Our fashion editor Krissy is an expert in shopping smart on the High Street. She knows which pieces are worth spending that bit more on, and in this fortnightly column, she’ll be making the case for investment staples. This week, she tackles chic sunglasses you’ll wear forever.
About a decade ago, I splashed out on a pair of designer sunglasses in duty-free. It was the most I’d ever spent on one thing, and I guarded them with my life the whole holiday – except for when I accidentally sat on them on a sun lounger and snapped them in half. I know. Cue the tiny violins.
I won’t go as far as to say the heartbreak completely put me off splashing out on designer pairs, but it has made me think twice. Since then, I’ve sought out sunnies from the High Street that hit my sweet spot: great quality, proper protection and a classic-with-a-twist shape that adds a modern, but not statement, touch to my outfits.
So, is it worth spending more on a pair of sunglasses?
I’m about to sound like a woman scorned, but bear with me: since the majority of sunnies are either metal or acetate, you’re ultimately paying for the brand name, so if you can look past that, then you can keep your price points low.
I love Le Specs: it has somewhat of a cult following and specialises in interesting but timeless shapes, with most styles between £50 and £80. I always get compliments on the pair I bought years ago and the glam shape always elevates my weekend looks.
What should I look for in a pair of sunglasses?
Yes, they’re a chic summer accessory, but let’s not forget the real point of sunnies: eye protection. The ‘CE’ mark on the inside arm of the frame means they meet the European Conformity standards for UV protection, so this is a must. Otherwise, make sure you have a dust cloth and case to keep your sunnies safe.
After that, it’s all about the aesthetics. You want a pair that sits nicely on your face and aren’t so heavy that they’ll give you a headache after a long walk. Your eyelashes shouldn’t scrape the lens, and the right pair should lift your features. I personally like when I can see either all of my eyebrows, or nothing at all, as I find it’s most flattering.
What shapes should I try first?
I always find chunky styles, or at the other end of the scale, very slim frames look the most expensive, so I’d recommend starting there.
A classic cat-eye is chic for everyday, and there’s a style to suit all face shapes so be sure to try lots of pairs to find the right fit. I love a great pair of oversized square frames: they give me off-duty celeb vibes and do the best job at maximum protection.
If you’re after something more delicate, you can’t beat gold metal or aviators or square frames, which might be a better option if you have petite features so as not to swamp your face.
Any sunglasses shopping tips?
I’d recommend trying yours on before you buy if you can. The look and feel of sunglasses completely depends on your face shape, features and hairstyle, so go shopping with your hair in a style typical to what you wear everyday.
Investment Shopper’s top six sunglasses to shop now
The classic pair
This chunky modern version of the cat-eye is super chic, and makes this pair look way more expensive than they are. The upturned lens suits my heart-shaped face well, too.
The fashion-forward pair
A slim frame that means your brows can be seen is very on-trend, as is an optic white frame. The classic, minimal shape grounds this pair and stops them feeling wacky.
The everyday pair
The special occasion pair
If you’re heading to a wedding or garden party, a lighter metal style is the way to go. These are a bit like jewellery for the face.
The holiday pair
Just like how your holiday wardrobe is more colourful than your everyday looks, your sunnies should be too. This forest green pair are super chic, and you’ll be the coolest by the pool in these CHRISTIANAHJONES shades (a brand also loved by Beyoncé and Billie Eilish).