IMAGES: GO SEXY with sunglasses this summer!
Here are the latest trends in eyewear for this sizzling season.
They're both a necessity and a style statement -- you need sunglasses to up your glam quotient and protect your eyes from the fierce summer sun.
So here are the 'it' shades for 2012, as dictated by fashion gurus from across the globe. Make sure you pick up a pair that fits the bill. And in case you're not too clued-in on how to select the ideal sunglasses, we've provided a guide on how to do just that on the last page of this feature!
These glares never seem to go out of style, mainly because celebrities continue to use large pairs to shield their faces from the paparazzi and avoid being recognised. And what the stars have, everyone else wants!
In addition to being 'in', oversized sunglasses also afford your face a lot more cover than regular ones.
Image: Oversized sunglasses from D&G
Photographs: Dolce and Gabbana eyewear ad campaign 2012
If your lenses are one colour, ensure that the frame is in complete contrast to it -- or better yet, opt for dual-tone frames like you see here!
Colour contrasts are big in eyewear this season and they certainly serve to make a statement.
Image: A pair of contrast colour shades from Fendi
Photographs: Fendi eyewear ad campaign 2012
For the uninitiated, gradient lenses are those that go from a darker shade at the top to a lighter one at the bottom. And while they're certainly on-trend this season, it's not for their visual appeal alone.
Gradient lens sunglasses serve a valuable purpose -- the higher you look through them, the more protection you're afforded from the sun and vice-versa. So in other words, you won't trip up from lack of vision if you're wearing them indoors either!
Image: A pair of Gradient lens glares from Prada
Photographs: Prada eyewear ad campaign 2012
Spring and summer are all about bright, spritely colours, so its not surprising that the in-demand neons from 2011 have carried over into this year. Opt for all-out flamboyance in green, yellow, orange, fuschia -- just about any neon hue under the sun.
Just remember that your neon eyewear may clash with the rest of your outfit, so you may want to pick up some reasonably-priced pairs in a variety of hues.
Image: This bright yellow Chanel pair is in vogue
Photographs: Chanel eyewear ad campaign 2012
Here's another classic style that refuses to die out. We all know that Ray Ban pioneered the iconic aviators decades ago, but did you also know that they created the equally distinctive wayfarers in 1956?
This trademark design was well-received as a diversion from the metal eyewear the brand was known for and has enjoyed popularity for over 50 years, coming back in style every now and again as a retro accessory.
And this season, the plastic trapezoidal frame is a 2012 must-have.
Image: A pair of iconic Ray-Ban wayfarers
Photographs: Club Campari Calendar 2009
These are synonymous with the late John Lennon (he's the one who turned them into a rage) and they are going strong at the moment.
You can take your pick from a range of colours and sizes, but we're particularly partial to the oversized ones, as compared to the classics.
Image: Teashade sunglasses (right) from Tom Ford
Photographs: Tom Ford eyewear ad campaign 2012
Sporty styles usually frame the face with curved lenses, which afford protection from the side too.
While they're fashionable, they're also preferable when it comes to indulging in outdoor sports and activities, having been specifically designed for such use.
Image: Polaroid sporty shades
Photographs: Polaroid eyewear ad campaign 2012
If you're a bold fashionista who doesn't mind experimenting with your look, this is the year to capitalise on your attitude.
Stars, hearts, butterfly frames and a host of other nutty designs have made a comeback, so jump on the bandwagon while you can!
Cat-eye glares from last year are also still worthy of mention.
Image: A unique pair of Giles Deacon glares
Photographs: Giles Deacon eyewear ad campaign 2012
Half-rim glares are of course, those that sport half a frame or half a rim.
They have caught on in a big way this season and lots of high-end designers are promoting them, so if you're looking for something new, you know what you should get after!
Image: Half-frame sunglasses from Prada
Photographs: Prada eyewear ad campaign 2012
And finally, we have these iconic sunglasses, pioneered by Ray-Ban in 1936 and catching on during World War II.
Today, they're arguably the most popular type in the world and several elite fashion houses have jumped on the bandwagon to cash in on their popularity.
Of course, the originals are by Ray-Ban and nothing beats the real thing, but then not everyone can afford luxury eyewear.
So you can purchase aviators, or any other glares that take your fancy from a less expensive brand -- but no matter the price, you need to pay attention to the following criteria:
- No matter what the prevailing trend, make sure you buy what suits you. Glasses should always complement the shape of your face and while there are no hard and fast rules, it so happens that rectangular frames usually suit round faces, round or oval frames usually suit angular faces and oblong faces are balanced out by wide frames.
- Your sunglasses shouldn't extend outward more than a couple of centimetres from your temples, nor should they rest on your cheeks. And the frame should just cover or start slightly below your eyebrows.
- Don't try to penny-pinch by buying glares off the street -- they don't offer any real protection. The lenses are usually faulty and can actually damage your eyes. Invest in a pair that blocks off UV light completely, as far as possible. The label should read UV 400 or 100 percent UV protection. They should also possess anti-glare and light-blocking properties and it may surprise you how reasonably a legitimate pair that meets all these requirements is priced.
- Opt for a scratch-resistant pair -- plastic lenses scratch more easily than glass, but they can be coated with a thin coating to improve their resistance.
- Sunglass lenses that wrap around to your temples (like the sporty type) keep out more light and UV radiation than typical lenses.
- While everyone's preferences about the material of the frame differ, keep in mind that your sunglasses should be light and comfortable, as far as possible. Compare weights and find out which pair is best before you make your final choice.
Image: Aviators from Jimmy Choo
Photographs: Jimmy Choo eyewear ad campaign 2012