Lenses are generally made of either glass or plastic. Glass lenses offer the clearest vision and they’re also more solid and scratch resistance. Plastic lenses are typically made of either polyamide, polycarbonate, or a material dubbed CR-39. Polycarbonate is the lightest of the plastics and the most resistant alternative to crystal glass, while polyamide generally provides the best vision quality. CR-39 is the most widely used and the go-to material for polarized lenses.
Broadly speaking, most sunglasses are made of either metal, nylon fiber, or acetate. Nylon fiber aka plastic is one of the most resistant and versatile materials around. Generally speaking, metal is favored for its resistant properties and clean, classic look.
Acetate is a non-petroleum based plastic composed mainly of natural materials. As a material, it’s more supple than regular plastic, can be made totally transparent and can be used to make more complex colours.
Blue lenses improve colour perception and help define the contours of objects. Green lenses add warm tones to what you see and improve contrast, which helps reduce eye strain. Yellow and brown lenses are best for judging depth perception. If you want to see the world as in its most filter-less form opt for gray lenses, as they deliver the truest colour perception.
Lenses can be full coloured or feature a gradient effect. The faded look isn’t just about style, but it also has benefits for your eyes as it makes it easier to see in various light conditions.
Nowadays, nearly all sunglasses provide full protection from UV rays, but what you should be looking out for in your shades is what’s known as the ‘protection index’. When looking to cop shades for everyday use, look for ones with a protection index of one to three to be safe. There are other lens treatments that affect how a lens looks as well as its level of protection. Polarization helps block glare from the sun, keeping your vision sharp and clear even in situations of bright sunlight. Photochromic lenses adapt depending on the intensity of the sunlight. Then there are photo-polar lenses, which block glare and adapt to changing sunlight conditions. Finally, there are mirrored lenses, which reflects sunlight hitting the surface of the lens, stopping it from reaching your eyes.
How to Pick the Right Sunglasses for Your Face Shape
A square face is probably the easiest to spot as it means you basically have an angular face. Defining features include a chiseled brow and broad jawline that are roughly the same width. Rounded designs are always a good option. Consider aviators, oval and round frames, or, if you’ve been blessed with a particularly defined jawline, semi-rimless styles too.
If your face is roughly as long as it is wide, you fall into the “round” category. If this is the case for you, then look out for options that offset your facial contours and add sharpness. Go for angular-shaped or horizontal frames – they’ll elongate your face and make it look longer. If you’re wanting to make more of a statement with your shades, check out shield or wrapped styles.
An oval face is taller than it is wide and isn’t too angular around the brow or jaw, which means you can pull off just about any style – from tea shades to Oakley’s sport shades. Rounded frames work as do sharp-cornered ones, and styles that sweep upwards such as butterfly frames will complement high cheekbones. If you want to balance out the length of your face, then go for a heavy-framed rectangular option.
If you have a broad brow and a narrow chin, chances are you have a heart-shaped face. In this case, pick styles that balance out brow-jaw proportions and draw attention downwards. Go-to sunglasses for the heart-shape-faced among us include low profile or light-colored frames that add length to your face. Frames with thin temples or embellished bottoms can also help to elongate the face.
Sunglasses: How Americana, Hip-Hop, Rock & Rave Influenced Our Shades
When we think of Americana, we probably think of dusty roadside motels and distressed denim. From a sunglasses perspective, one can’t overlook the effortless cool some silhouettes provided. It’s easy to see why the Americana trend buoyed brands to great heights, and why some continue to be an important piece of the sartorial puzzle.
If you want to wear sunglasses inside, we suggest having a couple of gold records hanging on your wall. But in all seriousness, the small accessory played a huge role in establishing a sense of mysteriousness for the people we’ve elevated to rock royalty. Sunglasses go a long way in creating a sense of character. It’s equally about what you want the world to know about you, while simultaneously wanting to keep certain things hidden.
Whereas designations like “rock” and “hip-hop” can be used to simply indicate genres of music, the latter has become so pervasive in influencing modern fashion that it would be quite limiting to define it solely as such. From a sunglasses standpoint, hip-hop reinforced how classic silhouettes could be built upon using flashier additions that still remained core to a brand’s DNA.
Both utilitarian — and an outward statement of the willingness to push the boundaries on social etiquette — sunglasses during this movement got larger and more technicolor in design. While rave fashion has run the gamut, sunglasses have remained an integral piece of the sartorial puzzle. Tinted lenses, oversized frames, and like with everything in fashion, we’ve seen styles from the ‘90s come back to great effect.