Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Outta Sight Summer Sunnies

Already two long-weekends in and another shortly on the way (for Ontario folks anyway!), it's in the dog days of summer that most of us lose at least one pair of sunglasses. Unlike replacing summer clothes mid-season when you might wonder if it's worthwhile, sunglasses are an investment that will far outlast the sunny season both in style and in vision health.
For readers who know me, you'll know that I wear my sunnies nearly every day, all year long. I consider them amongst my primary accessories. My Optometrist, Dr. Shirley Blanc, gave me more perspective on why sun-specs are key throughout the year. Her tips:
  1. Price, colour, or lens darkness aren't guaranteed indicators of how much UV protection a pair of sunglasses will provide.
  2. Generally, the tint should be dark enough to reduce glare and improve visual comfort, grey or brown tints are generally recommended to prevent colour distortion,
  3. While plastic lenses are lighter than glass, make sure there's scratch-resistant coating on plastic lenses as even small nicks can decrease UV protection.
But are all sunglasses appropriate for all occasions? Turns out, the type of protection from different lenses might be best for different activities. The Canadian Standards association complies with guidelines known as ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards for sunglass protection.
  1. Cosmetic sunglasses: Block at least 70% UVB and up to 60% UVA. They provide only mild UV protection and aren't usually recommended for daylight driving. They're perfect for an after-work patio though.
  2. General-purpose sunglasses: Block 95%-99% UVB and 60%-92% UVA. Good for driving, and are recommended whenever sunlight is harsh enough to make you squint. Going out for lunch with the gang? Planned an afternoon in the sun? This is the sort of protection you'll need.
  3. Special-purpose sunglasses: Block at least 99% UVB and up to 98.5% UVA. Suitable for extended periods of sun exposure - not recommended for driving. Since these lenses also block up to 97% of visible light, they are very dark. They'd be great for outdoor sports, a day at the beach or on the water.
AH HA! So THAT'S why you should have different pairs for different occasions. To help you decide, here are my favourite top trends this season.
Gucci Web Frames. Oversized rounded square frames are perennially chic and ideal for 9 -5.
Dolce & Gabbana two-tone frames. Cat's Eye are the next big retro trend. Watch and see!
Karen Walker Eyewear Helter Skelter frames. An ideal combination of sporty and urbane. A little 'Wayfarer' and a little 'John Lennon', very unisex.

Super People frames. The classic Wayfarer with a twist. Sporty and sophisticated, for men and women.
Carrera City Folding frames. This Aviator Visor folds up! Perfect for busy days and travel.

All photos courtesy of Polyvore.