Fashion Real Talk: The Case Against Designer Sunglasses


Summer is not always kind to our sartorial needs. The heat and humidity make jeans and sweaters a no-no. Sometimes it seems like wearing our birthday suit would actually be more comfortable than braving the great outdoors in any sort of fabric, breathable or otherwise. There is one thing summer is great for, however: sunglasses.

Glasses in general are a thing we feel strongly about, but sunglasses bring a whole different host of issues. If there is one thing you need to know about sunglasses, it is this: expensive designer sunglasses are not worth it. At all. There are several reasons.

First of all, sunglasses are a thing you take on and off and on and off all day. (Or at least you should, because you look super dumb wearing them inside and/or at night.) Shades get thrown in your bag and taken back out, often without the use of a glasses case because those things are bulky! Your glasses get knocked around, scratched, and generally mistreated. Why would you possibly spend hundreds of dollars on a single pair?

But let’s say you’re one of the few who treat their sunglasses with the utmost care, utilizing that bulky case and being sure not to overextend the temples. You might be able to justify spending a ridiculous amount of money on somewhat-seasonal eyewear. But, you shouldn’t. Because here’s a secret: designers don’t generally design their own frames. When you buy brand-name sunglasses, you’re really buying the designs of a licensing company like Luxottica or Safilo. (Safilo owns the rights to Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Armani, Balenciaga, Valentino, Marc Jacobs, and a ton of others.)

Okay, so maybe you don’t care who is designing your glasses, so long as they look cool. And that’s fine. But have you ever actually seen a pair of designer sunglasses that are so much more awesome than ones that cost a fraction of the price? Probably not. Most actually look really similar to each other, albeit with different embarrassingly flashy logos on the side. Have we convinced you yet? Cheap sunnies really are the way to go.

It’s not about quality, because you’re tossing them around so much anyway! And if they’re cheap, that means you can get all sorts of pairs, which is really the point of sunglasses anyway. We’re not suggesting you get some knockoff Chinatown shades, because knockoffs are never cool. There are plenty of other great options though! As much as we hate on American Apparel‘s management and advertisements, they have a sick selection of frames in the $25-50 range. Many of them are deadstock, which means they’re never-been-worn vintage items. Urban Outfitters also has a fairly decent and super cheap array of shades (that start at $10…!).

That is all to say, when it comes to sunglasses, go cheap. Go plentiful. Go non-designer. You’ll thank us.

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