Yeah or Nay: Sunglasses the Last Affordable Luxury?

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As designer handbags and shoes push well pass the $1000 mark, are sunglasses the last bastion of hope for fashionistas on a budget?

Are Sunglasses the Last Affordable Luxe?

From the International Herald Tribune:

Sunglasses are the last bastion of hope for those who want to bask in the luxury-label sunshine but can’t afford to keep up with the skyrocketing prices for designer handbags and clothing. While shoes, makeup, and perfume might still be within reach for most, they will never have the instant impact – even from a distance – of a pair of logo-labeled shades.

Yea or Nay: Are Sunglasses the Last Affordable Luxury?

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  1. christal says

    I don’t know if I would go that far as to say they are the last affordable thing.  But they are a staple in my daily wear.  As a stay at home mom and event planner, I spend the majority of my day in the car so they are a must for me.  They can get pretty expensive especially if you leave them in all types of places like I do.

  2. Lana says

    I think style is so much more important than labels. Why would I spend $300 on a pair of designer glasses when I could use that money to solidify my financial future? (Remember Being Broke Ain’t Cute?)

    Just the other week, I wanted a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers, seen recently on Nicole Richie, Drew Barrymore, less recently on the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Tom Cruise in Risky Business – they’re classics. And at $98 a pair, they’re on the cheap end of designer glasses. But I found a perfect knock-off pair at Target for $13, saved myself $85, and still achieved the look.

    The logo on the shades is not nearly as important as the look they convey. Lucky us, the whole world knows it and provides inexpensive alternatives.

  3. says

    I would agree they are one of the last affordable luxuries…my favorite example of this would be Marc by Marc Jacobs (Marc Jacobs is def. one of my favorite brands). I am happy to say you can still find these sunglasses for around 85$-90$ at Lord & Taylor (possibly other dept. stores as well)…

  4. Karen says

    They used to be, now a cheap pair of sunnies can rival a designer pair in terms of style and quality.  As I am always scratching or loosing my sunglasses I will not pay designer prices, for in reality what is a piece of plastic.

  5. says

    I think sunglasses absolutely can be luxe, and even if you don’t think they are, if they make you feel and look good, then they are worth their weight in gold.

    Some are affordable, select styles of Gucci and other eyewear are $50-100 at Amazon, a big discount.

    If you are not into sunglasses, you can always get more affordable versions of handbags from or get your clothing fix much cheaper at There are ways around paying thousands of dollars for anything.

  6. says

    Saks outlets have all the major designer sunglasses for $70.  Obviously it’s too much for a pair of sunglasses but it’s a lot cheaper than a handbag by any of the designers they sell.

  7. says

    I’m honestly not impressed by designer sunshades, but that’s mostly because I wear prescription sunglasses for the function, not the style. I think my eyes thank me on this note!

    But no, designer sunglasses to me don’t really say too much, and I don’t think they’re the absolute last luxury. You always have designer inspired jewelry! It might not scream your designer’s name for a fifty mile radius around you, but it’s still nice to have on something pretty that means something to you.

  8. DJW says

    I have a round face so only certain sunglasses look good on my face. When I find some that I like I tend to buy them; however, living in NYC I am able to find cute, affordable sunglasses at street vendors or discount stores (Strawberry, TJ Maxx, etc.). I found some cute shades at the Kenneth Cole Outlet but sadly I lost them along with the other 3 that I bought 3/$20, which is the reason I don’t pay a lot for them!

  9. Emily says

    Well, designer shades are not really all that affordable.  I just bought a beautiful pair of Chanel sunglasses for $532.00.  Not too affordable, but, they are absolutely beautiful.  As I always say, you pay for what you get.  I don’t mind spending my money on something that I know will last and will hold up over time and not break in a month like the “fakies” do.

  10. says

    Sorry, but the “real deal” designer shades are NOT affordable.  They are ridiculously overpriced when you can get a nearly identical pair, sans designer label, for a lot less.  In this case, it’s a Nay to the real things and a Yea to the knock-offs.

  11. Lori says

    My main criteria for sunglass purchasing is function, more than price.  I want/need sunglasses that actually provide sun protection, but I do want style as well. 

    I favor Ralph Lauren’s sunglasses and I try to hit the sales.  Most of my sunglass purchases have been from when they’ve been on sale.

    Try them on in the stores first, find a style you like, then order from the website.

