Eyewear occupies a bit of a weird space as far as accessories go. While they’re an absolute essential for most, they’re not often fussed over like an It bag or a cool pair of kicks. But like the most effective skincare products that give your face a pick-me-up when slathered on, putting on the right pair of frames will transform your face. Not to mention, magnify your presence — the perfect examples being John Lennon and Kurt Cobain.
So whether it’s a pair of sunglasses to shield your peepers from UV rays and veil your bare face, or glasses worn to correct your vision slash punctuate an outfit (truth: Lady Gaga once rocked up to fashion week in Wayfarer-style spectacles), give the indispensable accessory due consideration the next time you’re picking out a pair. To lend a helping hand, we list 45 of our favourite shapes, sizes, colours and styles, for your viewing pleasure.
From aviators — once a pilot essential but now a mainstream favourite (thanks, Tom Cruise) — to Warhol-esque Wayfarers, this selection in tried-and-tested black, blues and browns is for those who prefer colouring within the lines. Think of them as blue-chip buys that will see you through the ebb and flow of trends.
Aviators need little introduction. The name in itself is telltale of its history in the sky, but on solid ground, it’s beloved by men, women, teens, grown-ups, fashion personalities and, the stylistically ambivalent alike. You get our drift.
While the bold might describe this walnut brown pair as nondescript, it’s winning qualities are timelessness and versatility.
Ray-Ban has put out the Wayfarer since 1956, and a motley crew of prominent names have cast the spotlight on the rectangular shape over the years. From Andy Warhol and James Dean to Taylor Swift, it has remained prolific for decades — ergo, a trusty classic.
Steer away from black when picking out round wire frame spectacles like this. Harry Potter digs aside, a pale golden tone offers an air of polish.
We call this the “fashion stereotype”. Oversized, jet-black and sleek, just how Anna Wintour likes it.
For those who find thrill in the minute details, satisfaction comes in the form of picking out a marble grey pair.
Whether by the beach, in the mountains or the concrete jungle, this one will do no wrong. And its engraved bridge sets it apart ever so slightly.
Horn-rimmed glasses have come a long way, as an enduring staple from the ’20s and up till today.
Opt for one in a darker hue to make a quiet statement.
Some might call these nerdy, but we prefer the term intellectual. Its vibrant blue shade says you’re not all work and no play.
Don’t let the run-of-the-mill shape fool you. The punchy mottled pattern of the frame will draw the eye.
Not quite Buddy Holly iconic given its more rectangular shape, but its fuss-free design is why these have staying power.
The blatant appeal of ’90s logomania has returned with a vengeance, catapulting accessories like Dior’s Saddle and Fendi’s Baguette yet again to It-status. Here you’ll find names that have always embraced unabashed branding, adapting their recognisable motifs and logos for look-at-me frames.
Subtlety is not in Dolce&Gabbana’s vocabulary, but flamboyance sure is. Combine that with fashion’s current mood for unabashed branding, and you’ve got this gold stunner.
Take it just a notch down with a tone-on-tone version, sporting an elegant typeface.
Emporio Armani bats in the same league, albeit with the cheeky addition of its brand motif.
It was only a matter of time before logo bags gave way to logo shades — the perfect pick-me-up accessory for a monochrome outfit.
If the previous picks are too bold for your liking, opting for Coach’s instantly recognisable motif is a happy in-between.
Prada’s Linea Rossa line is as much known for its sporty tendencies as its red linear logo. Given the range’s technical — and at the same time, fashion-forward — revamp in 2018, there’s no better time than now to pledge allegiance.
How one makes a style statement varies across individuals. Going bold and big is a no-brainer, but like Michael Jackson’s white socks, even the tiniest detail can pack a punch when worn in an unexpected manner. From fun, glitter-speckled frames to truly OTT baroque-print lenses, we say go with your gut — and style instinct — when taking your pick.
These pink glitter frames sum up the Miu Miu spirit succinctly: fun, irreverent and at times, geeky chic.
A unique take on two-tone glasses that, upon closer inspection, are actually print on ombre. The perfect pair for those who want it all.
