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  • Finding the Perfect Sunglasses

  • Summer is coming and already the brighter sunshine of spring is a reminder to us to pull out the shades. Sunglasses are important sun protection for summer, but they are often as much about fashion as they are about function.
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  • Summer is coming and already the brighter sunshine of spring is a reminder to us to pull out the shades. Sunglasses are important sun protection for summer, but they are often as much about fashion as they are about function.
    The good news is it's not an either/or situation. "Almost every sunglass nowadays has UV [ultraviolet] protection," says Christina Lassman, owner of Lassman's Fine Eyewear in Medford, but reminds us to check the label (not the price tag) to be sure they offer full UVA and UVB protection. Just as sunscreen protects your skin, sunglasses block both the brightness and harmful UV rays that can permanently damage your eyes.
    When it comes to style, the choices can seem endless. The best place to start is to be guided by your face shape, says Leah Steffens, image consultant and owner of Impact Image Consulting in Medford. The key to a flattering look for any face is balance. "If you have a real round face and put round lenses on it, you're going to look more round," says Lassman. Instead, suggests Steffens, try a shape that complements your face shape — rounded shapes on a square or angular face, or square or rectangular frames for a rounder face.
    Next? "The look." "Sunglasses have always been a popular accessory for defining one's image," says Steffens. "Sunglasses are wearable art, so have fun with expressing your personal style." Big is still in, Lassman notes, along with a trend for plastic frames.
    "Plastic frames seem to be more popular because they don't have nose pads. If you put them on your head, [nose pads] tend to tangle in your hair," she says with a laugh. "That's a very common complaint." Larger frames also cover more of your face, she says, offering additional sun coverage to delicate skin. "The bigger the lens, the more your face is protected."
    Scale is the key, reminds Steffens. "If you have a smaller face, you don't want to wear a frame that is so large that you get the dreaded 'bug eye' look." Her guide? "No wider than the widest part of your face (generally the cheekbones) "¦ and no higher than the top of your eyebrows."
    Other popular styles? Aviation styles and classic retro looks are still hot. Textures and accents are also hot features this year. And sport-specific sunglasses offer "the look" combined with additional protection features including impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses and colored lenses for greater clarity of vision.
    "What color is best?" is a question Lassman hears regularly. For those with normal (no color deficiency) vision, it's really a matter of personal choice. "UV protection is clear," she reminds. "Most people don't realize that." The lens color reduces brightness. As a rule of thumb, gray lenses are less likely to change color perception where brown lenses enhance color, a fact that can be helpful on the golf course or lake. Polarized lenses or lenses with anti-reflective coating cut the glare of reflected light. And in a majority of frames, tinted lenses are also an option to create a unique style. "We can do just about any color," says Lassman, including prescription lenses. A few styles for this year also offer interchangeable lenses so you can mix and match the color to suit your mood.
    "With so many styles and colors to choose from, one could easily be confused and disheartened," says Steffens. "Don't give up. The best thing to do is to try on several pairs, while keeping these tips in mind." Whether you want to look cool or hot, the right pair of sunglasses will have you ready for a summer of sunshine in style!
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