Shapes and styles
While sunglasses come in a whole range of shapes and sizes, it is possible to distinguish three main categories. Of course, within each category, there is plenty of choice! Find out how to choose the form that suits your face and your lifestyle.
Because the frame of your sunglasses is designed to protect you, its form tends to be different to that of optical glasses. On the whole, sunglasses are worn closer to the face and the frame tends to wrap more snuggly around your head. Across this broad range of sunglasses, it is possible to distinguish a number of global categories. So, which category suits you best?
Choosing from the three main types of frame
Every year, new models, styles and innovations arrive on the sunglasses market – but the three main categories of frame remain the same. These depends on how the lens is integrated into the frame:
• In full rim glasses, the frame completely encircles the lenses, providing you with a more sturdy, rigid pair of sunglasses. Because they can be made from a wide range of materials (metals, plastics), this category of frame offers the largest choice, and you’ll find everything from the ‘oversized’ style to more minimalist approaches.
• In half rim glasses, the frame surrounds only the upper half of the lens. The lower part of the lens is either left free-standing (which is the case for many sports sunglasses) or it is supported by a nylon or Kevlar thread, hidden in a groove of the lens. This means your sunglasses will be lighter than with a full rim.
• In rimless glasses, the frame supports neither the upper nor lower part of the lens. Instead, the lens is either drilled and fixed to the temples and bridge with screws or it is glued. Either way, the method requires a skilled technician – and the finished product is extremely light.
Choosing the shape of your frame
When it comes to the shape of your frame, you’re spoiled for choice. As well as reflecting your personal taste, the shape should match your lifestyle and activities. The key question to ask yourself is: how do I plan to use my sunglasses?
• Rectangular frames tend to be small, and are available in full rim, half rim or rimless versions. If you’re looking for a practical pair of sunglasses that can easily be adapted for corrective lenses, these are ideal.
• Square frames tend to be relatively large and are increasingly fashionable for women, with recent trends favouring a retro 60s style.
• Round frames are one of the oldest styles on the market, and remain fashionable as the ‘John Lennon look’.
• Aviator style frames are so-called because the style was first created for US Air Force pilots. Originally designed in metal, they are now available in plastic. The downward-sloping form offers extra protection from the sun while also providing an elegant finish.
• Wayfarer style frames are another classic model. With their linear top half and rounded bottom half, they offer a fashionable mix of a rectangular frame’s seriousness and a round frame’s cool. Wayfarers usually come in plastic, with coloured frames more and more in vogue.
• Wraparound frames are generally designed for sports. Thanks to a large curved lens, wraparounds optimise your field of vision. They also offer better lateral protection by blocking sunlight from the sides and help keep out dust and other nuisances. Ideal if you play a lot of sport or have sensitive eyes.
• Oversized frames are, as the name suggests, particularly large. While they are generally seen as a fashion accessory, these frames help boost protection by covering a large area around your eyes. Originally reserved for women, oversized frames are becoming more and more popular with men.
• Cat eye frames offer a touch of feminine glamour. With their characteristic pointed top corners, these frames were the height of fashion in the 50s and are now making a comeback.
• Butterfly frames are designed to resemble the form of a butterfly, with their asymmetric lenses covering a large part of the forehead. They make for an elegant alternative to classic styles, but be wary: they may not suit everyone’s face.
• Shield frames cover a large part of the face. The lenses join together around the bridge and the temples are often shorter and thicker, helping to shield your face and give you an unlimited field of vision. Because the lens is such an unusual shape, this type of frame is not suited to wearers of corrective glasses.
To find out which shape and size of frame best suits your face, check out our online consultation tool.