Possibly The Coolest Sturdy Gal Sunglasses In The World?


Yes, I am standing in a field of dry grass, in front of a trailer park. Yes, that is my 59-year old stomach. Good detective skills, my friend.

However, I’m wearing new Ray-Bans, so I look more cool than idiotic. I am perhaps exaggerating. Let’s back up.

It is an almost universal tenet of personal style that accessories, or a concerted lack thereof, make the woman. The Grande Dame, even in casual mode, must sport her silk scarf, a luxurious bag, a strand of pearls. Reggie Darling knows her well. The Artsy Cousin may wear a scarf, but it will be woven, may carry a bag, but it will be woven, may wear pearls, but, if possible, those will be woven too.

The Sturdy Gal, however, hates anything that flaps or smacks of cossetting. She accessorizes with excellent sneakers, chandelier earrings, and an lovely but unflashy bag or two. If she has any aspirations to Cool (or loves outdoor sports, either way), she wears Ray-Bans.  And, if she’s over-45, she wears hers with prescription progressive lens, because missed freeway exits and blurred pool reading are more than she can endure for simple fashion.


Occasionally she stands, mirror sunglassed by the side of Highway 101, on a long stretch of land that shape-shifts between heritage agrarian and retail sprawl.

Do we even need to ask why Ray-Bans? Because, Ray-Bans. We might wonder, why aviators? The trend is probably two or three years old? I am late to the party, but like sneakers and jeans, I hope aviators last. Nothing is timeless, but we Sturdy Gals want our value even from luxury.

So why now? Ray-Bans’ new website, which I discovered when putting together this post, is super cool. I’d love to design my own pair. Like these. Blue-gray lenses, matte silver frame, clear ear tips, and, get this, a hidden monogram. LPC in Arial. On my sunglasses. Ha!


Although, if I were buying off the rack, I might go for these, ornamented, or these with psychedelic lenses.

But we still haven’t addressed the field of grass and hard-scrabble photos. Having moved my mom to an assisted living facility in the Bay Area a couple of weeks ago, soon thereafter my middle sister and I drove back down to Santa Barbara. Meeting with estate sale firms and a property management company. My sister and I hadn’t done a roadtrip alone since I graduated college in 1978. We drove cross-country in an unreliable Alfa Romeo sedan, Bonnie Tyler on the cassette player. It’s a heartache, nothing but a heartache. Surely you remember?

In that spirit, we stopped for a sunglasses photo shoot. I posed under the blue freeway sign. I scrambled back to the chain link fence and, laughing, took out my hair elastic. Raised my arms in so doing, hence, belly.

Then a policeman pulled over and told us to get back in our car. Non-emergency stops are illegal on highways. Did you know that? No ticket. Sunglasses camaraderie?

By the way the Gal might wear diamonds, pearls, an Apple Watch, a UNIQLO tee, Levis, and Doc Martins with her Ray-Bans. The pearls are apt to be bronze or lavender, the diamonds largish but easy to hide. Tees are tees (although, wait, this is from Liberty of London x UNIQLO and I probably need it), Levis are Levis, Docs are Docs. While Cool may be generally recognized, to each her own Classic.


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  • A great read for my mid-morning break! Thank you!

    11:29 am
    Lisa said...

    @Robin, My pleasure;).

  • Hilarious! I wear Rx raybans and love them. Probably a bit big for my face, but they block so much glare, which kills my eyes.

    Nothing like a little road trip adventure. We got nailed for pulling over to see a tumbleweed, which we don’t have here in the mid-Atlantic.

    11:31 am
    Lisa said...

    @pigtown*design, Hahahaha! Tumbleweeds are awesome, I agree. And happy to be on the RXRB club with you;).

  • This is a wonderful post. What would we do without progressive lense sunglasses? Since my husband is a pilot , he has worn Ray Bans for decades. They are always cool.

    12:20 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Mary anne, Pilots made Ray Bans cool! They own them, we just borrow:). And thank you.

  • Both my daughters love their Ray Ban aviators. I like my Warby Parker tortoise shell framed sunglasses – always a sucker for tortoise shell. This was a fun post. Thanks!

