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Sunglasses | How to | FitThese adidas sports sunglasses were exhibited at this year’s OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Photo: Felix Kästle for Messe Friedrichshafen.
November 2015

Recommending sunglasses

When it comes to recommending sunglasses, there are a number of key points to consider, writes CARIN HARDISTY

The time of day and the conditions in which your customer will wear the sunglasses, what activity he’ll be taking part in, the shape of his face — it should not only be practical, after all , it should also flatter him … are all points to take into account when deciding what sunglasses to recommend.

There are so many different face shapes that it can be confusing what frame style will suit your customer’s face.

As a guideline, the following face shapes suit the respective frame shapes:

  • Diamond: Oval and rimless frames will complement the pronounced cheekbones. Frames should have soft curves and should not be wider than the cheekbones.
  • Heart or triangle: Recommend light-coloured frames, thin temples, or frames with exaggerated bottoms. Cat eye frames, or ones with rounded edges, will also work for this customer. You can also recommend rimless or butterfly styles.
  • Oblong or rectangular: This customer looks good in large or round oversized frames, or rectangular frames, and thick frames. He can also wear tall frames, or ones with sharp angles and bold lines, which will sharpen the face. Avoid small frames.
  • Oval: This type of face can wear almost any shape or colour frame. The best frame styles will cover the face from the eyebrows to the cheekbones. Cat eye or butterfly frames, with their upward design, will compliment high cheekbones. This customer should not wear oversized glasses, though.
  • Round: Eyewear should not be curved and should have angular lines, which help the face look thinner and sharper. Recommend big, square-rimmed, rectangular or wrap eyewear. People with round faces should avoid round frames.
  • Square: Circular or oval lenses suit this shape the best as the roundness will help loose some of the sharpness in the face and create a more balanced look. This customer can also wear a cat eye frame, a butterfly style, or a semi-rimless frame, which will balance the jaw. The temples should be in the centre, or set at the top of the frame. This consumer should avoid square frames in bright colours.

Frame shapes explained

Butterfly? Cat eye? What? If you’re unfamiliar with the different frame shapes, here’s a quick explanation:

  • Butterfly: usually oversized, these frames are wider at the top than they are at the bottom, creating the impression of a butterfly’s open wings.
  • Cat eye: a modern take on the vintage movie-star with an upswept style. It has a wider top than bottom and visually slims the face.
  • Oval: a good basics style with oval lenses.
  • Rectangle: a straightforward shape — the frame is wider than it is tall.
  • Round: a classic look with round lenses, popularised by John Lennon.
  • Semi-rimless: for a vintage look, the bulk of this frame sits over the top of the frames and the temple.
  • Square: a geometric, square frame that is usually oversized.
  • Wrap: the lenses cover most of the eyes and don’t allow UV rays in through the side.

How the lens affects the view

The various lens colours aren’t just for looks. Each comes with their own benefits.

  • Amber: reduces glare, enhances depth perception, improves detail and prevents eye fatigue. Good for use early morning or late afternoon, or in low light conditions, e.g. on cloudy, hazy or foggy days. Also good for sport participants where they need to judge distance, or if much of the focus will be against greens or blues.
  • Blue or purple: reduces glare, helps to see contours, and improves colour perception. Good for misty and foggy conditions and for use around snow.
  • Dark amber, copper or brown: enhances depth perception, blocks blue light to heighten contrast. Especially good for situations where the focus is on green against blue, for example grass against blue skies. Good in party cloudy to sunny conditions.
  • Green: helps reduce eyestrain, adds a slight contrast (lowers glare while brightening shadows), and preserves colour balance. Good for general purpose use in sunny, partly cloudy, cloudy, foggy or hazy, and low light conditions.
  • Grey: reduces brightness while preserving natural colour perception. These lenses are good for general use in sunny, partly cloudy, cloudy, foggy or hazy, and low light conditions, as well as for when the wearer has to view the scene in a natural colour state, for example hunting.
  • Pink, rose or red: enhances visual depth, reduces eye strain, good road visibility and increases contrast (partly cloudy and sunny conditions). Causes colour imbalance. Good for use in sunny, partly cloudy and cloudy conditions as well as around snow.
  • Yellow or orange: heightens contrast, good depth perception, and filters out blue light for a sharper focus. Provides clarity in overcast, hazy or in low-light conditions. Also good for use with indoor sports as well as during sunset or evening driving. Gives a colour distortion, adding a yellow hue.
  • Mirrored or reflective lenses: if your customer is interested in a mirrored or reflective lens, he should note the colour and type of coating on the outer surface of the lens, as well as colour of the lens without the coating (the base colour).
  • o Base colour: provides the colour’s benefits, as described above.
    o Mirrored: reduces glare and does not affect the contrast. Good for activities where there is a possibility of high glare, for example snow- or water sport, driving, etc.

