The days are now longer and the sun’s that bit higher in the sky.
Must be summer approaching.
If you’re heading away on holiday this year or just want to update your wardrobe, this guide will help you choose your next pair of high-quality sunglasses.
Sunglasses frame maker Jamie Bartlett shares his insight about choosing good quality sunglasses which will keep your look fashionably ‘in’ and help keep the sun firmly ‘out.’
Tips for buying new sunglasses
UV light protection
This is easily the most important element of any sunglasses frame.
Your new sunglasses should be 99-100% protective from the sun’s most harmful rays which consist of both UVA and UVB light. These frequencies are the most damaging to your skin and eyes so it’s crucial you check their rated as UV40 or UV400.
The vendor, on or offline, should indicate this rating whether it’s a sticker or certification that confirms the protectivity of the lenses. Along with a CE mark, this means your prospective frame is legit.
Lens tint darkness
Sorry to break it to you, but darker lenses don’t give you more protection.
Sure, dark lenses will reduce the amount of visible light passing through the lens, but they can leave you completely unprotected from invisible UV light. As your pupils dilate behind a dark lens to let more light in, they’re also more susceptible to UV damage.
Refer to tip No.1 and always check for UV protectivity.
Let’s talk fashion and function.
It’s probably a good thing that oversized butterfly sunglasses have come back in fashion. They look great on, feel super comfortable and they’re also the best sunglasses for women when it comes to coverage.
Very little light can get-in from the above and from the side of a large frame, especially under a fashionable sun hat. Plus, there’s something nostalgically charming about that 1950’s Audrey Hepburn look we all know so well. It’s a timeless aesthetic.
Struggle to find sunglasses that suit you?
A good rule of thumb is to contrast your face shape with your frame shape. Soft cheeks and dimpled facial features tend to suit more angular, square-ish sunglasses styles. If you have an oblong, narrow face with more defined cheeks, your best bet are round-ish sunglasses such as a wayfarer or aviator.
It all about creating contrast. Think opposites.
Polarised or non-polarised
If you’re the adventurous type, you should consider polarised sunglasses.
Out on the beach, taking a road trip or heading on a holiday hike, polarised lenses are designed to reduce the effects of glare on your eyes. This is when sunlight bounces off flat shiny surfaces like water and makes it difficult to see properly.
Over time, glare can give you eye strain. It reduces your perception of colour. Frankly, it’s just plain annoying, even with regular sun lenses.
Polarised lenses are a nifty way to block reflected glare and let you get on with enjoying your adventure in the sun.
However, you expect to pay as much as a third more for this upgrade but you’ll certainly notice the benefits. Especially when your friends are tired and frazzled and your focus is still laser-sharp.
Frame quality & construction
Made it this far? You’re clearly into your sunglasses.
With such good taste, you’ll want to avoid the pitfalls of poorly made fashion frames.
Throwaway culture has never been cool, so the best sunglasses for women are made from high-quality materials and components which are hypoallergenic, robust and well made. But how do you spot the difference?
High quality plastic frames are usually cut from sheet cellulose acetate. This is a plant-based bio-plastic which comes in all sorts of colours such as tortoise, black, opaque and transparent.
High-quality metal frames tend to be made of steel or titanium. They won’t rust as easily and the metal is hypoallergenic so it shouldn’t react with your skin.
Good sunglasses will have metal hinges which are secured with replaceable metal screws. (Should they come loose, they can be replaced.)
Low-cost frames tend to have very small hinges which can be moulded into the frame or even glued in! Avoid these at all costs as that’ll be the first thing to break. You know how that story ends.
The best sunglasses for women are;
- 99-100% UV protective
- Have good facial coverage to block the sun from above and from the sides
- Have polarised lenses to diminish reflected glare and reduce eye strain
- Are made from hypoallergenic materials like acetate or titanium
- Have metal hinges which can be repaired or tightened
Hopefully, you found this article useful. Thanks to Lydia for hosting my advice and to you for taking the time to read it. Have a great summer.
Jamie Bartlett, co-founder of Banton Frameworks