The Low-Down On High WASP Sunglasses


The Sturdy Gal, sporting Ray-Bans, on a boat in the Stockholm Archipelago.

High WASPs do have their favorite sunglasses. Like IBM in the 1970s, no High WASP was ever fired for buying Ray-Ban. That’s me, up above. And yes, I did Photoshop out a wee bit of my frown lines. I have not yet achieved the nirvana of a vanity-free midlife. Full disclosure. But I digress.

My middle sister wears Ray-Bans. And I did a Twitter poll of my preppy friends. While not all High WASPs are preppies, and not all preppies are High WASPs, in the sunglasses arena we’re pretty well aligned. Ray-Bans win in a landslide. Tortoise shell a plus. From @AgathaMChristie*, we have the recommendation for these cat-eyes. $145. Sturdy Gal can go a little Artsy.
As @girltuesday and @Agatha also reminded me, we have been known to go for the occasional pair of Pradas, or Oliver Peoples. These are Peoples’ “Riley” glasses. Also just a little bit artsy. Love the transparent frames. $365. Or Persol. These are $255. I have been ogling that particular hinge detail for, oh, 25 years now? My youngest sister wears Persol. Oh, yes. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.
What if you want to sport a Grande Dame look, in what we affectionately call our ‘sunnies?’ It wouldn’t be Versace, or Dolce and Gabbana. Just because it wouldn’t.

Hopsy loves Lilly Pulitzers. If I’m going Grande Dame, I’m wearing the logo with impunity. You want a logo that stands for something. Lilly does that. $170. Why logos are OK for sunglasses and not for other things, I don’t know. You’d have to ask a real Grande Dame.
Muffy chimed in with Chanel. I did buy a Chanel pair once. During our recent turn-of-the-century madness and concurrent stock market heights. They were black, with that matelasse detailing on the side. I loved them. I lost them. Now I rather like these below, in white. Especially the expansion of the famous double C’s to include the stylized camellia. Brilliant. I have no idea what they cost. Chanel figures if I have to ask I don’t want them. Fine then. If you’re going Grande Dame, go all the way to Florida.
Chanel can also take us pretty much all the way to Artsy. Silver fronds of plant material are definitely not Sturdy.


Or, for even more Artsy, given that these are a special secret probation fashion insider brand, try Karen Walker. She doesn’t give us prices either.


Espoused, in a show of secret and only suspected edgy fashionable depths, by our favorite Preppy Princess. Preppy waters run deep. I’ve said so all long.

Lest you worry I’m advising we all return to giddy, profligate, turn of the century ways, be assured. The Sturdy Gal likes Target specials just fine. That’s what my mom wears. She’s from the generation before all this brand folderol.

But Foster Grants are even better. $20.

Because the Sturdy Gal loses her sunglasses all the time anyway.

Watch that video. No, you don’t have to buy high end for good eye protection. But, things being what they are, you might do it just because.

Ray-Ban here.
Oliver Peoples here.
Persol here.
Lilly Pulitzer here.
Chanel here.
Karen Walker here.
Target here.
Foster Grant here.
Thank you to the Hostess for asking about sunnies.
Thanks also to Worthington and Lauren for their contributions.
* The @thingie is how people show up in their Tweets. Their user name, if you will.

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51 Comments

  • 08/05/10
    10:31 am

    Reply

    Main Line Sportsman said...

    Aviators for me…never leave home w/o 'em

  • 08/05/10
    10:33 am

    Reply

    Looking Fab in your forties said...

    Love the white Chanel ones!

  • 08/05/10
    10:46 am

    Reply

    Staircase Witch said...

    My husband's grandmother was every inch the Grande Dame and never went anywhere without a pair of Chanel sunglasses much like the tortoiseshell ones shown above.

    I wear black fish finder sunglasses I got from Cabela's once. They make me look like a little like I could be Elwood "Blues" Delaney's long-lost sister, but they both fit neatly over my regular glasses and stay on my head in the face of strong winds while hiking, sailing, cycling, etc.

