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Your Position: Home - Timepieces, Jewelry, Eyewear - What are different types of sunglasses?

What are different types of sunglasses?

Sunglasses are one of the greatest inventions ever. They protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and, in the case of polarized lenses, make outdoor activities safer by reducing glare. 

But that’s obviously not where the benefits of sunglasses end. The right pair of sunnies can instantly enhance your look and help you achieve a specific style. Even better?

There are so many styles to choose from. Aviator, cat eye, oversized, wayfarer—the list goes on and on! 

Not sure which styles are right for you? We’ve got you covered! This guide will discuss the different types of sunglasses and how to find your perfect match. 

Shapes and Style Names of Sunglasses 

Here’s a look at the most popular shapes and styles available. 

Rectangular Sunglasses

Looking for a classic, versatile shape? Rectangular sunglasses are an excellent choice. Featuring lenses that are more wide than tall and corners that are either sharp or rounded, rectangular frames can be worn just as easily with your casual errands attire as with your next wedding guest outfit. 

Rectangular shades are a great match for those with diamond-, heart-, and oval-shaped faces.

Featured products: The Paris, The Kingston

 

Square Sunglasses 

Square sunglasses are a classic shape that never go out of style. Take it from Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, who is known for her dark, square frames, which she rocks to almost every fashion show she attends. 

A softer cousin of the rectangular frame, square sunglasses boast box-shaped lenses that suit almost all face shapes. This style meshes particularly well with round faces, as they add angles and structure. 

Featured Products: The New Yorker, The Beau, La Noche, The Vice City

 

Round Sunglasses 

Round sunglasses may have been popularized by rockstars like John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix, but this style is far more versatile than its origins suggest.

You can play up the bohemian vibe with thin, round frames or opt for a more modern look with a thicker outline.  

Round shades help balance out natural facial angles, making them ideal for those with strong jawlines or a square face shape. 

Featured Products: The Riviera, Roundabout, The Maestro, Mandolin

 

Cat Eye Sunglasses 

 

Distinguished by softly rounded lenses and upswept temples, cat eye sunglasses were originally made famous in the ’50s by stars like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.

Ranging from thick and bold to thin and delicate, cat-eye shades (sometimes referred to as butterfly sunglasses) add refinement, playfulness, and a touch of Hollywood glam to any outfit, whether you are on a tropical beach vacation or strolling the streets of a busy city.

This style complements a wide range of face shapes, including square, round, oval, and heart-shaped. 

Featured Products: Oh Darling, The Hepburn, The Victoria, The Muse

 

Aviator Sunglasses

 

Developed in the 1930s for fighter pilots to protect their eyes while flying, aviators are easily one of the most recognizable styles of sunglasses since they were popularized in 1970s.

With their wide teardrop lenses, flat browline, and double bridge, this style has seamlessly made the crossover from a functional safety item to a fashion must-have. 

Aviators, which often pair colorful, tinted lenses with a sleek, metal frame, are ideal for oval, square, and diamond face shapes. 

Featured Products: The Glide, Hollywood, The Cali, Bijou, The Houston

 

Wayfarer Sunglasses 

Originally developed in the 1950s, wayfarers are still the pinnacle of casual cool decades later. Favored by icons like James Dean and JFK, this style features a thicker plastic frame and a broad upper rim that goes out to a shark-fin-like point. 

The angular lines of this shape are well-suited to oval, round, and diamond face shapes.  

Featured Products: The Dicey, The Beau, The Dean

 

Clubmaster/Browline Sunglasses 

The popularity of the clubmaster style (a type of browline sunglasses) surged in the 1980s thanks to Bruce Willis sporting a pair on the TV show Moonlighting. The popular retro frame had another resurgence in recent years due to being featured in the TV series Mad Men. 

Clubmasters are defined by angular wayfarer-like styling on the upper rim of the sunglasses and a rimless (or thin metal rim) portion on the bottom half of the frame. They work well with many face shapes, including oval, round, square, and diamond. 

