How to Pick the Best Sunglasses for Your Face Shape

By: Peter Nguyen
Last Updated: July 10, 2020

Today’s question comes from Tyrone, he asks.

“Peter, I just scratched my favorite pair of sunglasses and realized I don’t know how to pick a replacement. What color frames, and lenses should I pick, what should I avoid? Does my face shape matter?

First, my condolences to your favorite pair of sunglasses. 

As a lifelong wearer of glasses (and professional “buyer of clothes”) I have many thoughts on this topic. 

Today I want to bust an eyewear shopping myth and help you find the perfect pair of sunglasses.

Your face shape DOESN’T MATTER when shopping for sunglasses

Yes, you read that right. 

Suglasses buying guides based on face shape are not useful

All those beautifully illustrated diagrams you’ve seen talking about square, round, and heart-shaped faces? The ones that promise to help you pick sunglasses for your face shape?

I’m calling bullshit on them!

Yes, bullshit. 

The theory behind these guides say you need to a certain type of frame style to compliment your face shape.

E.g. “If you have a round face shape, don’t wear round frames. They’ll make your face look rounder.”

The frame shape is more about the style and vibe you’re going for, not “balancing your face shape”

I’m a lifelong artist. I’ve also worked as a menswear designer for 11, and a personal stylist for the last 5.

I’m pretty confident in my “visual eye.” 

I’m just not convinced when it comes to these face shape pairing advice.

A round face with square glasses looks like, well, a round face with square glasses. 

It’s like saying round food on a round plate makes the plate look rounder. 

It. Doesn’t. Make. Sense

Take a look at this image:

Examples of men wearing glasses and sunglasses and their face shape

Which of these examples looks the best?

Are you happy with your answer?

Okay, now what if I told you according to the face shape guides, all these men are wearing the wrong eyewear shape for their faces?!?!

See! It’s bullshit.

Sorry to trick you like this! I want to illustrate that your face shape has no effect on how nice glasses look on you.

Here’s a better way I’ve developed helping my Private clients with their eyewear.

Your head size matters more than face shape

Head size is different from face shape. We’re just talking about how wide and tall your head is, not whether your face is round or square.

Your head size determines the size your lenses need to be for sufficient sun protection. Lens size is also important for field of view if you need prescription lenses!

Everything around the lenses (aka the shape of the frames) is secondary.

Here’s how you can use this to buy the perfect pair of sunglasses.

1. Make sure your lenses cover your “Eyewear Sweet Spot”

A guide to buying the right sunglasses for your face shape

(I made the diagram with eyeglasses to make it easier to understand, but it applies to both eyeglasses and sunglasses.)

Width: Roughly as wide as your face.

Height: Roughly from the center of your eyebrows to 2/3rds down your nose.

This is the “sweet spot” in terms of sunlight protection and field of view (if you need prescription lenses.) 

Buying frames with lenses within this sweet spot lets you know the frame fits. 

Frames in your sweet spot are the most flattering.They’re not too small or too big, they’re just right.

Examples of glasses that are the wrong size for a man's face

Frames that are too narrow reduce sun protection and field of view. They also tiny on your face! Frames that are too wide or tall can look comically oversized. While these can be stylistic choices, if you’re going for a balance of flattering and functional, stay within the sweet spot.

2. Start with a rounded frame shape

Examples of the most flattering style of sunglasses for a mans face are rounded frames

This is the most flattering frame shape because it fits in most men’s Eyewear Sweet Spot. 

Not to be confused with circle frames (which are what Harry Potter glasses are), rounded frames are frames that are slightly rounded at the bottom. The top of the frame can be straight, but are usually slightly curved as well.

It’s my personal frame style for most of my glasses, and can be seen on countless celebrities.

Sunglass colors you should buy are black and brown to start, then a light yellow in the summer
  • For colors, black and dark brown/tortoise are great first choices year round.
  • For spring/summer, I recommend a light colored frame. My favorite is light yellow for a shot of color. Clear is another popular choice. 
  • For lenses, stick with the classic solid lenses in black, grey, or green. 

Some of my favorite for this style are

3. Adjust the frame style based on your head size or style preference 

Different sunglasses style examples such as square, aviator, and shield

Rounded frames are a safe bet, but don’t let the recommendation stop you from exploring. In fact, it might be better to try out different styles based on your head size.

Larger heads might need larger lenses, since their features are further apart. This means that square frames could be a better option as the lenses tend to be larger.

You can opt for a square frame because you like the style better. This goes for any other style, from aviators to shields. 

As long as you find one that fits your sweet spot, it’ll have the best proportions for your face.

To sum it up

  1. Don’t worry about arbitrary face shape rules They seem to be made up, and don’t hold up in practice.
  2. Look for sunglasses that fit your “Eyewear Sweet Spot.” This will result in glasses with the most flattering size, giving you ample sun protection and field of view.
  3. Round frames are a good style to start with. In my experience shopping with clients, this style hits most men’s sweet spot. Black or brown tortoise are great year round styles that are timeless. For Spring/Summer, go lighter, like a light yellow or clear.
  4. Frame style and design are more of a style choice Aviators make you look like you’re Top Gunning it. Shield style evokes 70s vibes. Wayfarers bring a mid-century cool to your look. Make sure your frames fit in your “Eyewear Sweet Spot” for the most flattering proportions.

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