Fact: Sunglasses are the closest humanity has ever come to achieving hotness in a box. But how to explain the magical powers of even the cheapest drugstore shades? Well, you should probably thank Greta Garbo.

New York's Science of Us tackled the topic, consulting Nottingham Trent University's Vanessa Brown, who's written an academic tome on the relationship between sunglasses and cool. For starters, there's the symmetry factor. Then, add a dash of mystery, which tends to make one an object of interest.


But the third explanation seems the most persuasive (albeit obvious): We associate sunglasses with fabulous, attractive people. Hide half your face behind a pair, and our celebrity-hijacked brains do the rest:

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.


Basically we're all still coasting on glamour borrowed from Garbo and Grace Kelly.

But I think we all know the real reason sunglasses work: Nobody can see if your eyes are bloodshot, puffy or just plain bored out of your gourd. "Yup, all very important thoughts happening behind these lenses! Definitely not just lamenting my under-boob sweat situation!"


Photo via AP Images.