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Sunglasses are like shoes: they serve a valuable function but can do so with flair. Sure, they can just protect your body, but they can also flatter your features and complement your outfit. First and foremost, they must shield your eyes from damaging rays, but that shouldn’t stop you from feeling confident in your style. Sunglasses may be one of the most misplaced accessories, but if you feel capable of holding onto them a classically styled pair can be an investment that will look good for many years. But with so many styles, shapes, colors, and brands, why would you restrict yourself to just one option? Whether your aesthetic leans toward classic aviator sunglasses or something hypermodern, you can find a pair of cool sunglasses that fit the shape of your face and the style of your clothes. And, because there are many, many, many pairs to choose from, we’ve narrowed them down to a few of the very best, so read on!
- Best aviators: Ray-Ban Rb3025 Classic Aviator Sunglasses
- Best women’s sunglasses: Quay Women’s Sweet Dreams Sunglasses
- Best men’s sunglasses: Oakley Men’s Oo9102 Holbrook Sunglasses
- Best mirrored: SOJOS SJ1072 Small Square Mirrored Sunglasses
- Best budget: YOSHYA Retro Vintage Narrow Cat Eye Sunglasses for Women
What to consider when buying the best sunglasses
When looking for the best sunglasses you might lean toward picking by their aesthetics first, but a good place to start is figuring out what shape face you have. Do you have a round face, a rectangular face, a heart-shaped face, or an oval face? Once you sort this out, you’ll have a better idea of the best shades to flatter your face shape. If you have a round face, consider square, rectangular, or more angular options to balance out the roundness of your face. Similarly, if you have a rectangular face, look for round or oval frames. It’s all about balance! If you have a heart-shaped face, aviators are the ones for you because they have a similar shape to your, you guessed it, face. And if you fall into the oval-face-shaped category, then lucky for you because most will look good—oversized picks, cat-eye sunglasses, aviator sunglasses—so have fun experimenting. With all of that said, if you fall in love with a pair and think they look fabulous, forget the “rules” and just go for it! The best look is one that makes you feel great.
Now let’s move on to something that is and isn’t as, well, polarizing as fashion. You’ve seen the words “polarized lenses,” but what is it that they actually do, you ask? While all sunglasses will reduce brightness from the sun, they won’t all reduce glare, which is where polarized sunglasses step into the picture. Filtering out most of the sun’s glare will give you clearer vision and reduce eye strain. So, when should you wear polarized shades? Well, you can wear them at any time, but they will specifically help when driving, boating, or skiing/snowboarding because of all the reflective surfaces.
While polarized sunglasses are totally up to you, always look for cool sunglasses with 99- or 100-percent UV protection in order to protect your eyes best.
Now that you have an idea of the best sunglasses shape that will work for your face, let’s talk about size. The cool sunglasses you choose should be proportionate to the size of your features, as you don’t want them to overwhelm your face. For example, if you have a rectangular face, the larger your features the larger the frame can be, and it can extend past your temples. On the other hand, if you have an oval or heart-shaped face with smaller features, choose models with a lighter frame, or if you have more dramatic features, you will look great with a thicker frame. For both of these face shapes, you don’t want to go too wide.
Also, something to consider is what color frame and lenses you want. There are so many fun colors being offered today you certainly don’t need to stick to the basics of black or tortoiseshell (though they are classics for a reason). Color is where you can really have fun and experiment with your style. Depending on your budget, you can invest in a few to fit your mood when you wake up that day. You can even have different colors to match every single shirt in your closet. You do you, and here are some of our suggestions for the best sunglasses to get you started.
The best sunglasses: Reviews & Recommendations
Best aviator sunglasses: Ray-Ban Rb3025 Classic Aviator Sunglasses
Ray-Ban sunglasses were originally developed at the request of the U.S. Army to ban distracting rays from pilots’ eyes, so there’s no better place to look if you want the classic aviator style. These favorites are unisex and offered in over 30 frame and lens colors and three different sizes. These anti-glare Aviator sunglasses, originally introduced to the public in 1937, are made with a metal frame and high-quality scratch-resistant glass. Additionally, the lenses are polarized and provide 100-percent UV protection. You can’t go wrong with these classic Ray-Bans.
