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The market for designer sunglasses is a massive one. Iconic shades have appeared in Hollywood features for decades and have found favor with celebrities and the fashion forward alike. Those who are serious about sunglasses aren’t content to pick up a dollar store pair, however. Favorite brands in the industry cost as much as $500 and are coveted by millions.
It’s no surprise that the world’s favorite brands have been at the top of the list for years. Ray Ban, Oakley, Prada, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana are known for their quality, staying power, and style. They have been, are now, and probably will remain the top brands in fashionable eyewear for years to come.
Perched at the top of the list, Ray Ban has long been known for its Wayfarer design which got a update in 2001. The "New Wayfarer” currently tops the list for both men and women, featuring thick, square rims and black lenses. The ladies’ rims have slightly rounded edges, softening the sharp design, but still hearken back to the original Wayfarer look of the 1960s and early 1970s. Beyoncė, Rihanna, Robert Pattinson, and Chris Brown have all stepped out in Ray Bans, solidifying the classic brand as a favorite in the public eye.
Oakley is also a long-standing mainstay, mostly known for its open edge, sleek designs. Celebrities like T-Pain, Kanye West, Britney Spears, and Miley Cyrus are all known fans and wearers of the brand. Most popular for men are the Polarized Jupiter Carbon shades, which are dark, simple, and most easily recognized by their sharp and defined edges. Lady Oakley wearers, on the other hand, seem to favor the Twentysix.2 which is more reminiscent of aviator style glasses, featuring sleek, rounded edges.
Unlike Ray Ban and Oakley, the rest of the top three are mostly known for their clothing. Still, sunglasses are major components of their premium accessory lines. Prada, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana remain symbols of status and are favorites among sunglass enthusiasts and the fashion elite.
Usually featuring thick, chunky frames and soft, rounded edges, Prada sunglasses have had their share of the spotlight on famous faces like those belonging to Paris Hilton, Kat Von D, Vin Diesel, and Martin Laurence. The PRADA SPS01L is the designer’s most popular men’s style, loved for its boxy frame, slightly rounded edges, and simple black hue. The Baroque holds the top spot for women and is, in many ways, diametrically opposed to the simple, boxy SPS01L. Instead, the Baroque is known for its thick rims, round lenses, and scrolling, sculpted, intricate legs.
Gucci eyewear is appreciated for its thinner profile, often fulfilled through aviator-inspired styles. The men’s Havana features thin, full, dark brown rims and squared, slightly pointed frames that provide an avant garde look. It’s no surprise that Brad Pitt and James Franco, darlings of cinema, have been known to sport this classic look. Kim Kardashian and Anne Hathaway, among other Gucci customers, favor the ladies’ Bamboo Aviator, a luxe take on the classic aviator style. Gold metal and a bamboo brow bar frame light brown, slightly mirrored lenses, providing a fresh take on an old standby.
Taking the fifth spot on the list of the world’s favorite sunglass designers is Dolce & Gabbana, whose logo features prominently in all of its eyewear designs. Frames tend to have thick rims, dark tones, and large lenses that are known for protecting celebrity wearers like Angelina Jolie, Katherine Heigl, Johnny Depp, and Nelly from recognition. The designer’s DG4196 has graced the faces of many fashion-conscious gentlemen who appreciate its aviator design, moderately thick frame, noticeable brow bar, and dark, polarized lenses. Female fans of the line seem to gravitate toward higher profile styles, instead favoring the DD8067 with its black on black, square frame.
There are as many designers and styles in the world of fashionable eyewear as there are tastes and preferences. Trends may be cyclical, but the popularity of high-quality designers like Ray Ban, Oakley, Prada, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana seems to be a constant. There is little doubt that designer shades will hold their spots as status symbols and objects of envy. The real question is -- which pair best suits you?
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Have you ever wondered what are polarized sunglass lenses? Sure, all sunglasses are protective eyewear designed to prevent the harsh sunlight from damaging and discomforting your eyes, but what's the difference between polarized and non-polarized (other than the price)?
Sunglass culture is a complex and widespread one. In the U.S. alone, nearly 96 million pairs of sunglasses were sold in 2012. For years, sunglasses have been serving the dual purposes of eye protection and fashion forwardness, beginning with famed emperor Nero - who liked watching gladiators fight through polished gems in order to enjoy the color and image distortion. Many new developments have been made since then, especially when polarized lenses were introduced for World War II, and Ray-Bans hit the shelves in 1953, selling 10 million units since 1998.
We all know how frustrating it can be to lose our designer sunglasses or shades
right at the moment when we're running out the door and need them.
That's why we all have a 'spare pair' in the car right?!