It turns out the difference between a $US40 pair of sunglasses and a $US400 pair of sunglasses isn't much and might be as little as the shiny designer logo stamped on the side. Save money without sacrifice by grabbing some cheap shades.
How can we so confidently recommend that a cheap pair of sunglasses is just as good as a super-premium luxury pair? It turns out that nearly all the luxury and mid-level off-brand sunglasses in the world are produced by a single company. The Wall Street Journal highlights, in their guide to the world of sunglasses manufacturing and buying, who is behind all these shades.
Most sunglasses are made by the same company. Do you prefer the "quality" of Ray-Ban to Oakley? Do you think Bulgari is better than Dolce & Gabbana, or Salvatore Ferragamo is better than Prada? Wake up. They're all made by one company, Italian manufacturer Luxottica–one of the biggest consumer companies that consumers have never heard of. Luxottica also makes sunglasses branded Burberry, Chanel, Polo Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith, Stella McCartney, Tiffany, Versace, Vogue, Persol, Miu Miu, Tory Burch and Donna Karan.
So where does that leave you, the consumer, in a sea of variably priced sunglasses? The opthamologist and eye surgeon they interviewed weigh in:
"A significant chunk of what you pay for isn't the quality of the lenses, it's the brand," adds Dr. Reza Dana, director of the cornea and refractive surgery service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. He notes that making lenses that offer protection against harmful ultra-violet rays "isn't very expensive technology." And while spending more may get you better quality frames, here, too, there are laws of diminishing returns.
For about $US40, says Dr. Duker, you can get a pair that offers 100% protection against ultra-violet rays. If you spend maybe $US70 you should be able to get a pair with decent quality polarizing lenses that cut out glare. Beyond that, the medical benefits tail off pretty fast.
We don't know about you but we're totally comfortable paying 500-1000 per cent less than designer prices while still getting 100 per cent of the eye protection. Check out the full article for more information and if you have your own tips, tricks or insider information for buying sunglasses, let's hear about it in the comments.
Are Designer Sunglasses Worth the Price? [The Wall Street Journal]