Style

The most stylish new sunglasses for your face shape

What's trending (oversized are baaa-aaack) and which you should definitely try on this season.

What's trending (oversized are baaa-aaack) and which you should definitely try on this season

Sunglasses might be a small accessory but they're sartorially mighty. Sure, they serve the functional service of protecting your peepers from UV rays while also helping you to see, but they also give any outfit an undeniable cool factor. A great pair can change your face, your style — and even your outlook on life!

When purchasing a new pair of sunglasses, it's important to note that it's not a one-size-flatters-all situation. Whether you love the updated version of last year's micro-frames or can't quit the classics (we're looking at you aviators and cat eyes) there will always be certain type of frame that will flatter your face shape best. Does that mean you need to stay in your lane? Not at all. It's no fun to stick with just one style because of your face shape, but it is helpful to know whether rectangular, cat-eye or round frames fit and flatter your mug best. Read on to discover the hottest new sunglasses and which ones are the most complimentary for you.

Cat calls

If you're looking to add a wee bit of je ne sais quoi to your summer outfit, try topping it off with a pair of cat-eye sunglasses. The shape gives any look instant old-Hollywood cred. If you're looking for an update of the classic, take flight in exaggerated wing-shaped frames, in black and tortoise, or if your style is a little wilder try a statement-making print or a bright hue.

Anyone can wear a cat-eye frame but certain face shapes benefit from its drawn-out edges. "Round faces tend to have wider cheekbones and softer angles, and therefore look great with classic shapes such as D-frame, rectangular, and cat-eye sunnies," says Alessandro Tiso, product and assortment planning lead at Clearly, one of the largest online retailers of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses. He also says diamond and square face shapes benefit from this type of frame because they help balance them.

These small, pointy, V-shape tortoiseshell cat-eye frames from H&M are the most wearable version of the teeny tiny sunglass trend because they're small, but not too small. Not only does the size lend itself to being more approachable but also super affordable.

Stylish steal:  H&M Tortoiseshell Cat Eye Sunglasses, $14.99, H&M

This pair from Clearly's private brand, Kam Dhilhon, honours and embodies the retro cat-eye. We love its lustrous Italian acetate material and multi-tonal tortoiseshell pattern. "You can't go wrong with tortoiseshell," says Tiso. "It works with all skin tones, eye colours, and hairstyles."

Mid-level investment: Kam Dhillon 'Cross Fox' Cat Eye Sunglasses in Saffron Flower, $90 (on sale), Clearly

Try an update to the classic cat-eye silhouette with this pair from Jimmy Choo. We're swooning over this glossy blackberry hue (it also comes in turquoise, blush, black and tortoiseshell) but rather than the classic feline flicks the normally pointy ends are squared-off. Think less vintage Hollywood and more futuristic.

Worth the splurge: Jimmy Choo 'Donna' Cat Eye Sunglasses, $218 (on sale), Ottica Net

Bigger is better — again

Call it a backlash to the '90s-inspired slim shades we saw everywhere last year (and continue to see), since this curvier counterpart is poised to usurp that look: oversized is on trend. It was only a matter of time before they returned, because the fashionable set have always had a sweet sport for them, and all things '70s.

"Retro is definitely in this summer, which means it's time for bold shapes to reign," says Tiso. This time around, the offerings are dramatic and glamorous. Expect to see shine, cut-outs, butterfly shapes and gold-rimmed everything. All face shapes can wear oversized, but what will be oversized for you, might not be for someone else. So it might take trying on a few pairs to find a style that's in proportion to your facial features.

Unsure if you want to invest in the oversized trend? Try on this affordable pair from Call It Spring. The lenses have a subtle retro butterfly shape while the frame itself is clean and simple in gold-toned metal. They're fun-loving, statement-making and affordable... what more can you ask for!

Stylish steal:  Call It Spring 'Glelicia' Wire Framed Sunglasses, $11.99, Call It Spring

There's something undeniably chic about a pair of supersized specs that have a thick tortoiseshell frame with raised-corners — probably because the style is so tied to Audrey Hepburn in the iconic opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany's. We love this pair from Tessa Virtue's collection for Montreal eyewear retailer, Bonlook.

