90s Sunglasses: Keeping the stars in the sun

Kurt Cobain wearing white sunglasses with a floral background
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Last Updated on June 28, 2022

We’re all more hideously aware of sun damage now and how it can literally ravage your face, so it’s time we got serious about protection. That means sunscreen and, that’s right – sunglasses.

They’re just as much a fashion statement as they are a practical accessory, and they come in a zillion styles. Whether you’re into the small 90s sunglasses or the huge ones from the 00s, sunglasses are essential now, so stop being a twat and just wear them. 

Bugeye sunglasses

I wanted to ask if you remember these, but perhaps it’s better that you forget. But who can forget the darkest timeline, that in which we all wore bugeye sunglasses? These were flattering on no one and made sure we all walked around with enormous tan lines on our faces. 

However, credit where credit is due, they were very good at doing their actual job, which is protecting your eyes. The teeny tiny Matrix-style sunglasses don’t do sh*t for your eyes, so that’s actually a big minus for me. Is it enough for me to go back to the humongous bug glasses? Absolutely not. But I won’t laugh in your face if you do. 

Cat eye sunglasses

These might just be my favourites, and it’s not because they suit me (because they really don’t), but because they evoke a vintage-y feel that I really love and feel like is really classy. The thing with this one is that they are not likely to necessarily be super flattering (although we could all use more cat eye-ness in our lives, as far as I’m concern), but they make enough of a statement that it doesn’t really matter.

Just put them on and wear them with literally any outfit and you’ll see what a difference they make – it’s like a filter that makes everything look more expensive and glamorous. 

Coloured sunglasses

I remember simpler days when all that interested me, where sunglasses were concerned, was their colour, and they HAD to be pink. I didn’t care whether or not they were flattering (they weren’t), I just wanted to literally have rose-coloured lenses on. 

Luckily for me, they’re coming back, and you can have your pick from all the different kinds of sunglasses in every colour of the rainbow. Actually, there are sunglasses that actually ARE rainbow-coloured, and you can rock them all year long, not only for Pride events. 

It’s a nice, juvenile contrast to all the other people out there who only wear boring, “designer” sunglasses, as if we don’t all accidentally sit on them, drop them, step on them, or forget them on planes, trains, and park benches. YOU’RE NOT THAT SPECIAL, BRENDA.

Grunge sunglasses

If you’re wondering what grunge sunglasses look like, you might want to take a look at one of those iconic pictures of Kurt Cobain. You know those white, oval sunglasses he would wear? That he’d pair with a ratty, old, stripy top, and sometimes, a skirt?

Yep, those are back in fashion, and I’ve been seeing them around for months. I wasn’t quite brave enough to purchase a pair, but if you have a healthier sense of self-assuredness and don’t rely on people’s perception of you as heavily as I do, I will be admiring you from a distance.

Hip hop sunglasses

If you’re looking at this sideways, wondering what the hell hip hop sunglasses are, lemme paint you a picture – you know those large, square-ish sunglasses? Some of them have rhinestones on them, or diamonds, I guess. They’re usually black, massive, and plastic. And they can look great, on the right person. 

That person is not me.

Hologram sunglasses 

Oh man, I remember these! I used to have a pair of hologram glasses that had were round and had palm trees on them. Of course, you can go for any other style you want – I’ve seen some badass skull ones – but keep in mind that they’ll be just a little bit silly. 

These are excellent for parties and festivals, and every child on a 100 mile radius will freaking love them. 

Metal bridge sunglasses

Most sunglasses styles are either plastic, or they’re metal. They both have pros and cons, so the ones you choose really come down to preference, more than anything else. The ones with a metal bridge tend to be more lightweight, so they’re way more comfortable, and obviously, they’re durable, since they’re made from metal. 

On the other hand, if you leave them in the sun, they’ll get REALLY hot and they might burn your face. And yes, I unfortunately know that from experience. Do you know what it’s like to have a burn mark on your face? Because I do. 

Neon sunglasses

Are there people out there who can pull off neon? Show of hands? I can’t, because I’m pale and I’ve got a weird, greenish tinge, so it’s a no from me, but if you’ve got gorgeous deep skin, neons will look BANGIN’ on you, so don’t be shy. 

Sure, they may be a tad distracting for the people around you, but they’re fun and summery, and that makes them ideal for taking to the beach and to festivals. Coachella, here we come. And Glastonbury. And Isle of Wight. And every other festival this summer. 

Oval sunglasses

I’m pretty sure Bella Hadid wore a pair of these recently, right? And they were ridiculously tiny, and she still looked beautiful, because of course she did. Now, we can’t all be Bella Hadid (a shame, really, cause if we were, we could date The Weeknd – and The Weeknd can GET IT), but we can give these babies a try, now can’t we?

At times, I feel weird pairing specific glasses with specific outfits, because they’re glasses, and they go with everything, but the truth is that oval sunglasses look great with a basic 90s inspired outfit, but if you want to bring them into 2019, you can wear them with some high-waisted cropped skinnies and a boxy white t-shirt. 

Rectangular sunglasses

I don’t know a lot of people who suit this shape of sunglasses, but if you’re one of them, you’ll be SUPER trendy, because it’s about to be allllll about rectangular sunglasses. I remember having a pair of these babies when I was much younger, and while it was not my best look, it was certainly one of my trendiest, so make of that what you will. 

If you’ve got an oval-shaped face, you can pretty much pull off anything, you lucky bastard. Otherwise, you’ll just have to get used to always looking just a little bit funny, but anything for fashion, right?

Read: The Best Prada Sunglasses for Any Occasion and Face Shape

Round sunglasses

Don’t look at this and dismiss them as John Lennon glasses, because that’s not all there is to enjoy in this category. And even if it were, some people can really rock the teeny tiny glasses, even if that person is not me, not by a longshot. 

What I’m talking about here are the really big, 70s, round sunglasses. Yes, I have those too, and yes, they’re too big for my face and I look freaking ridiculous, but they make me so HAPPY, that I don’t really care. And who came up with the idea that sunglasses need to be flattering, anyway? Oversized glasses can be really cool. 

Stoner sunglasses

Stoner glasses are more than just a style of glasses, they’re more of a mood. Or actually, a tint. A dark tint, that is. Anyone who’s ever been around people who smoke knows that your eyes tend to get really red and betray what you’ve been up to.

Dark tinted glasses allow you to get away with your extracurriculars. Because no one else really needs to know, right? Especially not your teachers, boss, or mother in law. 

Tinted sunglasses

Don’t love all the boring, black sunglasses? Then, these tinted babies that are coming out this summer should right up your alley. Now, having tinted sunglasses doesn’t necessarily mean they are tinted in bright, funky colours, but…why not, right? 

You can go for neutral, brown, or dark blue ones, or you can add a little bit more pep in your step by opting for something pink, blue, orange…anything you want, really. You can even match them to the colours in your outfit for the day, if you’re really anal about that kind of stuff. 

Yellow washed sunglasses

I’m not going to lie to you – yellow looks good on very few people, and I’m not one of them. You probably aren’t, either; sorry, gal. But that won’t stop us from wearing them, because they’re mad cute, and if you can get them in a shape you really like or that’s really flattering, you’re golden.

I’ve got a heart-shaped pair that I really love, and that aren’t particularly comfortable or durable, tbh, but I make sacrifices for fashion, because I’m basic. What’s it like to see the world through yellow-tinted glasses?

What’s your fav pair of sunnies? Are you brave enough to wear the trendiest ones?