Fewer things are more confusing than shopping for a pair of shades. Your sunnies should be fashionable, functional and flattering, but oftentimes the perfect pair is the needle in an endless stack of frames, lenses and tints. The good news is you can simplify your search before even entering the store. Here are eight tips to consider when buying sunglasses.
Sunglasses have become such a fashion statement that we sometimes overlook their primary purpose to protect. To help save your eyes from sun damage, look for lenses that block at least 98% of UV light. To stop the sun’s glare, look to a polarized lens. Light travels in all directions, and when it bounces off reflective surfaces, we get glare. Polarized lenses let only vertical rays through (not horizontal rays), helping reduce glare.
Frames and lenses are made with many different materials that affect how durable your sunglasses will be. To help avoid scratches, look for a lens made from polycarbonate—a scratch-resistant material that still provides good clarity. For strong frames, set your sights on nylon; it’s more durable than plastic or metal.
Sunglass tints come in a rainbow of colours; each tint filters light differently and affects how we see through our lenses.
Red and rosy tints brighten our vision in low light, so they are great for cloudy days.
Brown and amber tints also improve visibility on cloudy days. These tints provide contrast against green and blue backgrounds, such as grass, trees and water.
Grey minimizes brightness and glare; it’s a neutral tint, so it doesn’t distort how we see colour naturally.
Green also reduces brightness and glare, but it also provides contrast on sunny days.
Blue and purple are not only the trendiest tints in the bunch but also limit glare and enhance colour perception.
Yellow and orange tints offer the least sun protection but are excellent for foggy or hazy conditions.
Proper fit is important: the width of your frames and the width of your face should align, and your frames should sit in the middle of your face (equal distance from the top frame to the top of your head and from the bottom frame to the bottom of your chin).
The best shape for your sunnies depends on your face shape.
Round faces look best in angular frames. Look for rectangle, square, wayfarer or shield frames.
Oval faces look good in pretty much any frame (lucky ducks), but frames slightly wider than the forehead can provide balance.
Heart faces do best with rounded edges—think shield, butterfly, cat eye or aviator.
Square faces are complemented by thin, rounded frames. Aviators are a good choice; so are butterfly frames.
Your sunnies should reflect your signature style. Are you an edgy aviator girl? A retro wayfarer-wearing guy? And what about colour? Do you like bold bright frames, or is a classic neutral more your speed? Consider your personal style and the shapes that best suit your face to narrow your sunglass search.
Think about your lifestyle. If you’re an athletic type, sporty wrap-around shades may be your go-to. If you’re always on the go, a grey tint perfect for driving may be your top consideration. If you tend to handle things with care, you could easily opt for some less durable plastic frames or glass lenses.
Depending on the brand and where you buy them, many sunglasses come with a warranty. Before you buy, be sure to ask the salesperson about warranties and repair and return policies. Also make sure you’re clear on whether the policy is offered by the store or the manufacturer. t8n
One of this season’s top trends in sunglasses is the mirrored lens. Spotted on runways, celebrities and the style-savvy among us, mirrored lenses (in a variety of colours) are giving classic styles—like cat eye, butterfly and aviator glasses—a new twist.
Aviator: Tear-drop-shaped lenses;
usually with a metal frame.
Butterfly: Oversized glasses; shape -resembles a butterfly. Think Jackie O.
Cat Eye: Frames with pointed edges; shape resembles the eye of a cat.
Shield: Glasses with a single, large lens.
Wayfarer: Glasses with a classic, trapezoidal frame style; Tom Cruise wore wayfarers in Risky Business.