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#dfdfdf}amp-accordion>section>:last-child{display:none!important}amp-accordion>section[expanded]>:last-child{display:block!important}amp-story-page,amp-story[standalone]{display:block!important;height:100%!important;margin:0!important;padding:0!important;overflow:hidden!important;width:100%!important}amp-story[standalone]{background-color:#fff!important;position:relative!important}amp-story-page{background-color:#757575}amp-story .i-amphtml-loader{display:none!important}[amp-fx^=fly-in]{visibility:hidden} /*# sourceURL=/css/amp.css*/8 best women's sunglasses | The Independent

8 best women's sunglasses

We’ve tried on a lot of shades to bring you our favourite styles of the season 

Sunglasses are too often considered a frivolous investment, mired by diva associations dating back to the golden age of film. This may apply if you’re on your 11th pair (and why not?), but for the majority of us, they’re a functional accessory, protecting our sight from harmful UV rays, from impending crow’s feet around the eyes and allowing us to drive, walk, ski – you name it. They’re a wardrobe staple and there are plenty of shapes and styles to choose from: aviators, round lenses, cat-eyes, oversized, oval, rectangular and, now, lighter lenses for more eye contact. 

Then there’s the aesthetic appeal, framing your best features and working to the shape of your face, hair and dress sense. Rather than sacrificing functionality, the two should work in harmony. 

It’s worth noting that sunglasses are particularly vulnerable to trend cycles. Before indulging, take heed of the face shape rule: opt for a pair that is the opposite of your face shape. A round face suits aviators or wide-set sunglasses, a long face suits cat eyes and is a good canvas for most styles, whereas square faces should stick to curved frames or aviators. Finally, oversized sunglasses or frames with exaggerated bottoms are ideal for heart-shaped faces. 

It’s well worth ensuring that any new pair of sunglasses provides 100% UVA/UVB protection (it will say this on the label). If investing in an expensive pair, rise above the ephemeral trends in the shops and go for a classic shape that will survive the sartorial seasons. Then there are a wide range of colours and materials to choose from, from acetate to titanium. Both must complement your complexion and hair tone, as well as your dress sense (for example, brunettes suit black frames, pale skin tones should avoid pastel coloured frames that wash them out). There are plenty of lenses on offer but these often come as a “whole package” with the sunglasses and are rarely selected separately, unless through an optician. Polarised lenses reduce glare reflected off surfaces, which makes images appear sharper and clearer. Polycarbonate lenses are more resilient and ideal for those with children or leading active lifestyles (it also makes them a great choice of lens for rimless glasses).

Integrating all these factors into your sunglasses hunt might seem slightly daunting, but it’s worth it for the “perfect pair”. Once you’ve found them, they’re your ultimate armour, boosting facial features and most importantly your eyesight. Here’s a little help from us…

Illesteva Leonard Round-Frame Acetate Sunglasses: £140, Net-a-Porter 

Lens width: 48mm

Bridge size: 22mm 

Temple length: 145mm

A thicker model of the round-shaped sunglasses, this Leonard pair by Illesteva softens the impact of the style and can be worn by almost any shape face with a wider frame across the face. So, for those shying away from hipster readings of the thin, round metal frames, these are the perfect solution; muscling in on the trend without going the full hog and suffering an identity crisis. Moreover, the black lenses contrast well against the tortoiseshell acetate frame and with the smart, brand-stamped case to boot, this is a pair of sunglasses that warrant some love. Handmade in family-run factories in Italy and France, then designed in New York for a modern spin on classic materials, the result is a quality and style that transcends generations and suits most face shapes.

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Adam Selman x Le Specs The Last Lolita: £75, Net-a-Porter

Lens width: 51mm

Bridge size: 18mm

Temple length: 150mm

Cat-eye shapes work well on oval or square faces. Their upswept outer edges create the illusion of higher cheekbones. This pair by Le Specs, created in collaboration with Adam Selman, is futurism-inspired and not an accessory for the crowd-blenders. The brand was founded in 1979, inspired by the carefree and stylish set roaming the shores of Sydney. It is always ahead in terms of style and while its models may be “eccentric”, they stand the test of time. This pair of cat eyes livens up a simple outfit, or it can add a playful edge to a formal look. The streamlined frame is available in blue lenses with a silver, clear acetate frame, as well as a mother of pearl finish. As with any quality pair of sunglasses, these come with a beautifully presented hard case and cleaning cloth. 

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Linda Farrow X N21: £180, Linda Farrow 

Lens width: 58mm

Bridge size: 14mm

Temple length: 140mm

These Linda Farrow X N21 slim cat-eye silhouette sunglasses add a cool, contemporary edge to the “old-world-glamour” cat-eye style, with light gold stainless steel corners. The solid pink lenses inject a modern look into a yesteryear model, although they are light enough to be used for “fashion purposes” only (your eyes are visible through them). An adjustable nose pad guarantees comfort while the N21 logo is discreetly detailed on the black acetate tapered temples, typifying the rise of more “niche” brands in the sunglasses market. Linda Farrow is a reliable brand for those after a “glamorous” but timeless look, her signature being the “oversized” sunglasses. 

