Sunglasses 101: picking the right ones for you


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Whether you’re heading to the beach in Belize or the strip in Las Vegas, getting ready for spring break means you’ll need a cool pair of shades soon. 

As we all know protecting your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun is important.  But picking the right sunglasses to take on vacation is of serious consequence, because they’ll likely end up in at least a few photos. Like a dress or shirt, it can either be flattering or leave you wishing you bought something different for years to come when you look at the photos. 

Fox News traveler spoke to Zappos style expert Brooke Hyden as well as stylists Natalie Holloway and Casey Matheny of Buttoned Up Style in New York City to get their tips for finding the right sunglasses. 

So how do you pick the right ones for you?  Our experts say it comes down to more than knowing which frames fit your face.

Lenses:  The sun's harsh rays can do real damage to your eyes. If you're heading to destinations at high altitudes or closer to the equator, make sure you look for lenses that protect against UV-A and the more harmful UV-B rays. Our experts also say polarized lenses -- that have special filters that block intense, reflected light --are a must, especially if the vacation will include being near or in the water. 

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"They reduce glare and provide high contrast vision with the maximum UV protection available," Hyden said. “Wait until you compare how amazing the ocean looks on your next tropical vacation with polarized sunglasses.” 

Look in the mirror: It’s one thing to look at pair of sunglasses, but it’s a totally different thing to try them on. Don’t compare the sunglasses simply by holding them next to each other. Try each on and look in the mirror. “The key to the right sunglasses are what works best for your face, not necessarily ‘what’s hot,” Hyden said.

If you’re having trouble deciding, take a quick picture of yourself while wearing each pair with your phone to compare your options. 

All about shapes: Stylists recommend using the rule of opposites to balance out prominent facial features and to find the perfect pair of complimentary sunglasses for your face. 

Oval face- For those who fall under this category - consider yourself lucky. “Oval faces typically have the most balanced proportions, so you have the pick of the litter and can wear almost any frame shape,” Holloway said. “That being said, if you tend to have more soft curves, choose square, rectangle, or geometric shapes, which will add angles to your curves, and vice versa.” 

Square face- Balance out your strong angles with oval or round frames. “A butterfly shape is also ideal, as it is not too angular, but it also corresponds nicely to the width of your jawline and forehead,” Holloway said. Skip strong geometric shapes or sunglasses that have emphasis on the bottom of the frame. She adds those could draw unwanted attention to your chin. 

Round face- Compliment your soft curves and add definition to your face with angular frames. “Aviator or square frames are going to be your ideal pick for this upcoming season,” Matheny said. 

Heart-shaped face- Those like Reese Witherspoon will find round or butterfly styles look great on a heart-shaped face. For men, the Buttoned Up Style experts suggest the Marc by Marc Jacobs Metal frame - and for women, the Stella McCartney Butterfly frame sunglasses. 

Large head- Consider wider frames that will help the arms sit at a perfect 90 degree angle. “Another option is to try spring hinges that allow the arms to flex,” Hyden said. 

Small head- Don’t go too big. Find smaller frames that are proportionate to your face so it can fit snug behind your ears. “Skip the trendy oversized designs and stick to cat-eye, wayfarer and smaller sized styles,” Hyden said. 

Specifics: Depending on whether you are going on a road biking tour of Italy or a cruise through the Caribbean, you might want to have a different pair on hand. Think about how large you need the lenses to be, how close the frame should contour your face, and whether fashion or function should be deciding factor. 

Money matters: Many people don’t spend too much on their shades, say the experts. Hyden says it forces them to replace their sunglasses more frequently. “In the long run, this is costing you more money,” Hyden said. “You should invest in a well-made, high quality pair. They are better constructed and they will come with a case, which will protect the sunglasses.” 

Packing the pair: Whether the sunglasses come with a case or not, make sure to pack them in one. Hard shell cases will provide the most protection, but if the hard case is too big to fit in your purse or travel bag, a soft case will do. 

“Once you spend the money on a nice pair of sunglasses, you will force yourself to get in the habit of putting them away in their case,” Hyden said. Develop the habit before leaving for your trip so you won’t have to think about it while on vacation. 

While packing your suitcase, don’t forget to pack your sunglass case with the necessary accessories too. Make sure to put a lens cleaning cloth inside the case. “Don’t use tissues because they contain wood particles,” Hyden said. “Also, avoid using your t-shirt because it has traces of body oil, dust, and goodness knows what else.” 

The bottom line for cleaning your new shades: only use a clean cotton or mircrofiber cloth to wipe your lenses.