    12:36 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Jane, You are welcome. I am always conceptually a sucker for tortoise shell but do not find any ways to actually have any. :(

  • You’re a girl after my own heart. I’ve just ordered my first pair of Ray-Ban aviators. Prescription, of course. I have also been loving the Liberty x Uniqlo collaboration. Affordable and good looking.

    12:37 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Deb, So good-looking:). My mother would agree;).

  • I grew up with Rayban aviators, so I’ve been trendy for 40+ years. Way back when, Bausch & Lomb used to fix them for free! My husband has a pair that are 38 years old. I’m lucky if mine last 10 years.

    12:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Patsy, When I mentioned outdoor sports I totally had you in mind.

  • I love them. You rock them. I wish I could wear that style. My blind-as-a-bat prescription lenses, even in the slimmest material available, won’t fit in wire frames.

    12:40 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Wendelah, Oh I hadn’t even thought about that. Of course. I did use to have a pair of Ray-Bans with a thicker frame, now that I remember, they were Wayfarers with a tortoise shell frame.

  • ray ban clubmasters are tops for me at the moment. wish i could pull off the aviators. you look fantastic!!

    5:24 pm
    Lisa said...

    @jane, I do believe that in my past, probably at the height of my Elvis Costello obsession, I wore Clubmasters too. I’m only now realizing how much history I have with the brand. Thank you very much.

  • Possibly? Certainly! From the aviators,attitude,story,policeman- you rock! Agree with Wendelah!
    Still have my Ray-Ban aviators (see the photo in my post,34 years ago!)
    Faithful to Ray-Bay all those years (except one-season-stand with Dior-huge mistake!)- lot of models,now wearing Round metal folding ones and Clubmaster
    It’s a Heartache….one of my favourites….those were the days!
    Love the pearl studs!

    5:30 pm
    Lisa said...

    @dottoressa, Of course you have aviators! I think the colloquialism is, Sister From Another Mother!

  • Oh, they are classics! My husband ordered his with progressive lenses and is thrilled with them.

    Oh, and well done on not getting a ticket to stop. Well worth the photo, I must say.

    5:56 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Chronica Domus, Such classics. New Classics. As, perhaps, are freeway police stops for the over-50 nearly 60 crowd;)

  • Thanks for the great post; I’m still smiling. Plotting a sunglass purchase myself (non prescription over mono vision contacts? progressives for non contact days? So many decisions). Good for sister and you to have a light moment while on a very emotional and difficult mission.

    5:56 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Kathleen, My pleasure. And so many decisions. About so many things.

  • Shades of Thelma and Louise! I love those Ray Bans they are as iconic as pearls and Hermes scarves…cool cop too letting you go without a ticket.
    Great photo…

    6:00 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Bungalow Hostess, Thelma and Louise! I hadn’t thought of that, but, yes.:). Thank you.

  • Love that you got our of the car. Parked on the shoulder of the highway and took photos. Love the gritty background. You’d look great in any sunglasses.

    Anything for a photo. Right!

    9:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Sandra Sallin, At least anything fun:).

  • Like Wandelah, my prescription lenses are to thick to fit in wire frames, but I love aviators! They were classics before my brother, a naval aviator, started wearing them in the gulf war era & they’re still classics.

    10:07 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Megan, Classics forever. And kudos to your brother.

  • Oops, that would be my lenses are “too” thick!

  • As an indication of where I come from, when I saw these photos, the first thing I thought was, “Oh no, I hope Lisa is watching out for snakes.” We Texans would never stop on the highway and frolic in the high grass!

    Great Sunglasses. I’ll go and take a look.

    10:08 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Susan D., That is so sweet. There might have been snakes, but the poisonous ones are more apt to lie in plain sight in the sun on a rock, and rattle:).

  • Snort! Yes, prescription progressive lenses in my beautiful classic tortoiseshells. I had fun reading about Grand Dames but have never been one and even fixed up as one would not feel comfortable for a minute! Sturdy Gal for sure. With a nice selection of *silver* pearls. I even have a gorgeous Hermes scarf but usually tie it on an equally gorgeous leather purse I named, The Doberman, for it’s rose gold hardware and spike-studded dog collar handle. These lovelies are usually worn with jeans & tees…nothing like comfortable clothes with a touch of luxury.

    10:30 am
    Lisa said...

    @Lisa Chavez, You had me at rose gold and spike-studded dog collar handle.

