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How to choose the best sunglasses for your face shape

Frames that flatter your features, according to an optometrist

Sunglasses for face shape Credit: Sunglasses Direct/Quay

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From retro cat eyes to Top Gun-esque aviators to classic Ray Bans, sunnies are as functional as they are fun. The MVPs of good eye health, they shield your peepers from harmful sun rays via UVA and UVB protection and can prevent eye strain (and wrinkles!) by reducing the need to squint on a bright day.

But with such a wide variety of frame styles, shapes, and sizes available, shopping for sunnies can be overwhelming. To ensure your sunglasses are spectacular this summer (pun intended), we asked Dr. Lilan Le, head of optometry at Heywear in New York City, for a few tips on how to pick the best sunglasses based on your face shape.

One thing to keep in mind no matter your face shape: Size matters. While it's important to match your frames to your features—i.e., if you have delicate features, you'll want thinner frames that don't overpower your face—you also want full coverage. "The bigger the better," Dr. Le says, recommending a shape and fit that fully covers your eyebrows or at the very least sits near your brow line. "The more protection you have from the sun, the better the glasses will do their job of reducing glare and protecting the structures of your eyes from UV damage."

Below are Dr. Le's recommendations for the four most common face shapes: heart-shaped, round, oval, and square.

If you have an oval face

Oval
Credit: Discount Sunglasses/Warby Parker

People with oval faces can pick almost any pair of sunnies.

Good news for people with an oval face: Your shape can pull off almost every style of frame, according to Dr. Le. The only sunnies you may want to avoid are those with dramatic features or those that are significantly wider than your face, which can throw off your naturally balanced proportions.

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If you have a heart-shaped face

Heart
Credit: Quay/Prive Revaux

Heart-shaped faces benefit from frames that are wider at the top.

Defined by a wide forehead, high cheekbones, and a pointed chin, this face shape requires a bit of balance. Choose bottom-heavy, oval, or rimless frames that are wider than your forehead to broaden the appearance of your chin.

Frames that mimic the shape of your face also work well. "Sunglasses that are wider at the top and narrow at the bottom such as cat eye styles or aviators draw more attention to the eyes," Dr. Le explains.

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If you have a round face

Round
Credit: Eye Buy Direct/Discount Sunglasses

The rounder your face, the less round your sunglasses should be.

To add dimension and perceived length to a round face, try geometric and rectangular frames that hit just above your cheekbones. Square, aviator, and wayfarer styles all create a contrast between the angular frame and your face.

Dr. Le says to steer clear of circular frames (think: John Lennon style), which will make your face look even rounder.

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If you have a square face

Square
Credit: Warby Parker/Quay

Both Warby Parker and Quay have plenty of options for those with a square face.

A square face is characterized by a forehead and cheekbones that are equally as wide as the jawline, which tends to be broader and sharper than a round face. To soften your angular features, opt for curved or round thin frames that are slightly wider than your cheekbones. Both cat eye and aviator styles work well, Dr. Le says.

She warns against boxy eyewear or frames with sharp corners, which draw more attention to the square shape of your face.

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