When shopping for your summer pair of eye protectors, the key to this season's hottest picks is taken from lessons in fashion history. What's hot today is simply a gift from the ghost of fashion past.
What has turned up on the noses of style divas, hipsters and everyone in between for the past four years is the sleek look of the Ray Ban Wayfarer. Originally designed for fighter pilots in the World Wars, and then championed by the geek-bands of the 50s, like Buddy Holly and the Crickets, the Wayfarer is a testament to the fusion of utility and high fashion. Flat on the top with round lenses and the signature thick plastic frame, these glasses hug heart- and oval-shaped faces the best. The best part about the Wayfarer look is that you don't need to cling to the Ray Ban brand to pick up a pair. Lulu*s, Tommy Hilfiger, and even those knock-off stores in the mall can have you snapping to the 50s beat.
The John Lennon look has resurfaced this year, as well. These small, circular lenses supported by their thin wire frames can be the best fit for a smart and sassy accent to your wardrobe. This 60s look is best adorning longer-shaped faces, and a pleasant pop for individuals with high cheek bones. The frames Lennon made famous can also be found at a wide variety of shops and boutiques, as no single label lays the claim to the style. When jumping on to this retro style, the most important rule is to stray far from colored lenses. Many who attempt to recreate the look utilize the deep red and purple hues in the lens glass, however the best modern revamps utilize gray shade or blue-blocking amber.
Another blast from the past are the everlasting Jackie O's. Nothing says sunglasses like the large circular lenses that not only hide your face from the sun, but from a pesky ex you may need to avoid. This tribute to the former first lady can be too big for smaller-framed faces, and work best on round- and pear-shaped faces.
Though the traditional color scheme of this 70s look was tortoise shell, the modern Jackie O's can be pulled off with practically any type of frame. Metals, bright colors and even sparkly shimmers have been seen on Lady Gaga, Madonna and those looking for a wow-factor; while muted colors and earth tones can keep a refined look on the over-sized lenses.
A knock-off of the original Ray Bans came in the form of the aviator redesign. These lenses are wider around the peripherals, helping to block more sunlight, thus becoming the norm in pilot eye wear throughout World War II. However it was Tom Cruise and the boys of Top Gun who truly sent the aviator style soaring, especially when backed by a wing-man in a bomber jacket.
Now, aviators are also a great look on women. They are a fabulous complement for the small diamond-shaped face, or those with a heart- or oval-shaped face that cuts in to a smaller pointed jaw. The over-sized lenses work like the Jackie O's, but the tear-drop shape of the lenses can embellish the smaller face without looking too big. This classic look is best when on a silver or gold frame, and can be dazzling with a metallic sheen on the lenses.
Once you have snagged your frame and style choice, look for the color that is going to make you shine. It is a common mistake to attempt to match your outfit, or to blend your accessories to fit a certain garment. The color and decorative accents of your glasses are going to work best when thinking about your skin tone, makeup choices, and your hair color and cut. While a pair of mismatched shades may not exactly match your wardrobe, a pair of starch white frames can make a pale-faced beauty seem washed-out and blanched.
For darker skin tones, utilize bright yellows, oranges and warm colors, or look for the contrasting white or lighter plastics. In choosing metal frames, try out the brass or gold alloys to make your tan the center of attention. Earth tones can also be your best friend.
In the fairer skin tones, find the darker shades of navy, black and even tortoise shell to add a sleek look to glowing skin. Matching the red tone of your glasses to your lip color can also be a fun way to recreate a Lolita look and add a kick to your finishing touches.
With the ever-increasing glare of the sun this summer, your eye wear is an valuable part of your daily ensemble. The right pair of shades can not only keep your eyes healthy and reduce the appearance of sun-related wrinkles, but also adds a piece of classic Hollywood and timeless Americana.