  • I have prescription Ray Bans. The sunglasses were actually the first birthday present my (now) husband got me after we started dating years and years ago and have been worn nearly every day since. When my vision degraded to the point where I was uncomfortable driving without glasses, I looked for frames I liked better, then just had my optometrist swap out the lenses.

    Bright side, he knows that I actually do love and use the presents he gets me, which is good because I can be a bear to shop for. :)

    Also, the knowledge that UNIQLO and Liberty have joined forces is making me figure out how to wrangle my way to MI Ave. this weekend…Stripes made of flowers. I am undone.

    10:31 am
    Lisa said...

    @Maria, Nice work husband! And I looked at the tees yesterday and am getting that one in M. Print isn’t quite as nice as it appears, but, good enough. Fit is boxy and short – perfect for high-waisted jeans;).

  • I need prescription Raybans!

    Love my Wayfarers but my oldish eyes are drying out from my contacts…

    SSG xxx

    10:32 am
    Lisa said...

    @Sydney Shop Girl, Go for it. You’ll never “look” back. Ha! Amusing myself wildly today:).

  • I’ve had a pair for awhile, and love them. For me, sunglasses are a major accessory item as I really wear a uniform of jeans, etc. I like them on you, but wish there was a closer photo, although it’s very arty where these were shot. Which color frames and lenses are they?

    10:34 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kathy, Gray mirrored lenses, gold frames. I wouldn’t mind having a whole wardrobe of these, different frames and lenses. I agree with you, the fewer pieces one wears, the more each one matters.

  • YOU have been a TRAVELING that 101 A LOT………..
    Love the PHOTO SHOOT!

    10:36 am
    Lisa said...

    @LA CONTESSA, Yes. And still not done:(. Maybe I’ll do another shoot on the next trip, but OFF the highway!

  • How fabulous that you stopped! I had prescription Ray-Ban aviators for many years, but not in the last few years, since I went to progressives. Loved them at the time but love my current, bigger, designer frames right now. But then, I’ve never been cool.

    10:37 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mardel, I think big designer frames can be super cool – just more Jackie O than Amelia E, right?

  • Lovely post!
    Fancy Friday linkup party is on!Would you like to join me?

    10:38 am
    Lisa said...

    @nancy, Thank you so much. I don’t tend to do linkups very often, but I do appreciate the invitation.

  • Ray Ban Aviators. Been around forever. Might have to revive mine. Lately I wear my Burberry shades. Susan

    10:39 am
    Lisa said...

    @Susan, Burberry. I’ll look them up!

  • You look cooler than cool in your “Sturdy Gal” incarnation. I hope your road trip with your sister was/is great fun.

    10:41 am
    Lisa said...

    @Rhonda Gilmour, Thank you. It was fun in the way it is when you’re doing something difficult with someone you’ve loved for decades. xoxox.

  • I love aviators but I can’t do wire glasses – they wont’ hold my hair back well enough when worn on the head. BUT… I swear by sturdy plastic-frame Ray-Bans. I’m on my second pair, and my first pair survived capsizing in a scull, tracking dolphins in the Amazon and Kenya, a safari, a month of consulting work in Thailand, more work in Nepal, you name it. I had to say goodbye after they just could not withstand any more scratching without taking on a mark or two.

    Here’s to hoping my second Ray-Ban pair will outlast the first.

  • I loved the Ray Bans and the fact that you looked great! A really cool look for

    However, it would never have occurred to me that someone your age wouldn’t know about pulling off a highway unless it was an emergency. Really? You’re way too cool about most things not to know this and you live in CA!

    Think I’ll just go back and look at the pictures so I can forget the rest of the story.


  • Lost my first Ray Bans years ago due to carelessness. Maybe it’s time for new ones. Have you checked out Randolph Aviators? They are made by a company in Massachusetts to strict military specifications and were the ones worn by Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun. They make all the official sunglasses for the U.S. naval aviators. They can be ordered online. There are a few stores that carry them. Shinola is one of them.

  • Love this post. Me and my brother had an encounter with the police when we were hitchhiking, as students…

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  2. […] no longer quite so keen, lenses prescribed. But mirrored aviators are up for adventure. Here, in a field alongside Highway 101, preparing for a highway patrol office to pull over and ask my sister and me, “What (implied: […]