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Sunglasses 101: Simple Guidelines for Buying Shades

Jul 30, 2008
Whether your budget is better suited for Wal-Mart or Prada sunglasses, there are a couple things you should know about buying a pair of shades before you walk into a store.

Safety
Believe it or not, sunglasses were originally designed to protect your eyes rather than to promote a certain image. As their name implies, the foe that sunglasses were built to combat is the sun itself. After all, even though the sun can keep you warm, elevate your emotional mood, and help your body produce vitamin D, it can also create chemical reactions in your eye that damage the optical tissue and destroy your vision. To protect your eyes against harmful UV rays and the visible blue light which is reflected off of snow and water, look for sunglasses with high levels of UV protection. Polarized lenses can also increase your eye protection. Every pair of sunglasses should be labeled to indicate the level of protection they provide for consumers.

Build
Build includes everything from the materials used to the weight and design of the sunglasses. For the most part, sunglasses are made with plastic or glass lenses. The plastic lenses are actually stronger and lighter than glass, but more they are more prone to scratching as well. That's why many people opt to buy scratch-resistant models.

Style
Even though style has very little to do with the usefulness of a pair of sunglasses, it tends to be an important factor for many buyers. If you want a few simple rules for picking out a style, my advice would be to pay attention to your face shape and your wardrobe.

In general, consumers want to buy a lens shape that contrasts with their face shape. For example, if you have a round face, look for square lenses, if your face is tall, look for shorter styles. If you coordinate the design to match your face, it accentuates your features to the point that everything looks round, square, squat or tall.

Wardrobe is another important factor when you are concerned with style because most people have a certain color that they wear a lot. If your sunglasses don't go well with your wardrobe, you are less likely to use them as much as you hoped when you made the decision to buy them.

Of the three criteria discussed in this article, safety is definitely the most important. But the build and style can have a large impact on how much use you can get out of your investment. Personally, I always like to try on a pair of sunglasses before I buy them (to test how they feel and how they look) but online store can sometimes offer better deals because they have lower overhead costs. If you do buy a pair of sunglasses online, make sure they have a good return or exchange policy.
About the Author
At Sunglasses Only (http://www.sunglassesonly.com/store/prada-sunglasses/), consumers can find top designer brands like Spy, Coach, Gucci, and Prada sunglasses. Their website is very easy to navigate and they offer a full 60 day exchange policy. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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