The power of a great accessory should never be underestimated. A standout pair of shoes can provide a statement to an otherwise boring outfit, while a classic handbag is chic.
But there are few accessories that hold such immense transformative powers to elevate an entire outfit – turning your jeans and T-shirt combo from something that is pared-back to effortless and sophisticated.
An integral part in any fashion aficionados’ wardrobe, shades can even become a firm sartorial fixture (think Anna Wintour and the late Karl Lagerfeld in dark black glasses).
Like all things, sunglasses have seen their fair share of fad trends. Remember the tiny frames of 2018? Or Britney Spears’ bedazzled aviators from the 00s?
Alongside these experimental pairs, a few stylised versions have stood the test of time. And we suggest opting for these, the timeless classics that can be worn again and again.
With a myriad of shapes and styles on offer, choosing a pair of sunglasses that flatter your face shape can be an arduous task. Hamish Tame, creative director at Le Specs, advises “trying on as many pairs as possible” or using the virtual try on tool that many brands offer on their websites.
As a rule of thumb, when selecting a pair for your face shape, work with balance. “If you have a round face, it is best to balance out with square or rectangular styles, while if your face or jaw is more square, then look for something softer and with curved proportions”, says Tame.
“Be sure to look for ‘category 3’ lenses, which will give you maximum sun protection for your eyes and also to prevent skin ageing around the eye area," he adds.
We tested sunglasses that were timeless, wouldn’t break the bank and had at least category three lenses for ultimate UV protection, making sure our round-up was full of styles that were well the investment.
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Le Specs women's air heart sunglasses
Australian brand Le Specs was founded on the principle of creating avant-garde, high-quality designs at affordable prices. These air heart sunglasses are a favourite among Megan Markle and Olivia Palermaro for good reason, too. With proportions reminiscent of cat eye, the thick tort frame and metal top bar inlay made for a sturdy feel. Large but not too large, and glamourous without being OTT, we can totally see why the celebs love them.
Izipizi #d sun light tortoise
French eyewear brand Izipizi is a go-to for Parisian style. All designs are under £35, yet still offer full protection and style, making them an easy win. This #d pair have a flattering design, and the flexible hinges will adapt to all face shapes and sizes, making them feel sturdy. We tested these on a variety of face shapes – from round to small – and they suited all. Available in a range of colours, this is a great, fail safe and affordable pair of shades.
Le Specs rinky dink in black
An update on a classic – these oversized cat eye frames, which feature gradient tinted lenses, are universally flattering. Finished with the recognisable Le Specs metal hardware, they are timeless and surprisingly easy to wear. If you’d rather stay away from black, they’re also available in stone – equally as chic. We’ll be elevating our jeans and T-shirt outfit to a more effortlessly cool look.
Taylor Morris Eyewear zero
For something slightly different, yet still a classic style, try these by new British brand Taylor Morris. Featuring gold metal detailing and rose gold, anti-reflective lenses, these are a perfect statement pair. While they felt less sturdy than the others we tried, they packed a punch and are a great alternative to something more understated.
Jimmy Fairly the swirl
French designer brand Jimmy Fairly knows how to do good eye wear – high quality at an affordable price point, with the majority of glasses costing just £88.80, including those with prescription lenses. These shades though are chic as can be – the ultra-resistant lens mean they won’t scratch, and they are 100 per cent UV protected. The powder pink colour is universally flattering, and an added bonus is the hot pink case they arrived in. For every pair purchased, Jimmy Fairly also gives a pair to a person in need by partnering with Restoring Vision – a non-profit global health organisation. Snap these up now.
Free People Zoe angular sunglasses
Considering the price point these oversized thick framed sunnies were a surprising favourite – proving you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good pair of sunglasses. The tinted lenses were sophisticated and the shape flattering. This pristine white option remains one of the most daring, yet easily wearable, but they’re also available in four different colourways depending on your preference. The only downside is that a case is not included, making it difficult to keep them free from scratches.
Ray-Ban round metal
A round-up of the best sunglasses just wouldn’t be complete without a pair of Ray-Bans and these round metal glasses are an absolute classic. The universal appeal of these make them a must-have accessory. Available in three sizes – small, standard and large – there's something for all face shapes, we advise that if you have slightly rounder faces, opt for the large size.
Jimmy Fairly the abyss
If you prefer a smaller frame, put these at the top of your list. The soft shape and oval silhouette were surprisingly flattering, and they felt sturdy on the face. Protecting you from UV rays while also providing an easy way to elevate your outfit, all at a low price point, they’re a no brainer.
The verdict: Women's sunglasses
The perfect balance between being oversized and glamorous, yet not extravagant makes Le Specs air heart sunglasses are a standout favourite. The low price point for such a luxury accessory adds to the appeal. For something slightly different, you can’t go wrong with Izipizi #d sun shades – coming in a range of colourways, and at just £35, these are a great choice for everyone.
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