The Best Sunglasses for Every Season

LensDirect Holly Sunglasses are timeless and will last for years

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Sunnies, in all their wonderful shapes, sizes and colors, are to summer what boots are to winter: needed, wanted, and desired. Not only are they a necessary fashion accessory, they’re also functional, serving the same purpose as sunscreen to protect against UV rays. “You have to be wearing them to be protected, though,” as board certified ophthalmologist, Dr. Diane Hilal-Campo, MD, puts it. 

To ensure you actually wear your sunnies, it’s important to find a pair that you love. But with so many frame styles and lens colors to choose from, searching for a pair of sunglasses can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to consider what works for your face shape, you also have to look into price point, versatility, quality, and more. A dramatic cat eye might appeal to you, but a sharp aviator could compliment your everyday attire better, depending on the look you’re going for. 

When shopping for sunglasses, Dr. Hilal-Campo says that comfort, style, and durability are the three things you should look for. “Looking forward to wearing your sunglasses will increase your likelihood of putting them on and protecting your eyes,” she says. Having this idea in mind, LensDirect’s Holly Sunglasses earned our best overall spot: Not only are they timeless and flattering on all face shapes, the shades also offer optimal UV protection and other optical benefits to shield your eyes from harmful rays.

Read on to learn about the 12 best sunglasses that don’t compromise on comfort, and offer the best of both worlds when it comes to style and defense. 

Best Overall: LensDirect Holly Sunglasses

LensDirect Holly Sunglasses

LensDirect

What We Love: The classic frames are inspired by Breakfast at Tiffany’s and come with a variety of eye-protecting perks.  

What We Don’t Love: Purchasing additional features, such as a prescription or blue light protection, is costly.

Even if you’re not actually having Breakfast at Tiffany’s, you can pretend you are with these beautifully crafted LensDirect sunglasses. Timeless and contemporary, the oversized, rounded design draws inspiration from the specs worn by Audrey Hepburn’s character, Holly, in the film. Similar to Hepburn’s memorable soft wing eyeliner, these sunglasses enhance facial symmetry thanks to their slight lift at the temples and high saddle bridge. 

The frames are also super lightweight and comfortable despite their large size, and look great on every face shape. 

Available in a classic black, dark tortoise, and hot pink, the Holly sunglasses come with UV protection, a hydrophobic coating, and are scratch and impact resistant. InStyle Commerce Editor, Mary Honkus, recently wore these on a beach vacation, and says they still looked brand new by the end of the trip. “At one point the sunnies got knocked off my face by a rogue wave, but when I pulled them from the water they were still in pristine condition — no scratches or damage in sight.” As an added bonus, LensDirect customers can select an Rx type and lens color for an additional cost so you can customize your frames to your style and needs. 

Color: Black, Dark Tortoise, and Hot Pink | Shape: Cat eye | Material: Acetate

Best Splurge: Gucci Pure Metal Butterfly Sunglasses

Gucci Pure Metal Butterfly Sunglasses

Saks Fifth Avenue

What We Love: They look and feel luxurious, and will make a statement no matter what you wear. 

What We Don’t Love: The temples of the sunnies are slightly thin, so they may not provide the most comfortable and secure wear.

Emblazoned with the iconic Gucci logo and rhombus studs near the temples, these gold frames are far from the typical sunglasses you’re accustomed to seeing or wearing. Aside from reminding you of sunnies Elton John would don on and off stage, they’re large enough (and 100% UV protected) to shield the eye area from harmful rays, and will definitely dazzle up your wardrobe without the need for additional accessories. Gold accents compliment the blue hues in the lenses, while the frame’s butterfly shape accentuates the upper portion of the face. Although they’re expensive, these shades are specially crafted in Italy and possess all the hallmarks of a great style investment – durability, tastefulness, and versatility – making them worth the hefty price tag. 

