- Find a Sunglasses Style
DETERMINE YOUR FACE SIZE
Now, whilst researching for this piece I encountered a load of different information on how you ‘measure’ your face to determine its size. But you know what? It all seemed like a big load of. . . . . . well, I’m sure you know what the next word would be.
Unless you have lived in a world without mirrors and have never encountered other humans you know whether you have a big or small head, you also know whether all of your features are smushed up in the middle of your face or spread out widely across it, and what proportions these are in comparison to people around you.
So, if you really want to determine your ‘face size’ here is a link to a video showing you how to measure your face (https://bit.ly/2uuW42T). It’s not something I would do in public though or you may be carted off, but, you know, it’s something to do if you are bored I suppose.
DETERMINE YOUR FACE SHAPE
Once you have determined the size of your face, the next step is determining the shape. Take a look below and see which one of these categories match your face. If you are not sure then check out our video below and see which celebrity your face most closely matches and what sunnies are likely to suit best.
The round face has noticeable curves and not greatly defined angles. The ideal eyewear should be more angular and you should avoid rounded shapes. Angular lines will help elongate your face and make it look thinner and sharper. This face group may benefit from high-on-the-temple, colourful frames as well. Rectangle, square, wrap and shield are the keys to round-faced sunglass success.
Square shaped faces—generally about the same length and width across the face—are characterized by a broad forehead and a strong jawline. People in this category should choose a frame with round or oval shaped lenses that will help round out the sharpness of their features for a more balanced look. Examples of styles that would work well for this face are aviators, butterflies, round or any frame style that has primarily oval or circular curves.
Oval faces have the easiest time selecting sunnies because literally, every frame suits your face! Oval faces have gently rounded, fairly even features, and pretty much any shade is going to work well on them. Designer to sport, fashion to function, everything works as long as they are not so big they block out your whole face.
Oblong faces are long and narrow with few angles. If you have an oblong face you get to wear those huge, oversized glasses that everyone would like to wear but can’t get away with! Larger wayfarer or rectangular lenses and sunglasses with thick frames add width to a long face. Another option is sunglasses that feature tall or deep lenses and vintage style frames because the sharp angles and bold lines will give oblong faces an edge. This group is going to turn heads in wrap, shield, square, wayfarer and rectangle styles. Just make sure to avoid small frames.
Diamond-shaped faces are characterized by a narrow jawline and forehead with the cheekbones as the widest part of the face. Oval and rimless frames will help compliment wide or high cheekbones. Diamond faces should use frames that feature gentle curves and should not be wider than the wearer’s cheekbones. So a good pair of ‘John Lennon’s’ will suit although there are plenty of other styles available!
Heart-shaped faces, sometimes called triangle, are widest at the temples and narrowest at the chin. Sunglasses that feature wide lower edges with no straight lines along the top work especially well for this facial group because they shift attention downward and elongate the face. Cat-eye styles or glasses that feature rounded edges are ideal for giving the wearer a more balanced look. This face shape will be best served with shield, butterfly, rimless, or aviator style frames.
So now you know your face shape, or should I say now you can put a label on it, it’s time to choose the style of sunnies you want to go for.
Now, while the shape and dimensions of your face should give you a good indication of what suits but let’s face it, it’s all about what works with your clothing style, your hair and what you want to do in them. So while your face shape determines what styles would suit everything else is about expressing your own style.
Here is an explanation of a number of the most popular styles and a little bit of information on what to look out for.
We all know the aviator, if you haven’t seen Top Gun then what’s wrong with you! Aviator-style sunglasses have become a favourite of many people worldwide. The distinctive features of an aviator frame are clean and simple colours, metal frames, and teardrop shaped lenses. If you can also do the Top Gun high five you get extra props!
BUTTERFLY / CAT-EYE
Generally oversized, butterfly frame sunglasses can vary in terms of temple width, height, or even shape. The size of butterfly styles is also a functional advantage: It covers more of the face from the sun’s harmful rays and if you have a big nose like me, butterflies can draw attention away. They also work great for those mornings after, when you just want to hide your face.
If the frame of the lens is wider than it is tall, it is probably a rectangle. Angular rectangle frames work well on round faces, and they can add length to a short face by contrast. Oval faces can also benefit from rectangular frames with softer edges.
