Little Bits of Luxury: Sunglasses

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If I tallied up all I spent on sunglasses from Target, street vendors, and clearance sales I could probably buy a few pairs of designer shades. I could never justify spending more than $25 for a pair of sunglasses if they were just going to break or get lost before the summer was through. However, as I got older I learned that caring for items, no matter their pricetag, made them last longer and look better.

silver sunglasses
Truck stop sunglasses on me, and on the original owner

A few years ago on the way down to a music festival, Karl bought a pair of silver mirrored aviators from a truck stop for $5.99. While he looked great in them, I eventually snagged them for my own. Never before had I found a pair of sunglasses to look so right on me or fit my personal style so well. After years and years of black and tortoise plastic frames, I felt at home in an oversized metal aviator. But as it happens with most cheapy sunglasses, these HG frames started chipping, the mirror finish cracked, and in a couple months of TLC they looked as though they had several years under their belt protecting the eyes of a biker babe.

ray ban oversized aviator
RB3026 in gold/green, gold/amber, and black/black

Perusing sunglasses at the mall, I came upon the oversized 62mm Ray-Ban aviators, RB3026. Almost the exact same size and shape as the truck stop pair, but far better made. And lighter weight. And more comfortable on the nose and around the ears. Though 35x more expensive. I splurged… and it was one of the best splurges I ever made. I still wear and love those sunglasses, and since then have found two pairs in other finishes via eBay for far less. Karl and I share sunglasses, and we both baby them by keeping them in their case, cleaning them with a chamois, and not letting them bake or freeze in the car. Though I babied the truck stop shades in a similar manner, cheap construction and materials still had them falling apart too soon.

Choosing a classic style means I won’t feel the need to get new sunglasses when trends change; in fact I have made these sunglasses part of my signature look and could see myself wearing them for many years to come. And by needing fewer pairs, I will likely save a bundle in the long run!

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  1. I’ve worn Ray-Ban Wayfarers for YEARS and you are making me want a pair of aviators! I haven’t had a pair of those since the 70s when I wore them with photogray lenses. Ask your momma about those ridiculous lenses! We always looked high! lol

    1. LOL my dad used to wear photograys and every picture of him from when I was a kid it looks as though he’s in sunglasses 🙂 Oh the Wayfarers are just as much of a classic, I love them but they always look a bit odd on me. I never had real ones, but plenty of fake versions to look oh so Risky Business!

  2. I find my sunglasses at TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Nordstrom Rack… I recently got a pair of tortoiseshell Betsey and black cat eye Kate Spades for under $50 each. I can’t bring myself to buy cheap sunglasses from a roadside vendor or a convenience store–how do you know that the glasses really are UV Ray coated? How do I know that they’re not just tinted plastic that will harm my eyes more than not wearing sunglasses at all –since the tint causes eyes to dilate and absorb more harmful rays? Stuff that goes on or near your eyes is not a good place to scrimp.

    I also buy larger sunglasses since they will cover more of the tender area around my eyes and keep crow’s feet at bay.

    I have $10 glasses, but they’re bought on clearance from a designer I know and trust, not off some truck that came from China made from who knows what.

  3. The best aviators I’ve found are the Kirkland brand at Costco – $45. I can’t justify spending more than that unless they’re Rx sunglasses – more important to have that money in retirement savings.

  4. my husband bought me a pair of Costa del Mars for Christmas last year and they are still in great shape and I love them! It is so true!!! Worth every penny!

  5. They look great. Good sunglasses are so key because you do end up wearing them pretty much daily for months on end (if not more – depending on the weather in your part of the world).

  6. Hells yes to truck stop aviators! And hells yes to high end versions of them — if you can be trusted not to sit on them (something I have not yet mastered), having a main, quality pair sounds downright utopian. And as if it weren’t obvious: these do look absolutely perfect on you. 🙂

  7. Allie, this is so true. It helps that when you buy quality sunglasses, they come with things like sturdy cases and wiping cloths. The same can be said of good quality handbags and shoes. This is very timely as I was out shopping last Friday. I really need a new pair of brown 1-2″ pumps and even though I found several pair that I liked I decided to wait until next month to spend the money. Oddly enough I had no problem wandering into Anthropology and picking up a few random accessories, which totaled up to not much less then a pair of great shoes. I think about all the money I’ve spent on those little token purchases I’ve made over the years that would have been better spent on a few more expensive but better quality pieces.

  8. you both look super-cool in your shades. I am a “truck stop” (well, Marshall’s) kind of sunglasses woman. It’s the same with pens – I used to lose/break the expensive ones, so I go cheap : >

  9. I just received a pair of Tory Burch sunglasses for Christmas. I usually don’t wear sunglasses because I rely on eyeglasses for my poor vision, but I found a place that will put my script in these new ones. Can’t wait to get them back! I will definitely baby them.

  10. Yep! I have a pair of Ray Ban aviators and a pair of Prada sunglasses with studs on the side. Both are in my style wheelhouse and both seemed scandalously expensive when I bought them. I have owned both pairs for over 5 years, wear them all the time, get compliments and care for them incredibly well. Entirely worth it.

  11. Those are so perfect on you–great choice! I wear prescription sunglasses, so mine cost an arm and a leg anyway, and I really would like to find something signature like that.

  12. This is so true! I discovered Maui Jim’s over 15 years ago and have never looked back. I wear these babies constantly, and if they’re not on my face, they’re on top of my head…I’ve been known to go to bed with them still on top of my head. I wear the style with no hinges, and have found that if you protect the lenses from scratches, they will last 3 – 4 years with daily wear before they fail at the nose bridge. Even then they still look brand new. They are completely weightless, look great and are worth every penny.

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