Thursday, August 04, 2011


Before I was promoted to the position of full-time mom and home manager (I prefer to see it that way), I worked full-time as an optician at a local eye clinic. As such, I was called upon every day to help people pick out their glasses, and very often, their sunglasses. Now I am only a part-time optician, but I still know a thing or two about sunglasses, especially for petites.

Every summer, reps from all of the biggest frame manufacturers would come into our store and display all of the sunglasses from their brands for us, hoping that we might carry them that year. So, I saw thousands of pairs of sunglasses from mid to high end brands every summer, of course with an eye for what might look good on me. And still, there was hardly ever anything that fit and that was fashion forward. Sure, I could buy a tiny pair of sunglasses from lots of brands that look as though they were straight out of the 90's and barely block any sun, but I want to embrace the oversized trend. The trick is making it work on my undersized head. 

In 6 years as an optician, these 4 pairs are the best that I have been able to come up with so far. I am quite happy with my sunglass collection, and am thankful that my interest in fashion has coincided with some pretty sweet glasses benefits (I have only paid for one myself, and even then only paid half price).

Here is my newest acquisition:
 Kate Spade Soleil/S
Size 57/14/130
Color: 0FU8 (Black)
Grey polarized lens added

I love the New Cat Eye trend that is so popular right now. The upsweep at the corner lifts the face (Who wouldn't benefit from that?), and has a retro-ladylike feel. It makes me feel like Audrey Hepburn. The first thing that drew me to this frame, and my favorite feature, is the ivory colored temple. There are loads of black sunglasses out there, but the two-toned design sets this one apart. And I was so thankful that the branding on it was minimal and classy too. I am not a huge fan of a giant brand name splashed across my face. This will be my new go-to pair for when I wear anything dressy or black/grey (i.e. all fall/winter). 


Diane VonFurstenberg DVF 523S
Size: 51/20/135
Color: 204 (Brown)
Brown polarized lens added

I love this pair so much. It also has a retro vibe to it. In fact, every time I wear it, one of my co-workers calls me Jackie O. I can't say that I am exactly a fashion icon, but I'll take a nice complement anytime. I love the solid brown color with the marbling at the end of the temple. Another great feature is that since they are so small, they don't need as much facial curve, so they fold flat and fit into a small hard case (Much easier to fit in my purse/diaper bag). This is a perfect pair to wear with any casual outfit, especially during the summer.


Ralph RA5049
Size: 54/16/130
Color: 510/83 (Dark Tortoise)
Brown polarized lens included with the dark tortoise color

When I got this pair, it was the largest pair of sunglasses I had ever worn. I thought they were huge. It is so funny to look back at how my style has changed, and how what was daring then is so very tame now. I still like this pair though, since the rectangular shape brings some variety to my collection. It was great that it came with a polarized lens from the manufacturer too. I wore this pair all the time for a few years, and it will be forever immortalized in our Italy Trip pictures (see below at Lake Como and Venice - {sigh} I want to go back). 


Ralph Lauren RL 8001
Size: 61/15/120
Color: 5001/8G (Black)
Grey polarized lens added

This is now the largest pair that I own. I brought them home a about a year and a half ago, and wore them every day (that there was sun) until I got my DFV pair. Sometimes I think they look too big, and sometimes I think that I am rocking the oversized trend just right. They definitely have a 'celebrity incognito' vibe to them. They will probably get less wear for now, as the trend shifts to cat eye styles, but I think I will still wear them sometimes, and certainly the trend will come back in full force someday.


 Sunglass Guide for Petites

Look at the width first. If the gap between your face and the temples is wider than your index fingers, it is probably too wide. Trust your instincts. If you have to ask if it looks too wide, it probably is. Sorry. Keep looking.

You may love the pair on the ad, but if it is too big, it won't look good on you. Simply eliminate the ones that don't fit, so you won't end up falling in love with something you will regret buying.

More facial curve makes a bigger lens look smaller. If the front is more curved or wrapped, the frame won't look as wide on your face.

Embrace the current cat eye/wayfarer trend. The smaller, rounder shapes are functional and complementary, while not overwhelming on small faces.

Look for petite sized sunglasses at the stores that carry the petite clothes that you wear. Also, check out optical shops with a large amount of stock on hand, and try kids lines.

Be willing to pay for a good quality pair, if it is the perfect one. If you have a head as small as mine, you will seldom find a pair that fits well and that you love. Chances are, it could be years before you see anything that works that well again. So, just take the plunge if you happen upon 'the one'.

If at all possible, don't buy on the internet unless you have physically tried on the frame in a store. You can never tell how it will look or feel until you try it on. 

General Sunglass Tips

If your eyes are light sensitive, consider adding a polarized lens to cut glare. Match brown lenses to brown frames and grey to black.  

Protect your investment. Keep your sunglasses in a hard case.

Regularly wash your frame and lenses with dish soap (Dawn, for example) and warm running water. Dry with a soft cloth or blot with a paper towel (yes, it is safe if you are gentle).

Don't be too preoccupied with sizes, since they are there mostly for the lab's benefit. Glasses are not sized like shoes, so you may fit in a variety of sizes depending on the shape and curve. Try it on.

Get your glasses adjusted. Find a good optician and have them adjust the fit of your glasses. It is way too annoying to live with glasses that constantly slip down your nose.

If your face is an oval, pick any shape you like. If it is squared off, pick something rounded. If it is round, pick something angular.

Consider the fit of the bridge. With a plastic frame, you want the bridge to touch as much of your nose as possible, not just the top or the sides, but both. This will result in a much more comfortable fit if you wear them for any length of time. If the frame has adjustable nose pads, a good optician should be able to make them fit well.

Happy Hunting!


  1. WOW! That was extremely thorough and informative. I still love my huge Old Navy sunglasses but they hae that nice "wrap around" feature to them. I have some marc jacobs that I've been wanting to break out. Maybe they will show up in future posts.

    Your baby is cute :)

  2. I love these 4 on you! And thank you so much for the tips as I often have trouble finding good sunglasses for my face....:)

  3. Great info on sunglasses. I only wish I had read that about 2 months ago. I finally broke down and bought prescription sunglasses and am so glad I did.

  4. I think it would help if the close up pictures were a bit smaller. I feel like it is almost too zoomed in to be able to evaluate the sunglasses. My eyes are racing back and forth. Just an idea....