  • 08/05/10
    10:57 am

    Reply

    the gardeners cottage said...

    hi lpc,

    i have 3 pair of sunglasses. i never lose them. i have no idea why. but anyway my line-up include kate spade, found in the alley behind my spa. ray ban tortoishell wayfarers from maybe the early 90's and a pair of chanel's when i thought for a moment that i was rich.

    ~janet

  • 08/05/10
    11:16 am

    Reply

    Anna said...

    I keep losing or breaking my sunglasses, too… so I need two pairs: one cheap, good-looking pair for outdoor concerts, hiking, and other backpack traveling, and my lovely Persols for neater, more stylish living. Although I happen to probably have one of the few models that doesn't have that silver detail in the hinge.

  • 08/05/10
    11:36 am

    Reply

    JMW said...

    Love those Rileys – very cool.

  • 08/05/10
    11:37 am

    Reply

    Suburban Princess said...

    I would never spend more than 20.00 on sunglasses…I always say I can lose a cheap pair just as easily as an expensive pair! The little price also loves to wear my sunglasses as a belt (dont ask) so we go through them quickly!

  • 08/05/10
    11:40 am

    Reply

    SouthernProletariat said...

    I have the absentminded professor habit of sitting-on, losing, breaking and leaving my glasses. As such, it is the cheap sunglasses for me. I would rather splurge on good shoes, but to each thier own.

  • 08/05/10
    11:42 am

    Reply

    Deja Pseu said...

    OMG, that first pair of Ray Bans has my name all over them!

  • 08/05/10
    12:06 pm

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    Susan Tiner said...

    Ray Bans forever!

  • 08/05/10
    12:19 pm

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    Belle de Ville said...

    Sadly, sunglasses never last long for me so I buy mine at CVS or Target. Someday I hope to be Grand Dame enough to wear designer glasses.

  • 08/05/10
    12:36 pm

    Reply

    Caroline said...

    I have the same Ray Bans as you in your photo.

  • 08/05/10
    1:47 pm

    Reply

    Paula said...

    Lisa, thank you for the Archipelago together with you! I am stuck at the moment, regarding sunglasses since my sight gets worse each year, probably until I am 40. Until then I don't want to put expensive optical glasses in my Paul Smith-Collection of sunglasses. Yay! Paul Smith, he rules. 13 (!) years ago I picked my first Paul Smith pair, not sunglasses, everyday glasses. Years later I picked 2 designs in a store, not knowing what I was picking: Paul Smith. Both. they are handcrafted in JAPAN and they add the little thicker part at the back of your ear so it sits comfy. :)
    The salesassistent was very much in love with THIS detail. :))

  • 08/05/10
    3:27 pm

    Reply

    CDS said...

    OK..Ray Bans, yes… Persol, yes..Lily makes pretty ones…totally agree. :)

  • 08/05/10
    3:51 pm

    Reply

    EntertainingMom said...

    I had a pair of Persol sunglasses when I was in my early twenties. I think I spent a week's salary on them. And then I lost them. I think I am still not over that tragic event… I also had Oliver People's tortoise shell reading glasses. Small round and cute. Had them for 10 years and they just sort of crumbled in my hands. Got my money's worth there and I suppose it made up for the lost Persols!

  • 08/05/10
    3:56 pm

    Reply

    Barbara said...

    …"silver fronds of plant material are not sturdy"…love the prose. Classy array of sunglasses would any work with a prescription?
    You look great Ms. Privilege.
    BarbaraG

  • 08/05/10
    4:04 pm

    Reply

    julia::ordinarysaturdays said...

    It's you! With excellent bone structure. I'm not sure about any of these options except the ones you are wearing. But I'm not big on glasses, so what do I know.

  • 08/05/10
    4:33 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Main Line – Somehow that fits for a Sportsman.

    Looking Fab – Oh good. And the camellias?