Featured Product: Surf City

Triangular Sunglasses 

Don’t be a square! Retro and sophisticated, triangular sunglasses are the perfect trendy piece to add to your spring and summer collection.

Also referred to as heart-shaped sunglasses, triangular shades feature a straight brow bar and dramatic lens angle, ideal for adding uniqueness and whimsy to your outfit.  

Because of their defined shape, triangular frames are best suited to those with contrasting face shapes, including round, oval, and square. 

Featured Product: The Cuervo

 

Octagonal Sunglasses 

What do you get when you combine a round and square frame shape? Octagonal sunglasses! This style is fashion-forward and an excellent choice for those looking for a shape that’s unique, but not too flashy.  

This geometric silhouette is a great accessory for those with an oval, round, or diamond face shape.  

Featured Products: The Heat, The Bimini

 

Oversized Sunglasses 

Oversized sunnies are in! Not only are large frames a fashion statement, but they also offer more sun protection than other styles. This style typically features oval or square lenses and thick frames, instantly adding a little drama to your look. 

Because oversized sunglasses come in various shapes (round, square or even the trending bug eye sunglasses) , the best-suited face shapes for this style depend on the frame shape of each unique pair.  

Featured Products: The Bruce 2.0, So Famous, Vintage Babe

 

Tortoise Shell 

As the name implies, tortoiseshell sunglasses are made from material that replicates the look and pattern of a tortoise shell. In fact, when tortoiseshell frames were first popularized in the 1920s, they were made using the shells of real tortoises. 

Fortunately, to prevent the animals from becoming extinct, the practice was banned worldwide in the 1970s. Instead, manufacturers turned to custom acetates that resembled the look of tortoiseshell—no tortoises harmed!

Tortoiseshell glasses come in a wide variety of shapes and styles, so anyone who wants to try this style can undoubtedly find a pair well-suited to their face shape. 

Featured Products: The Kingston, So Famous

 

Shield Sunglasses 

First becoming popular in the 2000s, shield sunglasses are having a major fashion moment right now, with celebs like Kim K. and J. Lo regularly rocking this style. 

Shield shades are characterized by having one continuous lens that spans the distance normally covered by two separate lenses and a nose bridge. Think of them like the unibrow of sunglasses. 

For those with oval, square, and round face shapes looking for ultimate sun protection and/or to make a bold fashion statement, shield sunglasses are the way to go. 

Featured Products: Deuces, The Coco 2.0

 

Navigator Sunglasses 

A close cousin of the aviator, navigators feature the same lightweight steel frame and brow bar, but the lenses are square- or hexagonal-shaped instead of teardrop-shaped.

They’re sure to score serious style points by setting you apart from the rest of the aviator-wearing crowd.

This stylish, edgy style works well with many face shapes, including round, oval, diamond, and heart-shaped. 

Featured Products: The One, The Rico, The Cuervo

Clip-On Sunglasses

Clip-on sunglasses allow you to seamlessly switch between different types or styles of lenses.

For example, Privé Revaux’s Chic InstaShade Blue Light Glasses give you three looks in one single accessory. You can quickly transform the glasses from clear-lens blue-light blockers to polarized sunglasses, simply by attaching one of the two magnetic sunglass frames to the front of the glasses. 

Clip-ons are an excellent choice for those who value convenience and versatility. Plus, who doesn’t love the satisfying “click” of attaching your clip-on shades before heading out the door? 

Featured Product: The Chic Instashade

Types of Lenses 

 

While sunglasses are undoubtedly the ultimate fashion accessory, we mustn’t forget that the primary purpose of sunglasses is to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. As such, the type of lenses is another important factor to consider when choosing a new pair of shades. 

Certain types of lenses protect your eyes in different environmental conditions, so the type you choose will depend on your unique needs. Here are the most common lens types to be aware of: 

UV Protection

Most sunglasses on the market have UV protection embedded in the lenses. UV-blocking lenses stop the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) rays from reaching your eyes.

This is essential, as UV radiation can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, vision loss, and even cancer of the eye or eyelid.

