If you’ve ever attended an outdoor wedding or graduation ceremony, you may have decided to forgo the sunglasses because you wanted to be respectful and appropriately formal. Still - going without sunglasses on a bright day can be a real pain and really bad for your eyes.
Is there a way to wear shades to a formal event without being disrespectful or looking like you’re trying to hide that you’re falling asleep? Yes, there is. You just have to make the right eyewear choices for the event. Here’s a simple guide for which shades are great for formal day events, as well as a few that you should never wear with a suit or formal dress.
Go With Classic Styles
If you’re going to a wedding or any other outdoor daytime event that requires formal wear, you’ll want to make sure that your sunglasses are appropriate for your attire. This is sometimes easier for men than women. After all, we’ve all seen plenty of men look great in a suit and a pair of classic teardrop aviators. The same style (in the right size) also works with women’s suits, but it would look totally out of place with a more feminine outfit like a floral dress.
If you’re going with a more feminine, dressy look that’s less business-like, look to Audrey Hepburn and other Old Hollywood actresses for inspiration. A pair of oversized, plastic-rimmed sunglasses or a pair of feminine cat-eye shades will work beautifully. When in doubt, choose classic styles over trending modern ones.
Don’t Go Sporty
Sporty sunglasses are great when you’re going hiking or playing volleyball on the beach, but they look distinctly out of place with a suit or dress. Avoid wrap-around glasses and anything too technical-looking. Remember, this event requires your respect. You dressed formally because it shows class and attention to detail, as well as respect to your hosts and other attendees. Wearing a pair of sport sunglasses to a formal event is a lot like wearing white tube socks with a tuxedo; it’s just not alright.
Choose Translucent Lenses When You Can
While a pair of mirror shades can be really imposing and make you look aloof and mysterious, that’s not your goal when you attend a social or work-related formal event. You should be connecting with others, networking, and enjoying the atmosphere and the company.
What does that have to do with your choice of shades? People tend to feel uncomfortable when they’re talking to someone and can’t make eye contact. If you’re talking with someone, and all you see when you look at their eyes is a reflection of yourself, you won’t feel particularly connected and you may start to feel self-conscious. While this is a good tactic for police officers and security guards, it shouldn’t be yours at a formal event.
Related: How to wear sunglasses for every occasion
So, instead of choosing the darkest shades you have, choose a pair of lighter tinted lenses that allow others to see when you’re looking at them or elsewhere.
Follow these tips and you won’t ever make a sunglasses-related faux pas at a formal event. Oh, and one more thing: unless you’re Corey Hart, don’t wear your sunglasses at night. They protect your eyes during the day and can be a great accessory even for formal events, but they’re not a good nighttime addition for any event.