    Staircase – I had to Google fish finder sunglasses. Oh, I see, they are for finding fish:).

    Janet – You have the whole gamut then:). I had that same moment, with the Chanels. Wish I were like you in the loss arena.

    Anna – That's a good idea. I had two pair, one were prescription for driving. But I lost them:(.

  • 08/05/10
    4:39 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    JMW – Yeah, they are pretty cool huh? Apparently Glenn Close wore them in Damages?

    Suburban Princess – You sound just like my mom:). That's a good thing.

    Southern Proletariat – Ha! My father, the professor, was always losing his sunglasses. We'd all have to hunt for them.

    Deja – OMG, you are right. Paired with a little leopard, huh?:)

    Belle – I dunno, maybe you could find some vintage ones? To go with the couture and jewels?

  • 08/05/10
    4:43 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Caroline – I'm in good company then:).

    Paula – Paul Smith!

    CDS – :). Great minds think alike…

    EntertainingMom – It's hard to recover from prized sunglasses loss.

    Barbara – Thank you so much. I believe the Oliver Peoples work with prescriptions.

    Julia – Hello! Thanks for the bone structure comment. I like the photo because I look like I'm sailing off into an adventure. Also a raised chin is good at my age:).

  • 08/05/10
    4:44 pm

    Reply

    AgathaMChristie said...

    Golly, you look good in that picture. I like the zero fat under the chin. Enjoy that.

    I am buying those Catty Clubmaster Ray Bans right now. Tried them on in Atlanta last week and they're less than 1/2 as much as the Oliver Peoples I've lusted after for 2 yrs. I always buy cheap sunglasses and I'm obsessively careful about them. I painted the kitchen today. I feel justified.

  • 08/05/10
    5:14 pm

    Reply

    Town and Country Mom said...

    Great photo–you look way beyond "sturdy," definitely more sporty/sexy in that great Sea & Ski way. I have a pair of Ralph Lauren sunglasses (tortoise shell) that I somehow have managed to keep up with for years, but my all-time favorite is a logo-less pair from the drug store. My sister-in-law has asked me seriously a dozen times who makes them, and I always answer I'm not sure, which is true but she thinks I'm holding out on her. If she asked where I got them, I'd tell her CVS. At least I think I would.

  • 08/05/10
    6:33 pm

    Reply

    The Preppy Princess said...

    Well now, I'm flattered to death with the 'preppy waters run deep' line! Thank heaven someone brought up Paul Smith, I do like so many of his designs. However, I am absolutely flummoxed over the logo issue, they've just made them so huuuuuuge!

    Fabulous post Miss LPC, and between the styles you uncovered and the suggestions from your readers, this is one stellar list.

    Sending you a smile,
    tp

  • 08/05/10
    6:53 pm

    Reply

    Laguna Beach Trad said...

    Persols here.

  • 08/05/10
    7:14 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Susan – Agreed! (My apologies for missing you in the first go-round of replies!)

    Agatha – Thank you. Do let us know how the Cattys work out?

    T&C – Thank you. I'm telling you, sunnies from the drugstore are an honored tradition.

    TPP – Here's to the waters that run deep.

    Laguna Beach – Stellar.

  • 08/05/10
    7:29 pm

    Reply

    Gourmetmom said...

    I wear Bulgari tortoiseshells – a few different styles. I don't really know why I've chosen such a flashy brand, being fairly sturdy and rather tailored. Perhaps sunglasses are one of the few areas where it's okay to be a bit outrageous?

  • 08/06/10
    3:17 am

    Reply

    Semi Expat said...

    Raybans all the way (or a fun vintage pair) for me.. you look fab by the way LPC! x

  • 08/06/10
    3:47 am

    Reply

    Paula said...

    ouch:
    http://www.schau-schau.at/koll_h_clicked08.html
    from a designer, established in the 1980's. Well the 80ies …

  • 08/06/10
    4:15 am

    Reply

    Southern Living: Preppy Style said...