Best women’s sunglasses: Quay Women’s Sweet Dreams Sunglasses
If you’re the type who likes to be noticed even if you’re incognito, these oversized sunglasses for women stand out in the best way. These Quay sunglasses are made of a plastic frame, making them extremely lightweight on your face. To keep these protected in your bag, they come with a soft case with a cleaning cloth. These women’s sunglasses are offered in black with a smoke color gradient lens and a gold-tone trim. The nose bridge gives the designer pick a slight aviator vibe and we’re here for it.
Best men’s sunglasses: Oakley Men’s Oo9102 Holbrook Sunglasses
Oakley may be making sunglasses designed for Olympic athletes, but this popular sunglass company also designs some of the most popular sunglass styles on the market. Where to begin with these best-sellers? Besides being the epitome of cool sunglasses, they have all of the awesome technology that Oakley sunglasses are known for. The square Grilamid frames are impact-resistant, lightweight, and long-lasting. The lenses are both HDPolarized, filtering out 99 percent of reflected glare, and have a UV protection coating. These are offered in two sizes and over 30 frame and lens colors. If needed or wanted, the lenses can be swapped for prescription or PRIZM (an Oakley technology designed to enhance color and contrast).
Best mirrored sunglasses: SOJOS SJ1072 Small Square Mirrored Sunglasses
The frame of these best-selling Sojos sunnies is made with lightweight, yet durable metal that will fit comfortably on your nose. The UV 400 protective lens will block 99 to 100 percent of harmful UV light, so you can rest easy knowing your eyes are protected all year long, because you won’t want to take these off. While the mirrored lenses are currently all the rage, they may not be your jam, which is OK because these are offered in 11 different frame and lens colors.
Best cheap sunglasses: YOSHYA Retro Vintage Narrow Cat Eye Sunglasses for Women
If you’re looking for cheap sunglasses you won’t be crushed to lose, these may not be for you. Yes, they’re cheap at just $8.19 for one pair, $11.98 for two pairs, and $14.98 for three pairs, but you will certainly miss them if they’re gone. You can’t go wrong with the trendy cat-eye shape, offered in numerous colors. The frames are made with a sturdy-feeling, lightweight plastic but are likely not scratch-resistant. Luckily, even though these are cheap they come with a soft case to protect them when they’re not in use. These cuties are not polarized, but they have UV 400 protection.
Q: How to tell if sunglasses have UV protection?
There are basically three ways to know if your sunglasses are UV protected. Firstly, if they’re a new pair, look for a label that says 100-percent UV protection or UV 400. This means that your sunglasses will protect your eyes against harmful UVA and UVB rays. Secondly, you can bring your shades to an eye-care professional to test your lenses with a tool called a photometer. Lastly, if you have a UV flashlight, you can do a simple at-home test. Make sure to check your older sunglasses, especially if they have a UV coating instead of UV protection built into the lens, as the coating can fade with time.
Q: What are the best polarized sunglasses on the market?
The best-polarized sunglasses are dependent on how you plan on wearing them. If you want polarized lenses while you play sports or are spending long periods of time in the sun, consider sunglasses that offer more eye coverage. Ones that are a bit more rounded around your eyes toward your temples will offer more protection. Across the board, certain Ray-Ban styles are an all-time favorite for polarized sunglasses because of the high-quality materials used—the aluminum frames, the scratch- and shatter-resistant lenses—so it’s hard to go wrong.
Q: How to measure sunglass size?
As an FYI, most sunglasses have the size written on the inside of one of the temples. The eye/lens size is first, then the bridge size, and then the temple (arm) size. To see what size you are, grab a ruler, look in the mirror, and measure your face, temple to temple. Sunglasses measurements are taken in millimeters, so you’ll need to convert. Your face width should roughly measure out to the width of the lenses and the bridge.
Final thoughts on the best sunglasses
The best sunglasses will protect your eyes from long-term damage caused by harmful UV rays, rest comfortably on your face, and make you feel like a million bucks (even the cheap sunglasses can look that good). And, yes, this applies for both men’s and women’s glasses alike, whether they’re aviators or oversized options or anything in between. There are details to sort out—like color, size, style, and shape—but that’s the fun stuff, especially now that you have some direction. Once you find a pair of cool sunglasses that feels like it was made for you, you may never want to take them off.