Sunglasses are an essential summer accessory. As well as being super trendy, they also have optical health benefits because they protect your eyes from harsh UV rays.. However, choosing a pair of sunglasses can be difficult - a bit like choosing the perfect haircut. That's because each person's face is unique so one style isn't going to suit everybody. Thankfully, since the 1950s and 60s, when sunglasses first became fashionable, the choice of styles and designs has expanded considerably. So if you're hoping to buy a new pair of sunglasses for the summer, you've got plenty of options.

Perhaps the most ubiquitous style of sunglasses is the wayfarer. First popularised in the 1950s by leading sunglasses designer Ray-Ban, wayfarers are simple, effective and under-stated. As a result, they transcend changing fashions and have a wide appeal, from celebrities (in the 1983 film Risky Business, Tom Cruise famously wears a pair of Ray-Bans) to the ordinary man on the street. A large part of their appeal is that they suit all kinds of face shapes. So if you're having trouble finding a pair of sunglasses to suit you, the chances are wayfarers will offer a solution that's fashionable and practical.

Aviator sunglasses, on the other hand, will appeal to those who like their sunglasses a little more stylish. This style, which consists of two tear-drop shaped lenses held together by a thin metal frame, was first worn by US aviators in the 1930s but became a fashion choice with people in the 1960s. Indeed, TV fans will recognise aviators as the style of sunglasses sometimes worn by Mad Men's Don Draper, and it's partly for this reason that aviators are coming back into fashion today.

While aviator sunglasses are generally better suited to men, oversized sun glasses are considerably more popular with women. The main feature of this style is gigantic lenses, which often cover a person's whole eyes and their eyebrows. Often referred to as Jackie O's thanks to their popularity with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the 1960s, oversized sunglasses are a key summer staple for women in 2011. Major designers like Chanel, Christian Dior and even Victoria Beckham are featuring them prominently in their summer collections and this trend is also being echoed on the high street.

When you've settled on a sunglasses design that suits you, make sure you choose the right colour or pattern before making a purchase. Black, brown and tortoiseshell are all classic options for sunglasses frames, but grey, light purple and clear frames are also becoming much more popular. However, if you want to make a bold statement, choose frames that are striped, patterned or painted metallic colours. These look best on wayfarers, whose simple design doesn't get in the way of more outrageously patterned frames.