By combining the colours with technologies, your customers will get more out of their eyewear:

  • Gradient: tinted from the top down, where the top is the darkest. This shields the eyes from overhead sunlight, while allowing light through the bottom half of the lens so that the wearer can see clearly.
  • o Double gradient: tinted from the top down as well as from the bottom up, where the top and the bottom are darkest. This shields the eyes both from overhead light and light being reflected from below.
  • Hydrophobic lens coating: repels water from the lens, as long as the lens is clean.
  • Photochromic lenses automatically adjust to the changing light, for example turn darker when the light gets brighter. The change is activated by UVB rays.
  • Polarized coating: blocks vertical (reflected) light to reduce glare.

Performance eyewear

Cycling eyewear protects the wearer’s eyes from possible irritation caused by insects, dust, grit, sun, and wind. If these get into the cyclist’s eyes, they’ll not only bother him, but could make him have an accident.

The lenses need to be impact resistant and are therefore made of highly resistant material such as polycarbonate, which will prevent them from shattering.

The lens colour choice should also be more about the practical advantages than their aesthetic appeal. The time of day your customer is most likely to cycle during will impact on the lens colour he needs. A pair of glasses that will take interchangeable lenses will be ideal for a cyclist who doesn’t cycle during a specific period during the day, and might need more than one colour lens.

Eyewear for watersports

Surf sunglasses are developed specifically for people who spend long periods on, and around the water, like surfers, fishermen, yachtsmen, kayakers, etc.

The wearer requires protection from UVA and UVB rays, because of the large chance of developing irreversible long term eye damage from the sun. Surf sunglasses have strong frames and the lenses can’t be pushed inwards. This provides protection against rough waves, rivers, board accidents, etc. The glasses should also have anti-impact protection, like shatterproof lenses.

A good pair of sunglasses should also have a hydrophobic lens coating and offer ventilation to prevent the lenses from fogging.

It’s important to note that sunglasses shouldn’t be worn during surfing if they rest entirely on the nose bridge. If the force of the water, pushing against the glasses while duck diving, is entirely taken by the nose bridge it could lead to injury.

To prevent the sunglasses from falling off and being lost in the water, recommend a head strap or leash system to your customer.

Fishermen will also benefit from the eyewear with the above characteristics. They do not only need protection from the sun, however — they also want to be able to see through the surface of the water. Polarized sunglasses will work well for your fishing customer, as they reduce glare and therefore the light that gets reflected off the surface of the water, which allows him to look through the surface and see the fish.

Fashionably protected

It is said that accessories complete the fashion outfit: few are as hard to miss as a good pair of sunglasses. The Spring 2016 colour palette for eyewear frames is a mix of soft pastels and natural hues in calming colours. For ladies, think frame colours in dusty blues, greys and pinks, taupe, and lavender. Bright pink will also be a big hit.

The cat eye is still a staple in women’s wardrobes. Now, it is exaggerated and features embellishments, modern touches and crisp colours.

Round sunglasses are combined with bold patterns, animal prints and fresh colours, for sophistication with an edge. Black-and-white combinations, marble, and the classic tortoiseshell reinterpreted are popular.

For men, the semi-rimless frame has been updated to include metal details, vibrant colours, and textures.


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