    I used to wear Raybans all the time, that's all I wore, because they were stylish, but hugged my face to stay on (I have problems with sunglasses sliding off my face).

    BUT – when I moved to Florida, I switched to Lilly. The sweat of the hugging Raybans was just too much to bear and the other Raybans did slide off. Lilly's are open and airy, but actually stay on. I recently lost mine at Nordstrom though. I took them off to try on jewelry and left them. They never found them. So, now I'm on the hunt again, and I REALLY like those Raybans you're wearing, I'll have to try something similar out.

    There's a book for you.

  • 08/06/10
    4:47 am

    Reply

    Anonymous said...

    Interesting breakdown, something I've never considered.

    I found the Chanel sunglasses with the silver "fronds" so interesting I looked them up on the Chanel website. The foliage is actually meant to be wheat, which is not a very delicate crop. (Though my wheat farming cousins would probably give me a different story).

    Wheat seems odd for Chanel, or am I missing the point?

    When my Saskatchewan relatives moved east, instead of "wet behing the ears" they used the term "wheat behind the ears" implying a lack of sophistication. How ironic, to me, that a pair of Chanel sunglasses are literally "wheat behind the ears".

    C

  • 08/06/10
    7:00 am

    Reply

    Maureen@IslandRoar said...

    I'm kind of addicted to sun glasses. Maybe because I keep losing them, so I keep buying them. As I result I tend to go higher middle of the road. Some great choices here.

  • 08/06/10
    7:29 am

    Reply

    Patsy said...

    Fabulous photo!! ]

    I have the same Ray-bans, mine have the green lens. I also have the aviators and the wayfarers. I look like a complete dork in the wayfarers, but HAD to have them. Now I just try them on every year to confirm that they still look dorky.

    My only foray outside Ray-ban was a brief flirtaion with Vuarnet…..hey, it was the 80s!

  • 08/06/10
    7:40 am

    Reply

    metscan said...

    Your Ray-bans look so functional. What about alain mikli frames? Somehow I have stuck to them.

  • 08/06/10
    8:23 am

    Reply

    lauren said...

    ray-ban new wayfarers, the tortoise – my first "real" pair of sunglasses, purchased a year or two ago. to my great surprise, i'm almost as gentle with them as i am with my first "real" camera. they're co-conspirators, my ray-bans.

  • 08/06/10
    8:52 am

    Reply

    Anonymous said...

    The Landsend version of the classic Wayfarer is very well made, sturdy and affordable. Picked up a pair on clearance for $12, but a good deal at regular price too. If you like the Wayfarer, look it up!

  • 08/06/10
    10:29 am

    Reply

    Jean S said...

    this semi-sturdy gal, who also gets migraines, LOVES her "maui jim" glasses…made for true surfers, so they are fantastic for screening out any unwanted rays.

  • 08/06/10
    12:18 pm

    Reply

    Scale Worm said...

    Tortoise shell Wayfarers.

  • 08/06/10
    12:55 pm

    Reply

    hostess of the humble bungalow said...

    Mine are Persols…thanks for the informative post!

  • 08/06/10
    2:26 pm

    Reply

    Splurgie said...

    I had to smile when you said 'shopped your photo. My stepmother fixed up her facebook picture so much, she looks 30 (I'm not exaggerating) years younger. She didn't have "fine lines." She had crevices.

    My son gave me Oakleys as a gift several years ago. They remain my favorites. My Rx reading sunglasses are Nine West. They are for reading on vacation. I think that's the only time I get to read in the sun. I love your post about all the glasses!

  • 08/07/10
    3:26 am

    Reply

    Sydney Shop Girl said...

    I am a sucker for Chanel sunglasses.

    They just say 'let's pretend' to me. I have different pairs that remind me of various celebrities. When I'm a little uninspired in the fashion stakes, I put on a particular pair for inspiration.

