Sunglasses: What’s up with shades?

  • By Sarah Jackson Herald Writer
  • Monday, April 7, 2008 6:35pm
  • Life

Sunglasses are the ultimate fashion accessory. Even if you don’t have designer clothes, a hot handbag or chi-chi shoes, sunglasses offer on-the-spot style. You can put them on and take them off at a moment’s notice, and mix and match multiple pairs to gives your wardrobe depth and range. While high-end designer frames can easily cost upward of $375, you can always find hip knock-offs for less than $20. And you don’t even have to be a fashion pro to manage this feat, according to Gregg Andrews, a fashion director for Nordstrom. “Sunglasses are easy. You can change your feeling of who you are behind those sunglasses,” Andrews said. “They give you instant attitude.” Are you sleek? Sporty? Edgy? Modern? Classic? Today we bring you the five hottest trends to guide you through the Northwest sun season, such as it is.

Mondo lenses

Giant sunglasses have been hugely hot in the past few years with just about everyone in Hollywood sporting lenses approaching the size of dinner plates. You’d think it’s time for the trend to swing toward the teeny-tinys. But you’d be wrong. “Oversized is still popular,” said Dawn Klimaszewski, spokeswoman for Maui Jim Sunglasses. Fashion fans in all price ranges will find numerous variations of extra-large squared-off circles or ovals. Look to Dolce &Gabbana and Burberry for the largest of the large. “We’re definitely seeing the retro influences,” Nordstrom’s Andrews said. Think “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or Jackie Onassis. The large frames and thick arms offer the ultimate in privacy. “You can hide behind them and you can be somebody,” Andrews said.

Colored frames

Glossy black, tortoise shell and metallic frames continue to dominate, but hipsters should keep an eye out for colorful frames too, Gregg Andrews said. Though bright-white frames were white-hot last year, look for cobalt blues and hot yellows. Emilio Pucci’s latest introductions include oversize aqua frames with arms adorned with a purple, black and white print. His Vivara sunglasses feature caramel-colored oversize round frames and arms accented with orange and red amoeba shapes. Maui Jim’s new frame colors include blue, burgundy and amber. “One of the current industry trends is bold and translucent colors in plastic frames,” Dawn Klimaszewski said.

Bling’s the thing

Take sunglasses to the next level with silver or gold, or the ultimate glam: crystals, faux diamonds or even gussied-up brand-name labels. “A woman can own an entire wardrobe of sunglasses. She can own something that is ultrachic and celebrity, and she can own something more lean and sleek,” Andrews said. Many of Bulgari’s frames are large with diamond endowed hinges. Ed Hardy’s new line includes frames with tattoo-inspired themes — Crystal Dragon, Beautiful Ghost, Skull and Roses — interpreted with Swarovski crystals and splashes of color.


The classics of the sunglass world. Nearly every designer line or manufacturer has some type of aviator, a style that’s come in and out of fashion for decades. New aviator styles include thick plastic frames and arms instead of traditional, thin metal or wire. Rimless aviators from Giorgio Armani give the old style a sophisticated city look, a far cry from the basic gold-framed wire shades a la Tom Cruise in “Top Gun.” “We’re seeing them be reinterpreted and modernized,” Gregg Andrews said. “They’re not as literal.”

Gradient glam

Not only do lenses this season come in black, gray, brown, auburn, rose and deep, dark lavender, they’re also available in a variety of gradients. Ray-Ban has mastered the look with its many aviator-style gradient-lens frames. Designer Tom Ford uses the effect in larger brown-tinted lenses with openings on the outer edges in his Margaux and Whitney styles. “They lend intrigue and mystery,” Andrews said, “Having great sunglasses is just as important as having great shoes and a great bag.”

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