Sunglasses not only shield your peepers from glare, but they also make pretty powerful fashion pieces.
They can transform your look from studious to sultry, and from mundane to mysterious. MSN Shopping’s Shannon McCarthy scopes out the shades trade.
You’ve Been Framed – Shape & Size
When it comes to sunglasses, being in shape can mean anything from big and bodacious to slender and sleek. Designers are now offering sun specs in the widest array of styles. The oversized trend shows no sign of impending modesty, as thick dark frames and large lenses continue their retro groovy reign. They’re taking up just a little less facial real estate now, and looking a tad more refined with squares and rectangles edging out previously popular round models. The hottest frames right now are the aviator style and Ray-ban’s timeless Wayfarer – and both just happen to be almost universally flattering. (Many aviators are rimless, which is also a smoking-hot trend.) If you’re looking for the most delicate, feminine frame, try a pair of curvy “cat eye” or rim-free “butterfly” glasses.
Specs Appeal – Color & Tint
The stereotypical pair of dark black shades has contributed to the mojo of hipsters, rock stars, and movie legends (paging Jack Nicholson), but there’s no reason we can’t get positively playful and add some riotous rims to our collection. Why not see the world through rose-colored glasses, blue, green, yellow, or purple for that matter. Bold colors beam from the fresh crop of sunglasses, but if you find it hard to imagine donning a pair of Jackie-O’s in orange, try something more subtle. A thin frame in forest green with charcoal lenses will provide just enough punch. (Or try translucent frames that hold just a hint of color.) I love the combination of a brightly-hued lens and a minimal frame – rimless glasses look especially sharp with colored lenses – try a metallic pink or amber pair.
Seeing Things – Texture & Adornment
If you’re not interested in minimalism as a fashion statement, don’t fret, there’s a trend just for you! The newest sunglasses are glimmering with small inset crystals, brilliant (sometimes colorful) beading and logo-enhancing rhinestones. In fact, there’s so much bedecking going on, I’d say some pairs are getting close to true “jewelry” status. If bling is not your thing, look for shades with more restrained decoration like exotic, natural designs (wild animal prints, wood-grain detailing, and sinuously snaking temples), and elaborate delicately-etched patterns that liven up earstems and frames. Some of the embellishments are sweet – florals, dots, and lace, while some are rather saucy – leather, chains, and metal inlays, and some are just plain classic – equestrian styling with buckles integrated into the temples of the eyepiece is sporty chic at its best.
Made in the Shade – Materials
Lens and frame construction can literally make or break a pair of sunglasses. For anything other than a toss-in-the-bottom-of-the-beach-bag pair that you snapped up at a convenience store counter, you’ll want to choose something substantial. But that doesn’t mean heavy. Top designers are using plastic that looks anything but cheap, and even the thickest silhouettes can be surprisingly light. This season, metal frames are surpassing plastic in the chic-stakes, and if you nab a pair made of aluminum, titanium, or stainless steel, you’ll have the ultimate in featherweight fashion. (A plus – these higher quality metals are also stronger and more resilient than less expensive varieties made from alloys.) And, sure, the term is sunglasses, but you’ll lose no cultural cool points in picking polycarbonate lenses over glass for safety, durability, and true affordability.
The Perfect Vision- UV Protection
Can common sense and sex appeal co-exist? The latest generation of UV-repelling, style-enhancing sun specs certainly answer in the affirmative. For the ultimate in safe shading, look for a label specifying “100% UV-A and UV-B protection.” (Hint – this eye shielding is provided by a clear coating on the lens, so the color or darkness of your favorite pair has no bearing on the protective qualities). The craze for bigger sunglasses has its detractors, but they allow less light in, which is always a plus. Search for styles like “shield,” “wrap,” “curved” and, of course, “oversized.” Be on the lookout for UV protective coatings on a wide variety of price points, as they don’t just glaze the most expensive pairs. And many sport-styled models have extended sides, glare-reducing polarized lenses, and weather-resistant nylon frame finishes.
Triangle Visions Optometry of Cary has the experience to provide the right prescription sunglasses for you. For more information please schedule an appointment with your eye care provider, and we will be in touch with you shortly.