“Can you tell me what shape of sunglasses will suit my round face? I’m trying to replace my favorites, which just broke. They were framed with a bit of cat eye wraps that gave me the feel like I’m wearing a VR headset so I need advice Where to start and how financially irresponsible do I have to be to get a good pair? — Squint in Toronto
Oh, squint, I feel you. Sunglasses are more important to me than any other accessory. Even on the cloudiest day, I imagine the sun frying my retinas without them. I also get attached to specific pairs – mine have been in the same Jackie O style for about three decades now.
I admire you for looking outside your comfort zone for a new favorite pair, and if you choose to be fiscally irresponsible, I’d like you to be confident in your choice. So I turned to a few experts for advice on how we can all find the right sunglasses for our face shape.
The first is longtime eyewear whisperer Amin Mamdani, owner of the trio of Squint Eyewear boutiques in Toronto. He’s the guy who watches you carefully, guesses your deepest optical desires, and selects the right frame from thousands. “It’s a combination of art and science,” says Mamdani, explaining that a good optician will consider your hairstyle, clothing and attitude to help you find a style that will help you stand out. But he stresses that fit is the first concern, otherwise the frames will fit badly on you. “You gather information, looking at the structure of the face, the distance from ear to ear, the shape of the bridge of the nose, the height of the arch above the eyebrows.”
There’s a bit more wiggle room when it comes to sunglasses than glasses, he says. “Because they’re tinted, you don’t see if the eye hits the center of the frame.”
Here’s how Mamdani checks for major fit points: First, “follow the contour of the eyebrow and make sure the frame is at or above eyebrow level.” If it’s within that area – we’re looking at you, Bella Hadid’s little ’90s redux triangular glasses – “all sunlight will come through the top. Sunglasses are sun protection, after all .”
Next, make sure the glasses aren’t resting on your cheeks when you smile. And third, make sure the arms are long enough that there is room for adjustment behind the ears. “If you buy your sunglasses from an optician, they’ll fit snugly before you leave,” says Mamdani. “I can’t tell you how important it is to how they feel and what they look like.”
In his opinion, “nobody talks about the bridge and how snug it should fit on the nose. If it pinches, it doesn’t look good, causing the glasses to sit too high or too wide, and they leave a red mark on the top of the nose.”
Entrusting your selection to an intuitive sunglass like Mamdani is a great option, especially if you’re ready to invest. But since much of our consumption is now online, I reached out to Canadian online optical company Clearly, which offers prescription and non-prescription glasses and sunglasses, and offers a virtual trial option and sales assistants available to offer their ideas on fit. and face shape online.
But it’s Clearly’s face shape guide that’s most helpful for that conversation. “Periods is too strong a word,” says vice president of product Negar Hadavi of the face shape guide, which you can find on the website. “The guidelines are here to help you start your search.”
Let’s first explore your round face shape, strabismus. Hadavi says your cat-eye favorites are right, because “raised frames draw attention to the eye.” Rectangular frames “add contrast to the facial structure” of a round face. And the geometric frames “add crisp, distinctive lines to create balance.” You can also find suggestions for oval, heart-shaped, and square faces in the Clearly guide.
If you don’t know your face shape – don’t laugh, I didn’t know mine – ask a group of friends to help you decide. Apparently I’m an oval, in the opinion of the crowd, and I should choose oversized Jackie O frames with sharper squares rather than its “O” namesake.
In terms of trends, Hadavi says “the 70s are coming back strong later this year,” so you’ll see aviators everywhere. As for picking the right style, consider whether you want a classic silhouette, maybe a wraparound sporty look, or something oversized and glamorous.
Mamdani suggests finding a reference photo of a pair you like and taking it to the store, just like when you go to the hairdresser. This particular shape may not suit you, but it will indicate the vibe you are looking for. Or vibes, plural. “Sunglasses are like any other accessory. You can have a wardrobe of them for different moods,” says Mamdani.
Sunglasses, says Hadavi, are like shoes. “It’s an exciting purchase, there are so many to choose from, but ultimately it’s about what gives you confidence, self-expression and personal fulfilment.”
But sunglasses aren’t just pretty accessories — Hadavi and Mamdani cite their importance for maintaining good eye health, blocking the sun’s UV rays, and reducing headaches and eye strain. “Exposure to high-energy ultraviolet and visible (HEV) radiation from the sun can have serious short- and long-term consequences for our overall health, including retinal disease, impaired vision, blindness and cancer,” Hadavi says.
This is where we emphasize that buying good sunglasses is not fiscally irresponsible. “Disposable or inexpensive goggles compromise protection,” Mamdani says. So there you have it, strabismus: buying a good pair of sunglasses is really a wise investment.
Buy the tips
Here are some of the season’s best sunglasses for a round face. (See clear.ca’s face shape guide for tips on square, heart, triangle, oval, and diamond face shapes.)
Kam Dhillon Sunglasses, $145, clear.ca SHOP HERE
These retro frames have been updated with a metal bridge and temples for an attractive, lifted silhouette that’s lightweight.
Illesteva sunglasses, $302, shopbop.com SHOP HERE
This bold geometric style makes a big statement and we’re here for it.
Ray-Ban Sunglasses, $237, nordstrom.ca SHOP HERE
A round or oval face shape will never go wrong with the classic style of these travel-ready rectangular Ray-Ban glasses.
McQ Sunglasses, $230, ssense.com SHOP HERE
If you love aviators but they aren’t *quite* on your face, try this innovative metal-framed style with a subtle cat-eye shape.
Barton Perreira Sunglasses, $535, shopsquinteyewear.com SHOP HERE
Rectangular frames add sharp contrast to a round face shape – it’s a timeless style with a sophisticated upgrade. (Go into Squint Eyewear to have them fitted by one of Mamdani’s team members.)
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