Shades for Every Face: Find Your Perfect Shape
One of the hardest parts of shopping for the best sunglasses for women is trying to decode each of the different frame styles. After all, what does "wayfarer" even mean?
If you don't know the difference between cat-eye and rimless, here's the place to start:
Square sunglasses are exactly what they sound like. In fact, many women love square frames because they provide an angular contrast to their otherwise round- or oval-shaped face.
But with the simplicity of square sunglasses also comes a range of opportunity. For example, you can find square aviators, square cat-eyes, and countless other combinations that offer the perfect complement to your facial structure and fashion sense.
When we mention aviator sunglasses, one of the first images that come to mind is probably Tom Cruise in "Top Gun." Or, perhaps what comes to mind is Hunter S. Thompson (or Johnny Depp roleplaying as the famous author). And, in either case, you're not wrong.
As the fairly straightforward name implies, aviator sunglasses originated with pilots. John MacReady, one of the earliest pilots to take to the sky in the early 20th Century, takes credit for coming up with the design.
Aviator sunglasses first came to fruition as a way to protect pilots' eyes from the harsh sunlight high in the atmosphere.
Since existing aviator goggles weren't dark enough (and removing them meant potentially losing your eyes) MacReady worked with Bausch & Lomb, eventual creators of Ray-Ban, to design a pair of glasses that did the job.
In the 1930s, these new glasses were sold to sportsmen as a way to fight the sun's glare on the lake or the golf course. Several decades later, women's aviators entered the market.
Today, aviator sunglasses feature wireframes and oversized, tapered lenses. You can find these sunglasses in all different colors, but there's nothing like the classic yellow-brown lenses for a retro look.
On the subject of celebrities in sunglasses, The Beatles and round sunglasses go hand-in-hand. And with a renewed interest in vintage fashion, these iconic lenses have swiftly come back into style.
As you can probably guess, round sunglasses feature circular frames. Generally, you'll find these lenses fastened into place with wireframes. However, you can also find round sunglasses in almost any color, material, or size you can imagine.
This dramatic frame shape has a rather intriguing history. And they weren't always called cat-eye sunglasses.
Created by a woman named Altina Schinasi, the cat-eye style was a direct response to the lack of feminine eyeglasses available in the early 19th Century. She found inspiration in the Harlequin masks of Venice, and so the "Harlequin glasses" were born.
Then, the 1950s and 1960s came around, and the Harlequin shape was seen on the likes of Marylin Monroe, Audrey Hepburn (who wore a pair of oversized cat-eye sunglasses in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"), and other female fashion icons of the era.
This was also around the time when people stopped calling them "Harlequin" glasses and started referring to them as cat-eyes.
Now, cat-eye sunglasses are some of the most popular frames around. You can spot a cat-eye frame from a mile away thanks to the signature upturned shape, mimicking the shape of a cat's eye or winged eyeliner.
Image via Flickr
A close cousin to the cat-eye shape is the butterfly. While nowhere near as popular as its feline-inspired counterpart, these sunglasses were relatively trendy in the early 2000s.
This lens shape also pairs well with oversized frames, which are a must-have in any good sunglasses collection.
As the name implies, butterfly sunglasses are, more-or-less, shaped like butterfly wings. Some styles take this interpretation a bit further than others, though.
You can find butterfly lenses that just barely flair out like wings, otherwise maintaining a fairly rectangular profile. Others, though, literally look like butterfly wings. They even have scalloped edges to show where the top and bottom wings would overlap.
For those with a playful, feminine style, these are definitely some of the best sunglasses for women that aren't too mainstream.
Image via Pexels
Large, statement frames are all well and good for some people. Others, though, prefer something a bit more understated. If this applies to you, may we suggest a pair of rimless sunglasses?
Rimless frames might still be some of the best sunglasses for women today, but the style actually dates back as far as the mid-1800s.
The rimless style started with a type of eyeglasses called "pince-nez" (if you think about it for a moment, you'll realize that literally means "pinched nose").
Instead of using temples to hold themselves in place, these glasses relied on pinching the nose to stay on the face. Obviously, rimless sunglasses of today don't share this design element. But it's still interesting to learn a bit about this trend's history.
When we talk about rimless sunglasses in modern terms, we're generally referring to glasses that have very, very slim wires around the lenses. From a distance, these glasses look — surprise, surprise — completely rimless.
Have you heard the term Wayfarer, but have no idea what a pair of Wayfarer sunglasses actually look like? Or perhaps you've never even heard the term spoken before!
Either way, you definitely know what a pair of Wayfarers look like, you just don't realize it. They're what most people know as Ray-Bans.
The Ray-Ban brand might make countless sunglasses styles, but there's one silhouette they're famous for. In fact, their signature Wayfarers are so iconic that most people just call them "Ray-Bans."
On paper, the Wayfarer doesn't seem like it should be as popular as it is. Yet, these plastic, trapezoid frames have basically become the blue jeans of sunglasses.
There's a very good chance you've never actually seen someone rock a pair of shield sunglasses in person. But that doesn't mean these aren't some of the best sunglasses for women with an eccentric taste in fashion.
Shield sunglasses, which look more like ski goggles than day-to-day eyewear, have been quite popular with Instagram influencers and celebrities in recent seasons.
And on top of being fashionable, these glasses will definitely protect your eyes and the surrounding skin from dangerous UV rays!
In short, shield sunglasses are oversized, square or cat-eye sunglasses with a lens that extends across both eyes. In other words, the nose bridge is covered by the middle of this singular lens. Again, just like ski goggles.
Heart-shaped sunglasses are pretty self-explanatory. But this trend has held some interesting roles in pop culture throughout the decades.
While the first recorded pair of heart sunglasses is estimated to come from the 1950s, 1962 marked a jump in popularity for the unique eyewear.
You see, the controversial film "Lolita" (based off the book of the same name by Vladimir Nabokov) featured the heart-shaped frames. Actually, the sunglasses even appeared on the movie's official poster.
Since then, heart-shaped sunglasses have been seen on musicians, celebrities, schoolchildren, festival-goers, and people from all walks of life. And, honestly, who could avoid falling in love with such an adorable pair of sunglasses?