We are all aware that there are sunglasses designed for women and sunglasses designed specifically for men. It might even seem that the title of this article is a rather simple question to answer. If you have ever found yourself wearing sunglasses designed and marketed for the opposite sex, then you might have become instantly aware that something is not quite right as they sit on your face. But what actually is that difference? If you think about it for a moment, you might suddenly realize that the answer is not quite as obvious as perhaps you initially thought.
Even though men and women both have eyes and a face, it is remarkable how much the sunglasses designed for each sex do actually differ. Some of these differences are down to the different structures of the male and female head. And some, naturally, arise from the distinct fashion norms that are applied to both men and women. We all know that men’s and women’s fashion is different, and this combined with differences in facial structure creates a cumulative effect, to the point where it really does look quite weird to see a man in women’s sunglasses – or vice versa.
There are, of course, such things as unisex sunglasses (more on that below) and, as it turns out, these are some of biggest sellers when it comes to shades. It should also be noted that sunglasses are rarely labelled as “men’s” or “women’s”; they are simply found in different parts of the store. Ignorance of what distinguishes the two can lead to the odd fashion faux pas!
It is worth considering biological differences and how that informs the design of men’s and women’s sunglasses:
Women’s sunglasses usually have a much larger frame design or, alternatively, small frames with very thick arms. Everything being oversized in this way compliments the thinner and smaller female face, as well as its curvier shape.
If you want to straightaway distinguish a pair of men’s shades, then look to the bridge. That is the small part that goes over the nose. This is usually wider, complimenting the longer arms, which is all because the male head is larger and wider.
Turning now to fashion, the world of sunglasses is distinguished between men and women in much the same way as clothing is. There are some things long associated with each sex. Here are some of the most obvious:
Women’s sunglasses usually have a degree of ostentation around the frames, whether this be diamond studs or some other decoration. They also much more frequently employ bright colors. The noticeably oversized frames also compliment this.
With men’s sunglasses, the opposite is true. It has been considered more traditionally masculine for the frames to be smaller, less flowing, and rigid. Likewise, the colors of these glasses are typically more muted and neutral – and the same goes for the tint.
To get an idea of what unisex sunglasses are like, it is best to imagine the aforementioned features of men’s and women’s sunglasses meeting somewhere in the middle. Unisex sunglasses are typically ordered wholesale from eyewear companies precisely because they have a mass marketability – especially as inexpensive, practical sunglasses for placing on stands or store displays. Olympic Eyewear – experts in the field – even recommend that cutting out the gender distinction is one of the best ways to see a high turnover.
Of course, many sunglasses bought in bulk contain a combination of all three styles – this is what gives these sets the wide appeal to sell so well.