Monday, June 23, 2014

Why you look more attractive in sunglasses

Why does nearly everyone instantly look more attractive with sunglasses on? ...

Because they really do make your misshapen face look better. Put on a pair of sunglasses, and voilĂ  – instant symmetry! The dark lenses cover up any asymmetrical oddities around your eyes, and research on facial attractiveness shows a clear link between symmetry and our perception of beauty.

As an added bonus, [senior lecturer or art and design at Nottingham Trent University Vanessa] Brown pointed out, sunglasses provide a kind of scaffolding effect, imposing the appearance of an external, extra-chiseled bone structure on top of your relatively softer-featured face.

Because mystery. Many of the snap judgments we form about people come from looking them in the eyes; shade yours, and you’re instantly a more intriguing presence. ...

It's colloquial wisdom that an air of mystery increases sexual desire, and research bears that notion out. ...

Because of their historical link with edginess and glamour. We take their ubiquity for granted today, but sunglasses are a relatively modern everyday accessory, Brown said. Sales started to pick up in the 1920s, but they didn’t become commonplace until about two decades after that. The way sunglasses were most often used prior to their commercialization helps explain some of their inherent coolness, Brown said, because in their early days sunglasses were primarily used during risky water and snow sports, and were also associated with new technologies like airplane travel, which made them seem “daring and thoroughly modern.”

Soon after that, Hollywood stars of the 1950s and 1960s started wearing sunglasses to defend themselves from being recognized by the public or harassed by paparazzi, whose flashbulbs would often explode violently, sometimes literally in their faces, Brown said. But regardless of practicality, movie stars’ adoption of the accessory cemented the link between sunglasses and glamour.
--Melissa Dahl, New York, on answers to a profound mystery