Sunglasses have benefits far beyond their original purpose. They’re the refuge of eyes suffering late nights and early mornings, they’re the bringer of mystery and just generally the finishing touch to an outfit. Their importance not to be understated, the next question is which styles are on trend. For classics may serve you well, but nothing says finger-on-the-pulse like the latest pair of ultra reflective, colourfully framed shades. From runway and street, here’s what in fashion for summer 2013 and beyond into 2014.

Sunglasses trends for 2013/2014.

Mirrored sunglasses.

Never mind any connotations of the ’80s, there’s a distinct advantage of highly reflective sunglasses: they photograph brilliantly. That fact has seen them rise up as the number one choice for regular street style subjects, with camera lenses drawn instinctively to their reflective brilliance.

Not limited to either gender, mirrored sunglasses have come back with a vengeance on both runway and street for men and women. Expect them to linger into 2014.

mirrored sunglasses on the runway
Mirrored sunglasses for men & women on the runway at tng S/S ’14.

Mirrored sunglasses: colours.

As for which colours of reflective shades to invest in? The choice is really yours, with vibrant blue being a top pick if you intend to get in front of a camera. Blue makes for one of the most striking colours in photographs, and the most stand-out addition to any outfit.

blue mirrored sunglasses
Street style: blue mirrored sunglasses.

Aside from blue, other options to consider are green, yellow, metallic gold, pink or even reflective dark/black lenses. Mirrored lenses can work in any given shape and style, too, so just go for what best suits your face shape and wardrobe.

gold mirrored sunglasses
Street style: dark and gold mirrored sunglasses.

The other brilliant thing about an on-trend pair of sunglasses is that you can find a pair at pretty much every price point. Invest in a designer or boutique label pair for something long-lasting, a vintage pair for bygone craftsmanship, or a high street version to get you through the summer with a variety of looks to choose from.

mirrored sunglasses
ASOS blue mirrored aviators at ASOS.com; Tom Ford gold cat eye sunglasses at MachesFashion.com; Illesteva round-frame mirrored sunglasses at net-a-porter.com; Rayban folding wayfarers at MrPorter.com; ASOS round mirror sunglasses at Asos.com.

Matte framed sunglasses.

Whether or not to opt for reflective lenses is one thing, but the frames are another question entirely. One of the biggest trends right now is to go for a completely matte finish: no transparency, no shine or gloss. This is true regardless of colour: it could be classic black or tortoiseshell, a vibrant red or a summer pastel hue.

matte frame sunglasses
Matte sunglasses: Etnia Barcelona unisex JL406 frames at FarFetch.com, Prism ‘Sydney’ glasses at Net-a-porter.com, Sunettes round sunglasses at FarFetch.com, Oliver Peoples NDG square frame sunglasses at MrPorter.com.

Flocked sunglasses.

For another variation on the traditional sunglasses frame – one that’s very now and liable to stand out in a crowd – there’s always a flocked velvet finish. You’ll find flocking across a variety of styles, from oversized aviators to classic wayfarers, and often they’ll double the impact with bright, bold colours.

flocked sunglasses
Italia Independent flocked sunglasses from FarFetch.com.

Clear frames.

Because perspex and clear plastic has trended in everything from clutches to shoes to raincoats, you won’t be surprised to find that clear sunglasses have also made the cut. Just because the frame is transparent, don’t think you won’t be making a statement: go for strong shapes and thicker frames to really make this trend stand out.

clear sunglasses frames
Cutler and Gross clear frame sunglasses at MrPorter.com.

clear sunglasses
Jeepers Peepers clear frames at asos.com.

Sunglasses trends: the shapes.

Lenses and frames considered, the other obvious question is one of shape. The thing about sunglasses trends right now is that the two aforementioned factors make up so much of the trend factor that shape actually gets less of an emphasis. While in the past it’s largely been a question of cat eye, round, wayfarer or aviator, now pretty much any of those shapes goes as long as the rest of the factors have been well thought out.

For women’s you’ll find that cat eye are still in – but the trend has moved away from very vintage classic pairs to more modern interpretations (think embellished, mirrored or matte styles with a more subtle cat-eye shape). Round remains a big trend, be they drawn from the early 20th century or ’90s grunge; wayfarers, D-shapes and aviators all remain perfectly popular so long as their overall composition reflects either the trends above, or an ultra-classic style.

sunglasses shapes for women
Sunglasses styles on the street: women.

For men’s sunglasses trends, much the same is true. If you go for an on-trend lens and/or frame, pretty much any shape and style will fly – though for men’s, the obsession on the streets remains largely with round pairs, which still feel fresh as a menswear statement.

As with any fashion trend the key is always to go for the style that suits you – both in terms of your face shape and your personal style – and beyond that to play with the colours, finishes and details that make the biggest impact for the season.

sunglasses shapes for men
Sunglasses styles on the street: men.

For more about the summer 2013 fashion trends, follow that link.

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