    SSG xxx

  • 08/07/10
    6:43 am

    Reply

    little augury said...

    when I need a photoshop I am sending you the work! great job-wonderful photo whatever you edited. I have tried almost all you mentioned. could not go without shades-and a prescription in them-it seems the ONE thing I do not misplace or drive over-Persol at the moment-Steve McQueen sold them to me-just the idea, as if his super style might rub off in any way.

  • 08/07/10
    9:01 am

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Gourmetmom – I do think that for some reason we give ourselves permission to go all outrageous on the sunglasses brand. Bulgari sounds fab. Maybe it's because sunglasses are always to some extent a disguise?

    Semi – Thank you!

    Paula – YIKES!

    Southern Living – I had not even considered the need for cooling breezes. Thank you. And isn't it funny how we always remember losing sunglasses?

    Anon-C – I love the cultural anthropology. I thought those fronds might be wheat and thank you for doing the research:). We' d say "hayseeds" here. Same thing. Fantastic.

  • 08/07/10
    9:03 am

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Maureen – Seems to me that sunglasses on an island are like boots in the city. One has to have them so they might as well be good.

    Patsy – Thank you:). I remember Vuarnets – I think I had some too, now that you mention it. Clearly we share sunglasses taste.

    Mette – Alain Mikli – good point. Must take a look.

    Lauren – I can only imagine.

    Anon – Thank you for the tip.

  • 08/07/10
    9:09 am

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Jean S – I had some Maui Jims, for my progressives, and lost them:(.

    Scale Worm – That is one heck of a screen name. Now imagining tortoise shell Wayfarers and Scale Worms.

    Hostess – Perfect! Will go so well with the Chris Craft!

    Splurgie – Thank you. And I was judicious, I hope. Made myself look less disapproving, but not that much young. I hope. One never knows when vanity will cause denial…

    Sydney – How fun to have a whole sunglasses costume set.

    little augury – Oh my gosh. You are so kind. I cropped myself out of a picture of 4-5 of us on the motor boat:). Then just used the little healing brush tool to take out 50% of my between the eyebrow frown lines. But I had to confess. And first I imagined Steve McQueen selling them to you at his garage sale.

  • 08/07/10
    3:28 pm

    Reply

    VA Gal said...

    Classic Ray-ban wayfarers have been my favorites since high school. Even when they weren't cool(i.e. when it seemed that everyone else had aviators or wraparounds), I still wore them. I've also added some cute Target glasses to the mix because they're cheap and I tend to lose sunglasses.

    Great pictures!

  • 08/08/10
    11:17 am

    Reply

    Blighty said...

    You look tres chic in your sunglasses Madame!
    Bx

  • 08/09/10
    10:59 am

    Reply

    Tara said...

    What a fabulously chic shot of you in your Ray-Bans! For me, these days it's Kate Spade. My Hubby can't be parted from his Ray-Bans and commented the other day that he needs to get the prescription lenses changed out ASAP so he can keep wearing them now that he's had LASIK.

  • 08/09/10
    11:59 pm

    Reply

    Buckeroomama said...

    Thanks for the rundown on sunglasses. I love my Serengeti.

  • 08/10/10
    1:44 pm

    Reply

    North of 25A said...

    My 23 year old daughter "borrowed" my Ray Bans from the '80s, who then found that her 13 year old sister "borrowed" them from her. I am not sure who has them at the moment, but I sure would like them back. I take my sunglasses very seriously…wish I could wear them all the time, but since I have no desire to look like a crazy rapper, I'll make due with the sunshine.
    Best,
    Colleen

  • 09/03/10
    12:15 am

    Reply

    Alice said...

    Where did you find the white chanel sunglasses? I know I'm very late to the post, but these are exactly the sunglasses i've been looking for. I would be very happy if you could tell me where you found them, as I can't see it on the chanel website.

  • 09/03/10
    12:22 am

    Reply

    Alice said...

    Hang on, sorry, I explored the website further and found the glasses. Hurrah!

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