Are you old enough to remember when sunglasses couldn’t be purchased online or at an expensive boutique? Those were the days. If you needed a new pair shades, you went down to the department store, the pharmacy, or the gas station. You spent about 10 minutes looking at the display before making your choice. That was it.
Today it is a whole new ball game. On the one hand you have expensive brands from Italy’s Luxottica. On the other hand are more affordable, but still high quality, brands from America’s Olympic Eyewear. You can even still buy the cheap drugstore sunglasses that cost less than a couple of designer lattes.
So how do you decide when there are literally hundreds of brands to choose from? You follow a simple five-step process as outlined below. It is not foolproof, but it will facilitate at least an informed decision.
Step #1: Establish a Budget
Establishing a budget for your new sunglasses may seem a little extreme, but don’t forget that there are some brands out there that cost hundreds of dollars. If you have any plans to spend half a week’s pay – or more – on a brand-new pair of shades, you should at least be able to afford it.
Budgets are something that make us uncomfortable. Why? Because they feel restricting. Yet a budget for new sunglasses will automatically rule out those sunglasses that are priced too high or too low. It will narrow your choices quickly.
Step #2: Insist on UV Protection
There is no point buying sunglasses if they don’t protect your eyes against UV rays. And by the way, UV protection has nothing to do with the color of the lenses. It is built-in to lenses of all colors. You cannot even see it.
The UV rating you see on a pair of sunglasses tells you what wavelengths of ultraviolet light are blocked. The highest possible rating is 400. Insist on that. As long as you are spending the money, you might just as well maximize eye protection.
Step #3: Look for Polarized Lenses
Polarized lenses aren’t an absolute necessity, but they sure are helpful. Looking for sunglasses that offer both 100% UV protection and polarization will narrow down your choices further without drastically increasing the price point. Polarization is so common these days that it is considered a design default for sunglasses.
Step #4: Pay Attention to Fit
A properly fitting pair of sunglasses will stay in place without pinching your nose or your templates. If you are confused as to how you should test fit when you’re buying online, you just explained to yourself why buying sunglasses online has its pitfalls. You never know what you are getting if you cannot actually put them on your face.
Another thing to remember is that if sunglasses feel even slightly uncomfortable when you first put them on, they are likely to be even more uncomfortable after you buy them. It’s not like you can break them in like a good pair of shoes. Uncomfortable sunglasses will always be uncomfortable.
Step #5: Pay Attention to Your Vision
Finally, pay attention to how well you can actually see with a given pair of sunglasses on your face. Lenses aren’t supposed to interfere with your vision, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. Not being able to see clearly is reason to not buy a particular pair.
With so many different brands and styles, there is a new pair of sunglasses right for just about everyone. Sometimes you just have to shop around a bit to find them. If you’re patient, you’ll get there.