High WASP Sunglasses, S/S 2011

The sun has finally begun to shine in Northern California, and we need sunglasses.

The Grande Dame can’t get this pair out of her mind. On beyond zebra.

Prada’s Minimal Baroque. Sunglasses with a side of oxymoron. La Dame used to choose Chanel, but frankly, Karl just isn’t keeping his eye on the store the way he used it. It happens. And, granted, Prada’s IPO went out at a lower share price than expected, but we High WASPs understand, better than any other culture perhaps, pride and its subsequent fall

I found the white pair on Shoe Daydreams, with another photo here, and the second pair on The Coveted. Janine says tortoiseshell is having a moment. As well it might.

Artsy Cousins want glasses to represent their values, rather than the constructs of a hopped-up marketing group on the 52nd floor.

The Artsy want color, a distinctive shape, and traces of craftmanship, handmade in America or in Italy. These I found on Verhext, the men’s glasses on her husband’s blog, Leaf and Arrow. Verhext is wearing Kala, another photo here. She also had the most astonishingly desirable woodland wedding, if you like weddings, photography, and imagination. Worth a dawdle.

The Sturdy Gal, well, she is apt to pick up a pair of glasses at the drugstore. Or, let’s say she just happens to have reached middle age and just happens to need a little help seeing the freeway exit signs because she keeps driving past them by mistake. Let say she also needs to read Google maps on her iPhone while driving. In this case, she will need progressive lenses on her sunglasses. Which will bring her, one fine day, to this.

If fading family fortunes and a general lack of imagination prevent Prada, or Kalas, fling yourself down the branding stairway and do not stop at Gucci, D&G, or Coach.  Find yourself in a heap at the bottom, pick yourself up, and march with Sturdy pride over to the Costco optical desk. You’ll receive a certificate of authenticity. We do have to wonder, who came up with that idea? Probably a marketing department, on the 52nd floor.

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  • Oooo – I like the Sturdy Gal glasses. Although, I’ve heard much that is not too terribly complimentary about transition lenses, so I may have to break down and purchase a pair prescription sunglasses. Assuming, of course, I would wear them. I tend to forget about the cheap ones I own – I have no reason to believe I’d be any better with an expensive, prescription pair.

  • It is so chic to find SMART-looking cheap goods,
    these most certainly are….SMART!
    Great find.

  • Once again throwing over Artsy Cousin for Grande Dame. Maybe I’m not as artsy as I once thought…

  • Costco sells Ray-Bans, as well, which I’m sure figure into the Sturdy Gal continuum of good glasses. I always go for tortoise shell, but in a recent left-my-glasses-at-home moment, I picked up an pair with gorgeous butterscotch frames. Feeling quite artsy, I must say! And thinking about adding a few more highlights, too.

  • After much self-doubt, I finally know what category I fall into. Those yellow sunglasses are for me.

  • A great choice for Sturdy Gal!! I too need progressive (who wants to be taking glasses on and off constantly!!)

    You can be very stylish and stay on budget!

    Art by Karena

  • “Minimal Baroque. Sunglasses with a side of oxymoron.”


  • …still searching for a pair of Patty Hewes’ sunglasses here.

  • I just got my first progressive lens sunglasses a month ago. (In Chanel frames. I guess I’m behind the times.)

    I am still having a hard time getting used to them, and I think it’s because I don’t wear progressive regular glasses. Once I have the progressive sunglasses on and acclimate to them, I don’t really want to take them off and put them on again – so that’s me at the grocery store, wearing my sunglasses the whole time. :)

    3:14 pm
    rb said...


    these are my Chanel frames. The lace detail is subtle and doesn’t show as clearly as in this photo.

    thank goodness for flexible spending accounts!

  • Great choices all; thank you! Let us know if the transitions get dark enough for California freeways. If so, I am definitely getting a pair.

    And thank you especially for being sensible. Sometimes it’s Chanel at Occhialli, sometimes it’s Costco that works best.

  • I too have been swooning over the Prada!!! Far out of my budget, though.

  • I laughed out loud at flinging myself down the branding stairway. We Sturdies are not overly concerned with brands, are we? Clean lines under any marque are fine, so long as the prescription is up to date.

  • You are so right about Karl being too busy with other projects to maintain focus on the core product, there seems to be some slippage. Today’s shocker? I Love the curlicue sunglasses! not for me, but they would look darling on the right face. (Like yours.) A brand you know I love, Karen Walker, often fits into the sunglass conversation as well. :)

  • That Costco certificate has me dying with laughter!
    Yeah, that’s Madison Avenue X10.

  • Love those Pradas, but probably too much drama for me to carry off. Grande Dames can do drama.

    I’ve been meaning to get over to Costco to have a look at their frames after complimenting someone on her glasses and learning their provenance.