Sunglasses should always disclose the level of UV protection they offer. This can be found either on the sunglasses label or in the online description. Look for a label or description that says “100% protection against UVA and UVB.”  

Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses have a chemical coating that effectively reduces glare. As a result, the wearer can see images and colors more clearly and vividly. Polarization is ideal for engaging in water activities, such as fishing or boating, or for those particularly sensitive to glare.   

In some cases, polarized lenses can diminish the visibility of digital screens outdoors, which may be an issue for some people. They’re also not ideal for snow sports, as reduced glare can make it difficult to see icy patches. 

Polarized lenses are generally darker than standard tinted lenses, but not always. 

Mirrored Lenses 

With mirrored lenses, a reflective film is applied to the outside surface of the lenses. This film reduces visible light and some glare, providing a more comfortable viewing experience when in environments with bright, harsh light. 

Mirrored lenses are not ideal for wearing on overcast days, as they may cut too much visible light. They are, however, a good choice for snow sports, where being able to see some glare is beneficial.

Mirrored lenses look shiny on the outside (like a mirror), making for a sleek, fashionable look. They also completely prevent other people from being able to see your eyes. 

Photochromic Lenses 

Photochromic lenses are essentially a pair of eyeglasses and sunglasses combined in one single accessory. They appear and function as a regular pair of eyeglasses when worn indoors, but automatically darken when exposed to sunlight.  

The downside of this option is that the photochromic process doesn’t work when driving a car because UVB rays don’t penetrate your windshield. As such, another pair of sunglasses would be needed for driving.

Gradient Lenses

 

Gradient lenses are tinted from top to bottom, so that the top of the lens is darkest and blocks out the most light. It’s a very practical lens, blocking bright light from overhead while allowing significantly more light through at the bottom.

Suggested reading:
Were sunglasses popular in the 90s?
What was the point of the night watch?

Gradient lenses come in a wide variety of colors, from muted browns to eye-catching pinks, yellows, and greens.  

Blue Light Blocking Lenses 

Some sunglasses feature blue light blocking lenses, which block blue light from reaching your eyes. Blue light is emitted not only from the sun, but also from electronic devices like smartphones, iPads, and laptops. Blue light blocking lenses are thought to reduce eye strain caused by looking at digital devices for long periods of time. 

The blue light blocking technology may either be built into the lenses, or come as an option with a clip-on pair of sunglasses, such as the Chic InstaShade Blue Light Glasses. 



Best Sunglasses for Your Face Shapes

Understanding and embracing your face shape is the main trick to finding a pair of sunnies that perfectly complement your look. In general, you want to choose a style that offsets the lines and angles of your face. 

While we provided some information about face shape above under each individual style of sunglasses, here’s a quick summary you can easily refer to:

  • Oval faces

    : If you have this face shape, rejoice! Almost any style looks great on you, including aviator, cat eye, oversized, round, square, and wayfarer. 

  • Round faces

    : Angular frames that add structure to your face, such as square and wayfarer, are ideal for you. 

  • Square faces

    : Look for curved frames that balance your angular lines. Aviator, cat-eye, round, and oversized styles tend to work well. 

  • Oblong faces

    : Styles that add width to your face are a great fit. Consider square, oversized, or wayfarer shades. 

  • Heart-shaped faces

    : Frames that bring attention downward will help elongate your face. Opt for aviator, cat-eye, and round styles. 

Remember, these are just guidelines. If you fall in love with a style and think it would work well for you, by all means, give it a go!

Find Your Frames  

 

Finding your perfect pair of sunglasses comes down to understanding your style, face shape, and needs. Looking for top trending men's sunglasses? Check out our guide on the most popular sunglasses styles for men. Feeling like adding some vintage glam? Dive into the world of retro sunglasses. Or check out our ultimate guide on the hot and funky sunglasses of this year.

At Privé Revaux, we offer a wide selection of on-trend sunglasses, all of which provide 100% UVA and UVB protection, and accessories that never go out of style (check out these gen Z approved sunglasses chains). No matter your fashion preferences or outdoor activities, we have the perfect pair of shades waiting for you.  