Color: Black with blue lenses| Shape: Square Butterfly | Material: Metal

Best For Men: Illesteva Cordova III Sunglasses

Illesteva Cordova III Sunglasses

Illesteva

What We Love: The sunglasses come with everything you need: UV 400 protection, a minimalist design, and comfortable wear. 

What We Don’t Love: Despite the high price point, there are no options for customization or upgrades.

There’s nothing more classy than a minimal look. Illesteva’s Cordova III sunglasses are cool, bookish style frames that are simple in design, yet stand out on every face. Not only are they stylish, they’re also extremely practical because of the UV 400 protection — the highest level of UV protection that blocks out 99 percent of the sun’s rays. While the frames come in typical hues (black, matte black, and bronze) we love that the lens shades are unique, coming in bright rose mirror and silver sheen. No matter which colorway you choose, each style will make even the most casual attire upscale. 

Color: Black, matte black, and bronze | Shape: Round wayfarer | Material: Acetate and stainless steel

Best Budget: Privé Revaux The New Yorker Sunglasses

 Privà Revaux The New Yorker Sunglasses

Kohl's

What We Love: For all that it offers, the affordable price tag is a definite plus. 

What We Don’t Love: The nose pads are not very supportive, especially on smaller noses.

According to Dr. Hilal-Campo, the bigger the sunglasses, the better. Privé Revaux’s The New Yorker Sunglasses are just as large and show-stopping as the Empire State with the ultra-wide, square design that’s bold and fashionable. While they are large frames, customers can’t help but boast about their quality and comfort, especially for the low cost. They also feature UV protection, anti-glare and scratch resistant lenses, and come with a foldable case and microfiber cleaning cloth. 

Color: Black, tortoise, and green | Shape: Square | Material: Injection-molded cellulose propionate

Best Budget: Tskestvy 4-Piece Retro Sunglasses

Tskestvy 4-Piece Retro Sunglasses

Amazon

What We Love: The four-set of rectangular frames is trendy and practical. 

What We Don’t Love: They don’t have the most powerful UV protection.

Need a pair or two of sunglasses? How about four? If you’re the kind of person that likes to match their sunnies to every outfit, this affordable set is for you. At just $19, you get four pairs of sunnies in every essential shade, ranging from a soft cream to a classic black, to pair with every part of your wardrobe. Although they’re non-polarized, they do have a UV protection coating, along with reinforced metal hinges and plush nose pads for added comfort. 

Color: Varies | Shape: Rectangular | Material: Plastic

Best Cat-Eye: Quay On the Radio Sunglasses

 Quay On the Radio Sunglasses

Dillard's

What We Love: The frames’ proportions are ideal for all face shapes, especially round and oval. 

What We Don’t Love: They’re very plain.

Okay, hear us out: Cat eye sunnies may seem too trendy nowadays, but Quay has us convinced that this style will stand the test of time. The fuss-free, versatile shape on these specs flatters any face structure because it has a unique bevelled top brow bar that hits directly above your brow’s tail for a naturally lifted look. This pair also sharpens and curves facial features thanks to the asymmetrical design that’s wider on the top and more narrow towards the bottom. We especially love that the frames are more angular than typical cat-eye styles because it draws attention towards the eye area. 

Color: Black/Smoke, Tortoise/Brown Orange, Green/Smoke, Hot Pink/Smoke, and Lilac | Shape: Cat eye | Material: N/A

Best Ombre: Poppy Lissiman Halifax Peach Gradient Sunglasses

Poppy Lissiman Halifax Peach Gradient Sunglasses

End. Clothing

What We Love: They’re the perfect statement accessory for basic fits. 

What We Don’t love: They only come in one colorway.

Aviator sunglasses will never go out of style, but if you want an upgrade from the traditional Top Gun-esque pair, go for these statement square, gold- and peach-hued shades. The touches of silver near the eyebrows and temples add a retro flare to the frame, and the gold accents enhance the lens’ soft gradient. “Sunnies with a pop of color are a great way to add drama and edge to your look,” says Australian content creator, Maxine Wylde. “These frames have a fun, vintage aesthetic and look good on everyone — but especially people with strong jawlines.” 

