Despite the dozens of sunglasses-focused shopping guides I’ve read in my life, I still haven’t discovered The One, aka that single most flattering style that guarantees I’ll always look infinitely more mysterious, glamorous and interesting. There’ve been some fun distractions along the way, for sure—a dark, oversized Prada pair that makes me feel way fancier than I am, $40 round, purple frames from Madewell I’ve passed off as designer, my understated Ralph Lauren aviators—but nothing so perfectly suited to the peaks and valleys of my face that I’m willing to abandon all other options. I’m starting to wonder if it’s even out there.
It might not be. "No one really has a ‘perfect’ oval, square, circle or heart face shape," Sarah Bryar, CEO of women’s eyewear e-boutique Rivet & Sway, told me when I called her for some fit expertise. "So most people have lots of styles to choose from! After that, it’s all about personal style and color preference." According to Bryar, finding great shades is less about zeroing in a particular kind of frame than knowing if you look better in rounded or angular styles. "I follow a pretty simple principle: opposites attract. If your facial features are more round and soft, then you need angles to balance it out. On the other hand, angular features work better with a rounded frame."
She doesn’t advise, however, completely ignoring the specifics of you facial structure. Knowing whether you’re closer to a oval, square, circle or heart shape can help you eliminate what definitely won’t work before even starting. To see which category (or categories! Remember: it’s not a cookie-cutter kind of thing) you fit into, along with a set of styles tailored to you, check the slideshow above for Bryar’s tips. (Just be sure to keep her number one guideline in mind: "There are no rules." After all, most of looking good is about feeling good—so if none of your suggested frames seem right, go with what you love.)