Find your fit by exploring Privé Revaux’s collection of high-quality, affordable sunglasses today!

They say that life is all about perspective. But finding the right one may not require hours of therapy. Perhaps all you need is the perfect pair of sunnies. Rose-tinted lenses will see you heading to the beach without a care in the world. Prescriptive lenses bring more clarity. And your reflective sunglasses are a masterclass in mirroring good vibes only. 

But gaining a new perspective isn’t just about the lens through which you see life. It’s also about how you frame your experience. Oversized frames impart a bold, charismatic personality. And delicate metallic frames reveal the beauty of simplicity. Slick, wide rectangular frames immediately infer it-girl status. Whilst sporty wraparounds encourage us to just do it. 

From clubmasters to rectangles, there are many different shades of cool when it comes to sunglasses. Some elusive. Some sultry. And some are straight-up visionaries—quite literally. But the real question is, what kind of cool are you going for? Audrey Hepburn’s picture purrfect cat-eye? Elton-John eccentric experiment with geometry? Or John Lennon’s signature round accessories—now popularized by festival-goers and hipster fashion. 

Of course, gaining a new perspective isn’t just about looking cool and fitting in. It may be more about your inner confidence. In which case, we recommend finding a pair of sunglasses for your face shape. Round faces suit more angular silhouettes. Square faces are the perfect canvas for aviators. And oval faces—well, they suit just about everything. But we won’t hold that against them. 

Instead, we’ll pour our energy into finding your perfect pair. 

Anatomy of sunglasses

We wear them most days for protection. We wear them most days for fashion. But when it comes to sunglass anatomy, many of us struggle to know what to look for. Here are all the terms you need to know to pick your perfect everyday accomplice—and then to describe to a friend what makes them so much better than your last pair. 

Top bar

The top bar of sunglasses is the bridge, which sits between the two lenses and helps to hold them in place.

Bridge

The bridge is the part that connects the lenses and sits on the top of the nose of sunglasses. It provides support for the frame and helps to keep it securely in place.

Nose pads

Nose pads are small pieces of metal or plastic that are attached to the temples or frames of the sunglasses and rest on your nose to help provide a comfortable and secure fit. They also help reduce slippage by creating friction between the frame and your skin.

Frame rim

The frame rim is the part of the sunglasses that encircles the lenses and usually sits on your nose and ears. It is typically made of metal, plastic, or acetate, and can come in a variety of colors and styles.

Temple

The temple extends over the ears and rests on the sides of the head. It is usually made from plastic, metal, or other materials to provide comfort and stability.

Temple tip

The temple tip is the curved end piece of the frame that rests behind your ears. It is designed to be comfortable and secure on your head, while also providing support for the lenses.

Hinge

The hinge connects the lenses and the temples and allows them to open and close. The metal joints are often spring-loaded for easy opening.

Joint

The joint of a pair of sunglasses is where the two lenses are connected to the frame.

From aviators to wayfarers—each pair comes in a different shade of cool. 

Aviator sunglasses

Created for military pilots in 1935, aviators are designed for (Tom) Cruising from life. Since its inception, the iconic teardrop lens has been popularized by shows like Hawaii Five-0. While the clean, delicate frame makes aviator sunglasses easy to wear without overwhelming the face. 

When it comes to looking at different types of sunglasses, the effortlessly chic style of aviators is a failsafe choice for most face shapes. And flying high above the rest, Randolph’s aviators, in particular, are our best sunglasses for men and women.

Cat Eye sunglasses

Cat’s out of the bag: this upswept silhouette may just be the secret behind Marilyn Monroe’s sultry style. Made famous in the 1950s and 1960s, the retro-style shape is distinguished by an exaggerated, upward-sloping frame, resembling the eyes of a cat. The lens typically extends beyond the sides of the face, making them a flattering fit on various face shapes. 

