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Fashion Mailbag: Should You Buy Those $200 Designer Sunglasses?

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SUMMER! It’s here, I think/hope. I’m trying to get my summer wardrobe in order and am wondering how much of my shopping budget I should devote to shades? Like, is it worth it to buy Prada, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, or something like that? Or should I put those $200 toward something else like a bag or vacation?

I actually have a pair of Prada shades but that’s only because I found them in the backseat of a taxi. I happen to like them quite a bit, but! They were free! Would I have spent $200 to $300 on them? No! Even if you’re, like, the one person on earth who can manage to go a season without losing shades, that’s a lot of money to spend on anything. (For the record: $30 jeans from Uniqlo are also great.)

So first you have to decide if you’re the kind of person who’s willing to part with that amount of money for an accessory. I often look at large fashion purchases in terms of what else the cost equals. Like: “I could buy those shades or a round-trip plane ticket to Miami.” “I could buy those shoes or pay my rent.” “I could buy that dress or a ticket to the Madonna concert.” Studies show that spending money on experiences rather than stuff leads to greater happiness. That’s not to say fashion items are not worth it for some people! Maybe you’re the kind of person whose happiest moments can be qualified in terms of shoes and statement necklaces. Like, “I remember when I bought those Givenchy shoes and a P.S. One bag by Proenza Schouler and I felt like a mix of Ciara and Kristen Stewart and it was one of the best moments of my life ever.” So dig deep and ask yourself: if you have to choose between wearing designer shades to Long Beach or name-less ones to Hawaii, which would it be?

The other thing about designer sunglasses is, they’re all made by the same place! Luxottica manufactures everything from Burberry to Chanel to Stella McCartney to Tory Burch to Donna Karan. And they own the Sunglass Hut, where they sell all that nonsense. And all they’re selling you for those exorbitant prices are bits of plastic and metal with what is too often a very hideous Snooki-tacky logo on the side of the frames. But maybe that’s who you are deep down inside. Maybe you love designer everything, logo everything, expensive everything. But before you go all the way with the Sunglass Hut and seal the deal on something you may end up abandoning in the back of a taxi, consider these more affordable options.

3. The “Griffin” by Warby Parker ($95)

The whole idea behind this brand is not to overcharge for some tinted plastic, while still offering stylish options. Also, for every pair sold they donate a pair to someone in need.

4. Martini Glasses from ASOS ($21)

GET IT? A PUN FOR YOUR FACE. But seriously, ASOS has other great everyday options, like…

5. Pineapple sunglasses! ($21.81)

Another major win for Asos. Anyway, NOW onto things that aren’t fruit- or cocktail-related, for real.

6. Round color-block shades by ASOS. ($21.81)

These might remind you of that round pair Beyonce was seen wearing while she was carrying Blue Ivy. (So if you needed MILF shades, these clearly qualify.)

8. Plain Aviators from Topshop ($32)

Proof that if you want something simple, you do not have to spend $150 to $200 for a Ray Ban look. Or maybe you want something fun and a little ugly, like…

9. Floral shades, also from Topshop. ($32)

These are hideous, yes, but the right sort of person could pull them off. Everyone has that one friend who makes hideous things look cool, right? Or, if you’re going to a music festival and just need a pair you can lose that will also amuse you when you’re waiting by yourself in the bathroom line, these are ideal.

10. In that vein, Zara sells these “Navajo print” sunglasses. ($19.90)

11. (Cat break!)

Speaking of cats, how about…

12. A Sassy cat-eye style by Cheap Monday. ($30)

Available at Revolve Clothing. Great for every day!

13. Alexander Wang “acetate and metal sunglasses.” (On sale for $185, marked down from $370.)

If you MUST be so trendy as to have A-Wang shades or whatever, consider buying them on sale from a site like The Outnet.

So there you go. You really don’t need to spend $200 for some generic designer nonsense rich reality TV stars are buying. Save that money for the good pina coladas.

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