Mid-level investment: Bonlook 'Marlo' Sunglasses in Espresso, $149, Bonlook

If you looked up '70s sunglasses in the dictionary we'd expect you'd see this pair from Gucci. The squared frames with gold glitter suspended in acetate paired with gradient lenses are both whimsical and statement-making.

Worth the splurge: Gucci Gold Oversized Hexagon Sunglasses, $510, Ssense

Making the rounds

Round glasses have been around (pun intended) the block for several seasons, probably because they come in so many variations. From true circles to more oval shapes, the diverse range of styles means you can go as dramatic or as unassuming a look as you'd like. It also means that no matter your face shape, you'll find a pair that works for you.

However, certain face shapes truly can benefit, especially the heart and square faces, says Tiso. People with a square face shape are defined by striking lines such as a chiselled jawline that's generally equally as wide as their cheekbones and forehead. "Sunglasses with curved frames tend to look great on square faces, as the rounded edges create a striking contrast," says Tiso.

This newest iteration of round sunglasses is a hybrid of square and circular, meet the hexagon. We love this six-sided pair from Pilgrim because it veers more toward circular then angular, making them more wearable.

Stylish steal:  Pilgrim 'Annora' Sunglasses, $48, Swimco

This petite lightweight style from Canadian sunglass brand Callula Co. is a blend of round and oval frames — and ticks off a few trends too. First, the metal frame; Tiso says wireframes are the "it" material in eyewear right now. "The great thing about metal frames is their versatility. With a huge range of sizes and finishes available, it's easy to find a pair that suits your face shape and your skin tone," says Tiso. Second, colour; vibrant lenses are definitely having a moment.

Mid-Level Investment: Callula Co. 'Sugar Beach' Sunglasses in Rosy Pink, approx. $180, Callula Co.

If you're worried a true circle is a little too trendy for you, try a rounded lens with a half rim frame. It's an easy style to wear and looks good on virtually anyone, not to mention it's sophisticated and timeless. We love these unfussy yet refined frames from Krewe. The multi-coloured frame adds playfulness and the gold accents gives it a fashion-forward feel.

Worth the splurge: Krewe 'St. Louis' Sunglasses in Confetti, $332.98, Shopbop

Take flight

We can't say this eyewear shape is set to make a triumphant return because it never really left. For 2019, aviators are either minimalist and traditional, or sporty meets futuristic. With heaps of new styles, you're sure to find your perfect match that lets you live your best Top Gun fantasy.

This style works with all face shapes but especially with one: heart-shaped faces. Wider at the forehead with the broadest point at the temples, it gradually narrows toward the jawline. Typically, you want to choose a style that contrasts against your face but the opposite is true with heart-shaped faces — you actually want to mimic its shape, and because aviators are wider at the top and tapered at the bottom they complement the outline of a heart-shaped face perfectly.

We love this pair from Aldo because it revamps the classic aviator shape with a few subtle, yet effective, tweaks. The fine mesh bridge and rose gold-toned metal frame set's this pair of aviator apart from the pack.

Stylish steal: Aldo 'Rirede' Sunglasses, $16, Aldo

 

If you're looking for a classic aviator your best bet is the original Ray Ban aviator but if you're looking for a modern update try this pair from one of Cleary's private labels, Derek Cardigan. Available in four colours, this Canadian-designed pair has a sleek metal bar at the bridge and a sturdy acetate frame. Bonus: these can also hold any prescription. 

Mid-level investment: Derek Cardigan 'Cadet' Aviator Sunglasses, $155, Clearly

A massive trend in sunglasses for 2019 is shield sunglasses. Unlike other sunglasses, they're not the usual bi-framed; instead they use one large piece of material, much like this pair from legendary aviator brand, Carrera. These sunnies combine the shield trend with a classic aviator, lending a futuristic and sporty aesthetic.

Worth the splurge: Carrera 'Americana' sunglasses, $295 (on sale), Smart Buy Glasses


Julia McEwen is a Toronto-based writer, editor and stylist. Follow her at @juliapjmcewen.

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