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Shades of 2016: This Summer’s Hottest Sunglasses

If the fashion magazines have any say in the matter, your sunglasses this summer will be decorated with over-the-top embellishments and bling, or will make you look like you belong in a spy movie. Probably, though, you want something you can actually wear to the pool or grocery store. Is there a happy medium between this year’s Coachella craze and a merely serviceable pair of shades?

Beach buds wear same top for seaside selfies but sport their own unique sunglass styles.

Beach buds wear same top for seaside selfies but sport their own unique sunglass styles.

Yes! And you will be happy to know that there are sunglasses to fit your needs and your budget. Here are some options for keeping those rays at bay.

Vintage, Sport, and Vintage+Sport

Sunglasses have long taken on vintage styles: cat-eye, horn rims, and large mod types have been popular for years. Sporty frames were usually popular with those who played hard. Now, with the rise of “athleisure” clothing (think yoga pants for everyday and sweatshirt styling on fancier clothes) sunglass styles also blend athletic and chic. This means sleeker styling for performance wear, and more durable fashion choices.

Your Style, Brightened Up a Bit

There’s little chance this season that you won’t find sunglasses that match your personality. Along with the perennially popular black and tortoise-shell frames are opaque sea glass and hard candy colors, nautical blues, floral and lace patterns, shiny or matte finishes, and even sport-car styling. Not surprisingly, recent trends in eyewear—like metal rims or bridges, clear frames, or the I’ve-been-studying-all-day scholarly look—have translated to sun wear. What’s not so hot? Wide temples, although performance brands like Costa offer them on certain styles that are selling well.

An Over-the-top Option

If you need prescription lenses and don’t want to keep switching between everyday glasses and sunglasses, consider shades that fit over your daily pair. Fit overs used to be worn mostly by those with vision issues, but eyewear makers seeking market expansion have made them a bit more stylish for broader appeal. Just pop them over your glasses and go! Unlike flip-up or clip-on sun lenses, fit overs shield your eyes from all around. As with traditional sunglasses, prices and quality vary.

Whatever style you choose, make sure the lenses block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB light. This includes those labeled UV 400. If you have reason to doubt a label’s claims, we can test the lenses at Insight Eyecare using an instrument called a spectraphotometer.

By contributing writer Carol Morency 


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