+ Tips and Tricks

Belle's Guide to Choosing the Perfect Pair of Sunglasses: Part II

In addition to face shape, women should consider the complexion of their skin when choosing sunglasses.  Seem trivial?  It’s not.  Just like hair color, the color of your sunglasses can wash you out or give your complexion vibrance.  Which would you prefer?

Pale ladies should look for frames with a touch of rose or amber. Light to medium tortoiseshell frames suit fair complexions, while clear or blue hued frames tend to accentuate your paleness.  A vintage-inspired tortoiseshell frame with rose tinter lenses would be lovely.

If you have medium to tan skin or an olive complexion, you will look marvelous in metal frames.  Especially with an olive complexion, a gold metal aviator will pick up all the lovely warmth of your skin.  If you have Asian, olive or tan skin, please wear black frames with care as they tend to look to severe.  

If you are African American, you can experiment with metal frames, amber shades or funky colors.  But like medium tones, you should be careful with black frames.

Many women already own a basic pair of sunglasses that they wear regularly, if that is the case with you, you might consider adding a second pair in a trendier style for a little variety.  They can spice up a look or hide those hung over eyes from the sun’s harsh rays while adding a little style to your day.

Retro Styles


Ray Ban High Street Wayfarers (Nordstrom, $120)

This spring and summer, the hottest sunglasses on the market are retro-inspired styles like these Wayfarers.  Not your thing?  You can also try a pair of decadent round lenses that would make Nicole Richie weep with envy or a pair of 1980s inspired visor sunglasses that are straight out of John Hughes.

The Aviator

RayBan Classic Aviators (Nordstrom, $139)

The Aviator is a classic that has so many variations that there is one for every face shape and skin color.  And while the original Aviator is never a bad idea, this season there are a few hot trends invading a sunglasses counter near you.

Aviators with colored rims are hot this season.  Pink and red seem to be the colors of choice, though if you look around, I’m sure you can find every shade imaginable.  If you want to go the opposite direction, you can try a rimless aviator with tortoiseshell details

Thanks to Lady Gaga, the stores are also stocking all types of brightly colored, crystal embellished, crazy sunglasses this season.  So if you are so inclined, feel free to partake.  It’s certainly better than emulating her fashion choices as typically straight laced D.C. is probably not ready for that.

Lastly, I am a firm believer that there is never a good reason to pay more than $200 for a pair of sunglasses.  Miss M and her Oliver Peoples addiction would disagree.  But I highly recommend that you never buy sunglasses off the street or at inexpensive stores.  Why?

Because cheap sunglasses actually do more damage to your eyes than not wearing sunglasses at all.  You see the tinted lenses will provide just enough shade for your eye to open your pupil, but since the lens provides no UV protection or very little, the UV rays can penetrate deeper into the eye.  Translation, eye damage.  

So just remember, even if the sunglasses look fantastic on you, if they don’t protect your eyes from the sun they just aren’t worth the money.  



  1. DCGal says:

    Belle, how can one tell whether a certain pair does or doesn’t provide adequate UV protection? Any specific brands that you know do or don’t? Thanks.

    April 12, 2010/Reply
  2. Belle says:

    CR-39R plastic, about 88 percent of UV light is absorbed. If sunglasses contain polycarbonate lenses, UV absorption will be 100 percent. However, many cheap sunglasses use a material called triacetate. This material absorbs only about 40 percent of the UV rays. Lenses may also be made of other acrylic materials, which will vary from partially to fully absorbent.

    To know that your lenses are 100 percent UV absorbing, purchase them from reputable companies, specialty sunglass stores or from an optical professional,.

    If you have doubts about a pair of sunglasses, you can take them to any optical store and ask that they be tested. Most stores will have a UV meter and will do it for free if you are nice.

    April 12, 2010/Reply
  3. Chris says:

    I ONLY look good is Aviators and Ray Ban Wayfarers. That is pretty much it.

    April 12, 2010/Reply