Pair your cat eye sunglasses with a red lip, headscarf and Ford convertible to purrfect the 1950s Hollywood look. 

Rectangle sunglasses

If the coalition of Hailey Bieber, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid is any indication of what cool is, rectangle sunglasses are the definition of drip. Whilst rectangle sunglasses range from bold to industrial, the key to nailing a trend is to find a pair that is more wide than tall. 

The angled silhouette is flattering on round faces. Whilst the chunky, versatile style adds an effortless edge to any ensemble—be it an oversized white tee or a sophisticated suit. 

Round sunglasses

Here comes the sun—and we’re well prepared in our Lennon-inspired sunnies. Made famous by the Beatles’ lead singer, round sunglasses are significant of the 1960s counterculture movement. While the statement style remains relevant amongst hipsters and festival-goers today. 

Play up to the vintage look with thin, metal frames—and a colorful tint of course. Or keep it contemporary with chunky, plastic iterations. Either way, we can totally see you floating through the desert in your round sunnies, pink plaits and sequin-embellished playsuit.  

Wayfarer sunglasses

Originally created by Ray-Ban in 1952, Wayfarers were made famous by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as well as by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. The frames are usually made of plastic and have a distinct square shape. The lenses can be either solid, gradient, or mirrored. And the effortlessly versatile style lends itself to a plethora of casual or sophisticated styling options. 

Wayfarer sunglasses are the perfect “troubled teenager” addition to a tight white tee and relaxed denims for men. And for women: they also add an elusive air of mystery to a classical LBD and sting pearl accessories. 

Square sunglasses

More is more—a fashion aficionado’s mantra when it comes to choosing square sunglasses. Whilst square sunglasses can have rounded edges, the classical silhouette is more angular, making them one of the best sunglass styles for round or oval faces. And the large, exaggerated frame plays double duty as a sun protector and fashion statement.

According to our Instagram feeds, the time-honored, traditional shape is totally on-trend. But I guess that makes sense. Because as we all know: it’s hip to be square (sorry, we had to.)

Browline or Clubmaster sunglasses

Cool and classy, clubmasters recall images of successful businessmen in private clubs. The retro style was first produced by Ray-Ban in the late 1950s and is characterized by a bold browline on the upper frame. Clubmaster sunglasses have a round lens. And metallic top bars are often included to add an extra rebellious edge. 

As one of the most flattering sunglass styles, browline frames are designed to enhance facial features and define the eye line, making them a favorite amongst A-listers such as David Beckham, Beyonce, and Robert Patterson—not a bad circle from which to draw inspiration. 

Geometric sunglasses

Just take it from Sir Elton John: the sky’s the limit when it comes to geometric sunglasses. From red-tinted heart silhouettes to less-eccentric hexagons, an array of unique options leave ample opportunity for your personality to shine through. And whilst we won’t expect our minimalist sartorialists to adopt the unconventional trend, they’re a favorite amongst those who love to experiment with shape and color. 

Just think of rose-tinted trapezoid sunnies with your Y2K bootleg denims and rhinestone-embellished crossbody.

Wraparound sunglasses

These functional shades were originally designed for sportsmen. But they’ve recently become a quintessential accessory for martian-inspired festival looks and street-style aesthetics. Wraparound sunglasses fit close to the face and provide extra protection from sunlight and debris, making them the perfect choice for skiing, hiking—and traipsing through the Burning Man desert.

Yes, neon-tinted wraparounds were once considered taboo (unless you were a professional cyclist.) But according to Kim K, function is fashion and sporty shades are actually a style statement.

Oval sunglasses

Ok, we don’t need any more style icons to remind us that slim and wide sunglasses are in. We’re sold. But whether to go rectangle or oval is the big question. Both silhouettes are wider than they are tall, highlighting the cheekbones with a striking effect. But if you have a slightly more angular face, you’ll want to opt for oval sunglasses for a slightly softer finish.

Like all things Y2K, oval sunglasses come in an array of brightly colored plastics. While more toned-down iterations are perfect for any modern minimalist with a slightly cheeky edge.