    I’ve been doing the “transitions” lenses lately as I hate carrying around (and having to change to) a separate pair of sunglasses, but after falling a few times in Europe upon going from sun to shade and not noticing steps or uneven flooring, I’m rethinking that.

  • Wintering in Arizona requires a wide temple piece to avoid blindness, Costco frames provide that. They also provide free lenses (if they’re non prescription) that are polarized. So: good frames, good free optically correct lenses. It’s a good deal. The certificate of authenticity is puzzling, however. Those curlicue frames just look stupid to me. Form with no function.

  • Those yellow sunglasses are fun but I’m pretty attached to my Ray Bans, with progressives. However, it’s still difficult to see the freeway signs.

  • Oh thank God! I was worried. Into the sturdy-girl column I often flail. At least in this instance, I don’t. HA!

  • Sturdy Girl/Tomboy here with a vote for Ray-bans.

    Aviators for tennis, sailing and pretty much every day.
    Wayfarers are leftover from the 80s and still good with an oxford cloth shirt and weejuns,
    Jackie Os for my more diva, LBD moments.

    Practical, never go out of style – buy them once and your done. And I’m not able to consider the sunglasses at my local CVS are anything more than throwing away good money.

  • Those grand dame curly Prada glasses are appealing to me like you have no idea. I guess here is where I divert from the artsy cousin as I could care less about values when it comes to my glasses and am all about glamour–after all isn’t that what sunglasses are for? As it is, I’ve pared down to aviators these past couple of years but you have tempted me greatly Lisa and I hold you responsible!

    xoxo Mary Jo

  • This Sturdy Gal loves her Maui Jims. Especially as they provide full coverage–so handy for preventing sunlight-related migraines.

  • My favorite pair of the ones shown, are the Prada tortoiseshell ones. Makes it easy to minimize all possible bling bling, as the sunglasses themselves do it for you.

  • I don’t normally go crazy over sunglasses, but those Pradas definitely caught my eye. There’s another Minimal Baroque style with more of a cat eye shape, which I’m dying to try on. I could see myself in those.

  • As a Sturdy Gal, I have two pairs of Costco glasses, progressive sunglasses (Calvin Klein) and transition progressives (Ralph Lauren). To the reader who wondered about transitions while driving: they do not darken, due to the glass in windshields–prevents them from doing so. Hence, the need for both sunglasses and transitions. One for walking, one for driving. Love both of mine, and their prices

  • I just spent some of my flexible-spending account on prescription sun glasses.

    The only thing that’s more aging than pulling reading glasses on and off to see near and far is squinting and asking your spouse to read things to you because you can’t make out the fine print. My new sun glasses contribute to my youthful appearance because they do it all!

    I find that stuff tends to happen to sun glasses because you take them on and off as you move around outdoors. If you spend a lot on the frames it hurts more when they get messed up.

  • I love tortoiseshell sunglasses. They go with everything and if you push them back on top of your head, don’t get all caught up in your hair.

  • Sunglasses with a side of oxymoron.

    What is not to like?

    I need them, now!

    SSG xxx

  • OMG I’d look like Mr (Mrs.) Magoo in those Prada’s!

    They reek of style and a Grande Dame or what I think of as a GD would be very at home in those. I think of GD’s as very slim…..

    I do like the artsy cousin option…and the sturdy gal choice is sensible and will look great with your colouring!

    One year very soon I’ll be having my sunglasses matched with my prescription too. Putting them on and taking them off is a major inconvenience.

  • Wow. The Grande Dame frames are beautiful. But would they look as lovely face on? Their profile is so exquisite I’d find a way to walk sideways.

  • I had a pair of Oliver Peoples about 2o years ago. I am pretty sure they cost me a week’s salary. They were small and round and tortoise and heavenly. Just the other day I saw that Bergdorf’s has them. And OP hasn’t changed them a bit… they are simple and understated. For dramatic flair I would opt for the Prada… tortoise of course!

  • If you turn over that “certificate of authenticity” card from Costco, there are lens cleaning instructions on the other side. Just found those today.

  • For the manly High WASP, there’s nothing that beats the so classic it’s a cliche tortoise Wayfarers, or State Trooper style aviators. I’ve long since graduated to even more retro tortoise frames with emerald green lenses from the very carriage trade Friedrich’s of Park Avenue and Palm Beach . . . that is, when I remember to bring them with me, which I frequently don’t, and so I then buy cheap ones in the drug store as a stop gap, style be damned! Reggie

  • This is an evil, evil site, since it keeps tempting me with shopping ideas at a time when I’m trying to save money!
    Funny — once again, I choose the Grande Dame option, though I’ve always thought of myself as rather Artsy Cousin. I’m too young to be a Grande Dame. Maybe I am a Grande Dame in training.
    I love the Pradas, though I’d have to try them on to see if they suit my face. They probably would, though. Exaggerated and large-ish frames work for me, whether they are round, cat-eyed or square. Small frames don’t work, though. They make the bottom half of my face look too heavy.

