A Comprehensive Guide to Sunglasses Styles

Sunglasses are an indispensable part of our daily lives, playing a big role in our eye health and fashion. They add a touch of flair to our already-existing style and help protect our eyes from harsh UV rays so we can stay comfortable out in the sun!

But before you can find your perfect pair, you’ll need to know about the many different types of sunglasses so you can choose the right one for you. We’re focusing on the most popular sunglass styles so you can find your match and wear them confidently wherever you go. Let’s get started!

A Comprehensive Guide to Sunglasses Styles

Why Are Sunglasses Important?

Beyond being a mere fashion accessory, they play a crucial role in safeguarding our vision and overall eye health.

UV Exposure

One of the primary functions of sunglasses is shielding our eyes from the detrimental effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can result in serious eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and photokeratitis (sunburn of the cornea). By wearing sunglasses with UV protection, we significantly reduce the risk of these long-term issues, ensuring the longevity of our eyesight.

Visual Comfort

Glare from sunlight reflecting off surfaces like water, snow, or roads can be annoying and dangerous, particularly when driving or engaging in outdoor activities. The good news? Sunglasses, specifically the types of sunglasses with polarized lenses, can effectively diminish glare, allowing for clearer vision and improved safety.

A Protective Shield

Sunglasses act as a barrier against environmental irritants such as wind, dust, and sand. These elements can cause discomfort, leading to dryness, redness, and even potential eye infections. By wearing sunglasses, we create a physical barrier that helps keep our eyes comfortable and free from irritation.

A Comprehensive Guide to Sunglasses Styles

Iconic Styles of Sunglasses

While functionality remains paramount, sunglasses also offer an opportunity for your self-expression and style! There are all types of sunglasses shapes, styles, and colors, offering you a unique blend of both fashion and function all in one. Let’s dive into some of the most iconic types of sunglasses, focusing on their distinct shapes and how they could fit into different fashions and lifestyles.

Aviator Sunglasses

Originally designed for pilots in the 1930s, aviator sunglasses are probably best known for their sleek, thin metal frames and teardrop-shaped lenses. Their design complements virtually any face shape and is ideal for casual and formal ensembles.

Throughout the years, variations of aviators have incorporated different types of materials, shapes, and browlines to create fresh new looks to a classic frame. Explore the diverse range of aviator frames to freshen up your look.

A Comprehensive Guide to Sunglasses Styles

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Browline Sunglasses

Browline sunglasses, have a more distinctive design that highlights the upper part of the frames akin to the wearer’s eyebrows, blending a vintage charm with modern sophistication. Browline sunglasses became popular in the 1950s and 1960s, and they have seen a resurgence in recent years, particularly appealing to those who love a retro aesthetic. Whether you pair it with formal wear or casual outfits, they can add a touch of intellectual chic to any look.

A Comprehensive Guide to Sunglasses Styles

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Round Sunglasses

The epitome of timeless elegance, round sunglasses nod to the vintage styles of the past while remaining firmly in fashion. Perfect for softening angular face shapes, round frames can range from subtly curved to perfectly circular, suiting various personal styles.

Round frames come in a huge variety from classic metal frames to bold, statement-making designs, ensuring a pair that matches every fashion sense and occasion. They’re the go-to accessory for adding a bohemian or artistic flair to your ensemble.

A Comprehensive Guide to Sunglasses Styles

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Oval Sunglasses

Oval sunglasses are known for their versatility and elegance, fitting well with most face shapes but particularly flattering on square and rectangular faces by softening sharp angles. These sunglasses are ideal for those who prefer a classic, understated look that complements various outfits and occasions.

Square Sunglasses

For those with round or oval face shapes looking to add some definition to their features, square sunglasses might be an excellent choice for you. Their angular lines create a balanced and commanding presence. These frames enhance facial features and provide ample coverage from the sun, making them both a practical and stylish option!

Rectangular Sunglasses

Rectangular shapes are known for their versatility which look good on almost any face, but are especially flattering on those with a round or oval face. The straight lines and sharp angles provides a pleasing contrast, enhancing your features with a sleek, contemporary edge.

A Comprehensive Guide to Sunglasses Styles

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Cat Eye Sunglasses

Cat-eye sunglasses are the quintessence of feminine flair. Cat-eye frames feature an upswept design that exudes elegance and sophistication. They range from subtle, modern takes to bold, vintage-inspired frames, perfect for adding a touch of glamor to any look. Ideal for heart-shaped and angular faces, these sunglasses elevate your style quotient while providing excellent sun protection, making them a timeless accessory for fashion-forward individuals.

