Middle-aged women are forgotten about by retailers. I offer help with clothing choices, skincare, and healthy eating for the mature woman.
Sunglasses for Mature Women
You may be wearing the same style of sunglasses as you always have, and if they make you happy and protect your eyes sufficiently, then stick with them. However, styles have changed, and so have the shapes of our faces. This is why it could be time for a revamp of our choice in sunglasses.
There are a few things you should take into consideration, besides what is in fashion and looks great in the small mirror at the drugstore, before selecting your next pair of sunglasses.
Face Shapes of Mature Women
Although our bone structure is the same, our faces may be fuller or thinner than when we were younger. The beginning of jowls and double chins can make a face appear weighted towards the bottom, giving the illusion of a longer, wider face. If you've lost weight or had dental issues such as teeth removed, you may find you have a sunken look to your face. The skin indents under your cheekbones, giving you a hollowed-out, almost skeletal look. Aging, gravity, and Mother Nature are not always kind to women. I recommend you choose glasses that aren't the same shape as your face. For example, if you have a round face, don't select round frames.
To determine which pair of sunglasses will suit your face shape, let's look at the four main face shapes first:
- Oval: The oval face is wider at the forehead and tapers to the chin but is longer than the heart-shaped face. This shape is possibly the easiest to fit for sunglasses as most styles will look great. Both Oprah and Jamie Lee Curtis have oval-shaped faces.
- Square: A strong chiseled jawline and broad forehead are characteristic of a square-shaped face. Rhianna and Lucy Liu, are two celebrities with a square-shaped face. Strong heavy frames are best to avoid as they can be overpowering. Opt for thinner frames.
- Round: Often, the width and height are almost the same. If you have a round face, you should avoid extra-large styles which seem to be very popular at the moment. Also, rectangular frames will accentuate the roundness of your face. Jennifer Lawrence and Adele are both excellent examples of women with round-shaped faces.
- Heart-shaped: The heart-shaped face is wider through the forehead than at the chin. A widow's peak can often highlight the shape. Naomi Campbell and Reese Witherspoon, are two women with this shape.
|Face Shape||Glasses Styles||Notes|
Almost all styles
If you have high cheekbones, nose pads help lift the glasses off your cheekbones.
Butterfly, aviator, or rimless, cat eye
Your shape will take frames wider than your forehead
Aviators, round, butterfly, cat eye, oval
Thinner frames and curved and rounded styles
Wrap, square or rectangle
Go for wider than higher frames
UVA and UVB Protection
You wouldn't go to the beach without wearing sunscreen so why would you put your eyes at risk. Protecting your eyes is crucial and not just for the keeping you from getting wrinkles. Both the UVA and UVB rays are damaging and according to the World Health Organization, both cancers of the eye and cataracts can occur from exposure to the sun.¹
Look for sunglasses which are labelled as 100% protection for both UVA and UVB. If you are in doubt about the authenticity of the claim, your optometrist will likely have the machine which can test them for you.
If they don't supply 99-100% protection they could be causing more damage than wearing no glasses at all. The reason for this is the darkened lens causes the pupil to dilate allowing more ultraviolet light to enter.
Choosing Prescription Sunglasses
If you wear prescription sunglasses, you have a few options, and many optometrists will offer fashionable frames for your new lenses. If your eye doctor doesn't have the frames you want, you can purchase them separately, and most will put the lenses in for you.
The other option is to wear clip-on sunglasses on your clear lenses. You may find you want to have one for distance and a separate pair for just protection. If you need to wear prescription glasses, it can almost be a juggling act finding the right glasses at the right time. You may find a separate pair of sunglasses without your prescription is best for day-to-day use.
Don't think prescription sunglasses are only for short-sighted people; try reading a book on a beach. You'll need sunglasses. The glare from a book is intense and can cause you to squint.
Things to Consider Before Buying Sunglasses
Let's face it, ladies, we are not symmetrical, this is evident on our faces, our bodies and yes even our ears. It is likely you will have one ear slightly higher than the other which causes sunglasses to sit unevenly. For certain styles, this will not be noticeable, and others it may.
In the picture, I am wearing a pair of Gucci sunglasses. Although the style may suit my face shape, these were uncomfortable on me. These rested on my cheekbones and I know over the course of a few hours would have left indentations and caused irritation.