    My regular glasses (when I’m working at home and don’t wear contacts) are a pale / translucent green-yellow wide rectangular pair from Paul Smith. I’ve had them for years.
    My regular sunglasses are large and light pink!

  • Like the Prada tortoiseshell ones very much,but sadly my sharp profile has blurred!! so must forgo & stick with plain ones!!!Ida

  • Jan – I’ve got your back:). I am very careful with these prescription glasses, so far, but I broke my previous pair…I only really need them for driving and going on walks, so far.

    deb-u-naunt – Thank you:).

    Emmaleigh – My mother is an Artsy Grande Dame. Think of a Venn diagram:).

    Town and Country – Ray Bans are like IBM, nobody ever got fired for wearing them. Butterscotch frames sound great.

    Mise – Ah, Mise, was there ever any doubt? Yellow windows baby, yellow windows.

  • Karena – The progressives are required, especially for driving.

    Flo – My pleasure!

    teaorwine – Those are Oliver Peoples glasses, the Riley frame, custom-fitted with gray tinted lenses:).

    rb – I like the Chanel glasses that use garment graphics. The ones I had, 5 or 6 years ago, had embossing on the eyepieces that looked like their quilted bags.

    meg – I didn’t get transitional lenses, but progressives. Bi-focals + long distance in one. Although late I’ve been wearing them inside:).

    Verhext – I didn’t even look at the price…

  • Louse – We Sturdies indeed.

    TPP – Karen Walker is totally fab. It takes so much attitude to carry off those Pradas. In my next life, perhaps.

    Marsha – Dames are Drama, no question. I didn’t look at all the Costco frames, but they did have Alain Mikli for non-sunglasses. Kind of nice.

    Allison – I am learning, finally, to appreciate a good deal. Thanks for the clue about the glasses cleaning.

    Susan Tiner – Still hard to see the freeway signs? I find the progressives help me a lot.

  • Mags – Ha indeed:).

    Alex in DC – Raybans are key. I have owned more than my fair share of those in my day.

    Jean S. – Maui Jim’s are another stalwart Sturdy Gal brand.

    Metscan – You could carry those Prada off.

    Audi – I saw the other cat eyes. I’d think you could wear these all the time, the only issue being the San Francisco fog.

    Mary Anne – It’s so much fun to find out that I am not alone in my Costco forays. As though I have joined a party:).

    RoseAG – Hooray for prescription sunglasses. I felt such a relief, as you say, not having to take glasses on and off.

  • A Farmer’s Wife – That’s true. The aviator glasses tear out more than their fair share of my hair.

    SSG – Someone has to give them a shot! You?

    Hostess – Hahahahahaha!

    Miss Cavendish – I know. Or hang them on the wall to look at.

    Jessica – Oliver Peoples has some great stuff.

  • Reggie Darling – Oh no. Have you just introduced me to another objet de desir? And my parents always wore drugstore glasses:).

    Joyce – I have wanted to be called evil all my life. Finally:). BTW, one can be a Grande Dame from birth. It’s about attitude. Most people need age to develop the attitude, some emerge fully fledged.

    Ida – I don’t know. I imagine we will see the people of Advanced Style wearing these:).

  • I love Sturdy Girl…I’m a huge sucker for sunglasses…Maybe because I’m a stay at home mom to three and freelance clothing designer, so I don’t really get a ton of sleep! =)
    Kristina J.

  • I love my RayBans, which are mostly Jackie O in their outlook. But they’re not prescription, and this year I’m going to have to break down and do both Transitions for brief jaunts outside and sunnies for longer stretches.

    My eye doctor told me last year in no uncertain terms that while Transitions are OK, they don’t provide enough UV protection to prevent eye damage, especially for us blue- and green-eyed types.

    I just wish I didn’t have to wear glasses all the time now. I miss my face.

  • Costco, gasp! They are *so* elegant. The Prada, I predict, will be “so 2011”. It’s not just sticker shock, it’s that café tables seem to swallow my sunnies; I lose at least one pair every summer.

    I bought a great vintage YSL pair at a consignment store, $80.

  • I’m usually not a Prada girl, in budget or preference, but this Grande Dame in training got that tingly credit card feeling at those gorgeous shades up top. Swoon.

  • Ibought the same sunglasses at Costco. I love them! I’ve received many compliments as well. I was visiting my sister last week and she remarked “I think Privilege blogged about those frames!”
    Good eye!

  • I tried the Minimal Baroque model on at a Prada shop in Hong Kong. They only had the black-and-white two-toned ones left, and they were too loud for me. The tortoise-shell single-color model might have worked, but they are sold out across the whole city.

    That said, they did have other good cat-eyed shades for about HK $2,000, or US $250. But I didn’t get them them because I’m trying to save money for the baby.

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