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Bosworth Ebony sunglasses. Courtesy Finlay & Co
Bosworth Ebony sunglasses. Courtesy Finlay & Co

Shedding light on finding the perfect shades

For the best part of a decade we have been wearing oversized sunglasses. But the tide is turning toward a more approachable look.

The sunglasses we wear are the style equivalent of the car we drive: in other words, certain people make certain assumptions. Get it wrong and you are forced to wear it on your sleeve - either you are a pretentious "Flash Harry" or a bit of a frump. Neither, of course, is great.

Originally, intended as a functional item for protection from the sun, our choice of sunglasses now make a considerable contribution to our overall look, especially when we live in a climate where the sun blazes for most of the year. For the best part of the last decade we have been dictated by the oversized look, which is admittedly a rather funny little trend. Take a look at Posh Spice, who patented the look of the pretentious spy. I know, I blame her for many a downfall, but for the best part of a decade she has been seen with a pair of oversized sunglasses so big they look like they may gobble her up in one big bite. And fools that we are, we have followed.

So, as you can perhaps tell, I for one am rather glad to hear these oversized sunglasses have well and truly seen their day. If the new collaboration between Japanese brand Dita Eyewear and designer Thom Browne is anything to go by, there is a far more exciting time ahead for shades. The collection focuses on kaleidoscopic frames, mesh side panels and cleverly detailed legs. Clear, geometric shapes will also make a splash; the wonderful cat's eye shapes seen at Prada last season will continue to thrive, as will the coloured lenses - seen at Gucci - making a statement in subdued greens, blues and soft greys.

When it comes to choosing the right pair for you, think firstly about your skin tone and face shape. Cool skin tones will normally look better with colder colours such as blues, greens, purples and silvers, while warmer skin tones look better with golds, coppers, and reds. If you have a heart-shaped face (broad forehead and wide cheekbones) go for bottom-heavy frames that add width to the lower part of the face and draw attention downward with a style low at the temples.

If you have a round face with full cheeks and few angles, try geometric frames that will sharpen any softer facial features - rectangular and horizontal styles tend to make faces appear leaner. To minimise the width of the face, it is best to choose a style of sunglasses that will add length, so look for frames that are not as wide as the widest part of your face. It is also a good idea to soften a hard jawline by going fo a more fluid, rounded style of frame. For angular features with high cheekbones and a longer nose or forehead, try tall frames or wide glasses with an accented top rim for added depth.

When it comes to cost, it's no secret that the fashion industry relies on funding from their accessory lines (and not their clothing) such as perfumes, make-up, and logo-heavy sunglasses, so don't be fuelled by the branding stamp. There is no need whatsoever to buy designer sunglasses, as they are nothing more than a clever marketing ploy. Do your homework and look for smaller, more interesting bespoke lines where design is at the forefront.

So what should I be wearing, I hear you ask? Well it's with much excitement I share with you my new favourites: handmade wooden frames from Finlay & Co. Inspired by design and heritage from the 1950s, each pair is uniquely hand-crafted, individual in its own grain, and come with a bespoke folding case. The result is something wonderfully curious, a new life form for sunglasses: part practical, part understated and 100 per cent chic.

And that, I think, is the difference between old and new - and perhaps the merest beginnings of a design revolt in the world of sunglasses. Here's hoping, anyway.

ktrotter@thenational.ae

 

Trend-ometer

This week's highs and lows in the world of fashion.

Live feed Topshop has recently announced that it will be live streaming its Spring/Summer 2013 collection at this month’s London Fashion Week.

Fashion woes Stylist and fashion designer Rachel Zoe is becoming less popular as figures for her reality show and clothing range have reportedly dropped.

Around the block Givenchy’s printed T-shirts have made it around the entire fashion-cum-celeb crew. Rihanna, Liv Tyler, Kanye West and newcomer Rita Ora are all sporting the on-trend tees.

The return Bum bags have made (yet another) reappearance, this time at this season’s CoSTUME National and Moschino shows.

The Mara fringe Rooney Mara’s sharp cropped fringe has made its way onto the Autumn/Winter 2012 catwalks including Versace, Marni and Antonio Berardi.

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