Men’s sunglasses: Which are best for your face shape?
So, you’re trying to find the perfect sunglasses, a pair that not only deflects the glare and keeps you from squinting but turns your style up a notch. A good place to start is by determining your face shape.
I know: You’ve heard this before. Perhaps you’ve stared into the mirror, trying to translate which shape you see there. Is that an oval or a rectangle? You may have heard your face identified as a circle by one person, a square by another. Which is it?
Faces are often a bit of a combination and they morph a bit as you get older and gain or lose weight, hair or beards. But there is a basic shape and – no doubt about it – matching that shape to the right pair of sunglasses can make a world of difference.
In the end, finding the best men’s sunglasses for you is about finding where your style and personality intersect with what flatters your face.
Square face shape
A square-shaped face is about as wide as it is long, with a square jawline - not a bad look for a guy.
A square face can easily rock darker frames with a more streamlined silhouette. Given your angles, you can also get away with rounder lenses, thinner frames, more color in those frames.
Elijah Wood’s face is a great example of a square. With age, his angular jawline may soften, but right now he can easily pull off the curved geometry of aviators as well as round lenses in a retro-style panto frames in contrasting colors.
Green in amber, for example, or pale gray-blue lenses in tortoiseshell look great on square faces.
If you have a square face, what you don’t want to do is mirror it with overly boxy frames. Shades with a little curve or slant, a little more horizontal than vertical streamlining – those are your best bet. Over-size frames can swallow you up.
Round face shape
This silhouette has a lot in common with the square face. Dominant characteristics are width equal to length. But weight gain or age may soften a square jawline and turn it round.
As with the square, if your face is round, it’s best to avoid anything overly large.
Look for shades that balance those curves with straight lines. Thinner, dark horizontal shades with a little curve at the ends usually flatter this face shape.
While it’s best to avoid perfect circles, the gentle curve of aviators may look great on you.
Heart face shape
Sometimes referred to as “triangle,” meaning inverted triangle, the heart-shaped face shape has a broad forehead tapering to a pointed chin. Think Barack Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio in his younger days.
Obama is most often seen in classic dark Ray-Ban Wayfarers but also shows up in aviators with gold-tone frames and looks great in narrower frameless Maui Jim Makaha sunglasses.
The sporty, clean, horizontal lines of elongated-oval lenses look just right on a long, heart-shaped face.
Oval face shape
If you’re blessed with this classic shape, the “medium” of faces, you can get away with pretty much anything.
There’s a reason so many leading men – Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, George Clooney – have oval faces. If your face is slightly longer than it is wide with a gently curved chin, you, like these actors, have an oval face.
You don’t have to worry about going big and dwarfing your oval-shaped face, or going too small or too round or too geometric. An oval is the model those funky shades were built for. Bono, U2’s oval-faced front man, favors John Lennon-style small, round sunglasses in playful colors.
Experiment as well with classic aviators, wraparound styles and vintage rounds until you find a style – or several – that suit your personality.
Just bear in mind you can lose those perfect proportions if you draw too far outside your own lines. You can destroy that symmetry with shades that extend too far beyond the width of your face.
Oblong face shape
The oblong face is about twice as long as it is wide. Think Ben Affleck, Bruce Dern, Clint Eastwood.
The best sunglasses for this facial type are ones that divide and balance that long, narrow plane.
Michael Phelps has a sort of oblong heart-shaped face – a long, narrow, inverted triangle – and he loves aviator sunglasses with neon orange and blue reflector lenses, often pairing his shades with a cap that visually shortens that long face.
As with the classic oval, oblongs can get away with oversize sunglasses. But there are a few styles you might want to pass up. Avoid anything that makes your face look longer than it is: extremely narrow or small round lens, teardrop frames that draw the eye downward.
You can’t go wrong with classic rectangular frames like the Wayfarer .
Because overly wide frames exaggerate the narrowness of your face, look for sunglasses that extend no more than a couple millimeters beyond your hairline.
Other factors? Facial features, your personality
Determining your face shape is an excellent place to start when searching for your signature shades, but your face is more than its silhouette. There are your features to consider as well.
Sunglasses will mask your eyes but try to find a style that flatters your nose as well as your face shape. If you have a round nose, for example, rectangular shapes may balance it better.
The most important thing is to find a pair of shades that fit both your face and your personality. With so many styles and colors to choose from, don’t be afraid to venture a little out of your usual depth.
You never know until you try them on.
SEE RELATED: QUIZ: Which sunglasses fit your personality?
Page updated August 2019