ROUND / SEMI-RIMLESS
The round, (often) semi-rimless frame is another style that has been around for a long time and has recently regained popularity. Originally created in 1947, you may remember these from famous people over the years, including Malcolm X, Jeff Goldblum, and Colonel Sanders.
These sunglasses have a single, large lens. They offer serious protection from the sun because they cover the entire eye – not just the front. These frames are great for long days in the sun or doing sports.
Got a narrow or round face? Want to add some size to beef up that jaw? Square shapes look good on oval and oblong faces due to the contrasting angles of face and accessory. Commonly oversized, these can be a fashion-forward look, or they can just block extra rays on a really sunny morning.
The Wayfarer is a classic shape and has been worn since the 1950s. Think James Dean or Blues Brothers. Versatile and timeless, this frame looks great on almost every face.
These shades are perfect for athletes and people who want to look like athletes. Their streamlined design increases the aerodynamic properties of the face and the lightweight frame makes it feel like you are not wearing anything at all. Wrap-around frames have lenses that cover most of your eyes, not allowing UV rays to sneak in through the side (great for snow activities), and some have arms that are spring-loaded to help them stay on your face during activities like playing cricket.
A BIT OF INFO ON LENSES
We often get questions on lenses and materials, what do they do, what are the advantages of different materials and what you should be looking for if you have a specific use in mind for your sunnies. Because let’s face it, you always need more than one pair. Maybe not in the amounts I have, but a few pairs is pretty handy.
What we will be looking at:
- UV Protection
- Frame Size
- Frame Material
- Lens Material
- Lens Tints and Coatings
- Lens Technology
Although there’s no way to deny how great you look in that cool pair of shades, we all wear them for a reason. Sunglasses protect you from various forms of ultraviolet light, increasing optical clarity in bright conditions while reducing the risk of damage to your eyes.
Sunglasses are essential for people exposed to high levels of Ultraviolet (UV) light during activities like snowsports, watersports and driving in bright weather. When purchasing sunglasses, one of the most important things to look for is 100% ultraviolet (UV) protection.
When picking out your new sunglasses the first thing to look at is face size. Sunglass frame size should closely mirror face size – smaller frames work better with smaller faces and vice versa. Frame size refers to the actual fit of the sunglasses. This is a general rule of thumb and not to be confused with the coverage of the sunglasses. They do make oversize sunnies for small faces. For a more specific look at the size of a pair of glasses, look at the dimensions.
- This is the horizontal measurement from the outside edge to the inside edge of one lens. Typical widths are 40–62 mm.
- The bridge is the distance between lenses. Typical widths are 14–24mm.
- This is the length of the temple piece, also known as the arm piece or earpiece. Typical lengths are 120–150 mm
Choosing a frame material that suits your purpose is critical as it plays a huge role in the comfort, safety and functionality of your new glasses. Different materials lend themselves to different functions, price ranges and styles, and with each comes distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Metal is one commonly used material in the manufacturing of sunglasses frames due to its malleability, corrosion resistance, and ease of adjustability, making it very easy to tailor to many face shapes and frame styles. Metal frames typically tend to be more expensive, less durable and are not ideal for action sports.
Nylon frames should be your go-to for sports and performance activities. Nylon frames are very resistant to temperature fluctuations and remain super flexible while still retaining the stiffness required for safety. Companies use different brand names for their frame nylons, including Grilamid (not company specific) and O-Matter™ (specific to Oakley). Nylon frames tend to be less expensive, lightweight and stronger than traditional metal frames.
Generally found in higher-end sunglasses, Titanium frames are durable, scratch resistant, and generally pretty expensive.
This versatile, tough plastic offers serious impact resistance and can be found in many sport and safety glasses. Despite their durability, they tend to be rigid frames and are not very flexible. If you have a kid, a polycarbonate frame is a good choice for them as the frames can take a beating.
Acetate is a plastic itself, but it is a little different. Compared to a standard plastic frame (usually Acrylic or Polyurethane), Acetate frames are stronger, more flexible and generally lighter. Acetate frames can come in a huge variety of colours and textures, and since the colour is embedded in the material itself instead of painted on, the colour tends to stay.
