The latest trends for round sunglasses in 2021
Round sunglasses are everywhere. While this frame shape has been around for more than 100 years, the popularity of circular shades has waxed and waned.
For 2021, they’re on trend. Luckily, the round style suits most face shapes, so almost everyone can rock this effortless fashion accessory. This year’s trends bring new styles and sizes that are glamorous, classic and chic. Several high-fashion brands have their particular take on the style, too, including Gucci and Chanel.
Round sunglasses call to mind the flower-power 1960s, and they’re the type of sunglasses you may see hipsters wearing at music festivals like Coachella due to their retro vibe.
But if you’re just looking for cheap, everyday sunglasses with round lenses and frames, fear not. You can purchase sunglasses online in a variety of styles to fit your budget.
A brief history of round sunglasses
Round sunglasses have been around since the early 1900s, when manufacturers first started mass-producing sunglasses for the public. The original sunglasses on offer were wire-rimmed and round in shape — style-wise, they were plain, practical and not particularly popular.
Then, in the late 1920s, New Jersey entrepreneur Sam Foster started selling inexpensive sunglasses on boardwalks to people spending time at the beach, and wearing shades soon started to become trendy. But it wasn’t until they were worn by certain movie stars of the day — including Buster Keaton, Bette Davis and Marlene Dietrich — that these round-shaped sunglasses exploded in popularity.
A variety of frame styles emerged in the 1940s, offering people more choice, at least in terms of size, materials, color and frame thickness; some of these round frames also featured bold designs.
Around this time, however, new frame shapes were also introduced, and sunglasses with round lenses and frames fell out of favor. Over the years, round sunglasses continued to rise and fall in popularity.
In the 1960s and 1970s, for example, circular sunglasses were worn by beloved musicians like John Lennon, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, who reinvigorated the style as a “cool” option young people gravitated to. Mega movie stars Drew Barrymore, Brad Pitt and Gwenyth Paltrow did the same in the 1990s.
Currently, round sunnies are hip again. You’ll find them on rapper Pharrell Williams, actor Samuel L. Jackson and influential musical superstars Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, as well as on the members of hip-hop trio Migos, fashion designers (and former child actors) Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and model Gigi Hadid.
These cameos, and more, have helped to create a modern public demand for this type of eyewear.
READ MORE: The history and allure of vintage sunglasses
Types of round sunglasses
Sunglasses with round frames and lenses are nothing new, as mentioned above. But today, you can find a range of modifications on this vintage style, including:
Panto sunglasses – These sunglasses feature a slightly off-round shape, like a combination of round and oval. They’re one of the few frame styles that suit most face shapes.
Oversized round sunglasses – This is considered a very glamorous option, frequently tied to designer brands like Fendi, Prada, and Gucci, each of whom has their take on the style. Because of their dramatic size, this accessory makes a bold fashion statement.
Small round sunglasses – Very small rounded shades are reminiscent of the original sunglasses. But don’t let the simplicity of this style fool you — you can get today’s version with vibrant colored lenses for a unique look that suits your personality.
The top trends for round sunglasses
According to the eyewear industry publication “20/20 Magazine,” one of the top trends for 2021 is glasses and sunglasses with round frames. Among their top five pairs of round glasses are trendy circular shades from Miu Miu and Jimmy Choo design houses.
This year, brands will be rolling out rounded sunglasses for both men and women. Whether you opt for polarized round metal sunglasses, round prescription sunglasses or a pair of stunning sunnies that make a statement, you’ll find something to suit your personal style and your budget.
Below are some of the latest trends to look for if you’re shopping for round shades in 2021.
Gold-rimmed frames – Even though the COVID-19 pandemic prevented fashion weeks from having an audience, runway shows at Paris, London and Milan Fashion Weeks carried on, streamed online. This year’s top eyewear included gold frames, a classic sunglasses staple that will see its popularity this spring and summer as new designs roll out.
Dark-colored frames – For the adventurous, colored frames will be making a resurgence in 2021. Expect to see unexpected colors as part of the latest take on round sunglasses, from cherry-hued frames to evergreen, cranberry and even a dark, red-wine color.
Mirrored lenses – One of the hottest trends among fashion lovers, mirrored sunglasses are stylish and fresh looking. Round frames with silver lenses will be popular this year, as will multicolored mirrored lenses in shades of blue, green and pink.
Keyhole bridges – The nose bridges on some rounded sunglasses will get an update, and you’ll likely see them everywhere this summer. This bridge design has short pads that sit on each side of the nose, making your sunglasses more comfortable.
Clubmaster frames – This vintage-inspired style is returning in 2021. Clubmasters are characterized by round lenses (or slightly off-round lenses) set in frames that are — or appear to be — thicker at the top than at the bottom of the frame.
Gradient lenses – Though colored gradient lenses are frequently a party look, more subdued shades will be in style this year. Think of gradient lenses from black to blue or brown to olive green. While gradient lenses often fit best with gold-framed sunglasses, they also fit well with chunky frames in black, brown or transparent colors for a unique and trendsetting look.
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Choosing the right pair of round sunglasses for your face shape
Round sunglasses are for everyone, but be careful with your selection of stylish eyewear. You still might want to consider your face shape when picking the right kind of circular shades to wear. Some general guidelines for what to wear are below — though you shouldn’t be afraid to do your own thing if you really love the round style.
Square face – A square-shaped face is about as wide as it is long. Round-framed sunglasses are the way to go if your face is square, as they soften some of the angles.
Round face – If your face is round, it’s also about as wide as it is long, but with a rounder jawline. Circular shades are not recommended. Instead, try wearing a pair of slightly square sunglasses to give yourself some angles.
Oval face – Oval faces are slightly longer than they are wide. Just about any frame shape will work if your face is oval, including round shades.
Oblong face – If you have a long narrow face, try a pair of round sunglasses — just avoid smaller frame sizes as they can emphasize the narrowness of your face.
Triangular face – This face shape is narrower at the temples and widens toward your cheeks and chin. To add width to the top part of your face, consider sunglasses with some thickness (or embellishments) at the outer edges — cat eye frames, perhaps?
Heart-shaped face – A heart-shaped face is like an inverted triangle in that it’s broader at the temples, narrowing to a more pointed chin. If you have a heart-shaped face, try round sunglasses to minimize the width at the top part of your face.
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Are round sunglasses for you?
Ultimately, the best shades will depend on a number of factors, face shape and personal style preferences included. You may want to accessorize your outfit with something dramatic — such as an oversized pair of rounded shades — or stick to tradition with smaller, wire-rimmed frames. With so many trendy options, you’re sure to find something to suit you.
No matter the frame design you choose, keep in mind that you also want the best UV protection to prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays from damaging your eyes.
Page published in February 2021
Page updated in September 2021