Oversized sunglasses

Looking for shades as big as your personality? No problem. Oversized sunglasses come in many different sunglasses styles—with the common thread being their statement-making size. As wide as they are tall, the exaggerated silhouette often covers the eyebrows with a frame that extends past the edge of your face. 

According to J-Lo, Victoria Beckham and Khloe K, when it comes to oversized sunglasses, bigger is always better. And styled with chic blacks and neutral hues, we tend to agree.

How to choose the right sunglasses for your face shape 

Oval? Square? Heart-shaped? Triangular? Or Rectangular? These are the things you need to know to find the perfect pair. 

Determine your face shape 

When it comes to choosing the right sunglasses for your face shape, the first step is to determine what exactly your face shape is. You may already know whether you have a round, oval, square, heart-shaped, triangle or rectangular shape. But if you don’t, stand in front of a mirror and consider your dimensions. Is your face longer or wider than most? Is your chin pointed or square? 

If you’re still struggling to see what shape you have, it can be helpful to measure and compare the distance between your cheekbones with the length of your forehead, jawline, and the distance between your hairline and chin. Map them out on a piece of paper and see what shape you get. 

Best sunglasses for round faces

If your cheekbones are the widest part of your face, your shape is likely to be round like Selena Gomez and Leonardo DiCaprio. Frames with sharp angles are good for round faces as they balance out a less-angular silhouette.

Sunglass shapes with distinct edges include rectangular, square, cat-eye, and wayfarer styles. We also recommend trying on oversized sunglasses and wider frames. They’ll make your face appear longer and thinner. 

Best sunglasses for oval faces

Got an oval face? You probably won’t struggle to find a pair that looks fantastic. Oval faces are defined by slightly longer faces with balanced features. A slightly rounded forehead and chin, and gently curved, high cheekbones mean that you suit just about every sunglass style. 

To us, that’s just an excuse to stock up on a variety of different sunglasses styles. From square to aviator to wrap-arounds, every new ensemble calls for a new shape.

Best sunglasses for square face

Finding the right sunglasses for your face shape is all about balance. If you’ve got a round race, you’ll want more angular shades. And if you have a square face, rounder silhouettes can help soften your look. 

Square faces are characterized by a strong jawline and broad forehead. The width of the face is usually the same as the length. If this is you, we recommend opting for round, browline, oval or aviator sunnies. Hint: Randolph’s aviators are our best sunglasses for women and men. 

Best sunglasses for heart shaped faces

A heart-shaped face has a wider forehead and tapers down to a narrow chin. When styling a heart-shaped face, the key is to look for silhouettes that elongate the face. Look for frames with lower, rounded edges that draw attention downwards. 

Cat-eye, round, and wayfarer silhouettes are all good options. But if in doubt, you can never go wrong with cat-eyes.

Best sunglasses for diamond shaped faces

Got a narrow forehead, wide cheekbones, and tapered chin? Join the diamond-shaped face club. And counting sultry celebs such as Jennifer Lopez and Meghan Fox amongst its members, it’s not a bad club to be a part of. It’s also one of the most exclusive as only 5% of our population is made up of diamond-shaped-faced-beauties. 

How do you compliment those all-hailed high cheekbones? Take your style cues from J-Lo and opt for rimless shades. Go funky with geometric shapes. Or keep it more conventional with oval and round sunnies. 

Best sunglasses for triangle face

Distinguished by a very prominent jawline and narrower forehead, styling triangle faces is all about balance. Triangle faces are usually more angular, making them a great canvas for rounder sunglass shapes.

Frames that are wider at the top and narrower at the bottom, such as aviators, look fantastic on triangle faces. And oversized round silhouettes are a good way to have fun with your accessories whilst still complimenting your angular face shape.

Best sunglasses for rectangle face

It’s a common misconception that rectangle faces are very angular. Because of their length and narrow width, they actually have very few edges to work with. Therefore, oblong faces should avoid very small or very round frames. 

