When you shop for sunglasses, whether you need prescription glasses or you just want designer sunglasses, it makes sense to start by considering the best sunglasses stores/brands. You can find the perfect pair of vintage sunglasses this way or new aviator sunglasses.
Read on to learn about the best designers of sunnies in the world and where to shop for them.
The Best Sunglass Brands
Skip the cheap sunglasses because they do a terrible job of protecting your eyes. Prepare to spend about $50 to $100 on a pair of good sunglasses from a major manufacturer. You could choose to have a pair designed for you.
A bespoke pair of sunglasses range in cost between $600 to $10,000. It all depends on the materials you choose.
American Optical: Established in 1826, American Optical has amassed experience crafting sunglasses. One of the oldest eyewear brands, it crafted its first pair of shades in 1876. These well-made lenses last for years and only cost about $100 per pair, but have been a favorite since the crew of Apollo 11 wore them.
A-Morir: You can wear the same sunglasses as Beyoncé, Debbie Harry, Estelle, Grace Jones, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and 2NE1. The A-Morir optical company established in 2009 makes bespoke sunglasses. Why look like everyone else when you can wear an original?
Bulgari: Yes, Bvlgari makes sunglasses, too. The luxury designer best known for its cologne and handbags also designs shades with designs influenced by Art Deco and the Italian Renaissance. Essentially, you will wear a work of art.
E.B. Meyrowitz Optician: Order a pair of bespoke sunglass specs from E.B. Meyrowitz Optician to get a pair of sunglasses made with rare materials such as acetate and buffalo horn. The company, established in 1875, makes made-to-measure spectacles.
Heidi London: Another newcomer to the sunglass scene, Heidi London has crafted custom-made to order sunglasses since 2010. You must contact the company directly to make an appointment for a private consultation.
Maison Bonnet Lunetier Paris: Using rare materials such as turtle shells and horns, Maison Bonnet Lunetier Paris has crafted custom sunglasses since 1930. Located in Paris, but serving the world, the firm makes handmade sunglasses. Some of its more famous clients include actress Audrey Hepburn, the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, the late novelist Georges Simenon, Le Corbusier, and the late Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
Maui Jim: Maui Jim, founded by Jim Richards in 1980, produces fashion sunglasses for sports and leisurewear. You can get a prescription pair or non-prescription sunglasses. These durable frames cost about $300.
Mykita: You will pay about $300 for a pair of Mykita sunglasses. The German firm created its first pair in 2003. It crafts handmade sunglasses, designing on its own or in collaboration with Maison Margiela or Moncler. Expect to pay between $300 and $800 per pair.
Oakley: Ski goggle firm Oakley released its first pair of sunglasses in 1984, the Factory Pilot Eyeshades. Designed for sports, Oakley’s uses polarized lenses that reduce glare. They’re a reasonably priced brand now owned by Luxottica.
Oliver Goldsmith: That the company’s initials are OG says it all. Founded in 1926, Oliver Goldsmith craft handmade sunglasses that even the greatest fashion designers – Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, and Vidal Sassoon – chose to wear. You can wear sunglasses made by the same designer as worn by Hollywood’s Golden Age actresses Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn.
Oliver Peoples: Established in 1986, the California brand Oliver Peoples produces fashion sunglasses. Seen in many Hollywood films, it produces retro-inspired shades with conservative options. Its designs all provide 100 percent UVA protection.
Oliver Peoples uses seven barrel-hinges on its designs to make them heartier. After numerous buyouts in the industry, this became a subsidiary of Luxottica, which owns a handful of the best brands of sunglasses. These shades provide you with unique frames and intricate detailing. You pay about $400 per pair.
Persol: Don’t laugh, but Luxottica owns this one, too. Persol has competed with Ray-Ban since the 1900s, but now, they are part of the same company. Founded in 1917 by Giuseppe Ratti, the brand uses a yellow-brown lens in its tough sunglasses.
Persol became the cool shades when actor Steve McQueen wore them in his 1968 thriller, “The Thomas Crown Affair.” You can still buy the 714 he wore in the film. These shades start at about $260, but it is worth it for the flexible stem system it uses that let your sunglasses adapt to your face shape. You can find some options in the Persol collection for as little as $100.
Ray-Ban: Ray-Bans might be the most famous sunglasses on earth. This fashion brand of sunglasses, established in 1937, caters to the cool crowd. Luxottica bought out this company, too, but its prices have remained about the same rather than rising to meet the other brands its parent company owns. Its fashion favorites include the Aviator, the Clubmaster, and the Wayfarer sunglasses.
It started out as a cool comfort for US Air Force pilots, then became a favorite in films such as “The Wild One,” “The Blues Brothers,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and “Reservoir Dogs.”
TD Tom Davies: Founded in 2002, the bespoke sunglasses service begins with an eye test at the Tom Davies Vision Clinic. The company designs the sunglasses to fit their facial features, so the sunglasses only fit them. What a bonus, since no one will be able to borrow your shades.
Topology Eyewear: This brand tops the techie list. Topology Eyewear crafts luxury sunglasses with fittings from your home. Use its app to create a virtual 3D facial model of yourself that is accurate to a millimeter. With more than 2,000 measurements to work from per face, it designs the ideal custom sunglasses for you. Choose from frames of stainless steel or Italian acetate. You pay about $549 and up for these sophisticated sunglasses.
Tom Ford: Established in 2005, Tom Ford left Gucci the year before after serving as its lead designer. He puts together high-fashion looks using high-quality materials and with a lens that provides 100 percent UV protection. He’s designed his own aviator, cat eye, wayfarer, and wrap designs. These shades start at about $400 but cost up to $1,500.
Wesley Knight: Shop Wesley Knight for European bespoke sunglasses that express your personality while perfectly fitting your face. Most of his frames use water buffalo horn, which weighs less than plastic. You will pay about $2,300 per pair. The designer only makes about 50 pairs per year.
What should you look for in sunglasses?
You need protection from UV rays foremost. You should look for sunglasses marked with ANSI or CE, which denotes that they meet established quality standards that protect against at least 95 percent of harmful UV rays. Polarized lenses result in less eye fatigue and reduced glare.
Fit matters. You don’t want your sunglasses to slide off. Glass lenses provide a scratch-resistant surface, while plastic weighs less, but scratches easily. If you choose metal frames, look for those that are corrosion resistant.
Frequently Asked Questions
You have questions about sunglasses, and we want to help. Read on to find the most common questions and their answers.
What are some lasting looks in sunglasses?
Aviator and wayfarer styles as well as cat-eye shades never go out of style. You can invariably find small frames and oversized frames. Black frames and white frames remain classic choices.
Should you shop by a brand name?
A famous name does not mean well-made UV protection. Some fashion brands may carry a well-known name but have poor UV protection. This makes them useful only as a fashion accessory. You should shop for the protection the sunglasses provide your eyes first, then consider frame shape and design.
Where can you buy these sunglasses?
Some of these brands you must purchase directly from the designer. Some brands, such as Ray-Ban, you can purchase at shopping mall stores such as Sunglass Hut or at department stores such as Macy’s, Dillard’s, Foley’s, Belk’s, or Kohls. You can purchase many of these options at eBay or Amazon.
Some brands you can buy at Walmart or Target, but this typically includes cheaper brands that may not include those listed in this article.
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