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How to Buy Sunglasses That Flatter Your Face


Girl with pink zebra striped sunglasses
Photo Credit

Sunglasses are a non-negotiable summer staple. They not only protect our eyes from damaging solar rays, but they make us look damn good doing it! They’re beautiful, functional, hide a multitude of sins, match your outfit and complement your features. What’s not to love about sunnies?

If you’re looking for a new pair of sunglasses for summer, here’s a handy guide to shopping for your perfect pair of shades – from the right frame shape for your face to the perfect color for you. I’ve also included some trendy and inexpensive sunglasses for each face shape.

The Best Sunglasses for Your Face Shape

The perfect pair of sunglasses will flatter your face shape and balance your natural features out. The basic rule for choosing a frame for your face is to look for one that will contrast with your face shape. If you aren’t sure what your face shape is, here’s a guide to determining your face shape.

If you already know your face shape, here are some tips to finding your perfect pair of sunglasses for each of the four basic face shapes.

* Oval Face

You have it the easiest when it comes to shopping for sunglasses – most frame shapes will work for you! Oval faces can handle round or square frames, oversized shades, aviators, and everything in between. Of course, depending on your individual features, certain styles might not work as well as others. Also, make sure to look for styles that are in proportion to your face and features – if you have small features and a small face, steer clear of the oversized sunglasses look (unless you’re specifically going for the “little girl in huge sunglasses” thing a la Mary-Kate Olsen).

Sunglasses for Oval Faces:

Sunglasses for an oval face shape

Clockwise from top left: Dior-Inspired Sunglasses – Bleudame, Kirra Sunglasses –, Tortoise Sunglassess – Liz Claiborne, DVB Aviator-style Sunglasses – Asos

* Round Face

A circular face requires angular sunglasses to balance out the roundness. Straight lines are important, so look for square or rectangular frames if possible. Again, pay attention to proportions – if you have large features and a large face, don’t attempt tiny sunglasses as they will only make your face/features look distorted.

Sunglasses for Round Faces:

Sunglasses for a round face shape

Clockwise from top left: Kirra Truth-or-Dare 2 Sunglasses –, Flat Top Wayfurther – TopShop, Fox Duncan Sunglasses –, Grasshoper Sunglasses – Roxy

* Heart-Shaped Face

If you have a heart shaped face that’s wider at the top than at the bottom, look for sunglasses that echo this shape. The aviator is a perfect example of this. Aviator shades are super-flattering on heart-shaped faces. You can also get away with certain rounded and rectangular frames so long as the upper part of the frame is larger than the lower.

Sunglasses for Heart-Shaped Faces:

Sunglasses for a heart shaped face

Clockwise from top left: Neon “Wayfarers” – H&M, Kirra Thunder Sunglasses –, Retro Plaid Print Sunglasses – GoJane, Butterfly Sunglasses – GoJane

* Square Face

Square faced girls should stick to curved sunglasses – they help soften your facial features and downplay your angular face shape. To draw attention away from a strong jawline, look for frames that sit slightly higher than usual on your face. This will help draw the eye up toward your eyes.

Sunglasses for Square Faces:

Sunglasses for square face shapes

Clockwise from top left: Jackie O Round Sunglasses – GirlProps, Angle Frame Sunglasses – GoJane, Kirra Oliver Zebra Sunglasses –, EP ‘Activist’ Vintage Sunglasses – 80’s Purple

What color sunglasses should you choose?

Now that you know what shape of sunglasses to buy, what about color? Sunnies come in so many colors these days – it can be near impossible to choose just one! If you need some help, here are some tips to help you decide on the best color for you.

Neon Wayfarers

* You can’t go wrong with basic black. Everyone should have at least one pair of gigantic black sunglasses for everyday wear – they’re so Breakfast at Tiffany’s. For extra movie-star appeal, make sure the lenses are as dark as possible.

* Pay attention to the colors you wear most often. You want your sunglasses to work with the majority of your clothes. Do you wear cool colors most often? If so, try to stay with cool colored sunglasses in shades like black, gray, blue, and silver. If you tend to wear warmer colors, look for brown, red, gold, or similar warm-toned sunglasses.

