Shades are cool. They’ve been the epitome of cool since they were popularized by Hollywood stars back in the 1920s. But like any kind of fashion accessory, some styles are in while others are definitely out. And it would really be the definition of uncool to be wearing sunglasses that don’t fit your look.
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So, what’s trending now? Below are the top 20 brands this year with some details on the crop of styles that are making its mark in the first half of 21st century.
Ray-Ban is quite possibly the most iconic of all sunglasses. The brand started out as eyewear that should help US Air Force pilots keep the glare of the sun out of their eyes which is where the classic Aviator shape came from – a style that has remained timelessly cool over the years. The Wayfarer style was popularized by Hollywood, particularly screen legends James Dean and Audrey Hepburn in the 50’s and 60’s. It’s another style that is still considered fashionable today. Though Ray-Ban is more popularly known due to those two styles that we mentioned, the brand also offers other designs that blend both style, quality, and durability. Anyone who has a Ray-Ban can expect to enjoy comfortable, stylish frames that can be worn anywhere, anytime.
Based in Lake Forest, California, Oakley is a popular brand of sports gear and lifestyle accessories. Quite probably their most popular product is their line of sunglasses. While being endorsed by most, if not all, of the elite athletes are enough to make their sunglasses a crowd favorite, the main reason why people love to buy Oakley is their ability to integrate performance and style. They not only look cool, they have vital function as well. Some have lenses that repel sweat and water while others have lenses that are almost shatter-proof. With the Oakley brand, customers are sure to receive both form and function.
3. Maui Jim
A manufacturer based in the US, this brand is highly inspired by beaches of Maui where it was first launched. While their sunglasses are perfect for surfing the waves, they don’t appeal to the extreme sports crowd like Oakley. Maui Jim offers style that’s a combination of rugged and classic – you can wear them as you play volleyball on the beach or something a bit more extreme. Some of the styles that Maui Jim carries include Frameless (Makaha) and Wayfarer (Stingray).
Persol is one of the world’s oldest eyewear companies, having launched itself back in 1917. The sunglasses are made in Italy and feature the effortless cool that have made them a favorite among celebrities such as Steve McQueen, Tom Cruise, Ryan Gosling, and Patrick Dempsey. The brand is so iconic that it has even been featured in several James Bond films (worn by Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig). If you want something classic or vintage, then Persol is the brand for you. You’ll find a lot of sunglasses with the Wayfarer, Aviator, and Club style frames.
Prada is another fashion house that produces a line of upscale clothes, leather goods, shoes, eyewear, and perfumes. Their line of sunglasses range from sophisticated designs that are both colorful and eccentric to vintage sunglasses with subtle innovations. The styles they offer include cat eye, butterfly, and oval frames.
Gucci is another luxury brand that produces fashion items such as handbags, shoes, and eyewear. Their line of sunglasses are influenced by their clothing line with frames that are inspired by the classics such as the aviator, cat eye, and square style. All of their sunglasses have the brand’s icon included in the design.
Versace is another Italian brand that is known for its luxurious designs that appeal to people who have a distinctive personal style. They redefine timeless classics to incorporate fashion forward design, a combination of elegance and innovation. Their line of sunglasses include the popular Aviator classic to the retro vintage Cat Eye, Square, and Round frames.
8. Tom Ford
Sexy, extravagant, daring, and elegant – four words that aptly describe the Tom Ford eyewear collection. There’s no way you won’t look cool with glasses that are a favorite of James Bond. Classic with a bit of modern chic – the stellar style of the Tom Ford brand, whether you’re wearing aviators, cat eye frames, or wrap.
9. Emporio Armani
Armani is a designer label that combines fashion-forward design with simple sophistication. Their sub label, Emporio Armani, offers sunglasses that are fit for the younger market (or those who want to stay young). The men’s line is aimed at those who have an active lifestyle – frames that are stylish but also comfortable and practical (aviator, wrap, and shield frames). The women’s line are more classically-inspired with a uniquely modern twist (cat eye, butterfly, and round).
10. Dolce & Gabbana
Timeless yet trendy designs are the hallmarks of any Dolce & Gabbana product including their eyewear. Aside from their eye-catching logo, D&G glasses are easily recognized due to their glamourous, ‘high class’ designs – daring, statement pieces that reflect their definition of luxury.
This luxury brand offers sunglasses that are a combination of comfort and elegance. Burberry often identifies with the words ‘handcrafted luxury’. If you like the iconic British style, then you can choose from one of Burberry’s various styles, from aviator to cat eye.
12. Oliver Peoples
Unique, mysterious, subtle, and retro are just some of the reasons why the Oliver Peoples eyewear collection. This American luxury eyewear brand offers designs that have a touch of elegance along with a hint of nostalgia – the perfect combination for those who want to stay fashionable but not a slave to trends.
Bvlgari is a brand that is luxurious but never ostentatious, brilliant but never gaudy. Their eyewear collection exudes pure class but with a daring edge. Striking and sensational, their designs are definitely not for the meek and mild. Whether it’s a classic aviator or a bejewelled cat eye, the wearer always makes a statement of beauty and excellence.
14. Christian Dior
This legendary brand produces French luxury goods that are mostly targeted towards women. Their eyewear collection makes use of geometric lines and unique colors to create a sophisticated design that is guaranteed to show off your distinctive personality. The brand’s designs are often considered fashion revolutions, especially their newest release in 2015 – the So Real sunglasses that every celebrity was wearing.
We all know Fendi – a multinational luxury brand that offers a variety of products including fur, fragrance, shoes, bags, and eyewear. This Italian fashion house offers sunglasses in a variety of styles, a lot of which are cat eye, aviator, and wayfarer. For fans of Fendi, the glasses not only offer them top quality and fashionable design, they also give off a luxurious or high profile feel to the wearer.
This luxury high-end brand is well-known for creating simple, timeless pieces that are comfortable yet stylish and elegant. Nothing too daring or ostentatious can be found in this brand. Despite its adherence to simplicity, Chanel always delivers products that have a cutting edge to them. Charm and chic, classic mixed with contemporary – that’s Chanel.
17. Roberto Cavalli
Designed for the daring woman, Roberto Cavalli eyewear is a combination of boldness and ingenuity. Exotic prints and striking colors as well as classic styles with a touch of the dramatic are hallmarks of this brand. Aviator, round, cat eye, geometric, or oversized frames – any style is made distinct due to its design, a definite plus for any woman who wants to catch everyone’s eye.
High performance combined with comfort and style – the Bollé eyewear collection is perfect for those who have an active lifestyle. Whether you need it for general recreation or a specific sports, this French brand can deliver. A superb blend of fit, fashion, and function featured in a variety of frames – aviator, geometric, wayfarer, wrap, shield, and even cat eye.
19. Tiffany & Co
A brand that signifies sophistication, status, and style. Their designs are diverse yet timeless, luxurious but not opulent, and well-executed. Fans of this top-end brand will be happy to note that their eyewear collection does not disappoint.
When it comes to polarized lens technology, no brand does it better than Revo. The designs are not chic, charming, elegant, or sophisticated. Instead, you get sleek, modern, comfortable, and fit; some are even rugged. While most of the models are perfect for the outdoors man (or woman), there are several that can easily be worn for everyday wear. And though it isn’t for the glamorous type, these shades still have a lot of style.
While these are the most popular brands today, what’s trending is a different animal altogether. If you can’t afford the prices offered by these brands, you can still go out in style if you know what’s hot. This 2016, be on the lookout for chunky or over sized frames, cat eye frames, round frames, clear (transparent) frames, mirrored lenses, and the new aviator (modified bridge + exaggerated frame).