Sunglasses trends are a little less fickle than the rest of the fashion industry. Of course, styles still come in and out of fashion, but these changes are usually slower and easier for people to follow. Designer eyewear also has a certain luxury status that means a pair of designer sunglasses usually doesn’t date or become redundant in the same way as other fashion items. In recent years, cat-eye sunglasses have become increasingly popular, and the trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down! This guide defines what cat-eye sunglasses are, who they tend to suit best, and it explores three different designers’ approaches to the style.
Perhaps you’ve found your way to this blog because you’re not quite sure what cat-eye sunglasses are. Your confusion is well founded, as there are lots of different sunglasses that can all accurately be called ‘cat-eye sunglasses’. The main thing they all have in common is a slight flicking up in the upper outside corners of the rims. This diagonal line makes the sunglasses look slightly like a cat’s eyes. This shape — whether subtle or ostentatious — is always elegant and tends to suit people with feminine aesthetics. And it’s this inherent elegance and femininity that has made this sunglasses style so popular in recent years.
Now that you know exactly what cat-eye sunglasses are, you may wonder whether or not they are the right style for your face. The short answer is that cat-eye sunglasses are a lot more versatile than many of the other popular sunglasses styles. Unlike many other styles, there aren’t really any standard face shapes (square, round, oval, heart-shaped, etc.) that look bad with cat-eye sunglasses, but it is a very feminine shape and it tends to look better on women and people with feminine aesthetics.
There is no overarching science to why some sunglasses suit us more than others, but there some generally accepted rules. The most fundamental rule when working out which sunglasses suit your face, is to choose a design that balances your features. This is why round sunglasses tend to suit people with square faces and angular features. And it’s why square and rectangular sunglasses suit people with round faces. Cat-eye sunglasses draw attention up to the top half of your face; this means that they are especially complimentary to people with triangular and heart-shaped faces as they pull attention to the top of your face, away from your pointy chin, balancing out your features slightly.
If you’re in any doubt about whether or not cat-eye sunglasses suit your face, visit a store and try several pairs on. Even if you have no intention of buying sunglasses from the store, trying on various styles from different designers is a great way to figure out what works for you — and what doesn’t. Make note of the styles that look best and also make note of the designer brands that look best. Perhaps you’ll discover that a more subtle cat-eye style suits you best; in that case, Ralph Lauren may be the right brand for you…
Eyewear fashion can no longer be ignored by the big fashion brands; it’s an integral part of most catwalks and people expect designers to regularly bring out new designer eyewear. The best designers bring their own aesthetics to classic sunglasses styles, as opposed to just copying the standard shapes put out by other designers. This is where Ralph by Ralph Lauren comes into its own.
This NYC-based designer label is known for its understated, austere aesthetic, favoring strong lines and a dark color palette. Whereas most other cat-eye sunglasses seem to lean towards big, ostentatious designs, Ralph Lauren manages to reign its designs in a little. The sunglasses in the above image illustrate how a subtle cat-eye design can tap into this feminine aesthetic in an understated and powerful way. Many of Ralph Lauren’s sunglasses subtly play with cat-eye shapes. If you shop online, you’ll find much lower prices than in high-street stores.
As you can see from the image on the left, MIU MIU takes a completely different approach to cat-eye sunglasses, preferring bold designs with heavily pronounced feline features. With MIU MIU’s Italian background, it’s perhaps not surprising that its approach is bigger and louder than Ralph Lauren’s. Italian designers usually have an affinity with opulence and there are few sunglasses designs as extravagant and opulent as MIU MIU’s various cat-eye sunglasses. This is ideal if you’re looking for a pair of sunglasses to really elevate your outfit and highlight your feminine features.
MIU MIU’s approach to the cat-eye style is to embrace it completely, almost over-emphasizing the diagonal lines and elegant shapes that define it. The end result is a range of sunglasses that exude confidence and sensuality in a very overt way — this makes MIU MIU’s cat-eye sunglasses on the opposite end of the spectrum to Ralph Lauren’s subtle sophistication. Both designers bring their own brand’s aesthetic to the table, and it’s this sense of personality we should all look when considering which brand to go for.
In the interest of balance, Tom Ford’s approach to the cat-eye style rests somewhere between Ralph Lauren’s and MIU MIU’s. Tom Ford is an American designer who spent his entire career working in the European fashion industry, serving as Creative Director for both Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent before he started up his own fashion label. Ford’s combination of European and American aesthetics is perhaps most noticeable with his range of eyewear. Ford’s cat-eye designs aren’t as big as MUI MUI’s or as understated as Ralph Lauren’s; perhaps this middle point makes his cat-eye sunglasses the perfect goldilocks sunglasses for you…
With his cat-eye designs, Ford taps into the style’s popularity in the 60s and 70s. With Havana (previously called tortoiseshell) frames and sharp angles, Ford’s cat-eye sunglasses feel like vintage sunglasses made to modern standards, with the occasional modern twist to freshen up the design.
I hope this article has been useful and interesting for anyone considering buying a pair of cat-eye sunglasses. This style is still growing in popularity, so there’s never been a better time to add a pair of cat-eye sunglasses to your wardrobe!
Queens of Virtue