- STILL defiantly hanging on to those aviator sunglasses? Well, you’re now on notice. This summer, the shape of shades has come full circle. Round sunglasses, by now a two-year-old trend for women, have finally been braced by men.
From familiar favorites like Ray-Ban and Persol to indie upstarts like Moscot and Salt, round-framed sunglasses are this summer’s strongest new seller. Seizing the moment, Oliver Peoples, a Los Angeles-based brand that made its debut 25 years ago with a collection of vintage-inspired round frames, reissued three of the styles that helped turn the company into one of the 1980s’ notable brands.
As noted, round glasses usually accommodate one of two looks, 1960s peacenik or 1920s pencil-neck, depending on whether the arms join the frame at the side or the top, respectively. But either makes a refreshing departure from the various ’70s-style sunglasses that have been shielding hipster eyes from reality’s harsh glare for something like a decade now.
There is only one problem.
“The round shape is not that flattering to a face,” said Larry Leight, the founder and creative director of Oliver Peoples. “They’re a strong statement, and they look a lot better on people who can handle that shape. They work the best on a skinnier face.”
The hardest to wear, Mr. Leight said, are those with lenses that are perfectly round. They make the most cartoonish statement and are generally the least flattering to a face.
As Madeline Weeks, GQ’s fashion director, observed, “It’s a little affected.” For one thing, she said, the circle’s perfect geometry does not jibe with a face’s more organic shape. Second, the most natural-looking bridge between two circles is a short one; unless the frames are thick and large, a wide bridge looks awkward.
But on many faces, the short bridge sets the lenses close together and makes one’s head look like a balloon dangerously close to popping. Sure, it’s fine for Harry Potter, but he can cast a spell that makes people think he’s hot. The rest of us rely on the glasses to work the magic.
More forgiving shapes have a slight oval or teardrop shape. Perhaps the best is the faux circle known in the trade as the P3, a shape that looks like a circle but which is, in fact, slightly wider than it is high, and tapers slightly toward the bottom, mirroring the general shape of the face. Johnny Depp has long favored the P3 style, which softens his angular features and puts a gentlemanly spin on his generally disheveled appearance.
If that’s what you’re after, Ms. Weeks said, it’s worth doing a bit of footwork and trying on as many pairs as possible until you find the ones that best fit your face. But as a woman who knows what works for her, she’s not giving up her Ray-Ban aviators anytime soon.