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There are few things in my life more important to me than my sunglasses.

My children and pets rank up there in the top spots, as does my father’s watch and my childhood stuffed bunny. ¬†But the fact remains, without my cherished sunglasses I would be challenged to actually SEE my kids, pets and memorabilia. ¬†Having had somewhat lackluster vision my entire life, I distinctly remember the day I first walked out of the store wearing prescription sunglasses. ¬†A whole new world opened up to me.

I was as amazed and awestruck as my father was the day after cataract surgery.  He kept looking at the sky proclaiming how blue it was.  Indeed, the singular moment of joy reveling in the richness of color and depth was something that I keenly felt. Since that initial day of enhanced vision, sunglasses have been an integral part of my life.

I have frames for a myriad of activities and events. ¬†Athletic, sophisticated, practical, sensual…they are all (usually) within arm’s reach. ¬†Sunglass shopping, however, can be a daunting and somewhat stressful adventure. ¬†My prescription lenses (separate from the frame) can compete with a mortgage payment in terms of price, so tossing another few hundred dollars on the tab to stylishly encase my lenses is not something that I enter into lightly or irreverently.

Why not just pick up a pair at CVS, you are probably wondering. ¬†That’s fine if you really don’t want to be able to truly see the splendor that is sunshine.

A good pair of sunglasses is an investment. ¬†They will protect not only your eyes, but the tender skin around your eyes. ¬†They will prevent you from squinting (saving thousands of dollars on Botox) and also communicate a certain attitude that can either help you hide (think Jackie O) or go forth into the world with attitude (think Karl Lagerfeld.) ¬†Once one has graduated from the $20 drugstore shades (that we have all worn on occasion or in an emergency) it’s time to make the commitment to a pair of sunglasses that will alter your perception and that of those who view you.

Skip the mall and go directly to an opticians store. ¬†(If it happens to be in a mall, ok, but don’t cop to cheap glasses.) ¬†Treat the experience the same way you would bathing suit shopping and expect to try on a dozen or more pairs. Consider your face shape, and things you will be doing IN your sunnies: this may include things like waterskiing, bungee jumping, driving, or just looking fabulous. ¬†Confide in the technician or sales person who is helping you. ¬†This will help both of you to make a wise and fashionable decision.

Don’t skimp on the extras like polarized lenses, scratch proofing, and insurance. ¬†Bifocal lenses will change your life and greatly enhance¬†your summer beach reading experience. ¬†If you even think your sunglasses may double as a headband, skip the wire frames. ¬†Seriously consider investing in two pairs. ¬†Ask for a discount.

Don’t be afraid of designer names and logos, but remember that traditional sunglass manufacturers like RayBan, Maui Jim, Warby Parker, and Oliver Peoples know what they are doing. ¬†Ask for an extra case and cleaning cloth. ¬† Bite the bullet and pay the bill. ¬†Remember, good sunglasses are worth it.

Once your glasses are in your possession, treat them with the respect and care they deserve. Last week my beau and I were picking out a pair of replacement shades for him the other day. ¬†My daughter was with us. ¬†He was all set to get a basic pair of polarized lenses in the same style he had been wearing for the past decade¬†when we swooped in and made him try on an assortment of hip and sexy glasses. ¬†Let’s just say he didn’t leave with the initial pair!

If you are going to invest in one accessory this summer, make it a new pair of quality sunglasses.  They will save your eyes and your skin, and if they make you feel bold or secure they will not only add to your look but the overall enjoyment of the experience as well.

Sunglass Shopping Help From A Fashion Expert was last modified: by

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