Why designer sunglasses are worth the investment
Sunglasses do so much — starting with protecting your eyes from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays.
The right pair of designer sunglasses can also make a fashion statement as a stylish accessory that shows off your personality and completes your outfit.
Luckily, today’s high-end brands are producing luxe eyewear that is as protective as it is fashion-forward.
Just keep in mind that a designer label usually comes with a designer price (although more affordable options can be found). So, be sure to do your research. Knowing more about your style options and what best suits your budget can help you find the perfect pair.
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The most popular designer sunglasses
Designer sunnies can do all that and look fabulous, allowing you to express your individuality while staying sun-safe.
Whether your wardrobe is already chock-full of designer attire or you want to treat yourself to something special, a new pair of chic designer shades can help you look and feel like the fashionista that you are.
Popular brands to consider include:
While designer sunglasses are generally very high quality and made to last, there are a few more factors to consider when you’re shopping for a new pair, including frame materials and durability.
Men’s and women’s designer sunglasses
While many styles are marketed as gender neutral (think: aviators or Wayfarer-style frames), some designers offer completely separate lines of shades for men and for women. That may mean you’ll be more likely to find a pair that suits your face shape or size.
Men can consider fab shades by top brands such as Hugo Boss, Tom Ford or Jimmy Choo — they all have extensive selections for men.
Some designers, on the other hand, skew toward styles that are almost exclusively marketed to women. For example, the sunglasses collections by Chanel, Tommy Hilfiger and Vera Wang are much larger for women than for men (though each does offer some men’s styles).
Of course, you can always just jump the gender divide and buy whichever frame style you like best from your favorite designer — after all, your shades are a reflection of you and your own personal style, so go ahead and have fun with it.
Plus, you’re more likely to protect your eyes with sunglasses if you absolutely love what you’ve purchased.
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Children’s designer sunglasses
Do you dress your child(ren) in the latest fashions? Does your teenager have a pair of shades to match every outfit? You’re in luck! You can find plenty of high-end sunglasses that are as stylish as they are protective of your wee one’s eyes.
One design house that’s producing sunglasses suitable for children is Lacoste — they offer a range of shades in kid-friendly colors, with parent-friendly durability. While not quite as luxurious, top-notch brands such as Nike and Ray-Ban Junior also make stylish, high-quality kids’ shades.
With so many safe, cute and stylish choices available, there’s no reason not to protect your child’s eyes.
Affordable designer sunglasses
From designer bags to jewelry to sunglasses, designer products are investments that will require you to fork over some money. However, there are ways to still enjoy the benefits of designer shades without going broke:
Keep an eye out for discounts, especially clearance, closeout or seasonal sales.
Consider wearing styles from previous seasons of a collection — these are frequently discounted.
Go coupon hunting to try to bring that price down.
Shop around. Some stores will offer the same designer models at a lower price point.
Remember — designer shades are an investment. While they may cost a bit more up front, they’ll provide you with chic style and eye protection for a long time to come.
Designer replica sunglasses vs. knockoffs
If you still have sticker shock when browsing designer sunglasses, consider a less expensive version with the same fashionable style.
While replicas mimic the same basic look as actual designer sunnies, unfortunately, some counterfeiters out there are selling knockoffs (fakes) as “real” designer products. Learning some of the differences may help you avoid disappointment.
Replicas: Get the look for less
Cheaper sunglasses may not feature that recognizable logo from your favorite designer, but they can still offer benefits like UV protection, prescription lenses, lens coatings and other customizations — they can also still be incredibly stylish.
For instance, if you love the look of Ray-Ban Aviator shades but not the price, consider a different brand that will give you the iconic look for less. Or, if you love oversized high-fashion sunglasses, why not try an oversized pair from a lesser-known brand? You’ll be wearing the chic look for a fraction of the cost.
Nobody wants to invest money in designer shades only to find out they’ve actually bought knockoffs. Unfortunately, fakes are everywhere — especially online.
So how can you spot fake designer shades?
Watch for common signs of counterfeiting, such as omitting information that the real product displays, low print quality for labels, poor-quality hinges or mismatched bar codes.
Also, before you buy, you should get to know the ins and outs of the brand you love. For instance, fake Ray-Ban Wayfarers plague the market, but you can learn to spot them through blurry logos and even misspelled words.
Don’t forget UV protection
While designer shades are generally higher quality and made from premium materials, they don’t necessarily offer more UV protection.
When it comes to making sure your eyes are protected from damaging UV rays, it’s more important to look for UV labels than a designer brand. As long as your sunglasses offer 99% to 100% UV protection, your eyes will be properly shielded from the sun.
Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can be damaging to your eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, wearing sunglasses can help you avoid:
Growths on your eyes, such as pterygium
Snow blindness, which can occur from UV reflections from snow, ice, sand or water
Ultimately, you shouldn’t have to forgo your eye health to look good, so be sure to research high-fashion sunnies that protect your eyes and look cool.
Designer sport sunglasses
No matter your choice of activity, if you’re spending time outdoors, you’ll need a quality pair of sunglasses that will keep your eyes safe from the sun’s damaging rays.
More than that, if you lead an active lifestyle, you also know that durability is really important — especially if you enjoy a game or sport in which you could be hit in the face by a flying object, such as a baseball.
Fashionable sunglasses may be well-known for durable, quality frames, but certain high-end brands make better options for sports than others.
Here are some ideas to get you started on your search:
Oakley – Best-known for their sports and performance sunglasses, Oakley’s eyewear actually ranges from everyday glasses to polarized sunglasses designed for specific outdoor activities, such as fishing and cycling. The brand tests frames and lenses under extreme conditions to ensure they have excellent impact resistance, making them ideal for use during sports.
Bollé – Bollé offers some of the most technologically advanced eyewear around. The brand is beloved for sport sunglasses and goggles — particularly for snow and water sports. They even have kids’ sunglasses, so everyone in the family can enjoy time together outdoors.
While sunglasses designed specifically for sports can help protect your eyes, if you’re into high-impact sports, you might want to consider investing in something different. In this case, opt for performance sunglasses — these are specially made to withstand more intense activities.
Designer prescription sunglasses
Only prescription sunglasses give you both excellent vision correction and eye protection in one handy accessory. Getting a pair from a well-known design brand can add another layer — sophisticated style.
Luckily, you have plenty of options when it comes to prescription designer shades. In fact, many (if not all) high-end fashion sunglasses can be made with prescription lenses. Just check online or with your local optical store to find out your options.
If you wear contact lenses, you may think you don’t need prescription sunglasses. But a prescription pair could still be useful, as you’ll have the flexibility to take out your lenses when needed (for swimming, etc.). And, just as with non-prescription sunglasses, you can simply wear them to complement your outfit and make a fashion statement.
Another option to consider? Glasses with photochromic lenses, like those offered by the popular light-adaptive brand Transitions Lenses. With these prescription glasses, you can move seamlessly between indoors and outdoors without needing a second pair of eyewear — and do it all with style.
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Are designer sunglasses actually worth it?
Designer shades offer the same benefits as any pair of sunglasses in that they make it easier for you to see whenever you’re outdoors. With a brand name, though, you can really up your style game by simply donning your pair of shades.
When making any investment in eyewear, determine your priorities and consider all of your options. If style and high-quality frames are of utmost importance, save up and splurge on designer sunglasses. If you’re simply looking for a trendy look, look into other brands that offer similar designs without the high price tag.
In the end, do what makes the most sense for you. After all, you’re the one who will be wearing them each day.
Page published in March 2021
Page updated in November 2021