Sunglasses can be made out of a wide variety of plastic frames, from Acrylic to Polyurethane. Plastic frames are generally the cheapest frames available and can be a great option if the price is an issue.
Optical Glass Lenses are ground and polished to exacting standards to assure distortion-free vision. Optical glass is extremely durable and very scratch resistant. The primary advantages of optical glass lenses are high levels of distortion free vision and scratch resistance. The downside, however, is that they tend to be more expensive and when impacted sometimes spider or break, which can be a hazard for active sports.
Polycarbonate plastic lenses are the best bet for individuals who will be super active in their sunglasses. Polycarbonate lenses are made from a similar material to that of aircraft windscreens and are virtually indestructible. Polycarbonate is light and scratch resistant (not scratch proof), offers a high level of optical clarity and is 50 times more impact resistant than optical glass making for a very strong, distortion-free lens. The only disadvantages are a slightly lower level of scratch resistance and optical clarity that’s not quite as good as optical glass.
Acrylic lenses are the go-to for an inexpensive sunnies solution, and an ideal choice for casual or fashion sunglasses. The primary disadvantage of acrylics is that you sacrifice some durability and optical clarity.
LENS TINTS AND COATINGS
Different lens colours add to the performance of the lens in different lighting conditions but do not contribute to increased UV protection. Different lens colours provide an array of different looks and cause your eyes to react differently to varying light making certain colours more suitable for certain activities and conditions.
These tints are colour neutral and cut down on the intensity of light without changing colours, providing crisper contrast. The darker tints in this group are made to cut glare while reducing eye strain in slightly above average brightness situations and enhancing depth perception. These lenses are good for activities where colour can be important, like driving.
Brown tints enhance the quality of light, cutting out neutral brown tones and giving the wearer increase contrast and depth perception.
These lenses provide excellent contrast and depth perception; however, that comes as a trade-off for less protection from the brightness. They work well in moderate to low light conditions because of their ability to amplify the available light. Because they increase contrast in low light conditions, like overcast weather or snow, they are ideal for skiing, snowboarding and other snow sports.
Sir Elton’s favourite tint, these lenses provide great low light image resolution and still enhance contrast. They work by blocking the “hazy” blue end of the colour spectrum and are a good choice for most activities. Rose lenses can be worn for long periods, as they cause very little eye strain over time.
Primarily for cosmetic wear, they don’t have much functional value. Note that this is very different compared to a blue or purple chrome, which is indeed functional and useful.
MIRRORED OR FLASH COATING
This refers to a reflective film applied to the outside surfaces of some lenses that are highly desirable for people with high sensitivity to bright light. Also, if you don’t want people to be able to see your eyeballs – for some reason – then mirrored lenses are the way to go. They reduce glare by reflecting much of the light that hits the lens surface. Mirrored coatings make objects appear darker than they are, so lighter tints are often used to compensate for this.
When light reflects off flat surfaces such as water, snow, glass, sand or pavement it is reflected perpendicular to that surface. This reflective glare is very intense and has the potential to cause increased eye irritation, eye fatigue and in some cases restricted vision. Polarised lenses, using horizontally aligned polarising microcrystals, block all vertical light and protect your eyes from this glare. Polarised lenses are particularly suitable for water sports, cycling and driving where there tends to be a high degree of reflective glare, but they do not offer additional UV protection.
Photochromic lenses automatically adjust to changing light intensities to protect you in a wider range of conditions (science in action). These lenses actually get darker (to block more light) on bright days, and lighter when conditions get darker. A couple of caveats: The photochromic process doesn’t happen instantly, and it takes longer to work in cold conditions. Also, it doesn’t work at all when you’re inside a car (the change in tint is activated by harmful UVB rays, which don’t penetrate your windscreen).
Gradient lenses are tinted from the top down so that the top of the lens is darkest. These lenses are good for driving because they shield your eyes from overhead sunlight and allow more light through the bottom half of the lens so you can see your dashboard display clearly.
So there you go. Everything you practically need to know about choosing the best sunnies for you. Once you have worked out what suits you then have the freedom to go out there and explore the myriad of different shades out there with the confidence of knowing that whichever pair jumps out at you and says ‘my style’ will fit well, and look good on your face.
To check out our full sunnies range go to: