Published Monday, 26 March 2012
I've loved sunglasses since I was 16 and first got contact lenses, which meant I could wear proper, fashionable frames from the high street, and I've been a magpie for them ever since.
I've snapped up glamorous bug-eyed purple Vivienne Westwood ones (that a lens promptly popped out of when I picked up a baby and the glasses dropped to the ground), stylish Marc Jacobs aviators that will do me for years to come and a casually cool pair square-framed pair with graduated lenses, as well as a few other more colourful, on-trend cheapo pairs.
Thousands of frames are lost on trains and at tourist attractions every year and I've dropped mine once or twice (or three times) because I've balanced them on my head or round my neck or folded them over my t-shirt.
Sunglasses can be found for anything from £5 to £500 and in hundreds of colours, but before we get down to styles, the most important thing to check for is that they will protect your eyes.
Specs that have the European safety standards will bear a CE mark and try to find ones that also have a UV filter, so you can have fun in the sun without worrying about damaging your eyes. They'll also help protect against getting wrinkles round your peepers.
This year, I'm plumping for cat's eyes-shaped sunglasses which fit in with the fun 1950s trends of pastel shades and cute prints. And they have the added benefit of acting like a mini face-lift.
Large sunglasses are still popular this year, with Victoria Beckham and Nicole Ritchie championing the face-covering styles. They're great for a quick makeup-free dash to the shops but, if you have a petite face, be careful not to pick frames that are too overwhelming and remember that more angular styles are flattering on rounder faces.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by rows of dark glasses and you're not sure what to pick, the safest option is aviators. The style, made famous by sunglasses king Ray Ban, look cool on everyone - even Tom Cruise. For fairer hair and skin colours, stick to gold or bronze frames, as black and silver can look quite severe.
The classic design will be on trend for years to come, so they're worth investing in. But if you're the type of person who sits on their sunglasses or leaves them on a bus, there are lots of cheap versions available, and even some fun new twists bringing the style right up to date.
For classic cool, you also can't go far wrong with the RayBan Wayfarer. The angular plastic frame with a lift at the outer corner has been worn by anyone who's anyone, from John F Kennedy to Debbie Harry. There are lots of similar high street styles out there in everything from classic black or tortoiseshell to bright red or yellow.
Aviators and Wayfarers look great on 99% of men, so step away from the too-small nasty 1990s wraparound styles and come over all Top Gun instead. Also put down anything with reflection coating - your sunglasses are not mirrors, they are for looking good and protecting your eyes.
Coloured lenses also feature high up on the sunglasses no-no list. Unless your optician recommends them, they are best avoided.
Novelty glasses are great fun and a fabulous way to spice up an otherwise plain outfit. Make sure you walk tall and ooze confidence in them, and keep other accessories to a minimum to avoid over-styling.