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The Essential Things You Need to Know When Buying Sunglasses

Lens & frame materials

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.

PRADA
PRADA

Lens colors

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.

MIU MIU
MIU MIU

Lens technologies & treatments

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.

BURBERRY
BURBERRY

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Prada
 
 
£278.00
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Miu Miu
 
 
£239.00
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Burberry
 
 
£180.00
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Persol
 
 
£196.00
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Vogue
 
 
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Prada Linea Rossa
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Valentino
 
 
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Oakley
 
 
£130.00
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Arnette
 
 
£101.00
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Oakley
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Prada
 
 
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Versace
 
 
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These Are the Sunglasses You Should be Collecting, According to Highsnobiety Staff

Stella Richter
Art Director

Q: What do you look for when you buy a new pair of shades? A: Mainly, that I like the shape, the colours and that it fits my face. I usually get this ‘oh yes, baby’ feeling, when a pair really suits me. Then I take it home and love it forever. Q: How do you work a pair of sunglasses into your outfit? A: Sometimes sunglasses are the first thing I pick and then go from there. Sometimes it’s the other way around and I need to find the perfect sunglasses to complete the look. I usually feel like an outfit is unfinished without sunglasses.

PRADA LINEA ROSSA
PRADA LINEA ROSSA

Atip Waranuks
Fashion Director

Q: Sunglasses are becoming an increasingly important and playful accessory, why do you think that is? A: Like watches, trainers or anything to do with an expression of self and style, these things become an extension of your personal style and taste. Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to start building a collection of shades? A: Invest and buy what you love, not what’s trending. Your style and taste will always change so it will make for a more interesting and lasting collection if you so choose what you love.

OAKLEY
OAKLEY

Ufuk Inci
Senior Producer

Q: Talk us through your sunglass collection. A: I have a pretty classic approach to sunglasses, but I do like to have a variation. We’re talking about aviation and military-inspired frames, or even frames inspired from ’50s or ’60s Americana shapes, but with a subtle twist to them. Q: Why do you think it’s important to have a solid selection of sunglasses? A: It’s nice to play around, you tell stories by wearing a certain shape or colour. People tend to underestimate the power that accessories have in creating great outfits – they can add another layer and elevate even the most basic look.

PRADA
PRADA

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.

RAY-BAN
RAY-BAN
Versace
 
 
£211.00
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Michael Kors
POLARIZED 
 
£132.00
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Emporio Armani
 
 
£118.00
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Miu Miu
 
 
£222.00
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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.

ARNETTE
ARNETTE
Burberry
 
 
£180.00
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Persol
POLARIZED 
 
£239.00
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Ray-Ban
 
 
£127.00
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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.

PRADA
PRADA
Versace
POLARIZED 
 
£201.00
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Valentino
 
 
£205.00
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Ray-Ban
POLARIZED 
 
£254.00
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Burberry
 
 
£180.00
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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.

OAKLEY
OAKLEY
Persol
POLARIZED 
 
£257.00
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Ray-Ban
 
 
£154.00
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Vogue
 
 
£118.00
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Polo Ralph Lauren
POLARIZED 
 
£134.00
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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.

PERSOL
PERSOL

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.

BURBERRY
BURBERRY

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.

VOGUE
VOGUE

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.

OAKLEY
OAKLEY

Discover our Americana, Hip-Hop, Rock and Rave styles

Persol
POLARIZED 
 
£211.00
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Burberry
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£227.00
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Vogue
 
 
£118.00
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Oakley
 
 
£130.00
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Emporio Armani
 
 
£157.00
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Michael Kors
 
 
£107.00
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Versace
 
 
£211.00
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Burberry
 
 
£180.00
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Dolce & Gabbana
 
 
£232.00
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Oakley
POLARIZED 
 
£180.00
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Prada
 
 
£258.00
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Prada
 
 
£278.00
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Prada Linea Rossa
 
 
£217.00
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Ray-Ban
 
 
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Vogue
 
 
£118.00
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