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Don’t Wear Your Sunglasses at Night

Few fashion accessories are as polarizing as sunglasses, with styles ranging from classic tortoiseshell frames to outlandish shapes and tints. But more than the size and shape, it’s when sunglasses are worn that generates the most cheers and jeers as people navigate the unwritten rules of when to stow their shades.

Here’s a cheat sheet for proper etiquette in a variety of situations and environments so you’re not caught out when the sun shines.

When you meet someone…

Unless you’re an on-duty Secret Service Agent, lose the blacked out lenses when you’re making someone’s acquaintance. Eye contact is a courtesy and a key component of non-verbal communication, so make a good first impression and squint for a minute or two while you make introductions. For good measure, try not to hold too many conversations – even with people you already know – with shades hiding your lying eyes.

At night…

No. Not even if you’re Corey Hart.

At work…

Use good sense here, if you work in a recording studio and spend afternoons comparing aviators with Lenny Kravitz, then by all means, go ahead. But for the American Office Worker, it’s as simple as this: Take them off when you hit the door. It’s also a good idea to slip sunglasses in a case or pocket for the day – no head-perching – and keep them tidy; smudgy lenses are a sign of someone spending too much time with the break room donuts. Channel your inner Don Draper and keep the style classic, no bright pink frames or full aero blades at the office, they’re a distraction.

Indoors…

Comedian Larry David makes no bones about wearing dark glasses with a roof overhead. “You know who wears sunglasses inside?” he asks. “Blind people and….” Well, let’s just say you don’t want to be in the other category. Short of being visually impaired or traveling directly from an optometrist appointment with dilated eyes (and seriously, have a friend pick you up), there’s no reason to wear sunglasses inside. If there is a single style rule the whole world can agree on, it’s to shed the shadeswhen you pass through a doorway. The generally accepted rule is that you’ve got five seconds to lose the glasses before people start to point and whisper.

Sports…

Plenty of sports demand eye protection and glare-cutting sunglasses can be just the thing. But athletes can get pigeonholed by the media (or their adult league softball teammates) for curiously styled and always-on eyewear. Golfer David Duval was called a “mystery behind welding glasses” for his omnipresent shades and the 2013 Tour de France was “disrespected” by a pair of sunnies fit for Elvis himself. Choose wisely, and remember to take them off when the cameras come by for post-game interviews.

In photographs…

Say cheese, and take off those ridiculous glasses. Unless the subject of the photo is a dog – dogs wearing sunglasses are adorable – ditch the shades when it’s time for a selfie. If you must feature your favorite pair of lenses in your portrait, try using them as a filter for the camera itself.