We all know the beauty of sunglasses: they dress up a pair of jeans, hide tired eyes, and give us a little needed boost of confidence when we head out the door. They are major players in the sartorial game come spring and summer which is why we looked to none other than the founders of Warby Parker — a high-end affordable eyewear brand — to share some tips on how to find the right pair. If anyone knows how to find quality and style in the sea of sunglasses, it’s Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa.
Okay, let’s get right into fit. Where should the ends of sunglasses hit in terms of the sides of your face? Is there a general rule about the width to help people from getting glasses that are too narrow or too wide for them?
We always suggest picking a frame size that is proportionate to the size of your face—frames that are too small will make a wide face look wider, while frames that are too big can hide your facial features and make your whole head look smaller. When you’re looking straight on, frames should not hang off the side of your face—nor should temples be visible from the front. (That means the frames are too narrow.)
Which style fits rounder faces and which fits those with a more angular shape?
A rule of thumb is juxtaposition: Pick a frame shape that opposes your face shape to balance it out. A strong, distinct square shape works best for a round face, while a rounder shape with a softer edge compliments a more square face. The ultimate rule, though, is there are no rules. Go with a pair that’s comfortable and makes you feel great.
What new trends are being left behind in the world of sunglasses and what should we be looking for in the future?
Last year, it was all about clear crystal frames. Recently, we’ve been playing around with more color within crystal—you’ll see we added a lot of translucent blush and blue tones to our summer collections. We’re also really excited about experimenting with lens colors and flash reflective coatings on the back of the lens, which produce more of a subtle mirrored effect than traditional flash lenses.
What makes Warby Parker sunglasses high end, despite its affordable price?
From the beginning, we’ve used quality, best-in-class materials that we love, but at a fraction of the going price. Our classic silhouettes, designed in-house in New York City, are constructed from materials like custom cellulose acetate, which creates rich patterns and beautiful color palettes, as well as super lightweight and durable Japanese titanium. Hinges constructed with Akulon-coated screws ensure long-lasting, smooth movement.
How can we tell bad quality sunglasses from good quality ones?
If you’re looking for high quality frames, keep an eye out for, well, high quality materials and features. Cellulose acetate is easily adjusted to fit each individual, and titanium is a hypoallergenic material that is as strong as it is lightweight. CR-39 lenses provide excellent clarity, and UV protection is, of course, a must; our own lenses offer 100 percent UV400 protection. Polarization, included with many of our sunglasses at no additional cost, fights the most intense glare.
Does lens color affect the efficacy of the sunglasses? Are there specific colors for specific needs or is it just a style choice?
For us, it’s mostly a matter of style. If you’re looking for optimal protection for prolonged wear (for example, when driving), brown and grey lenses are ideal. Brown lenses highlight contrasts in many bright, reflective conditions, while grey lenses provide similar protection and are nicely suited for prolonged usage, as they enhance natural color.
Do darker lenses work better than more see-through options?
Short answer: Not necessarily! Longer answer: Darker lenses let less light transmit through, so in really sunny conditions, darker lenses may be more comfortable, but the most important thing for eye health is UV protection, which does not depend on the lens tint.