With summer fast approaching, it will not be long before high street fashion retailers everywhere begin to stock summer essentials, including the well-loved and eye-protective accessory that is sunglasses.

But considering the many different styles and colours that are sure to be available, how can ladies ensure that they choose themselves a pair that is not only fashionable but also flattering?

By following these five rules of course!

Consider Face Shape when Selecting Frames

It should be obvious that not all eyewear frames available will suiteveryone and this is why it is imperative that you select a pair that works well with your face shape. To determine the shape of your face, pull back any hair covering your forehead and look into a mirror – is your face curved or angular? Which shape in the above image does your face most adhere to?

You should be careful regarding sunglasses that closely adhere to the same shape as your face (for example, square frames for a square face, or round lenses for a round face) since your face shape will be further accentuated by such frames. This might be acceptable for someone with a classic heart-shaped face but less desirable for those with round a face.

For quick reference; these are the frames most suited to each face shape:

Heart: Bottom-heavy frames (such as aviators) and narrow, round sunglasses which will help to soften a broad forehead.

Long: Tall frames with thick arms – this will help to create the illusion of a shorter face. Oval: Most frames flatter an oval face but angular frames will especially.

Triangle: Top-heavy styles which balance the width of the jaw and frame bottoms that angle inward (cat’s eye glasses, for example).

Square: Oval and round frames and butterfly shaped. Round: Geometric frames as they will sharpen facial features. Rectangular styles in particularly will help to lengthen and slim the face.

Consider your Complexion while Choosing Sunglasses

Grey and pink tinted lenses might be in vogue currently but this does not necessarily mean that you should rush out and purchase such for yourself. This is because these lenses flatter certain skin tones only.

The best way to determine your skin tone is to look at the underside of your forearm in natural daylight. If your skin has a rosy undertone and your veins appear blue then your skin tone is cool whereas golden skin undertones and greenish veins indicate warm-toned skin.

Eyewear colours suitable for cool skin tones: Blue, pink, magenta, green, grey, silver and black.

Eyewear colours suitable for dark-toned skin: Gold, orange, brown, olive, tan, red and off-white.

Never be afraid to try on a pair of shades simply because the above suggests that they will not be suitable for you – breaking away from the “rules” works well for a lucky few in the fashion stakes!

Keep the Primary Purpose of Your Shades in Mind

Are you looking for a pair of sunglasses which can be teamed with one outfit in particular or would you prefer a pair that is far more adaptable? If you are looking to find the former, you can have plenty of fun with eccentric colours and shapes whereas anyone looking for the latter should select a pair in black – or another neutral tone – since they will work well with most garments.

Is it likely that you will be wearing your glasses mainly when you are topping up your tan on the beach or when driving your car? This is important to consider since some shades are really unsafe to drive in, especially oversized, wraparound shades which can obstruct precious peripheral vision.

If you are seeking sunnies to wear whilst engaging in a particular sport, you should check out glasses designed specifically for this purpose.

No one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of designer sunglasses only to be informed that the comprised shape or colour is “so last season!” If you want to prevent this from happening to yourself then you should keep a close eye on the latest trends emerging from fashion’s most respected catwalks.

Quirkily-shaped sunglasses have been highly prevalent on the Spring/

Summer catwalks so far in 2012, with Missoni, Proenza Schouler and Giles favouring tall cat’s eye aesthetics whilst Erdem and (model pictured above) have favoured oversized round frames. Vivid colours are as popular as they were last summer with gradient lenses also making a comeback.

Sunglasses Shopping: Take a Friend with You

Many women will spend hours staring into the reflections of various changing room mirrors in an attempt to decide whether or not that little black dress or pair of short-shorts they have picked out actually suit them enough to see them part with their cash. Often it is the case that having a second opinion present will prevent a female from purchasing herself any garment that is simply destined to end up in the back corner of their wardrobe all scrunched up, never to see the light of day again!

Taking a friend with you whenever you go eyewear shopping then is advisable. Last year I purchased myself a pair of oversized Oakley sunglasses that – after much deliberation – I decided did suit me. A few days later when I wore my shades for the first time however, my girlfriends informed me that they looked quite ridiculous atop my small sized face. What a complete waste of 90 dollars that was!