By Janet Kelly
SUNGLASSES qualify as a summertime staple, but their appeal as a necessary accessory lasts all year long. For one, they can mask eyes that have not had sufficient sleep that night or cover bloodshot ones suffering from a wee bit too much imbibing. But most importantly, shades protect the eyes and delicate skin around them from ultraviolet radiation, which can lead to cataract development and age-related macular degeneration. Most sunglasses today have that covered, but look for labels that specify 100% protection. Polarized lenses that filter and block some of the light from passing through the lenses, reducing glare and strain on the eyes is a nice feature, but will add to the cost.
Shape and size of sunnies tend to follow trends—this summer has come up with some unflattering ones, such as goggle-types that make you look as if you worked in a science lab and triangular shapes for which I don’t see the point. I’m a proponent of oversized sunglasses because they shade a larger area—eye crinkles (crow’s feet) and upper cheekbones.
A general rule of thumb is that a strong, distinct square frame works best for a round face, while a rounder frame complements an angular face. The best way to know, though, is try, try and try—either virtually (most brands offer that capability), or in a store. Department stores, such as Nordstrom, Neiman’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, sell designer glasses from Prada, Tom Ford, etc. See and Warby Parker have standalone stores throughout the country; Sunski has a list of stockists on its site, as does Le Specs. Privé Revaux sells at Kohl’s.
Whether the sun is shining brightly or it’s kind of cloudy, protect your eyes year-round. Here are 11 picks for both kinds of days—in three price ranges.
In 2016, celebs Jamie Foxx, Hailee Steinfeld, and Ashley Benson wanted to know why well-designed and made glasses couldn’t be more affordable. To answer that, they founded Privé Revaux, such as these Belle Meade sunglasses with its geometric shape (for oval, round and triangular faces) and lovely lilac frames, balanced by an understated metal temple. The lenses are 100% UVA/UVB protected, polarized to cut down on glare and are impact-and-scratch-resistant. They sell for $39.95, which includes a foldable case. For 30% off, use code POOLSIDE. The label also offers a collection of prescription styles.
Sunski’s popular Dipsea medium-size round frame (above in rust forest) gets its name from the company’s favorite San Francisco Bay Area hiking trail. The lenses are polarized, block 100% UVA/UVB rays and come with light, recycled frames. Available in nine other colorways, it sells for $58 without a case or cleaning cloth. However, Sunski offers a lifetime warranty, which covers broken frames but not scratched or damaged lenses. The brand doesn’t offer prescription lenses.
When Warby Parker started out in 2010, they had no stores, their glasses all sold for $95, you couldn’t get prescription lenses, but you could pick five styles to try out for five days—for free. The last is still true, but now they have stores, most of their prices have risen and you can get a prescription eyeglass. These squarish Lottie sunnies in “green tea” crystal have scratch-resistant lenses that block all UV rays. Each pair comes with a frame case and lens cloth. WP offers a 30-day return or exchange policy, as well as a six-month, no-scratch guarantee for their lenses that are available in nonprescription, single-vision, progressive and readers.
Le Specs’s oval-shaped Nouveau Trash sunglasses ($75) with a recycled plastic frame are fitted with scratch-resistant and shatterproof lenses that filter out 100% UVA/UVB rays, as well as blue light. They come in a recycled pouch that doubles as a lens cleaner. The company does offer a line of prescription-ready shades.
A mix of traditional and contemporary, Ray Ban’s bright blue acetate, square lenses with a chevron pattern on the inside frame, are unfortunately out of stock at Eyebuy Direct. A more rectangular but similar style with a charming gingham pattern sells for $166.
Aperçu offers three essential (classic shapes) collections —round, square and cat eye—along with designer capsules. The bold, statement-y Le Rond in this polished green acetate with orange-hued lenses that are UVA/UVB protected. Also available in ivory, burgundy, blue, yellow, tortoise and black, they sell for $159. When asked whether Aperçu offered prescription-ready glasses, here’s what a customer service rep said via e -mail: “All our frames are RX-able but we do recommend checking with your local optician first as some high RX’s and progressives can be more challenging to cut and insert.” Good tip.
I love the look of aviators, especially this this Ray Ban RB3548N with hexagonal-shaped lenses and those extremely thin temples. (All Eyebuy Direct sunglasses come with UV protection.) Also available with green or brown tinted lenses, they sell from $217-$247 (depending on the tint) for non-prescription lenses.
$300 and more
Founded by Hyman Moscot who in 1899 began selling glasses from a pushcart on Orchard St in NYC, the Moscot company, which now has five stores in NYC and more than 20 around the world, is run by a fifth generation Moscot (Zach), a trained industrial designer who takes credit for this Grober Sun. In honey tortoise with UV-protected green lenses, it’s available in a range of sizes from 44 (narrow) to 52 (extra wide) and in crystal frames with denim lenses and also with navy frames and light blue lenses. It sells for $350.
Celine Eyewear’s sunglasses with oversized, round frames will particularly suit those with more angular face shapes. They’re fitted with UV-protective gradient brown lenses and the brand’s signature two-dot emblem at the arms. They sell for $380 at Net a Porter.
Prada’s sleek, rectangular/cat eye sunglasses in crystal orange with dark gray tinted lenses will flatter oval and round faces alike, while protecting eyes from UV rays. They sell for $517 at Shopbop. Psst: We found this great lookalike —with polarized lenses, too, on Amazon for $35.96.
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