* Try to buy shades in one of the colors that flatters you most. Shades that flatter your skin and hair coloring will bring out your features and make you glow. Not sure which colors look best on you? See my article How to Find Your Perfect Colors.

* Have fun and experiment with cheap, colorful frames. Neon sunglasses are a huge trend for summer 2009, so I recommend having some fun and trying the trend out with some inexpensive frames. Sometimes it’s fun to wear ridiculously bright, cheap sunglasses. Keep the rest of your outfit simple & classy but go wild with your shades for a look that’s very modern and right-now.

A Final Tip

The most important thing to remember when shopping for sunglasses: try on as many pairs as you can! It’s fun to buy cheap ones online sometimes, but you should really go to a store and test them out in person. Each pair is different and will make your face look different. Experiment as much as possible ’til you find your perfect ones!

What do your favorite sunglasses look like? Do you have a certain style of sunglasses that you wear most? Do you stick to basic black and brown or do you mix it up with funky neon colors? Answer in the comments section!

Posted on on May 27, 2009 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , ,

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25 Responses to “How to Buy Sunglasses That Flatter Your Face”

  1. 1
    May 28th, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Ok, you’re going to think I’m crazy, but I have a question: what if I have a big head? I swear I have a big head, but not so big that you look at me and go “dang, girl!” Headbands and sunglasses often give me a headache. The sunglasses I have now are okay, but it often takes me a while to find them. Do you think I’d have more luck if I bought nice sunglasses instead of cheap ones?

    Thanks for the link on determining your face shape! I’ve never known how to do that.

  2. 2
    May 28th, 2009 at 12:47 am

    This is in response to Kristen. There are some sunglasses with flexible frames. I was trying on some sunglasses this past weekend and came across more of those than I thought I would. I think they would help with your issue. I also feel the squeeze of overly small frames and tend to stick to oversize sunglasses which seems bigger overall, not just the lens.

    My favourite is a pair of oversize Michael Kors from last summer, in plain old black. However, I this year I plan on mixing it up with bright red or cool aquatic shades!

  3. 3
    May 28th, 2009 at 1:07 am

    thank you thank you thank you for this post

    my aviators shattered this week and its time for new glasses

  4. 4
    May 28th, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Personally I have a small head and petite features, and most oversized sunglasses totally make me look like a bug! It took me awhile to find a pair that had the oversized style but were slightly smaller. I also found (and this was true when I was shopping for my regular glasses as well) that most black frames tend to be too harsh for my features. I don’t know if these were just the styles I was trying on or what, but I was pretty dissapointed cause I wanted to get black glasses! Anyway, I found that brown is a good alternative for me, and I have a pair of kick-ass burgundy frames as well which I am totally in love with :) Has anyone else had the same problem with black or am I just weird?

  5. 5
    May 28th, 2009 at 1:43 am

    Personally every pair of expensive sunglasses I’ve ever owne I’ve broken or lost so I’ve learned my lesson and now buy multiple pairs of cheapos.

    I usually resort to a basic black wayfarer style or silver rimmed aviators for every day but go all out in pink or white more outlandish pairs when I’m at the pool or on the boat — at $5 a pair from Forever 21 it’s fun to mix it up!


  6. 6
    May 28th, 2009 at 1:56 am

    I wear aviators almost everyday, but I have some oversized ones that I alternate with. I love wayfarers, but my nose stops me from looking normal in them, haha. My everyday aviators are this pair from Charlotte Russe for $5- silver rimmed with a baby blue stripe along the top. <33

  7. 7
    May 28th, 2009 at 11:07 am

    What type of sunglasses would you suggest for people with a face that is longer than it is wide (or the website says ‘oblong’)?

  8. 8
    May 28th, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    I love this post and I swear you must read my mind. The other day I was trying to find good information on giving yourself a manicure and then voila, a post. In the last couple days, I’ve been on a sunglasses hunt and trying to despreately figure which ones would best flatter my face and facial features and then this blog post goes up. Your blog is the best!