  12. says

    ehi, the difference in price is made by the lenses and not only by the label. designer sunglasses have very good lenses, the others don’t. at winter sales I bought a very nice pair of sunglasses at Zara, I paid them 4 euros. I thought they were good until I found a very old pair of rayban in my cupboard. they are at least 15 years old, but the lenses are by far better!
    imitations are made of plastic, labelled sunglasses have glass lenses. just try and you’ll see (literally) the difference :)
    If I need a pair of sunglasses now I go to outlets for a very good but affordable pair. Once I bought a pair for just 5 euros. Not beautiful, but I use them when I go sailing and if I destroy them I will not feel guilty and the lenses are wonderful!
    (sorry for my mistakes, I am not English mothertongue)

  13. Marcie says

    I’m thrilled to say I have a pair just like the ones in the picture, bought for $14.99 at Longs.

    I’m also thrilled that when I told my husband “They make me feel like an old-glamour movie star,” he said, “Wow. I was thinking they make you look younger, like you’re 22 or something.” (I’m 35!)

  14. cathy says

    I love inexpensive sunglasses from Forever 21 and Target, so they get a yay from me for style and price, but they are often very tight and end up giving me a headache. Does anyone else have this problem? I found some really comfortable sunglasses at my optometrist’s office, but they were Gucci and about $250. Ouch.

  15. Tina says

    Here’s the thing, you’ve got to shop smart.  My best friend spent over 400 on her D&G shades but my sister spent 56 on her Carolina Herrara’s.  Why?  My friend got hers at Sunglass hut while my sister got her’s at the Neiman Marcus outlet at Woodbury Commons..I’m splurge on those, but won’t pay full price for designer.

  16. says

    I love a great pair of sunglasses but I’ve never spent more than $30 on a pair of sunglasses. I scratch or lose just about every pair I buy so I can’t justify paying a lot of money for them. I’ll just stick to buying moderately expensive shoes and handbags! LOL

  17. juddie says

    hi, this is judy from HK, i have read yr blog and discovered there are tons of useful information for affordable fashion, just want to know if u have any suggestions for the coming fall winter style in an affordable way?

  18. bethqueen says

    I have spent much of my summer in search of the perfect pair of sunglasses-yet to be satisfied.  I do believe the right shades are an excellent fashion accessory.

  19. Linda says

    Well, I don’t exactly agree. I’ve found some great and original designer things (bags, jeans, dresses, etc) for much less (up to a 100$, but never more) in various cheaper stores. And the good thing is there’s usually only one or two in stock, so I’ve never, ever seen anyone wear my clothes, yet I get compliment all the time. Plus, glasses break and get lost very easily, so if I was to buy something luxurious, it wouldn’t be that for sure. For glasses, I’d just go for fakes or just plain brands that look good on me, no need to waste money on something this fragile.

  20. Mojo says

    Yea. I like a lot of the designer sunglasses. I got a pair of Gucci ones for a very good price at an Off Saks outlet. I like them quite a bit and have had them for over a year now. I just always keep them in the case they came with when I am not wearing them so they won’t get ruined. I don’t think I’d pay the original full price for them though :)

  21. jj says

    Actually, I think regular glasses frames are the last affordable luxury.  Yes, they’re expensive, but designer frames are not all that much more expensive than no-name frames and often much better quality.  Plus, they’re often partially covered if you have vision insurance and you can pay for them with pre-tax HSA dollars. 

    And if you’re super-blind like me, the cost of the frames is really a fraction of the cost of lenses.  πŸ˜€

    My glasses may be the only thing I own that are genuine Prada, but the frames were cheaper than a Prada wallet, much less a Prada handbag.

  22. Chrissy says

    I just went to Nordstrom’s outlet and snagged an awesome pair of Dior sunglasses for only $60 bucks when they were orginally $235! Surprisingly that was cheaper than my Coach sunglasses I bought off of Amazon for $150.  I think you can obtain designer stuff if you shop the right outlets and second hand stores.

  23. Tina says

    Ladies, those of you who are upset about needing presciption sunglasses…check out Costco for your glasses…it might not come as part of a vision presciption plan but I have seen Gucci, Prada and other designer frames there that can be made into super cute sunglasses.  Plus these frames are always cheaper than a normal optometrist.

  24. lulu says

    Chrissy’s right, you gotta search and shop at the right outlets. Just be at the right place at the right time and you’ll find treasures and won’t need to pay full price. My best sunglasses are a pair of super unique and sexy Cerruti 1881 that I got for 50 bucks (the rest were on sale at 80$, but the pair I found was marked incorrectly :P). Love them, seriously. Great quality and they look super expensive.

  25. Kim says

    I got 2 pairs of Chanel sunglasses from eBay ($100=regular $325 and $125=regular $450) and they were DEFINITELY worth the money.  I have had them both for almost a year and they still look like I just bought them.  When I used to buy the fakes, I always had a headache because they were tight and they broke within 2 months or less so I was constantly replacing them.  I admit, I will not pay full price for them, but you can find the deals if you are patient and know where to look πŸ˜‰

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