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How To Choose The Right Sunglasses For You

Select the perfect shades to suit your face shape

As Mr Jack Nicholson once put it: “With my sunglasses on, I’m Jack Nicholson. Without them, I’m fat and 60.” He was right: a good pair of sunglasses are transformative (although we can’t guarantee they’ll turn you into an Oscar winner). And yet, finding the perfect pair can be shady business. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the range of styles, sizes and shapes on offer. The trick is to choose a pair that complements your features – do that and you’ll instantly up your frame game.

Here at MR PORTER, we suggest investing in a pair that will stand the test of time, so we have selected five styles you can wear today, tomorrow and for years to come (providing you don’t sit on them).

Aviator sunglasses owe their genesis, unsurprisingly, to the US Air Force. In 1929, Lieutenant General John McCready challenged optical firm Bausch & Lomb (then owners of Ray-Ban) to create a pair of sunglasses that would protect test pilots from the headache-inducing glare you get at high altitude. Their mainstream popularity, however, came as a result of the machismo-heavy flick Top Gun (1986), in which Messrs Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer cemented their appeal. Angular frames like these will help add definition to rounder faces, plus they’ll look as good in the city as they do by the pool or beach. And who doesn’t want the air of an off-duty fighter pilot?

Or try these...

  • Oliver Peoples Braedon Aviator-Style Acetate and Gold-Tone Polarised Sunglasses

  • Prada Aviator-Style Metal and Acetate Sunglasses

It is down to Mr Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) and Mr Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) that tortoiseshell frames have been one of the most enduring eyewear styles in recent decades. The trade in real tortoiseshell was banned in 1973, and now the effect is created by mixing acetate with resin chips. It’s warm amber and honey hue will look good with almost everything, and on anyone – if only seeking out the sun (in London, at least) was as easy.

Or try these...

  • Hopper + Jacques Marie Mage Taos Square-Frame Tortoiseshell Acetate Sunglasses

  • Barton Perreira Coltrane Square-Frame Tortoiseshell Acetate Polarised Sunglasses

With their square shape, D-frames are ideal for those with an oval face shape. The most iconic, of course, are the Ray-Ban’s Wayfarer. First designed in 1952 by optical engineer Mr Raymond Stegeman, the clean lines reflects the fuss-free modernism of post-war design. Since then, the style has surfed the shifting tides in taste with a cool assurance. Their appearance in The Blues Brothers (1980), Risky Business (1983) and Reservoir Dogs (1992) further cemented their reputation as the cool kid’s go-to. Avid fans of the Ray-Ban Wayfarer over the years (the entire MR PORTER team aside) have included Messrs Ryan Gosling, Johnny Marr and Elvis Costello.

Or try these...

  • Bottega Veneta D-Frame Tortoiseshell Acetate and Titanium Sunglasses

  • Gucci D-Frame Acetate and Gold-Tone Sunglasses

With their retro brow line, square-frame sunglasses make a statement. As seen on Sir Michael Caine in The Italian Job (1969), Mr Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator (1984) and Mr Brad Pitt in Fight Club (1999), we can thank designers such as Gucci’s Mr Alessandro Michele for their recent return – Mr Michele put statement specs on many of the models in his last catwalk show. If you have an oval or round face shape, square frames are your best bet as they add extra definition.

Or try these...

  • Kingsman + Cutler & Gross Square-Frame Acetate Sunglasses

  • Dries Van Noten Square-Frame Acetate Sunglasses

Round frames were co-opted by the British National Health Service in the 1950s and 1960s. By the late 1990s, what was once the sign of inveterate geekdom had been elevated by the likes of Mr Liam Gallagher of Britpop band Oasis and Mr Jean Reno in Léon (1994). Their stylish transformation into sunglasses has seen them rise even higher. Their attraction, aside from the retro good looks, is that the cushioned shape make them a lot more flattering on most face shapes. Whether you’re basking on a sunny beach or lazing over a long lunch, these will add some serious sophistication to your look.

Or try these...

  • Persol Round-Frame Tortoiseshell Acetate Mirrored Sunglasses

  • Moscot Lemtosh Round-Frame Acetate Sunglasses