Throwing shade: The best sunglasses for women to buy now

Zoe Gunn

14 April 2021

A season of sunshine is on the horizon; get ready with these fabulous frames

14 April 2021 | Zoe Gunn

If you purchase something featured on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission.

If there is a style truth that is universally acknowledged, it is that everyone looks better in sunglasses – but finding the best pair for you can be easier said than done. Do cat-eyes look retro cool or just a little bit ridiculous? Will an oversized pair make you look like an alien?

As ever, the devil is in the detail. Pay attention to the thickness of frames, the darkness of a tint and the width of an arm. Then there are trends to grapple with. Luckily, we’re here to naviagte the minefield with you. Here’s our guide to the best sunglasses for women in 2021.

The aviator sunglasses

Tiffany & Co Butterfly sunglasses, £255,
Tom Ford Holden infinity sunglasses, £335,

We’ve long suspected there must be some kind of black magic that goes into creating aviator sunglasses. How, after all, can one style be flattering on every face from Victoria Beckham's and Meghan Markle's to Lewis Hamilton's and Tom Cruise's? Ours is not to reason why, however, ours is simply to point you in the direction of the latest designs. We’re particular fans of these modern interpretations by Tiffany & Co. and Tom Ford.

The cat-eye sunglasses

Saint Laurent cat-eye sunglasses, £285,
Prada tortoiseshell cat-eye sunglasses, £262,

Oozing 1950's glamour and vintage chic, cat-eye sunglasses aren’t for everyone, but, figure out how to make them work for you, and you’ve got a serious statement look on your hands (or should that be face). The key to stopping things falling into the realms of pastiche is to opt for frames that nod to, rather than yell about, their cat-eye inspiration. Saint Laurent and Prada have got the balance just right.

The slimline sunglasses

TOL Eyewear rectangle-frame sunglasses, £195,
Le Specs Recovery rectangular recycled sunglasses, £70,

Rihanna, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski – few and far between are the supermodels and celebrities that haven’t fallen for the lure of slimline sunglasses. Typically designed with oval or rectangular lenses, their shrunken, retro style helps balance out the proportions of round and heart-shaped faces. Choose classic black from TOL Eyewear if you’re just dipping your toe in, or go bold with Le Specs if you’re already a committed fan.

The oversized sunglasses

Chloe square sunglasses, £335,
Loewe chunky sunglasses, £290,

As good for hiding the dark circles of a late summer night as they are for shading you from the sun, there’s a reason oversized sunglasses have long been a go-to for Hollywood glitterati. Forget old school styles, however. The modern way to go big is with angular frames in pared back colours. Chloe’s wire versions offer a lighter take on the trend while Loewe’s faceted frames are ideal for those with larger or longer faces.

The round sunglasses

Gucci round sunglasses, £320,
Ray-Ban Evolve sunglasses, £158,

Dispel notions of John Lennon’s tiny specs. Today’s round-frame sunglasses are more saucer than espresso cup, making them a flattering option for thin or oval-shaped faces. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that round sunglasses present the perfect opportunity to experiment with coloured lenses. Gucci’s pale pink and Ray-Ban’s pastel green are a great starting point.

The D-frame sunglasses

Givenchy oversized D-frame sunglasses, £230,
Celine oversized 09 sunglasses, £290,

Like aviators, D-frame sunglasses look great on just about everyone. It’s no surprise, then, that the quintessential D-frame, the Wayfarer, is one of the world’s most popular, enduring and famous shape of sunglasses. This season, Givenchy has given its signature tortoiseshell versions a contemporary update with boxier frames that gently curve along the brow line. Elsewhere, Celine’s solid black styles are as timeless as they come.

Read more: Beautiful summer dresses to buy now