Hey, Shady Lady

Hey, Shady Lady
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A few years ago I did a style segment on a local news program showcasing sunglasses and how to select the right frame for your face shape. After the shoot, the program’s producer posted it on YouTube and within the first few months the video had thousands of views. The video’s popularity wasn’t all that surprising, especially when compared to other sunglass advice pieces trending online. These days, almost everyone wants to know the secrets behind finding the perfect frames—and there’s good reason for this. Quality sunglasses are expensive (a financial investment) and frames are showcased prominently on one’s face (a personal investment). Thus, getting a sunglasses purchase right is paramount. With summer just around the corner, I thought this might be a good time to recap the style tips from my aforementioned video.

If you are in the market for new sunspecs, there are six frame factors to consider:

Frame Factor #1: Shape

Frame shape is the most important factor when choosing sunglasses. As a general rule, the frames that are most flattering “counter-balance” your face shape. For example, a square face shape should seek out round-shaped frames. This method uses visually trickery to make your face appear more balanced or oval-like (considered the most attractive face shape). So to properly counter-balance, you must first determine the shape of your face; then you can shop for a contrasting frame shape.

The six most common face shapes are:

  • Triangle
  • Oblong
  • Heart
  • Round
  • Square
  • Oval


Triangle: Frames that are top-heavy or have a bold upper rim like Christian Dior’s Promesse cat eye visually expand the upper half of the face. Best frame shapes: cat eye, aviator and shield.

Oblong: A wide, square frame like Dior’s My Dior 3N shades stretch out beyond the face visually widening and, at the same time, cutting down on its length. Best frame shapes: pillow, rectangle, cat and wrap.

Heart: Choose deep frames such as Toxic’s Japanese tortoise sunglasses to add volume to the lower half of the face. Best frame shapes: round, pillow, oval and butterfly.

Round: Angular frames that accentuate the cheekbones and chin, like Dior’s Soie 2, make for a nice contrast to a circular face. Best frame shapes: square, rectangle, shield and pillow.

Square: Frames with soft curves like Vera Bradley’s Barbara aviator lessen the structural dimensions of a square face. Best frame shapes: aviator, round, pillow and oval.

Oval: Since most frames suit an oval face, why not choose something au courant like Dior’s Eyes 1.

Frame Factor #2: Protection

There’s little point in buying or wearing sunglasses if they don’t have decent eye protection, as prolonged UV radiation can damage the eye’s cornea and lenses. The best lens protection blocks close to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays.

Frame Factor #3: Styling

Invest in sunglasses that are a continuation of your personal style rather than a departure from it. If you are a vintage clothing lover, then select sunglasses that skew retro: perhaps the very trendy cat eye (if shape is appropriate).

Frame Factor #4: Fit

If you are going to spend a lot of money on a pair of sunglasses, they better fit. To get the best fit, shop those stores that specialize in spectacles.

Frame Factor #5: Size

The wrong frame size can mess up an otherwise perfect frame choice. If you have a smaller mug, oversized sunglasses will overpower your face and produce a “bug-eye” effect. Likewise, when someone with a large face wears a smallish frame they appear to be wearing kid-sized shades.

Frame Factor #6: Color

From clear to black to neon to tortoise to gold-toned, these days frames come in a myriad of colors and treatments. With all this choice it is easy to select a frame that compliments your hair and skin coloring. Those who are fairer look better in pale, clear and gold-toned, while those with darker coloring look great in rich, bright and silver-toned frames.

Once you have satisfied all the sunglass factors and found your perfect pair, you can sit back and let your sunnies do the work they are intended for: dressing up an otherwise boring outfit, amping up your cool factor and showing up incognito.

Piece originally featured in Pacific Sun