Saturday 6th June 2020
You know who you are.
Follow Me

Taking requests (and an opportunity for redemption)

cheap sunglasses

Any excuse to run a picture of Francoise Hardy

“I am done buying trendy sunglasses,” writes a reader named Jessica. “I want some sunglasses-for-life. I would like to spend about a hundred dollars, although I will spend more for the perfect pair. I will not spend two hundred dollars even if the sunglasses are pure magic, because I totally just can’t.” Well guys, I feel like I’ve owed you this one for a while, because you never see anything but stupidly expensive sunglasses here, as that’s all I ever buy. You know better than to do that, of course, and I’d like to think I could learn to. So what follows are five brands with decent selections in Jessica’s—and possibly any sane person’s—range.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.42.46 PM

This winter when I was staying at The Standard in Miami, they had a Warby Parker pop-up shop going on in the lobby, and the only thing that prevented me from buying some of their sunglasses was that there were too many cute pairs to choose from (and I am a very decisive person). This is such a good example of what they do well: chic and retro, but somehow quite classic at the same time. And the quality is rock solid.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.47.37 PM

It doesn’t get more sunglasses-for-life than Ray Ban, and on the right person, there’s nothing sexier than their aviator. But if I were looking to invest, I’d go for Clubmaster. It’s sturdier, and also just that much more unexpected.


Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 4.12.16 PM

Marc by Marc Jacobs has a selection that is both fun and witty and trendy and somehow utterly safe at the same time.  This seems like the lowest-risk version of cat-eye frames ever (which is a good thing).

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.57.01 PM

You’ve got to pick through Wildfox‘s selection, because a lot of it is way too young and trendy, but they aren’t afraid of color, which I like. And they do the occasional very successful “tribute” (these remind me of far more pricey Karen Walkers).

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 4.02.47 PM

Yes, Toms, the shoe company makes sunglasses and a lot of them are rather sophisticated and cute. I totally don’t have the correct head shape for these, but I love them.

Posted on May 25th, 2015 19 Comments

19 Responses

  1. Tammy says:

    I’ve been wearing Warby Parker eyeglasses for three years, and I can confirm the quality and durability are top-notch. I highly recommend.

    WP has a home try-on option where they’ll send you five or six frames to check out at no cost. So that’s a great way to figure out which ones you like. You send back the samples and they’ll send you a new pair.

  2. kelly says:

    can not(!) get behind anything ‘Tom’s’ as of the gay marriage stance. if someone can correct me, fine. until then not one thing Tom’s comes in my house. recently bought Persol’s that look great, and are timeless.

    • Liz says:

      TOMS & their founder briefly agreed to speak at a Focus on the Family event before realizing that FotF was anti-gay. They quickly cut ties and apologized. This was all in 2011. I think TOMS are firmly on record as being pro-civil and equal rights for all. (I sound like a shill for them, but I promise I’m not–I just like their company and its ideals)

      • Mamavalveeta03 says:

        Kelly, I believe Liz is correct on this. I found a statement made by Mycoskie apologizing for not doing a more thorough investigation on FOTF: “So there is no misunderstanding created by this mistake, let me clearly state that both TOMS, and I as the founder, are passionate believers in equal human and civil rights for all. That belief is a core value of the company and of which we are most proud.”

  3. Rosie says:

    I have some Wayfarers that I have been wearing for about ten years. I love them, and I have to say that on many occasions, those Wayfarers and a great red lipstick have gotten me through some of those bad days.

  4. Mary Alice says:

    I’ve been wearing black Wayfarers since 1982. Well made and endlessly stylish.

  5. Vicki says:

    Ray-Ban Wayfarers, baby.

  6. caroline says:

    If your a ray ban gal but have a smallish head(like me) they make them in a smaller size too. Depending on the style.
    That way you don’t look like your wearing your dads shades.

    I do yearn for a move pair of Karen Walkers though…

  7. RebeccaNYC says:

    Just bought my first pair of prescription sunglasses…ugh they were expensive. killed me, but necessary. I got tired of walking around being unable to see

    • Viajera says:

      Agreed. Major improvement in quality of life.

      Kim, for the record, I didn’t think you needed any redemption, but it’s a fine post nonetheless.

      Maybe next time, a post on eyeglass chains????? [Cue the evil cackle…] I am not relaxed enough to lose things very often, but I sympathize with those who do.

  8. s says:

    The Gap has awesome sunglasses in flagship stores only. I get stopped at least once a week from people asking where I got them. $40 and have lasted for 3 summers now. Check it out.

  9. LMM says:

    The Warby Parker Banks (the ones pictured above) are fantastic sunglasses! I have them in the turquoise variety, which sounds crazy but which have proved surprisingly neutral but stand out enough for me to get compliments every time I’m out – and since I got them with my prescription, that’s a lot. I’ve been quite impressed with WP’s service on the whole – my regular glasses are theirs as well, and I love the at-home try-on service.

  10. Sara says:

    Or you could do what I do – buy expensive sunglasses at Neiman Marcus Last Call or Nordstrom Rack. They routinely have pairs that retail in the 250-400 range for 100-200. I got a beautiful pair of tortoiseshell, cat-eye Miu Miu sunglasses at Last Call in January for $125.

    I will also stand behind Toms sunglasses. Really like the pair I bought a couple of years ago, and still bust them out regularly.

  11. Viajera says:

    These all look like solid choices.

    But tell me, do you guys buy these on your own???? I *have* to have someone with me. I wouldn’t even go in a shop by myself.

  12. gablesgirl says:

    I’d like to add to shop consignment for expensive shades. I bought an incredible pair of 70s Ralph Lauren that never go out of style and paid $75. Get tons of compliments.

  13. joannawnyc says:

    Maybe you can advise me on rx sunglasses? Though perhaps I should just go to Warby Parker …

  14. Katie says:

    The last time my $14 sunglasses from Target broke, I had this same set of criteria for the replacement. I ended up with a pair of Warby Parker’s that I’m pretty happy with. But sometimes they slowly slip down my face and I feel like I spend all my time pushing them back up. Not a huge problem, but noticeable.