Choosing The Right Sunglasses | Shape and Style

Buying sunglasses can be extremely tricky due to the fact that there is so much choice out there. In our ‘Choosing The Right Sunglasses’ series we look at some of the features you might want to consider when finding the perfect pair for you…

On average, we tend to purchase sunglasses a lot less than we do other articles of clothing as we’re much more likely to stick to the one style that suits us or that we like. In addition, everybody is different so there’s no mathematical equation to the ‘perfect’ shades so the best way to prepare is to figure out what is available, what you like and what will suit your face shape, style and complexion.

Here are some examples of the top styles and designs available right now. Hopefully just one of them will be perfect for you!


This classic style has been around since the 1950s and was first manufactured by Ray Ban. It quickly became one of the most popular and iconic designs in fashion history worn by everyone from Buddy Holly and JFK to Tom Cruise and Alexa Chung. A chunky yet understated square frame, the Wayfarer is versatile and suits most faces with the benefit of a range of colour combinations, prints and patterns.

Best For: This versatile design looks good on almost everyone however those with bold jawlines should go for a softer curved version so the style doesn’t look too harsh.

Soon after the Wayfarer, came the Browline design which was renamed ‘The Clubmaster’ by Ray Ban. Though the style had been around since 1947, its’ prominence rose throughout the Fifties and Sixties and were the glasses of choice worn by Malcolm X. The design takes its name from the chunky ‘browline’ frame which behaves as half-wayfarer design with metal rimmed eye-pieces and bridge.

Best For: Heart Shaped faces, square faces and round faces. The bold browline should balance out features, create the illusion of cheekbones and give definition

The very first pair of sunglasses manufactured by Ray Ban, the Aviators were invented in 1936 by Bausch and Lomb for war-time pilots to protect their eyes during flight. A large rounded frame crafted from lightweight metal, the Aviator has undergone many changes and adaptations over the years but the classic silhouette with its’ teardrop shaped lenses remains the same. Most frequently found with a double or trip bridge and comfort-fitted nosepads, the Aviator style is ideal for a classic timeless look.

Best For: Aviators are great for most face shapes however go for a slightly squarer version if your face is round or oval shaped.

Another set of shades borne out of the ’40s and ’50s, the classic cateye is synonymous with the sultry feline style of Hollywood’s Golden Age actresses. Popularised by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren, the cateye frame is defined by an upward sloping set of peaked eye-pieces that represent the shape of, well, a cats eye! Choose between a retro pointed cateye or a softly curved vintage inspired  ’60s version or maybe even an extreme contemporary design to add instant glamour.

Best For: Heart shaped faces to balance out features such as a narrow jawline and to create the illusion cheekbones and a higher browline

Square or Rectangle

Square shades are pretty difficult to pull off however, when worn correctly they can give a great dramatic retro inspired look. Taking their inspiration from the 1970s, the oversize square sunglasses held prominence among the Studio 54 crowd thanks to their ability to sculpt features and add structure. For a more subtle look opt for a more sporty rectangular shape with soft curves.

Best For: Those with rounder shaped faces and oval faces to create angles and definition

Round and Oval

Round shades are so ‘in’ right now that it’s impossible to avoid. Forget geeky; round shades come in a variety of sizes and styles suited to all. From 1960s John Lennon inspired tea shades to oversized curved frames; you can’t go wrong with rounds this season!

Best For: Those with a more retro style! Larger oversize versions will create width and drama in those with longer faces and features whilst the rounded shapes can also soften square jawlines. Oval and heart shaped faces benefit from this tricky-to-pull off style!


Sports enthusiasts will bode well from choosing a wraparound style as the design of the frame protects the eye from several angles. Sculpted to adhere to the dimensions of the face, cyclists and runners will find that the wraparound design gives peripheral protection and clarity as well as a more comfortable fit.

Best For: Those with an active lifestyle who will utilize these handy shades for outdoor activities like running, cycling and golf.

Which pair will you go for?