Instead, we recommend looking for thick, angular frames that contrast your rounded features. Look for square, rectangle and wayfarer styles. And when it comes to size—well, you can never go too large. 

Frame style types 

More than just a frame of mind, different frame styles flatter different faces.

Full frame 

Full frame sunglasses have a full-size frame that completely encircles the lenses. The frame typically covers the entire area around the eyes, including the bridge of the nose and temples. Full frames range from chunky plastic iterations to the dainty metallic frames, typically found on aviators. 

Half frame

Think of your classic wayfarer style with a frame that only covers the top half of the lens. These are the most popular illustrations of half frame sunnies, but you can get less-conventional versions, where the frame only covers the bottom half of the lens.

Frameless or rimless

A favorite of Priyanka Chopra and Brad Pitt, frameless shades are the pinnacle of chic sophistication. Without a frame, the elegant accessories are best for diamond and square-shaped faces as they emphasize your natural angular features with a minimalist, clean aesthetic. 

Frame material types 

Fabric is everything.

Injection molded plastic

Most commonly found on wayfarers and square frames, injection molded plastic frames have a glossy finish very similar to traditional metal or acetate iterations. They are lightweight, highly durable and usually more affordable, making them a popular choice for outdoor lifestyles and sporty aesthetics.  

Acetate

Lightweight and durable, acetate frames are super comfortable. The plastic material has a glossy finish. And as one of the most popular materials used for sunglasses, acetate frames come in an array of colors and styles. Think of the iconic Ray-Ban wayfarers and your favorite it-girl-approved cat-eyes—they’re almost certainly made from acetate.

Metal 

Metal frame sunglasses have a classic, minimalistic look. They are typically made of lightweight metal materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, titanium or a combination of these metals. They are a popular choice for round silhouettes and aviator styles and are usually a lot thinner than other frames. Metal frames are also more malleable and easier to adjust to your face. 

Genuine tortoise shell

Genuine tortoise shell sunglass frames are typically oval or slightly rectangular in shape, with a subtle marbled pattern. The color of the frame is usually a warm brown and can range from light tan to dark brown. Made from cellulose acetate—a material derived from cotton pulp and wood fibers—genuine tortoise shell is a timeless, classical choice for cat-eyes and more angular sunglass styles. 

Wood

While wood frames are less common than other materials used for sunglasses, they are becoming increasingly popular. A favorite amongst vegan yogis and eco-conscious consumers, they are often made from sustainable materials such as reclaimed wood or bamboo. They are also naturally hypoallergenic, lightweight, durable, and come in a range of neutral hues, making them versatile and easy to wear. 

Types of sunglass lenses  

Polarized or anti-reflective? We’re looking at every situation through the right lens. 

Polarized lenses

Polarized sunglass lenses have a special filter applied to them which eliminates most of the reflected light from the sun and other sources. This helps reduce glare and allows for better visibility in bright conditions. Polarized sunglasses can also help improve contrast, so colors will appear more vibrant. However, they make it harder to see LED lights like those on your phone, so choose another pair for scrolling through Insta.

Mirror-coated lenses

Highly reflective and decidedly fashionable, mirror-coated lenses are no longer just a cyclist staple. The coating is usually made up of several layers of dielectric material that reflect a portion of light. And used to reduce glare and reflections from the sun, they practically protect your eyes from UV rays, whilst adding a cheeky flair to any ensemble. 

Anti-reflective coated lenses

Whilst mirror-coated lenses are great for combatting glare, you may not like the sun bouncing off your lenses while you’re having your photo taken or talking to someone. 

Enter: anti-reflective coating. The optical coating applied to the surface reduces glare from light sources such as the sun, headlights and computer screens. It also reduces reflections from the front and back surfaces of the lens, allowing more light to pass through the lenses and into your eyes. This eliminates eye strain, making it easier for you to see clearly in all types of lighting conditions.

Gradient lenses

Gradient sunglasses lenses are tinted from the top down. The tint is usually darker at the top, and gradually fades to a lighter shade toward the bottom. Curtailing glare while still allowing plenty of light to pass through, gradient lenses improve clarity and contrast, making them both functional and fashionable. 

