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A Frankified Primer for Summer Sunglasses

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Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for almost two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.

Karen Walker sunglasses

Dear Shades Shoppers,

People, it's half past April. That means sunglasses season is upon us! Well, at least for those of us who don't wear sunglasses from dawn to dusk all year round, even when it's raining and you're on the subway and people are giving us (er, you, we meant you) major hate eyes.

Have you picked out your summer sunglasses look yet? We're willing to bet you maybe haven't. But, please, no need to worry. We have never, ever stopped shopping for sunglasses and we're here with the tips and insight you need before going out and making your most important accessories purchase of 2011's second quarter.

First: Let's all give our Ray-Ban Wayfarer and Clubmaster shades a rest. They're tired—not tired as in passé because they're classic—just physically tired. Give them the vacation they deserve.

We'd recommend frames by Illesteva as a suitable, sensical substitution. But know that we've heard the company's name isn't, like, Italian—it's just "illest ever" all shortened up and "cool." That's enough to keep us away—but maybe you're okay with the implied douchery. If not: Persol.

Second (and speaking of douchery): Answer the following questions: Are you an Italian or Saudi Arabian heir to an automotive or oil fortune who has his dress shirts or designer denim custom made to order? If not, is your dream of dreams a cameo appearance on Jersey Shore? Then fine, wear your stupid white sunglasses. That said, if you answered no to both: Omigod, enough with the white sunglasses! We don't care if they're Raf Simmons! Stop the insanity.

(We do like that style, though—what about the horn? just don't buy them at Steven Alan Tribeca because the shop person who we spoke to about trying them on had a major, major attitude which wasn't all bad because it reminded us of this).

Anyway, we get the white fixation. They're bold, they're different. May we suggest print instead? We went with these by Ralph Lauren; we love these by Mosley Tribes; and hello Suno.

Third, think of sunglasses as an investment in your very persona. You'll be wearing these every day for months. They will travel with you to the beach, on exotic vacations, to out-of-town weddings, to family affairs, and—most importantly—to brunch. They should be versatile but they can be quirky. And each day you put 'em on you can divide their cost by half. Doing so allows you to feel better about spending $200 to $400 on something that you may or may not end dropping into a creek babbling through the country estate of a distant relative or a realtor's toilet (this never happened to us and a pair by Ksubi over the course of one week in 2006).

Also, if you do get something a little crazy, a little unique, you'll get a lot of compliments. Even if those compliments are thinly veiled condescension you should consider them sheer jealousy and count them all as compliments. Why? Each compliment cuts the price in half as well. What we're saying is: Don't be afraid of these gorgeous frames by Karen Walker or these fabulously insane frames by Garrett Leight.

By July your perfectly perfect $480 sunglasses will have only cost you $16! Assuming they're not still in the creek or the toilet. New math!

Finally, we really, really like these—but why are they $400? Don't they look like you'd find them if you broke into one of those Lion's Club collection boxes for gently-used optical donations?

Also: Why?

· Love, Frank [RNA]