  9. 9
    May 28th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    my favorite sunglasses are the big black ones like a mask from Armani, but I recently bought a neon blue sunglasses from XOXO for all my summer blue outfits and I love them :)

  10. 10
    May 30th, 2009 at 10:38 am

    when i’m buying glasses,
    I jut try finding a worldest biggest glasses, preferable black and white
    Seen some in RiverIsland

  11. 11
    May 30th, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    In response to Kristen, I have a similar problem: large noggin! I find that sunglasses with minimal curvature in the lenses are best — for some reason, the ones with the least curvature also tend to be wider. For example, looking at the first 2 pictures in Zephyr’s post above, you can tell that the pink framed ones are more curved than the black-framed ones next to them. I’d be pretty confident in saying that the black frames would fit you and me better than the pink ones.

    Also, I’ve taken to stalking the men’s sunglasses section! Men’s aviators can really look great on a gal, and you get some fun Kanye-inspired styles as well. Bonus point as men’s sunnies jive perfectly with the raided-my-boyfriend’s-closet look going on right now.

    Hope this helps!

  12. 12
    July 6th, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Cheap sunglasses are great but another thing to consider is UV protection. Anyone can slap a “100% UV protection” sticker on their glasses-it’s not regulated! A thin coating can be added at any optical store, usually pretty cheap(sometimes free-just ask!) , and a smart investment…unless you loose them they way I do :)

  13. 13
    July 10th, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I also have a long narrow face and sunglasses often look too big on me. I love aviators, but they often stick out too far on the side. What about Ray-bans? Any recommendations?

  14. 14
    July 22nd, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Ray-ban wayfarers are universally flattering. They are working on a new feature that lets you try on any pair of ray-bans with a web cam. I’d check that out!

  15. 15
    December 14th, 2009 at 4:36 am

    ERM…ok.this might sound weird but what if i have a small face?no kidding.everyone comments on my face saying it’s small!

  16. 16
    February 19th, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I have a small head. my face is like skinny, but not long, it just gets skinnier at bottom- small chin and mouth. i want an oversized look that will fit my face, regular oversized sunglasses that look great on most look ridiculous on me. i’d like the audrey hepburn breakfast at tiffany’s look. like caitlin, i think black sunglasses are too harsh on my face; which is a bummer because i want really black sunglasses. any recommendations?

  17. 17
    July 5th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for the tips! Definitely, color is important for me. I want it to be like more on I can wear with different dress or outfit

  18. 18
    July 14th, 2010 at 5:49 am

    i have a small and narrow face. no flesh as such. i have a hard time finding sunglasses. can you please suggest some styles for me that i can go and try.
    thank you :) :)

  19. 19
    September 14th, 2010 at 12:05 am

    hay i have a small & narrow face and larg sunglasses looks ugly please help me for the wright sunglasses for my face my face shape is heartshped face

  20. 20
    April 7th, 2011 at 6:26 am

    To me, eyewear goes way beyond being a prescription. It’s like makeup. It’s the most incredible accessory. The shape of a frame or the
    color of lenses can change your whole appearance.

  21. 21
    June 28th, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I have a square jaw line, chubby checks, and a large nose (from the side) so how can i find a pair that wont make it look like its sticking out so far. I already tryed putting them lower on my nose and it doesnt help it actually looks like im trying to hide my nose lol.

  22. 22
    March 3rd, 2012 at 12:02 am

    I have a tall forehead, long thin hair and my eyebrows are very high. I hate when they peer over my sunglasses tho. Which kind should i get? Also i have big cheekbones, so big sunglasses dont flatter my face very well.

  23. 23
    May 21st, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I have a question about eyebrows. I guess I have pretty high up eye brows, meaning that if I wear Wayfarers (or sunglasses in that style) or aviators, my eyebrows show above them. I’ve always felt compelled to wear giant sunglasses in order to remedy that, but I have always wished I could wear those other styles. I guess what I’m asking is 1) is it weird for my eyebrows to show above sunglasses (I have always thought it was but maybe I’m mistaken..)? and 2) if so, what styles of sunglasses can I wear that aren’t your generic Paris Hilton, fashionista, bug glasses?

  24. 24
    July 2nd, 2013 at 9:38 am

    nice tips

  25. 25
    September 24th, 2013 at 6:33 am

    when ever i wear sunglasses my nose sticks out and looks so fat and flat and big and stuck out all at the same time. what do you recommend? i have a sqarish roundish shaped face

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