Now that’s ’50s glamour, distilled into one head-turning pair of sunnies.
Given Dolce&Gabbana’s Italian history, baroque-print lenses were bound to happen. Yes, you can actually see through them.
No stranger to Americana and the vintage inspired, the cool gradient and flower embellishments on this gem are reminiscent of a thrift store find. What else would you wear it with but your best tea dress?
Not all that glitters is gold. Sometimes it’s handsome navy in a subtle take on kitschy frames.
We made a case for neon the whole of last season — now, this one’s yours for the taking.
If a pair of statement glasses are new territory for you, ease yourself in with baby steps. Or rather, modest embellishments that elevate a classic colourway.
Where else would you find lenses shaped like these, if not dreamt up by the weird but wonderful folks at Miu Miu? In emerald green, it’s almost impossible to miss.
Prada’s prints — archival or not — tend to command the attention of avid collectors. Like their famous flame- and banana-print camp-collar shirts, this one’s for keeps.
Yes Gaga, yes.
The blanket term for the recent resurgence of micro frames, sporty shades, chemist goggles and (almost) everything off-kilter in between, the markers of a pair are: abnormally small lenses, abnormally large lenses, a curved architecture, and incredibly sleek design. The best pairs usually check more than one of those boxes, with Oakley, Prada and Ray-Ban responsible for some of the most forward-looking designs out there.
A well-balanced mix of the sporty and futuristic, the curved body on these sunglasses will sit flush with the face, promising to stay on during a weekend hike or through the morning rush.
With the same sleek chrome factor as a Daft Punk helmet, these babies were made for stunting — hard. Also, they double up as conversation fodder.
In case you haven’t noticed, Oakleys are no longer just for sports-loving dudes. The fashion pack’s on it, celebrities are loving it, and A-Cold-Wall*’s Samuel Ross has put his stamp on it with two cool collaborations. Now, why not try your hand at it too?
But if oversized frames in a look-at-me colourway is why you’re hesitating, then double down on this pair that’s discreet in comparison instead.
From the creator of numerous cult and mainstream classics: pretty rose-tinted lenses complemented by a handsome gold, metal frame.
Miu Miu has the right idea with those embellishments; they lend the sci-fi/ironically sporty attitude a feminine edge.
Not just the hero colour of club kids’ garb, this shocking green (along with other neon hues) was part of the winning formula Prada relaunched their Linea Rossa line with. Snag a pair before you’re kicking yourself and waiting for an archival release.
Futuristic or logomania? This pair lets you have your cake and eat it too.
This one’s for musicians and actresses who have become synonymous with styles of eyewear — no mean feat, by the way — thanks to their unparalleled style chops. Those white, oval frames? Unequivocally Kurt Cobain. That oversized and ever so slight cat eye? It has Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s written all over it. We also take into consideration Bono’s love for tinted lenses.
While a pair in white was Kurt Cobain’s all-time favourite, black proves to be all-occasion.
Like her black gloves, LBD and multi-strand pearl necklace, Audrey Hepburn’s large sunnies from Breakfast at Tiffany’s are forever written in film history for its undeniably chic cachet.
Iris Apfel, darling of both the interior design and fashion worlds, and master of making a style statement. Her blueprint includes an ever-present pair of thick, round frames, just like these.
We know that Ray-Ban’s aviators had a spot above in the classics too, but how it skyrocketed to fame courtesy of Top Gun and Tom Cruise? Now that’s culturally iconic.
While it first blew up in the ’60s, the slim cat eye has proven its everlasting appeal, beloved by silver screen siren Bette Davis to modern personalities like Gigi Hadid.
But did you know that the shape starting trending first as spectacles in the ’50s?
Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita has its place in the hallowed halls of great literary works, but so do these heart-shaped sunglasses in the eyewear domain. Known informally as Lolita frames, for its appearance on the poster of Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film adaptation of the novel.
Never without tinted lenses in all shapes and shades, this pair has Bono written all over it.
Prices unavailable unless otherwise stated.