If that doesn’t convince you enough, stylist, entrepreneur, and luxury travel blogger, Lindsay Silberman, adds that “Some people prefer this style because it gives you sun protection when you're looking straight ahead or looking up, but the lighter lower half makes it easier to read a book at the beach.” 

Color: Peach Gradient | Shape: Aviator | Material: Metal

Best Polarized : Le Specs Liar Liar Sunglasses

 Le Specs Liar Liar Sunglasses

Amazon

What We Love: They’re perfectly oversized for everyday wear and are relatively affordable for polarized sunglasses. 

What We Don’t Love: The frames may be too large for smaller face shapes.

You don’t need to break the bank to get a quality pair of polarized sunnies. Case in point: these Liar Liar Sunglasses from Le Specs. Ideal for driving and outdoor activities, the tortoise cat eye specs reduce eye strain and keep your eyes protected while out in the sun for less than $60. They also come with a cleaning cloth and protective pouch for safe storage, but reviewers have mentioned that these glasses are so sturdy that they have been able to toss them in their purse without damaging them.

Color: Brown Tortoise | Shape: Cat eye | Material: Ecozen T110 Bio Bpa Free

Best For Large Heads: Lexxola Neo Sunglasses

 Lexxola Neo Sunglasses

End. Clothing

What We Love: They’re reminiscent of the early 2000s. 

What We don’t Love: The price is on the higher end.

One of our favorite Y2K resurgence trends has been bright sunnies with tinted lenses, just like this pair from Lexxola. Not only are they a great accessory to every outfit, but they also provide enhanced 100% UV protection. The rectangular shape is ergonomically designed to compliment those with large faces, accentuating the high points and giving the illusion of a brow lift. While they come in an array of colorways, the white frames with honey lenses are an unexpected pairing that will brighten any look. 

Color: White/Honey, Red/Peach, Black/Blue, and more | Shape: Square | Material: Bio-acetate

Best For Small Heads : Anine Bing Berlin Sunglasses

Anine Bing Berlin Sunglasses

Farfetch

What We Love: The design is a modern twist to a classic ‘90s accessory. 

What We Don’t Love: Despite having a large frame, the sunglasses might be small on wider face shapes.

Smaller head shapes benefit from most frame styles, but oval sunglasses are the best for balancing proportions. Anine Bing’s Berlin sunglasses do just that, and potentially more, because they’re slightly wider than most styles, adding length to your face without making it seem too narrow. Plus, with inspiration from the ‘90s, this pair’s monochromatic appearance and dainty gold logo will instantly dress up every outfit. 

Color: Black | Shape: Oval | Material: Acetate

Best Aviator: Ray-Ban Aviator Classics

 Ray-Ban Aviator Classics

Amazon

What We Love: The sunnies are timeless and have 100% UV protected lenses. 

What We Don’t Love: They’re narrow and slightly smaller than other aviators. 

Ray-Ban’s Aviator Classics are aptly named because they truly are a classic to have in your collection. Aviators, especially this pair, are popular amongst outdoor and fashion enthusiasts alike because they’re exceptionally functional for sun protection and add a dash of cool to your look. Ray-Ban offers this style in a large number of metal frame and lens colors, including gold, black, green, blue, brown, and silver, so you can find the best pair to match your vibe and style.

Color: Gold, Black, Grey, Silver, and more | Shape: Aviator | Material: Metal

Best Prescription : Warby Parker Callum Sunglasses

Warby Parker Callum Sunglasses

Warby Parker

What We Love: The sunglasses are expertly hand-crafted and made from durable, light-weight materials.  

What We Don’t Love: Although they’re high-quality, prescription costs are expensive.

