When it comes to accessories, nothing beats a great pair of sunglasses. Stylish and with a hint of the dark and mysterious about them, put a pair on and they immediately give you a certain A-list appeal - even if you’re just heading to the supermarket (is that Gwyneth in the grains aisle?).
In my book, sunglasses are a year-round affair. I always keep a pair (old Celine) in my handbag ready to be whipped out on bright winter mornings or sunny spring days. I find that they are also useful to have to hand when wishing to avoid an annoying neighbour (pop on a pair and quickly cross the road) and when you’re in need of a quick tired-eye (read, hungover) disguise.
Last year was the summer of the micro-spec; teensy tiny sunglasses that barely covered your pupils and made anyone who wore them look like a villain from a sci-fi film. The less than flattering effect, however, did not hinder their popularity, being worn by every Hadid, Kardashian and street styler going. Fortunately this season sees the reign of micro-specs end (hurrah) as designers champion XXL sunglasses on the catwalk. Whilst sporty visor styles and mirrored saucers shape are proving popular, the break-out trend to know about is the outsized Seventies square.
Model turned designer, Alexa Chung is spearheading the retro revival; the hero style from her new range of sunglasses (which launched during February’s London Fashion Week) being the oversized square Havana Road Trip frames. Tom Ford, Marni and Gucci are also backing the trend, the latter’s glitter-flecked style having more than a touch of the Rocket Man about them. In fact with the Elton John biopic due for release next month, the square-framed comeback couldn’t be better timed.
But the singer isn’t the only original style inspiration we can look to for this vintage speccy look. American actress Natalie Wood wore the style with aplomb during the Seventies, pairing multi-coloured frames with boho gold hoops. A go-to style for Jackie Kennedy's glamorous sister Lee Radziwill, she wore the shape throughout several decades and even the Queen has been a fan of the shape, wearing a soft square frame during a trip to Malaysia in the eighties.
Modern day style cues can be taken from street stylers Julie Pelipas, who teams her oversized specs with a sharp blazer, Denise Buschkühle, who wears her tortoiseshell Tom Fords with a bright lip and Naomi Campbell who teamed a pair of oversized sunglasses with a red fuzzy jacket during Paris Fashion Week.
As well as having some serious style credentials, outsized sunnies have a practical side. Not a fan of this season’s spaceship-sized straw sun hats? A pair of massive sunglasses teamed with a silky headscarf will supply ample poolside-chic as well as providing the delicate skin around your eyes with some essential protection.
With lots of square shapes on the high street, the question is which to choose? Angular styles give structure meaning they are especially flattering on round and heart-shaped faces (try For Art Sake’s Mobster style or & Other Stories’ square frames), whilst squares with rounded corners will suit oval and rectangular faces - have a look at Prada and Mango. For those wanting to go for the full retro look, try Ace & Tate's Donna sunglasses in powder blue.