Square, round, cat-eye, aviator—sunglasses come in so many sizes and shapes that picking the best style for your face shape can be tricky. Whether you’re buying for yourself, or choosing a gift for your boyfriend or dad, these tips from an expert will help you choose sunglasses that will look great on your face.
What’s Your Face Shape?
The first step in choosing eyeglass frames that suit your face shape is—what else?—determining your face shape. It’s not as simple or as complex as it sounds. First, stand in front of a mirror or take a good, face-forward head shot with your phone and print it out. It’s much easier to measure across a flat surface than it is to account for the rounded contours of your forehead or the bump your nose makes in the middle of your face. Now, grab a tape measure and measure:
- the width across your forehead from eyebrow arch to eyebrow arch
- width across your cheeks from the sharpest point of your cheekbones under your eyes
- the width of your jaw at the widest point
- the length of your face from the center of your hairline to the tip of your chin
Next, compare the measurements to see which of the following profiles fits best—pun completely intended.
- Round – The length of your face and width of your cheekbones are similar. So are the width of your jaw and forehead. The angle of your jaw is soft.
- Square – All of the measurements are similar. The angle of your jaw is sharp.
- Oblong – The length of your face is greater than its width. All three width measurements are similar. The angle of your jaw is sharp.
- Heart – Your face length is the largest measurement, followed by, in order, cheekbones, forehead, and jawline.
- Oval – The length of your face is greater than the width at the cheekbones, and your forehead is wider than your jawline. The angle of your jaw is soft.
There. That’s not so hard, is it?
Which Sunglasses Shape is Best for Your Face Shape?
Now that you know the shape of your face, how do you determine which style of sunglasses will look best on you? I talked with Allen, an optician at Premier Optical, who advised, “The general rule is that you want a shape that contrasts with the shape of your face to help balance everything out. So, if your face is round, rectangular glasses that are a little wider than your cheekbones give the illusion of more width at the cheeks, and make your face look longer.” Other recommendations for choosing sunglasses by face shape include:
- Square – Choose sunglasses that are rounded at the bottom. They’ll help soften your jawline and give some shape to your face. Thin frames help with the illusion, as well.
- Round – Choose oblong or angled sunglasses that are a little wider than your cheekbones.
- Oblong – Choose rounded styles to offset the length of your face. Semi-rimless styles, like these Joopin polarized sunglasses, will also draw attention to the top half of your face, making it seem slightly wider than your jaw.
- Oval – Lucky you! You’ve got the face shape that looks great with almost any style of sunglass frame. Try these cool driving glasses that most other face shapes can’t quite pull off.
- Heart – You get to pull off some really fun looks, like oversized sunglasses with exaggerated bottoms or vintage cats-eye glasses with little diamond accents. Stick to frames that are wider at the bottom than they are at the top—but other than that, have fun.
It’s not just about shape, though. “Proportion is really important when picking sunglasses, or any type of glasses frame,” Allen noted. Tiny little glasses look out of place on larger faces, and huge glasses overpower small ones. Consider both size and shape when choosing your sunglasses to find the ones that look best on you. Also, you can almost never go wrong with aviator glasses.
Ultimately, though, Allen said, the rules don’t really matter. “What’s most important is your personal style. Pick glasses that you like and that make you feel good, and you’ll look great in them.
Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
Deb Powers is a freelance writer who specializes in home, education, and lifestyle topics. She draws on her experiences as a teacher, mother, grandmother, and all-around creative spirit to help others achieve their own goals.