Double gradient lenses

Like gradient lenses, double gradient lenses fade from top to bottom. However, the fade is a lot more noticeable with a heavily tinted top and bottom. This style of lens allows you to have full protection from the sun while still having enough visibility in the lower portion of your vision. Plus, it’s an A-list-approved style statement. 

Photochromatic lenses

The chameleon of sunglass lenses, photochromatic lenses adjust to our surroundings. Designed to protect our eyes from harmful rays, the adaptable lenses respond to the amount of UV light that reaches them. They become darker when exposed to bright sunlight. And they become lighter with fewer UV rays, whilst still providing a comfortable level of vision clarity. 

Prescription sunglasses

Yep, you can ditch your regular reading glasses when you go outside. Prescription sunglasses are both cool and corrective. And the sky’s the limit when it comes to style as you can fit almost any type of sunglasses with lenses that match your optometrist’s prescription.

Read our guide to the best places to buy glasses online for more information.

Lens colors and tints for sunglasses 

Rose tinted or not—life just got a whole lot more fun.

Gray

Not too dark and not too light, we enjoy living life in the gray. The neutral hue is great for everyday wear. And it makes objects even clearer, making gray lenses a fantastic choice for outdoor sports. 

Yellow/Orange

And it was all yellow—we think we know what sunglasses Coldplay members were wearing when they wrote these lyrics. Besides the trendy color tone, yellow lenses also provide increased contrast, making them a favorite amongst pilots and gamers. 

Brown/Amber 

Versatile and understated, brown or amber sunglass tints are a failsafe choice for our minimalist at heart. Improving contrast against blue and green, they’re also our go-to for driving, golfing or sailing. 

Green

Life isn’t always greener on the other side if you’re wearing green tinted sunnies—a proven antidote for misplaced pessimism. Of course, green lenses aren’t as versatile as brown or gray. But when it comes to utility, they do everything better. 

Purple/Red

Seeing red? That may not be a bad thing. If you’re wearing purple or red tinted shades that is. Otherwise, we suggest anger management. And if you are wearing red lenses, we recommend getting the most out of them on the slopes. Reducing glare dramatically, purple or red lenses are fantastic for Winter sports. 

Blue

Blue tinted lenses? They’re the only Sunday blues we know. And trust us, there’s nothing bleak about seeing everything from this kind of blue perspective. Especially if you’re putting green or building snowmen. Blue lenses contour objects, have increased UV protection, reduce glare, improve color perception and have a calming effect on the eyes. 

Frequently asked questions about sunglasses

Are there different types of sunglasses?

There are many different sunglass styles, each bringing its own shade of cool. Aviators, clubmasters, cat-eyes and oval sunnies all feature rounder silhouettes. While rectangle shapes, wayfarers are a lot more angular. To see which is best for you, read our ultimate guide to sunglasses.

Which type of sunglass is best?

There are many equally-popular sunglasses styles, each best suited to different people. Angular silhouettes such as wayfarers are great for round faces. Rounder styles such as aviators are best for square shaped faces. Cat-eyes are fantastic for heart-shaped faces. And oversized frames are super flattering for rectangular shaped faces.

How many categories are sunglasses?

Whilst there are many different sunglasses types, many of them fall into the same categories. Sunglasses can be categorized according to their style, frame size, frame fabric, different types of lenses, as well as lens tints. To find your perfect pair, see our ultimate guide to different types of sunglasses and who they’re best suited for.

What is the most popular sunglass?

Classical sunglasses types such as aviators and warfarers are timeless. Whilst less conventional styles such as cat-eyes and rectangular frames have acquired cult-favorite status with the rise of Y2K fashion. Just add a yellow or purple tint and you’ll totally nail the trend. Learn more about the different types of sunglasses and see our list of the best sunglasses for men and the best sunglasses for women for some inspiration.

What are different types of sunglasses?

Types Of Sunglasses: Styles, Shapes, And Shades Explained

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