Butterfly Sunglasses

Butterfly sunglasses, sometimes bundled together under cat-eye sunglasses, with their oversized and wide frames that widen towards the temple, mimic the shape of butterfly wings, offering a glamorous and feminine appeal. This style is excellent for adding a touch of elegance to any outfit, providing generous coverage for the eyes and the delicate skin around them.

A Comprehensive Guide to Sunglasses Styles

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Wrap-Around Sunglasses

Wrap-around sunglasses are designed for maximum coverage and protection, curving around the sides of the face to shield your eyes from all angles. Ideal for sports and outdoor activities, these sunglasses are favored by athletes and adventurers for their snug fit and ability to protect against wind, dust, and glare. Their durable construction and high-quality lenses make them a practical choice for anyone with an active lifestyle.

A Comprehensive Guide to Sunglasses Styles

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Heart-Shaped Sunglasses

Heart-shaped sunglasses are the epitome of a fun and flirtatious style, perfect for adding a playful touch to your look. These whimsical heart-shaped frames range from subtle to bold, allowing you to express your personality and style whimsically. These sunglasses are especially great for themed parties, summer festivals, or when you want to stand out from the crowd!

Geometric Sunglasses

For a fun twist on classic eyewear, geometric sunglasses offer a modern and distinctive look. These frames break away from traditional round or square shapes, presenting a unique alternative that catches the eye. Hexagonal sunglasses work well with various face shapes, adding an edgy and fashion-forward element to any ensemble. Their sharp angles and clean lines are perfect for those looking to make a statement with their eyewear, blending contemporary style with classic elegance.

A Comprehensive Guide to Sunglasses Styles

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Clip-On Sunglasses

Clip-on sunglasses are a versatile and convenient solution for eyeglass wearers who want to protect their eyes from the sun without investing in a separate pair of prescription sunglasses. These attachments easily clip onto your existing glasses, transforming them into protective eyewear in seconds! Clip-ons are great for those with changing vision needs or who want the flexibility to switch between indoor and outdoor settings without changing frames.

Tips For Picking The Right Frames

Whether you have a round, square, oval, or heart-shaped face, there’s a style of sunglasses designed to highlight your best features. For guidance on identifying your face shape and selecting frames that suit you best, determine your face shape.

And for frame color, think about your wardrobe and lifestyle. Neutral colors like black, brown, or gray are versatile and can match almost any outfit, while bolder colors or patterns can add a pop of personality to your look.

A Comprehensive Guide to Sunglasses Styles

Tips For Picking The Right Lenses

Remember, the best pair of sunglasses will also balance functionality with style, ensuring you look great while protecting your eyes. Zenni Optical offers a wide range of options, including various lens treatments and frame styles, ensuring you can find the perfect match for your needs and preferences.

Polarized lenses are ideal for reducing glare, especially if you spend a lot of time driving or near water. Polarized lenses are designed to enhance visual clarity and contrast and protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, making them a smart choice for outdoor enthusiasts and professionals alike. Their ability to filter out intense reflected light can significantly reduce eye strain and improve overall comfort during outdoor activities.

Photochromic lenses are ideal for the wearers who transition between indoor and outdoor environments quickly or frequently. The photochromic technology has continued to progress over the past couple decades to become a stylish and convenient alternative to having multiple different frames. Photochromic lenses now come in multiple color options and now adapt to UV changes faster than ever before!

A Comprehensive Guide to Sunglasses Styles

Find the Perfect Pair At Zenni

Find the perfect pair of custom sunglasses that protect your eyes and complement your unique style. Whether you’re searching for classic aviators, trendy hexagonal frames, or functional wrap-around sunglasses, you can choose the exact specifications you need. Browse through our curated list of all types of sunglasses that are as unique as you are.

Beyond offering diverse styles, Zenni Optical prioritizes eye health, with all sunglasses providing full UV protection. Finally, feel like a sunglass model by finding your dream pair of sunglasses today!

Avatar of Catherine Ong

Catherine Ong

Dr. Catherine Ong, OD, is an optometrist based in the Bay Area, California. She earned her doctorate from UC Berkeley, School of Optometry and currently provides primary and speciality eyecare in a private practice setting. She has a passion for patient education and enjoys reshaping technical concepts into digestable topics for all patients. When she is not seeing patients, you can find her exploring new restaurants, exercising, or trying out new recipes.