Seventy percent of the world’s sunglasses are made by the same company—a brand called Luxottica that is responsible for shades from Ray Ban, LenCrafters, Marc Jacobs, Oliver Peoples, Tiffany, Persol, DKNY, Oakley and others. So, splurging on a pair of sunnies is complicated. Why spend hundreds of dollars for a pair of sunglasses that the same exact company also makes and sells for under $100?
The key to purchasing a valuable pair is finding unique, high-quality shades from a brand you want to invest in. The following sunglasses are classic, historic, or artistic in a way no other brand could replicate, and they have high-quality features that justify the price. Plus, many of these brands fall in the 30 percent that isn’t owned by that sunglass monopoly.
1. Karen Walker Super Duper Strength Sunglasses, $280
For a timeless yet still on-trend look, invest in these round sunglasses by Karen Walker. With strong glare reduction and UV protection, you’ll be happy to have them on super sunny days. And, if “Super Duper Strength” means they won’t break when you sit on them, well, that’s just an added bonus.
2. Etnia Barcelona Basquiat 01, $305
If you’re interested in showcasing a real piece of art on your face, you can do that with Etnia Barcelona’s Jeal-Michiel Basquiat collection inspired by the graffiti artist and painter. We’re big fans of the 01 In This Case, which feature red and blue designs on the stems. The brand also frequently partners with charitable global organizations, making it even more of a company worth investing in.
3. Oliver Goldsmith Grace, $400
Actresses like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly basically invented the chic shaded look, and you can channel it with the Grace sunnies by Oliver Goldsmith. Founded in 1926, London’s Oliver Goldsmith became a household name in the 1950s, thanks to customers like Kelly, Hepburn and, much later, Princess Diana. The company now has a line using archival frames, which includes the Grace. We’re not sure how sunglasses could get more valuable.
4. Ray-Ban Aviator Carbon Fibre, $240
As time has proven, aviators will never go out of style, and either will Ray-Ban, which is why you should invest in a pair of their classic aviators. The sturdy shades will last a lifetime—in both style and quality. Splurge on the Carbon Fibre aviators, which are polarized, lightweight and resilient.
5. Prada Blue Gradient Cat Eye, $355
You can’t get more classic when it comes to sunnies than Prada. If you’re looking for a trusted brand with a dash of style, opt for these angular cateyes with 100 percent UV protection. Every girl should have a pair of colored lenses in her collection, and these light blue ones fit the bill.