When do glare reduction and blue light blocking shade into sheer posing? When does iconic become naff and when does Gucci get sad? Are Oakley and Ray-Ban outre? Are Michael Kors cliched? Is matte black trying too hard?
And when does understated morph into horribly self-conscious?
Once, cachet was conferred by letters after your name. Now it’s letters over your eyes or your temples. Letters like BVGARI, GUCCI, PRADA or LVT/UVA/UVB/UVD.
It’s midwinter so sunglasses and the people who know about angular chic, indulge in chrominance and take their sunglasses as seriously as their snowboarding goggles are picking out their must-have go-to -shades and sunnies. Whether that’s the latest Dudama fishing glasses, shatterproof Torege Clock Stopper cycling specs, or high-contrast, green-reading Jordan Speith lookie-like Under Armour PRIZMs, Emilio Pucci’s, bought-in-Harrods Valentino pilots, rimless Maui Jim Ho’ Okipas, or the playful luxury of Fendi.
At this time of year, there are loud whispers about facial Cartiers. Familiar names like Ralph, Alain Milki, Armani, E.Gucewicz (mammoth tusk and Hockneyesque raw horns), Tiffany & Co are all in the air. Stealthy luxuries are seasonal buzzwords and the talk – as it is always is – is about lens curvature, face shapes, and bridge widths. And only partially about prescription needs.
What you see is always less of a priority than who sees you in what.
Everyone is talking about the new arrivals at Sunglass Hut which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary of the opening of optometrist Sanford L. Ziff’s kiosk in Miami’s Dadeland Mall.
The same questions are being asked. What are the most stylish glasses for eliminating scattered light while driving? Cellulose acetate, nylon, or polycarbonate? Is it cool to swear bestsellers? Who is in the vanguard of breaking trends? Are teardrop aviators still aspirational?
Will 2021 be the year of gunmetal or playbox colors? Of military-grade durability or surgical-grade titanium?
The eyewear-conscious, optically-literate, and ultra-vain are selecting their Miu Mius, half moons, high brows, oversized cat eyes, smokies, sling blades, tight-fit polarized Rheos floatable “Eddies”, and their everyday statement shields.
Everyone is after the right look. No one wants to send out the wrong message. Skiers trying to look like deep-sea marlin fishermen and anglers trying to look like hipster boarders ladies from the industrial north-east wanting to be mistaken for Californian water women.
Full sun, inshore or offshore, look out for Brain Dead’s post-Modern Primitive look, Bonus, Daytona Beach’s Costa Pescador, and Fishtail with its saltwater pledge. Reks is still unbreakable until they need replacing and GQueen still offers affordable and authentic designed-inspired classic vibes without making you look like you have a Yoko Ono or a James Joyce complex. But still not particularly like Robert Redford.
Says freelance eyewear designer Edward Gucewicz who is now based in the Scottish designers: “There are a few, possibly growing numbers of UK based eyewear makers. Some are garden shed-sized operations but growing fast. One company is HEMP eyewear in Edinburgh, Another small one is the Worshipful workshop on Hackney Rd, E2. There is also a factory in Clapton that is starting to make eyewear.”
So start looking out for British sunglasses. The makers are not called Oxymoron. One of the trendiest is called Taylor Morris.
Founded by Hugo Taylor and Charlie Morris after they were working together at Mayfair club China white and had had a night out at Ibiza’s Amnesia Club where they both lost their beloved shades. They admit to being OCD over sunglasses. Says Hugo: “We spend hours agonizing over hinges. We take a classic 1950s aesthetic and give it a reworking whilst maintaining British sensibilities.”
Adds Morris: “The George Arthur is very British with a slender style frame and very subtle detailing. It comes in cool masculine colors like olive green, dark brown, and classic tortoiseshell.”
Their H.F.S. model (£240) was made in collaboration with the makers of Morgan cars. Vida was inspired by a trip to Costa Rica. You can also wear your own postcode if you live in south London with their SW range which takes everywhere from SW11 (Battersea) m SW0 (Brixton) and SW16 (Streatham and Tooting), Bassett and Aldridge are named after sought after and impressive addresses in Notting Hill.
Start comparing postcodes, designer sunglasses, microfiber leashes, lanyards, and limited lifetime warranty cleansing clothes. Join the hyper-allergenic, scratch, smudge, and impact-resistant and anti-reflective generation. And mirror up.