Shades of Snobbery: Just Say 'Yes!' to Shoestring Sunglasses

Gucci, Dior, etc. etc. etc. In the big city, big brand names bobbing above one's ears are ubiquitous. And many label-hungry ladies would not be caught dead out in public wearing no-name sunglasses. Ridiculous, I say! Don't get suckered in by such sun-shade snobbery. Because you know what? I am constantly getting compliments on my sunglasses and they cost me around $3 - $4 ea. at most. Want to know my secret? Would you believe Dollar General? Believe it.

First off, I am a major klutz & sunglasses break easily. I'm not about to spend a ton on something that will very likely get squashed in my tote (my mainstay is a LeSportsac Ziptop Shopper in black...more on that later)  by a heavy library book (regular readers will know I am all about libraries). The absolute most I will pay for a pair is $12.99 + tax, and even that is an emergency purchase only. I have super light, super sensitive peepers so being caught without a pair on hand is near-disaster & at times I have been forced to fork over the bucks.

But anyway, back to Dollar General: a huge component in staying stylish on a shoestring is organization. Stock up on must-haves so you're always good to go. I learned this rule from the sunglass maven herself: Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. Several years ago I read in a biography of Ms. O that in her New York apartment she kept a big bowl of sunglasses by her front door, ready to grab on her way out. This could be totally bogus, of course, for it does sound a little bit like something that would be made up or misreported. But apocryphal or not, it is a great idea: having a stockpile of shades in a fixed location. Shortly thereafter, I found myself in the Dollar General of my small hometown--I was visiting family at the time. The store had racks & racks of sunglasses and while some were stinkers, most were fab. Many of them had the name "Designer Doubles" on them but I think that is just a description rather than a brand name; I've found no such company online--that is how X-brand these are! But they are great and for $20 - $35 I can nab on average 8 - 12 pairs. I don't live near a Dollar General, but whenever I go home, I stock up. Some (despite my klutzy ways) last me years!

A couple rules:
  • Always buy primarily the classics, like the pair Jackie is sporting in the above pic. I would say 2/3  of your haul should be your basic black and dark tortoise shell frames.
  • Then leave 1/3 of your purchase to styles of the season: funky-colored frames, over-sized aviators, etc.

And there you have it, folks. While my shopping secret may make some fashionistas exclaim "Quelle Horreur!" I can't stress this point enough: I live in a city that is a virtual sea of rich women sporting top-brand eye wear, and yet I am constantly getting compliments on my no-name specs. Ironic, no?

And Psst! Jackie may be fab, but as I get older, I admire more and more the style of her kooky cousin Edie Beale. Because, despite her reputation as a trend-setter in the States, Jackie was not one to take fashion risks and by and large took cues from European designers & styles. Edie on the other hand, love it or hate it, created & defined fashion for herself...and that's what it's all about!


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