Life is just an extended search for the perfect pair of sunglasses. A person could spend decades trying on aviators, John Lennon glasses, big black cat-eye shades, and the ubiquitous Ray Ban Wayfarer, all in the hope of finding the one pair that will make him or her look cool. But the struggle is worth it, because a good pair of sunglasses instantly makes everyone look instantly hotter, cooler, and more mysterious. They also protect your eyes from the sun, but that’s pretty much just a convenient extra when considered against the beautifying properties of sunglasses. Sunglasses are so great, it really kind of sucks that we cannot wear them indoors.
Vanessa Brown, author of Cool Shades: The History and Meaning of Sunglasses, talked to Science of Us and confirmed what we had long suspected: Sunglasses make everyone look more awesome.
According to Brown, the dark lenses make our faces look more symmetrical because they obscure any asymmetry or unevenness. They’re also hard and shiny, which gives people the impression that your face is more chiseled than it actually is.
Sunglasses even work on the wearer. They make us feel more mysterious and anonymous. That can lead people to act more selfishly or dishonestly, but it also makes us seem more interesting and mysterious and less exposed and vulnerable.
With all that going for them, it’s no wonder Anna Wintour never takes hers off. But in spite of all their awesomeness, sunglasses can’t be worn everywhere. When one is wearing them outdoors during the day or while participating in some kind of activity that requires sunglasses (skiing, maybe), then sunglasses look cool. When worn at night or in a dark room, sunglasses are too obviously purposeless and make the wearer look like they are trying too hard to look like a badass, which only accomplishes the opposite.