By Nathalie Roberge, blogger and stylist

With a passion for great products at great prices, Nathalie Roberge has been sharing her favourite fashion finds since 2010 in her blog, Dans la cabine. In it, she presents articles, video reports and the stylings of various artists. Her mission: democratize fashion.

I’ve been contributing to the Opto-Réseau fashion blog since last year and while I’m fairly on top of eyewear trends, I still learn something new every time I visit a clinic. Last week, I stopped by Opto-Réseau – Vision Line Barnabé on Beaubien in quest of the perfect pair of sunglasses to frame my small face. I quickly discovered that there are several factors to consider before settling on a pair, but was confident that I was in good hands. With optician Marie-Pier and optometrist Annabelle guiding me, I was sure I couldn’t go wrong. 

To give you an idea of the process, here’s how my Opto-Réseau visit went: 

1. They first asked me for what kind of activities I wanted my sunglasses. I was looking for something I could wear every day, whether on outings in the park with my son or while shopping on St-Catherine street. And I’d prefer something not too classic.

2. The two experts quickly analysed the shape of my face (short and oval) so they could recommend the most appropriate frames.

3. Now for the fun part. The two specialists made me try on different models and suggested the best models for my features. I have a slender nose, so ideally I’d need a pair with nose pads. I also have round cheeks, so I need a pair that doesn’t sit too low, otherwise they’d ride up every time I smile.

4. Based on their professional advice, I choose six models. My six “finalists” are a translucent pale pink frame with mirrored lenses (they’re big this season), two pairs of double bridge sunglasses, and three very versatile models.

5. I then tried on my favourites once again, but this time, I sat at a table with a close-up mirror and different lighting. This allowed me to see how I looked from another angle and narrow down my selection to the three most flattering frames. Even though they were lovely, I had to take the translucent pink frames off my shortlist because they completely covered my eyebrows and rode up my face when I smiled.

My Top 3

To help me in my choice, the Opto-Réseau experts recommended going outside (luckily it was a beautiful sunny day) to see which pair looked the best, of course, but also which lenses suited me the most.

1. Marc Jacobs (model 204 – colour 9WZFQ) at $160: my favourite for its round lines, the transparency of its black frames, and its metallic temples.

2. Prodesign Denmark (model 8107 – colour 2021) at $200: I was thrilled that metallic frames were back in fashion and I loved their roundness, but wasn’t sure about the double bridge, though they’re very trendy.

3. adidas Originals (model A0R006.009.011) at $150: I loved that they were lightweight, pale pink on the inside of the frame and could be worn anywhere. 

I must admit that after trying them outdoors, I was taken with the brown lenses that made colours seem brighter (by slightly altering them), which temporarily put the Prodesign model in second place on my Top 3 list. The grey and black lenses tended to make shades seem darker, and as a result less joyful and real.

My final choice…

After trying them one last time in front of the clinic mirror and seeing the broad smiles of the two experts when I put them on, I chose the Marc Jacobs sunglasses. The optician slightly adjusted the temples for me, and I left with my perfect pair. The good news is that I even have the option of having them fitted with mirrored brown lenses if I feel like it (for a small added fee of course).

Expect to spend 15 minutes for a fitting like mine and then leave with the perfect pair of sunglasses. You can stop by the clinic at any time for a quick fitting or make an appointment to make sure an optician or stylist is available.

The advantages of buying sunglasses from a vision professional 

Trying on sunglasses with an eye care expert or optician is much like shopping for clothes with a stylist. You basically have someone to help you find the best choice for your shape, needs, and style.

So, visit a clinic for sunglasses that are:

  • Good quality, both in terms of frames and lenses. That way you can wear them for years. Plus, you can have prescription lenses fitted on almost any pair available.
  • Completely comfortable, because you choose them based on your face shape and can have them adjusted for your facial characteristics (they can even be readjusted if you accidentally sit on them!).
  • Equipped with 100% 400 UV lenses that don’t deform images or scratch as easily as cheaper sunglasses.

Things we often forget about sunglasses

  • They protect not only our eyes, but also the skin around the eyes where we usually don’t apply sunscreen. They’re thus essential every day, but especially on days of prolonged exposure to sunlight (I can already see myself at the beach).
  • You must definitely wear them if you have pale eyes, because they’re more sensitive and prone to eye diseases. A high quality lens is strongly recommended.

Sunglasses = FUN

Remember that trying on sunglasses is a good time to leave your comfort zone and have fun. Visit your nearest Opto-Réseau clinic where our team of eye care experts will be happy to help you get ready for summer. Need inspiration? Check out our “Frames” section to browse our vast selection of sunglasses and corrective glasses.