Sleek and sporty, a pair of white shades makes for an unexpectedly chic choice for the beach or shopping on Robertson Boulevard. “White says you’re confident and not afraid to stand out in a crowd,” says Morgenthal Frederics designer Richard Morgenthal. Today’s offerings are oversize, like those worn by style icon Audrey Hepburn in 1967. And don’t feel pressured to retire them in the fall. “Now that fashion has moved away from the ‘no more white after Labor Day’ policy, white accessories go year-round,” says Peggy Fries. The tone also lights up many complexions.
These sunglasses make a bold statement and convey a mysteriously seductive allure. “They are synonymous with movie-star chic,” says Peggy Fries of Luxottica Group, which produces glasses for Chanel and Prada.
Shields are the sunglasses equivalent of a solar eclipse-singularly dramatic. Not surprisingly, given their extravagant dimensions, they’re favored by larger-than-life musicians like Yoko Ono, Lenny Kravitz and Bono. “They have a rock and roll feel,” says designer Robert Marc. “Plus they’re urban and modern.” Though it might seem you need strong features to carry off a pair, wraplike shields actually confer stature to petite faces and puckish personalities. They are, despite their width, remarkably lightweight, and they offer unparalleled coverage for your eyes.
Invented in the 1930s to reduce glare for American pilots, aviators entered the republic of cool soon after. These days they’re favored by equally altitudinal luminaries. “From General MacArthur to Gwyneth Paltrow, aviators say ‘Don’t mess with me,’” says sunglasses guru Christian Roth, who co-designs with Eric Domege. The sleek new varieties flatter many different kinds of faces, and they’re extremely adaptable. “You can wear them with a suit or T-shirt and jeans, and there is always a hint of rebelliousness,” says Robert Marc.
“This style can say you’re classic and refined or on the cutting edge, depending on the frame and how it’s worn,” says Richard Morgenthal. Designers and retailers agree that few shapes are as insouciantly girlie or as cheekily retro as the cat’s-eye, popularized by such Hollywood vixens as Jayne Mansfield, Joan Crawford and Liz Taylor at the height of her jet-setting powers in the sixties. Adds Selima Salaun of Selima Optique, “It’s a great shape because it highlights the face and makes a very strong statement.”
If anyone is associated with the Wayfarer shape it is Tom Cruise, who made it famous in the 1983 film Risky Business. Wayfarers, which mavericks from Jack Nicholson onward have gravitated to, telegraph an independent streak and a sense of irreverent abandon. “Wayfarers started as a symbol of rebellion and have evolved into a classic American look,” says Robert Marc. The frames are witnessing a mini resurgence among style-setting stars like Kirsten Dunst and Sienna Miller; this can only mean that a full-blown revival is nigh.