Meet the 8 most popular sunglasses shapes

Posted by En Ming Ong on

Have you ever wondered what to call sunglasses shapes?

Describing them can be tricky because most do not conform to the standard geometric shapes (square, circle, triangle etc.) we learn in school!

Once you know the most popular sunglasses shapes and their names, you will be able to choose your next pair with confidence that you're getting the right one for your face!

Below, you'll learn about the eight most popular sunglasses shapes, their names and a bit of history behind each of them!

Table of Contents

  1. Round
  2. Rectangle
  3. Square
  4. P3
  5. Aviator
  6. Wayfarer
  7. Cat-Eye (Harlequin)
  8. Clubmaster (Browline)

Some sunglasses shapes like Round, Rectangle and Square are easier to describe than others.

If you have an angular face, a pair of round glasses can soften and complement your face by contrasting your sharp features.

On the other hand, if you have a rounder face, round frames can exaggerate your rounder, softer features.


Rectangular sunglasses feature lenses that are approximately twice as long as they are tall and offer a flattering look on any face shape.

Rectangular frames are the most popular shape for regular glasses, although people tend to look for larger frames with more coverage for sunglasses.


Similar to rectangular frames, square offers a universally flattering look for many face types.

Unlike rectangular frames, square frames feature lenses that are almost as long as they are tall, giving off a boxy, blocky look.

The P3: the perfect mix of round and square

Invented in the 1930s by the U.S. military for soldiers to wear under gas masks, the classic P3 shape combines the retro round look with a forgiving square silhouette.

At Rocket Eyewear, we focus on the P3 shape, which we make in over 40 different colours, fits and sizes. You can see them here.


In 1936, the Bausch + Lomb company designed Aviator sunglasses for pilots to protect their eyes while flying.

With its large lenses, this shape aims to offer the greatest coverage and protection: shielding one's entire field of vision from UV rays.


Popularised by Tom Cruise in Risky Business, the Wayfarer is a timeless classic worn by men and women.

In 1952, an optical designer named Raymond Stegeman created the design for the Bausch + Lomb company, 

Despite its introduction more than half a century ago, the Wayfarer, along with its cousin the Aviator, remains one of the world's most popular sunglasses shapes.

Cat-eye (Harlequin)

In the 1930s, Altina Schinasi, an American filmmaker and inventor designed the Harlequin, or cat-eye, frame shape.

Designed to accentuate femininity, mystery and romance, the cat-eye frame shape won the Lord & Taylor Annual American Design Award in 1939.

Clubmaster (Browline)

The clubmaster, or browline, shape features a bold, thick upper frame rim combined with a thin, almost invisible lower part.

Invented by an American optical company named Shuron in the 1950s, the browline shape became popular in the 1950s and 1960s and counted cultural icons like Malcolm X among its fans.


Now that you know the names and history behind some of the most popular sunglasses shapes, you should be able to make an informed the next time you're in the market for a pair of sunglasses!

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