The right pair of sunglasses can change up your everyday look while also protecting your eyes from the sun. The ever-changing sunglass trends of celebrities and the sought-after designer name-brands are hard to keep up with. Looking for a pair both stylish and effective? We’ve consulted expert reviews to find the best women’s sunglasses on the market.
Born out of function, not fashion, sunglasses originate all the way back to prehistoric times. For thousands of years, the Inuit and the Yupik peoples of the Arctic fashioned the first iteration of sunglasses from bone and wood to prevent snow blindness, as seen in photos in Smithsonian Magazine. No longer a necessity for preventing blindness, today’s sunglasses meld function with fashion. What matters most to you? Do you wear your sunglasses year-round? At night? Or are you like 39% of Americans who think sunnies are only for summer? The survey of 2,000 adults finds that 42% of respondents admit they don’t think about how their eyes are impacted by spending a long time outside. Half say they spend upwards of five hours outside in the sun every week (51%) with those in the Midwest (60%) and west (53%) most likely to spend longer than five hours outside per week.
Protecting peepers isn’t the only factor women consider when choosing their next pair of sunglasses. But it’s definitely one of the more important factors. A study in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions even recommends wearing sunglasses as a photoprotection strategy for travelers. “The health of our eyes has a huge impact on our daily lives, and there are steps every person should be taking to ensure that they maintain good eye health throughout their lifetime,” Maddie Anderson, senior marketing manager of California-based eyewear brand SPY+ tells Women’s Wear Daily. “Investing in quality eyewear is a great first step.”
Forbes points out that, generally speaking, a larger lens is going to offer more protection than a smaller one. Think oversized Gucci à la Jacki-O, Chanel butterfly lenses or giant bug eye shades circa the early 2000s. In addition to large lenses, what the lens is made of also factors in. Not all lenses offer 100% UVA and UVB protection, so double-check the lens details if you want assurance of that—and stick with polarized options. Not only do polarized lenses look cool, they shield your eyes, too.
To help you find the best pair, StudyFinds visited nine expert websites and put together this list of the top five best women’s sunglasses. As always, leave recommendations of what shades you prefer in the comments below!
The List: Best Women’s Sunglasses, According To The Pros
It’s the dawning of the age of this iconic Australian sunglass brand that’s so ’70s. Channel your inner royal or bite an American reality TV star’s style with these avant-garde, high-quality shades. Glamour advises picking up a pair of dark specs if you’re hoping to emulate Emily Ratajkowski. Megastars Rihanna and Lady Gaga are fans of Le Specs, too.
Marie Claire calls Le Specs some of the “most in-demand sunglasses.” And for about half the price of a pair of Ray-Bans (see below), these lightweight frames deliver polarized lenses with a wallet-friendly price tag and versatile design.
New York Magazine anointed Le Specs “cool approved,” while review after review touted how “chic and timeless” they are. StudyFinds doesn’t believe in buyer’s remorse. So, when you’re shelling out a decent price for a stylish, functional product that makes you feel fabulous — we say go for it!
Insider points out that fans of Le Specs “love the frames and silhouettes that easily become summer staples.”
A classic originally supplied in the ’30s to U.S. Air Force fighter pilots to shield their eyes from the sun, Ray-Ban’s aviators look just as chic on women. Forbes explains the crystal lenses helped minimize the glare at high altitudes. Polarized lenses are treated with a special coating that can reduce glare and reflections. They’re especially useful if you plan to wear your aviators for driving or on the water, since they inhibit horizontal light, but they may warp how digital screens look.
Safety doesn’t sacrifice style though for these iconic shades, with their curved edges that flatter most face shapes. Ray-Bans look good on everyone for every occasion, according to Popsugar.
Comfortable is another descriptor that came up in reviews for this brand that made Marie Claire‘s best of list for 2023.
“The frames are made of a durable and lightweight material, and the nose pads are adjustable for a perfect fit,” said one Ray-Ban fan. Simply put, these will always be in style—today, tomorrow, and a decade from now.
Best for oval, round and heart-shaped faces, these wide, high-bridge fit offer UV protection with their luxury lenses. These oversized rectangular frames boast a creative brow line and pronounced endpoints recalling the timeless cat-eye.
Women’s Wear Daily names these the “best for larger faces” and writes: “These luxury sunglasses for women comes in six versatile shades, including a rich bordeaux color that’s a subtle alternative to black but will still add depth to your look. Throw these on with your favorite coverup or breezy evening dress to nail effortless Italian style.”
Crafted in sturdy acetate, they feature retro-chic shark fin temples. Time and time again, they top best of lists from experts around the globe. The acetate frames are prescription-lens compatible too.
The Market Herald even suggests gifting a pair to mom for Mother’s Day: “Every woman needs a classic pair of sunglasses, and for the fashion-forward Mum, a designer pair of shades like these Prada sunglasses will be happily received.”
4. Raen Vine
Massively oversized sunglasses are everywhere yet again in 2023, according to Marie Claire. If you want to hide half your face with your preferred pair of shades, this style is for you.
Fashion bible Vogue considers the Raen label one that leans into the mod trend with ’60s-inspired frames. And their Vine-style shades, infused with Southern California flair fit that groovy mold.
The handmade acetate frames come with free shipping, free returns, and a year-long warranty in case of any craftsmanship issues. Bonus: The lenses are polarized and fully UVA/UVB-protected, so you’ll never have to worry about eye strain, according to ELLE.
Forbes specifically likes Raen’s Vine style and writes: “Every frame is put through a rigorous review and re-review process to fine tune the fit, comfort and durability. The shopping part is actually fun, too—you can virtually try on numerous pairs (with live camera technology that works better than most other brands’) and shop by face shape features, too.”
Prices tend to be in the mid-tier range, around $100 to $200 for most selects on the site, according to the New York Post.
5. Warby Parker Hatcher
The ultimate throwback, this reigning champ of affordable sunnies oozes cool. Warby Parker allows customers to pick out up to five frames to try on at home, as the New York Post reminds, making sure you love the way you look when you decide to buy a pair or two…or five.
Made from hand-polished cellulose acetate, Hatcher’s angles and double brow bar riff on an aviator shape. Retro-flavored frames are available in black or oak barrel (similar to tortoise shell), these shades also have Akulon-coated screws for durability.
Glamour calls them “the ultimate travel accessory.” As a bonus, you can also customize them with prescription lenses made from polycarbonate, the most impact-resistant material for sunglasses, according to the brand’s website. Non-prescription lenses are made from CR-39 for maximum clarity and color. Both lens options are scratch-resistant and block 100% of UV rays.
Remember that the higher the UV rating, the better. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, it’s best to select sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. These will be labelled as having 100% UV-A and UV-B or UV400 protection. These sunnies are versatile, and “work on every face,” according to Esquire.
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.