If you have high cheekbones, some styles of glasses will not work for you. They may either perch awkwardly on the bone or feel like they are digging into the skin. Sunglasses with eye pads will help as they lift the glasses off the face. You'll also find certain styles have slightly longer arms.
Another item to consider is the lips. As we age, our lips become thinner and less well defined. If you opt for large overpowering sunglasses, the look is akin to 'fly woman'. It can appear the majority of your face is covered with eye wear and your face almost disappears.
You might not think that your hair style has anything to do with your choice of sunglasses, let me explain why it does. A hairdresser knows that certain hair cuts and styles will suit different shaped faces. They can give the illusion that the face is narrower, fuller, shorter or longer. This illusion will also affect your choice of sunglasses so choose a pair to suit the style you wear most often.
Width of head
This is something you can do nothing about, except to find a pair of sunglasses that feel comfortable. I have a small head and sometimes sunglasses feel loose and I worry they will fall off if I look down. The opposite is a wide head where a style may be uncomfortable and pinch from the temples to the ears. For the latter, choosing a pair of men/unisex glasses should solve this problem, although your choices will be limited and less feminine.
You may have never thought of etiquette of wearing sunglasses but believe me, there is.
The etiquette of wearing sunglasses will be determined by where you live. If it is customary to remove them when entering a building, then do so.
We are in an era where there is little trust, especially when meeting someone for the first time and therefore removing sunglasses is a western way of instilling trust. Not removing them leads people to think you're hiding for a reason.
Here's an example, you walk into a convenience store and are wearing dark sunglasses. The clerk may begin to watch you to see if you are likely to steal. If you walk in and push your sunglasses up on your head or let them dangle around your neck on a cord or chain, the clerk and other shoppers are instantly put at ease. Plus you will be able to see better.
Since moving to Brazil, my ideas have changed and were only brought to light when my daughter visited. We had someone visit us who wore her sunglasses the entire time she was here although we were sitting in the shade. My daughter found this incredibly rude. I remembered thinking back to when I first arrived here and I too thought it was, now I think differently.
We live 3° south of the equator and the reflective light is incredibly bright. It reflects off of water, cars, and even off of foliage. For most of the year, our UV index is in the extreme category. Here it is common to see most cars with tinted windows, people using parasols or wearing hats in addition to sunglasses.
Shapes of Sunglasses
You will have seen numerous shapes of sunglasses and probably gravitate towards the same styles. Here are a few:
- Butterfly shape: Rectangular or round in shape but narrowing towards the bridge. Like a butterfly, hence the name.
- Round: Self-explanatory really, think of John Lennon.
- Wayfarer: The best selling style of all time. Linked to celebrities such as James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and the Blues Brothers. Now considered somewhat nerdy, these will always be one of my favorites.
- Cat eye: Again the clue is in the name, this style is round and then flare outwards and upwards. Popular in the 50's, like most things we should have kept, they are once again in fashion.
- Shield and wrap around: These both offer protection at the sides, helping to block any gaps for ultraviolet light to enter. One will be a continuous piece of the lens and the other and extra protection between the eye and the temple.
- Aviator or Pilot: This style has never gone out of fashion, although in the past it was mainly men who wore this style. Now with smaller versions, women have discovered this thin framed glasses.
Polarized or Non Polarized Lenses
The choice of polarized or normal lenses will be down to your usage. If you are somewhere near water, snow or driving in bright conditions, I would opt for the polarized versions. They cut down on the glare, which causes you to squint.
Normal non-polarized sunglasses, however, are easier to use when looking at a monitor or screen. A tablet, laptop, cell phone or the GPS in your car will be more difficult to see if you have polarized lenses. Decide how and where you plan to use your sunglasses the majority of the time and then buy accordingly.
Security for Your Sunglasses
When I was young the only women who used a chain on their glasses it seemed were teachers. I used to hate the way these chains looked, like a bank pen connected to the counter to reduce theft.
Now, I always have a cord around my glasses, so I don't have to be fumbling putting them back into a case when I enter a building.
The other option is pushing them up on the head. For me, this is a big no-no. I have seen and heard too many stories of them falling off and breaking. What's more, if you have a style with nose pads, the hinges get caught in the hair. You're left with the option of blindly trying to remove hair from the hinge on top of your head, or literally pulling our your hair to solve the problem.
