Sunglasses are the ultimate accessory: They protect your eyes from harsh light and they make you look cool. The question is, what kind of cool are you going for?
Much like traditional glasses frames, sunglasses come in an array of styles. Sometimes a slight tweak in a frame’s design—like a rounded corner or a keyhole bridge—can make a big difference in the impression it leaves.
Read on to learn more about the different types of sunglasses, their signature shapes, and how they can augment your fashion choices.
For a classic, more sophisticated shape, you can always rely on the rectangle frame. Rectangle sunglasses have lenses that are more wide than tall, with corners that can be either sharp or rounded. Because so many styles of sunglasses have lenses that skew larger and rounder than regular glasses, rectangle sunglasses can read as classy and understated.
Square sunglasses show off big, blocky lenses with even sides. Despite its name, this sunglass style doesn’t have to be super angular—its corners are often soft, the perfect complement to its bold shape. All the fashion icons know: it’s hip to be square. (Sorry, we truly couldn’t resist.)
Although they were popularized by John Lennon and the bohemian crowd, round sunglasses are more versatile than their origins suggest. You can play up the vintage look with thin, round frames, or you can opt for a more contemporary statement with thicker lines.
The cat-eye shape seems tailor-made for sunglasses. When you combine the mystique of tinted lenses with those upswept corners and a colorful frame, you get sunglasses that can’t be ignored. However, if you’re feeling stylish yet subtle, you can browse this type of sunglasses with thinner rims.
Aviators have come a long way from their roots as sunglasses meant for pilots. Today, everyone can appreciate their commanding size and distinct teardrop-shaped lenses. This style often pairs a colorful tint with a sleek metal frame, and its broad lenses provide ample sun protection.
Browline or Clubmaster Sunglasses
Another retro sunglasses style, browline or clubmaster sunglasses made a big splash in the ’50s. Their design focuses on bold brows with minimal (or absent) lower rims, and lends the wearer a distinguished edge.
Geometric sunglasses embrace the oft-forgotten shapes, such as octagons, hexagons, and trapezoids. They’re playful and memorable, so fair warning: you’ll likely field a lot of questions about where you got them.
Keyhole Bridge Sunglasses
Technically, keyhole bridge sunglasses could also be any of the types of sunglasses we’ve already mentioned, with one essential feature: a keyhole-shaped gap below the bridge. It’s a small accent that adds substantial charm to a frame.
Brow Bar Sunglasses
Some styles of sunglasses incorporate a brow bar that connects the two lenses above the bridge. It’s a common touch on aviators, but other shapes are also adopting the trend, creating frames with a robust and polished look.
When it comes to sunglasses, you can go as big as your personality. Oversized frames increase the coverage of your sun protection and broadcast your style to everyone who looks your way. This style can also have an alluring, nostalgic feel, evocative of movie starlets and avant-garde pioneers.
Clip-on sunglasses allow you to switch seamlessly between standard and tinted lenses with only one frame. They’re uniquely portable, convenient, and (in our opinion) fun—who doesn’t like the satisfying “snap” of attaching your clip-ons just before heading outside?
Which Type of Sunglasses is Best for You?
Finding the right type of sunglasses for you is a matter of both fit and taste. Consider your style, try frames on at home, and decide what additional features you’d like your sunglasses to have. (Maybe you want polarized lenses or a Low Bridge Fit frame?) Once you’ve found a style of sunglasses that suits you, wear it proudly. You just might inspire other people to guard against glare with some personal flair.