Chic eyeware for fall

cbolling@charlotteobserver.comAugust 21, 2013 

  • Flaunt your personality

    Sunglasses are a good way to show some personality, and designers are offering frames with flowers, embellishments, textures and graphic prints.

    Black and white is also a big trend for sunglasses this fall, says Regina Gardiner, People StyleWatch accessories editor.

    Lots of styles can make the switch from summer to fall and even winter, but watch those with excessive amounts of pop, like the colored, mirrored lenses that were big in summer, she says.

    How to pick sunglasses

    Block UV rays: Sunglasses need to have lenses that block UV rays, which can cause cataracts and macular degeneration and possibly even melanomas of the eye. Prolonged sun exposure can also lead to sunburn of the eye, called photokeratitis. Sunglasses that block UV rays also protect the eyelids and skin around the eye. Look for a tag on the glasses saying the glasses block at least 99 percent of UV light.

    Polarized lenses: Buying sunglasses with polarized lenses is a good idea, especially if you’ll be in a place with a lot of reflected light such as on a boat or on the ski slopes.

    Darker is better: The darker the lenses the better when it comes to buying sunglasses to protect the eyes.

    Source: Eye Care Associates; Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Associates

As we turn over our closets from summer to fall and decide how we want to dress for the new season, now is the perfect time to update that front-and-center accessory: Eyewear.

Shoppers have more style choices for specs and sunglasses than ever before, at prices ranging from $20 at discount online retailers to hundreds of dollars at boutiques.

Plastics dominate the eyewear market, with some designers adding patterns or mixing in other mediums to the frames to add interest.

For women, the Jackie Onassis look – glamorous, oversized frames in black or honey, without a lot of embellishment – are big for fall, says Jenna LaRoche, a spokeswoman for the Vision Council, a trade association based in Alexandria, Va.

Cat-eye frames for women are popular in a huge variety of shapes, from the small angular frames to the more rounded versions, LaRoche says. “There is such a huge variety (in cat-eye), that depending on your face shape, you can find something that works.”

For men, aviator styles are big for both sunglasses and regular glasses, especially in plastics.

“Geek chic” glasses with bold, bookish brow lines are big sellers, as are John Lennon-style round frames. But instead of being fashioned from metal, as Lennon wore, today’s men are buying them in more modern materials such as translucent plastics, LaRoche says.

Sure those glasses are a medical necessity, but don’t discount the impact a flattering frame can have on your face, says Wick Morgan, owner of The Spectacle eyeglass shop in Raleigh’s North Hills Mall.

“Someone will say, ‘I’ve never been complimented on my glasses, and I’ve been stopped three times today,’ ” Morgan says. “That’s the moment her glasses went from the necessity that they are to the accessory that they can be. ... It’s brilliant to watch someone go from not really wanting to wear glasses to becoming someone who is excited about it.”

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