Author's Personal Note
There are of course a wide variety of colors not just of frames but also lenses. Some of these are tasteful and others garish. I prefer something subtle, such as either a solid color, tortoiseshell, or floral frame. For the lenses, I prefer mid to dark and usually a normal dark gray/black or brown tinted. I personally hate mirrors on glasses, but that is just me.
¹The known health effects of UV. (n.d.). Retrieved July 04, 2017, from http://www.who.int/uv/faq/uvhealtfac/en/index1.html
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2017 Mary Wickison
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on September 25, 2017:
You've made a good point about sensitivity to light. Although it bothers you, I think all of us are affected by it, but perhaps don't associate it with our time in the sun.
Glare and reflective light can tire and damage the eyes.
The days of just finding a pair the looks good in a drugstore mirror are gone.
I'm glad you found the article useful, thanks for reading.
Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on September 25, 2017:
What a useful article - I think I fall under the "flywoman" unfortunately. I have always worn oversized sunglasses since my eyes are extremely sensitive to light and when the light comes in the sides I'm miserable. At the same time the wrap around ones don't look good on me. I'll be more careful about what I wear in future and refer back to this article before buying new ones. Thanks!
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on August 13, 2017:
You're very welcome, I am glad you found the information useful.
Dianna Mendez on August 13, 2017:
I now know what looks best on my oval facial structure. Thanks for the excellent advice.
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on August 07, 2017:
It's a funny thing, we think of sunglasses as a fashion item instead of eye protection. Perhaps it is time for a change.
Thanks for reading and your comment.
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 07, 2017:
Excellent article. I have the polarized and UVA/B down but now I'm going to totally go look in the mirror for all of these flaws! Yikes!
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on July 19, 2017:
Large ones are great for the extra protection they provide. Although I have a few different styles I gravitate towards, I tend to try on loads just to confirm I still prefer my favorites. I am a pain to go shopping with. lol
I hope you find a pair you like.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on July 18, 2017:
It's strange because my normal reading glasses are small. But any sunglasses I buy I always buy large ones. I need to get a new pair though as the pair I had broke. =(
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on July 07, 2017:
Sunglasses for mature men are equally important, even in the Pacific Northwest. It isn't only famous actors who wear them, authors do too.
Thanks for your continued support.
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on July 06, 2017:
The more I research the topic, I realize how damaging the sun is to our eyes. So much is reported about skin cancer but not about sun damage to the eyes.
One word of caution, just because a label says they block the UVA and UVB, it isn't always true. The test is easily carried out, and the machine may be available at your pharmacy or optometrist.
Thanks for reading.
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on July 06, 2017:
Yes, the choices are almost overwhelming. I wish I had begun protecting my eyes earlier, I hate to think the damage I did to them over the years without wearing sunglasses. As they say, the best time to start something was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.
Thanks for your comment.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 06, 2017:
Just stopping by to say hello and lend a little support. As you may have guessed, I am not a mature woman. :) but I am a big fan!
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 06, 2017:
This article is very helpful, especially because my eye doctor recommended that I start wearing sunglasses during the day. I used to think the only choices involved were frames, but it seems there are so many lens options too:)
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on July 05, 2017:
Where you live I imagine you have a lot of reflective light coming off the beautiful sea.
So glad you found it informative, thanks for reading.
Karen Hellier from Georgia on July 05, 2017:
I never really thought about this topic. I usually just buy the most inexpensive sunglasses I can find that look 1/2 way decent and also have UV protection and are polarized to give my eyes the most sun protection possible. Nice hub though!
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 05, 2017:
What an interesting topic! Never gave it a thought before today. Consider me better educated to buy myself a suitable pair of shades. Thank you, Mary.
Nell Rose from England on July 04, 2017:
LOL! yep milk bottle legs, that's me!
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on July 04, 2017:
I know you have had some hot weather this summer and trust me, with all the glare off of those lily-white British bodies, you need some good glasses! LOL
Nell Rose from England on July 04, 2017:
I tend to be really lazy where sunglasses are concerned. I go to the pound shop and buy a couple of pairs! Eek! I know! wrong! interesting hub and yes I will be good and buy a proper pair!