The sun is bright , so it would only make sense for us to want to protect our ever-so-precious set of eyes, right? It may seem straightforward enough to pick a pair of sunglasses off the rack at your nearest convenience store and deal with it; however, there are various elements often overlooked when choosing a quality pair of sunglasses. Factors such as facial shape, skin tone, sunglass color, and frame silhouette/size all perform a role in whether or not a pair of glasses harmonizes with your face.
Aesthetics aside, not all sunglasses are made equal (not even close), so it’s useful to understand how polarization, ultraviolet rays, lens tint, and frame construction come into play. This men’s sunglasses guide will help you identify your facial shape and find you the best sunglasses for men.
How do I Choose Sunglasses for my Face Shape?
Arguably the most important parameter to consider when choosing a pair of glasses is the shape of your face. Because all of our mugs are unique, there’s no “perfect” pair of sunglasses for everyone (though some do come close). It’s necessary to pick a pair of glasses that agrees with the contours of your face and jawline to ensure you’re looking your best all while protecting your vision.
Depending on who you ask, there are between 4 and 7 types of facial structures. To streamline things a bit, I’ve decided to include the four most prevalent face shapes: circle, oval, square, and heart. I’m not the type to codify any “this must go with this” kind of rules, so if you like a particular pair of glasses, don’t let some dude on the internet tell you not to wear them.
Facial shape is merely a guideline; wear what makes you feel confident.
Finding Your Face Shape
The most accurate way to determine the shape of your face is to simply use a tape measure to record the dimensions and go from there. Remember that it’s possible to fall in between shapes. Here’s a quick and easy method from Birchbox. Be sure to record each measurement.
Forehead: Measure from the highest point of one eyebrow’s arch to the opposite side of the other eyebrow.
Cheekbones: Measure across your upper cheeks, starting and ending at the sharp bump below the outer corner of each eye.
Jawline: Measure from the tip of your chin to the point below your ear where your jaw angles upward. Multiply that number by two.
Face length: Measure from the center of your hairline to the tip of your chin.
Round: Cheekbones and face length have a similar measurement. They are larger than the forehead and jawline, which also have a similar measurement. The angle of the jaw is soft.
Heart: Jawline is long and pointed. Chin is the smallest point of the face.
Square: All measurements are fairly similar. The angle of the jaw is sharp.
Oval: Face length is larger than the width of the cheekbones, and forehead is larger than the jawline. The angle of the jaw is rounded.
Alternatively, it’s possible to outline your face on a mirror using an Expo marker (or blood). Pull back any long hair and trace the outline of your face (don’t include ears). Check out WikiHow’s guide here.
Now that you’ve figured out the shape of your face, we can dwell further into which styles look best with each type.
Best Men’s Sunglasses for Every Face Shape
Men’s Sunglasses for Round Faces
Round faces have softer edges and with the cheekbones being the widest section of the face. The face is approximately equal in both height and width. Slim, angular sunglasses work well as they allow your mug to look narrower and longer.
Leo DiCaprio is a notable celebrity boasting a round face, along with Aziz Ansari, Kanye West, and Caillou. Shoot for some glasses with corners and definitely avoid circular lenses, as it will saturate the roundness of your face.
For a proper fit on this face type, the bottom of the glasses should land just above the cheekbone.
Men’s Sunglasses for Oval faces
While structurally similar to round faces, oval faces are distinguishable with slightly wider and higher cheekbones, height greater than width, and a forehead somewhat broader than the chin. Stylistically speaking, oval faces are compatible with most types of frames and lenses. Celebrities with oval faces include Zac Efron and Chris Hemsworth.
A good rule of thumb is that the frame of the glasses should be slightly wider than your forehead. Unlike round faces, oval faces are actually complimented by thicker frames, though make sure your sunglasses don’t overpower the features of your face.
Men’s Sunglasses for Square Faces
Sporting wider cheekbones and jawline, square faces are similar to round ones in that the height and width of the profile are relatively the same, though the jawline and chin are broader and more defined.
Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and David Beckham boast square faces. Choosing rounder frames can help soften the features of your face while opting for edgier choices that can reinforce the sharp features of your face. Both options can look great and the direction is up to you.
Aim for frames on the thinner side of the spectrum as very thick ones can make your eyes look tiny in comparison to the rest of your face.
Men’s Sunglasses for Heart Faces
Heart-shaped faces are characterized by narrow cheekbones and a pointed chin. The jawline is elongated, though the chin is the lowest and sharpest point of the face by a bit. The forehead also tends to be a tad larger as it gradually narrows down to the chin.
Celebs like Ryan Gosling and Jesse Eisenberg rock their heart-shaped faces. To elongate your facial form and accentuate your features, choosing browline sunglasses wider at the top than bottom (and therefore more visual weight) will help bring the focus to the center of your face. Frames that are too blocky or cornered likely won’t mesh well with the natural curvature of your face.
Similarly, avoid frames that are too thin, as your aim is to have your sunglasses bring attention upwards without looking too overpowering.
What Are Polarized Sunglasses?
You ever stare at the sun just to really see how bright it is? Yeah, don’t do that. When it comes to eye protection, it’s crucial not to skip out on the whole “protection” part of it. I know how easy it is to pick something out just because it looks good (HM, Uniqlo) and sacrificing quality for the sake of the price point, but I’d wholly recommend getting a pair that prioritizes function. I’ll briefly explain a few terms that are useful to know when picking out a pair of glasses.
Polarization: You’ve likely heard the term in the context of sunglasses and wondered what the big deal was and why they cost extra. Polarized lenses are treated so that they not only dim incoming light rays but additionally reduce bright glares that bounce off reflective surfaces like water or other vehicles.
This is especially useful when driving and can ease the fatigue on your vision (so you can use your damn turn signals). I only buy polarized sunglasses as I think it’s worth the price.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays: These radioactive light rays are located a bit past the violet section of the visible spectrum and sunlight is the primary source. Do note that UV rays can go right through clouds, so eye protection is important even if it’s cloudy.
Ensure your sunglasses block at least 99% of rays and a UV400 rating. There are three types:
UVA: longer wavelengths that pass through glass easily. Experts disagree on whether or not they’re harmful to eyesight.
UVB: dangerous to vision, but can’t pass through glass.
UVC: do not reach Earth because our atmosphere blocks them (thanks, atmosphere!)
Lens color: There are many misconceptions about which lens color is the “safest”; however, color is a personal choice and has no effect on eye safety, but can affect the perception of existing light sources (traffic lights).
Gray, black, and brown are good choices as they distort colors the least.
Photochromatic lens: These are lenses generally made for people who normally wear corrective eyeglasses. They darken when activated by certain types of ultraviolet light, essentially creating a sunglass.