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Cutler & Gross 1272: £265, Pret a Voir

Lens width: 53mm

Bridge size: 19mm 

Temple length: 140mm

These yellow round-frame sunglasses from Cutler & Gross are unisex, in a great way. The colour and style together infer a sepia, trendy, 20th-century affinity, a trademark of the label. They ooze pared-back cool and complement a dressed-down look as effectively as they take the edge off a sharper outfit. The intricate detail on the metal frames is a potent reminder that these are a luxury product. The round, tinted lens works best on those with an angular, square or oval face. Based in Knightsbridge, Cutler & Gross has been going for 30 years and maintains a loyal following from the design-inclined. The brand’s round frames with tinted lenses are popular choices for consumers but it offers a wide range of styles and frame materials for people to choose from. 

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Oliver Peoples x The Row Board Meeting 2: £490, Far Fetch 

Lens width: 49mm

Bridge size: 20mm 

Temple length: 145mm

An addition to The Row collaboration with Oliver Peoples, Board Meeting 2 typifies the clean, modern aesthetic of the brand’s home in New York. The squared titanium frame, engraved with lines along the exposed metal adds gentle detail but it’s the photochromic glass lenses that bring the contrast and impact. These sunglasses wake up a plain black outfit but the simplicity of the design allows them to be paired with almost anything, without looking OTT. These are worth trying on in store to ensure your eyebrows don’t poke awkwardly above the top of the frame. If they are arched in line with the frame or far higher than it, then they’re perfect. The LA brand is known for their taste-maker accolades, leading the sunglasses trends but simultaneously creating design-led specs that offer a plethora of choice on frame, lens and style. 

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Ray-Ban Round RB 244: £154, Ray-Ban  

Lens width: 49mm

Bridge size: 21mm 

Temple length: 145mm

Ray-Ban’s iconic aviator look has been swept aside for the more modern round shape with gradient flash lenses. Once a trend, the round glasses have consolidated themselves as a classic. This stylish model looks as at home on the beach as it does en route to the office, and while an object to treasure, Ray-Bans are incredibly resilient. The mirror gradient flash lenses are available in several colours, with more subtle options should you wish to tone things down, as are the frames, with tortoise being a firm favourite to suit most hair colour and skin tone. The sunglasses case is also hardy yet tiny and flat (easy to slot into a small handbag or pocket). Ray-Ban is a widely known favourite and a safe option for those after a long-term, stylish pair without lunging too far into the trend cycle. The infinite choices of frames, lenses and materials used means that the brand can work for almost anyone. 

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Black Eyewear Alice in Grey Mottle: £187, Black Eyewear

Lens width: 50mm

Bridge size: 22mm 

Temple length: 145mm

Black Eyewear was created by Robert Roope, a serious jazz enthusiast whose sunglasses are inspired by the golden-era greats – Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley and so on – with this particular pair named after Alice Coltrane. His mission statement has always been to mix vintage aesthetic with the comforts (and high expectations) of contemporary design, making these Alice sunnies both fun and functional. They’re light enough to avoid that dull pain on your nose bridge you obtain from some luxury sunglasses but are substantial enough to cling to your face if you look down. The colours and frames on offer for each and every style is impressive, from mustard yellows and reds to more classic-looking tortoiseshell or black. This niche brand is a firm favourite with celebrities who have stumbled across it online or in the quaint Goodge Street store, and have never looked back.  

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Retro Peepers Frida Kahlo Sunglasses: £150, Retro Peepers

Lens width: 49mm

Bridge size: 10.5mm 

Temple length: 145mm

Niche sunglasses brands are popping up in cities across the world. They have a story underpinning them, rather than a huge corporate structure. If you’re a culture vulture, these are the pair for you: the outcome of Retro Peepers and the V&A’s new collaboration around the museum’s Frida Kahlo exhibition Making Herself Up. These are a faithful reproduction of a pair worn by Frida herself, which will be on display at the exhibition. Any eyebrow shape goes on these. The frames are hand-made from high quality acetate, with an inset signature on the outer temples. The gold crystal and matte gold acetate colour combination contrasts in true Mexicana style with the vintage green shades. These sunglasses are being produced as a limited edition of 500 pieces, so qualify not only as a bold style statement, but as a piece of art. 

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The verdict:

Illesteva’s Leonard round-frame acetate sunglasses seal the deal as the Best Buy, with their substantial (yet not heavy) frames, their stylish shape (without being too daring) and their reasonable price for a pair of decent sunglasses that can weather the trend cycle.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.