Though Warby Parker sunglasses are expensive, the price is justified by the craftsmanship. All of their styles are hand-crafted in-house with special materials — like ultra-lightweight TR90 nylon, a dense, durable, and flexible thermoplastic material — to provide better quality and appearance. The Callum sunglasses, in particular, are perfectly round, and have soft rubber pads along the nose bridge and brows so you can wear them comfortably. This feature alone makes the prescription sunnies ideal for those with active or performance-based lifestyles. The lenses are also made from impact-resistant polycarbonate – a material that blocks out the sun’s rays and provides maximum clarity. 

Color: Cream, Black, and Green | Shape: Round | Material: TR90 nylon

What to Keep in Mind

Shape

Protection is key, but you also want your sunglasses to flatter your face shape, too. Whether you’re into cat eye or rectangular frames, the key to selecting the right shape is finding what works best for you and what is practical with your usual attire. “If you're purchasing an everyday style, I'd go with something classic and versatile — like an aviator, or a round or rectangular acetate frame,” recommends Silberman. “If you're going for something a bit trendier, be sure to think about what you'd wear them with. Maybe a pair of vintage fire-engine-red cateye sunnies look cute in theory, but think about if you actually have things you'd wear them with.”

Price

Sunglasses vary in price depending on the materials, style, and designer, but the most important aspect to consider when purchasing sunglasses is the quality of the lenses,” explains Dr. Hilal-Campo. “Polarised lenses, in addition to UV 400 protection, use a special film to further filter reflected light and reduce glare. Investing in a good pair of sunglasses is very important to protect your eyes from the harmful ultraviolet rays which can cause skin cancer of the eyelids, cataracts and promote macular degeneration.” She also says that sunglasses with built-in UV protection “are an absolute must” to invest in. 

Size

While the style of frames you choose is important, their size is critical. “The larger your sunglasses, the more area you can cover and protect,” says Dr. Hilal-Campo. This means that there is no harm in investing in an oversized pair of sunglasses, as they offer more coverage and protection from UV rays. 

Tint 

“Lens colors affect how much visible light reaches your eyes, how well you see colors, and how well you see contrast,” explains Dr. Hilal-Campo. “When choosing a lens color, it is wise to select the color based on your lifestyle.” Dark colors like brown, gray, and green are ideal for everyday use and outdoor activities because they cut glare and reduce eye strain in moderate to bright light conditions. While light colors like yellow, amber, and rose are better for moderate to low light conditions. 

Your Questions, Answered

How do you find the best sunglasses for your face shape?


“It's all about trial-and-error and getting to know what you like and don't like,” says Silberman. “Try on the sunglasses you currently own, or go into a department store with a robust eyewear section. Take a selfie wearing each pair, look at the photos, and ask yourself which looks the most flattering. Then, lean into that shape. I have a rounder face, and I've learned that aviator styles and oversized cat-eye shapes are the most flattering on me.”

How do you clean sunglasses?


Use a soft, microfiber cloth (they usually come with the sunglasses on purchase) or rinse with warm water and then wipe gently. Though you may be tempted to use your clothes to quickly wipe away any smudges, it’s best not to because some fabrics can leave lenses blurred or scratched. 

Should I buy a case for my sunglasses?


A sturdy, hard-bound case is recommended to protect your sunglasses from scratches, dust  damage. But the good news is many of these cases are compact and can easily be popped into your handbag. Plus, a well-built case ensures that the sunnies are safely stowed, preserving their shape and lens. 

Why Trust InStyle

Madison San Miguel is a contributing writer for the commerce team at InStyle, and has covered everything from fashion week to beauty product reviews. Her work has been published in Travel + Leisure, TripSavvy, Bustle, Elite Daily, V Magazine, and other lifestyle publications. In addition to her research, she contacted styling experts, Maxine Wylde and Lindsay Silberman, and ophthalmologist, Dr. Diane Hilal-Campo, MD to find the best sunglasses for every face type.

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