A Shady Matter


If you’ve ever lived in, or visited, Australia then you will be well aware that sunglasses are not just accessories here: they are necessities. Our ruthless sun takes no prisoners and, if you want to look younger than sixty-five by the time you’re thirty, then you won’t leave home without your ’sunnies’.

Of all clothing and accessories, sunglasses, for me, are possibly the hardest item to shop for (second most difficult only to finding that illusive pair of perfect jeans). I usually end up looking like a strange human-bug hybrid or a little kid wearing my mum’s shades.

Therefore, I thought it my duty, as a tiny pea-head, to gather up the best sunglasses for small faces, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I uncovered so many fun, versatile and practical glasses that actually fit. See for yourself!

I never believed I could pull off the slim ‘shady’, a homage to the late nineties/early naughties era (think Neo from The Matrix trilogy or the Olsen twins).


But here we are! I have a vertically long and narrow face and my Poppy Lissiman Le Skinny sunglasses are horizontally long and narrow so perhaps there is something about cohabiting north-south and east-west lengths that creates a compass-like balance?

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Poppy Lissiman

And I know it’s not just me: I have tried these on smaller faced friends and they looked good on every one of them.

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When you have a small face you generally need as much of it to be visible as possible while wearing glasses, or else you disappear behind a barrage of dark, chunky acetate. Clear framed glasses are great because they don’t obstruct what little real estate you have on your face. And clear doesn’t have to be colourless – there are a range of sorbet delights out there to rest in front of your seeing sockets. One such example is my Mangolden sunglasses from Swedish brand Chimi, who describe them as “like living in your favourite Instagram filter”. I would have to agree: I’m basically wearing sunglasses with a sunny disposition!

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If they were darker or really reflective I don’t think they would work with my tiny noggin, because of how big they are. However, their bright yellow frame and lenses manage to block out the sun (they have 100% UV protection) but not my face.

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I think here we have the simple equation of: minimal frame = maximum face. And Komono, hailing from Belgium, know how to do minimalism well. My Taylor sunglasses, are a classic arched shape which go with everything and don’t look too bulky on my face.

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They also fit snuggly across my nose which means I’m not constantly pushing them up from the bottom of my snout.

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Is it just me or does everything vintage seem smaller? I often have to go up a dress size or two if I am shopping for vintage clothing. Sunglasses seem no different. Sure, there are still your big sixties and seventies styles, which generally don’t work well on my facial landscape, but if you go for the fifties, eighties or early noughties era sunglasses you’ll find some smaller frames. My Paloma Picasso glasses, bought on eBay, are from the eighties and were the first pair of sunglasses I found that I actually liked on me.

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Paloma Picasso

The gap between the frame and the dark lens helps open up my face, and the red and gold add interest. I love pairing these with my Lucy Folk glasses chain to bring out the bling.

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Cat-eye glasses, a style which never wanders too far out of fashion’s eyeline, are generally meant to be big, but what’s big on a regular face is huge on mine. The wire frame x cat-eye is a perfect substitute, keeping the iconic shape minus the excess (eye) bagagge. Even if the point goes out past the sides of your facial perimeters, the trimmed bottom frame is still within the boundary helping to rein things back in. My Dolce and Gabbana Mambo sunglasses are actually pretty big but they seem to work; a lot of which I would attribute to the metal under-rim (the lighter lenses probably help too).

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Dolce and Gabbana

I love chucking these on when I’m wearing an outfit with more subdued tones, to add a bit of colour and fun.

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Sunglasses are readily available online and easily shipped due to their small package size. But how can you be sure you’re purchasing something that will sit comfortably within the space between your ears, without trying them on? Know your maximum width that your face can handle (you can base this on a pair of glasses you know fit) and don’t go over that measurement. For me, my ideal width is 13.5cm; if it’s the right shape I can go up to 14cm but no higher. Most websites will give you measurements. Also get to know your brands – for me there are some labels which I (reluctantly) don’t bother with anymore because I’m always disappointed when they are too big.

I also find it’s hard to tell how you look in glasses because you can’t properly see yourself due to the darker lenses. Take a cheeky selfie so you can see how you look through unshaded eyes. Having an honest friend handy also helps 😉