I like to express my exuberant, playful personality through my personal style, but here in the ultra-casual Bay Area, I often feel overdressed in bright prints, big ruffles, or similarly attention-grabbing details. Thus my strategy has evolved around basic pieces in neutral colors paired with one accessory that pops. And more often than not, that key detail is the pair of statement sunglasses that’s always tucked into my purse.
My love for semi-crazy sunnies traces back to high school, when I scored a pair of black, bejeweled cat-eye frames in the Hot Topic bargain bin. They felt glamorous and daring, punk rock but nostalgic. They didn’t quite make sense with my suburban 90’s uniform of JNCO’s and baby tees, but I grew into them when I moved to New York for college and graduated to the all-black NYC uniform. I suddenly realized I’d bought those glasses not for the person I was, but who I knew I was going to be. That was my first really transformative experience with style, and the lesson felt more like a celebration. I didn’t need to have Carrie Bradshaw’s closet or a body like Gisele to express myself through style, all I needed was a great pair of cheap sunglasses.
And so my obsession progressed along with changing trends: Carrie-inspired aviators with rose-tinted lenses, blocky, tortoiseshell Electric shades which covered 40 percent of my face for most of the mid-2000’s, fiery, mirrored Ray Ban aviators, black Celines with a slight cat-eye whose heaviness helped offset my giant baby belly and now, this flat-faced pair of polarized Le Specs, which somehow manages to marry retro with fashion-forward.
When I roll into my son’s preschool feeling particularly bedraggled, all yesterday’s leggings and unwashed hair, I can slip on these sunnies and suddenly, not only are the bags under my eyes covered, but I’m looking this way on purpose. My bed head is sexy and my leggings say “yoga butt” instead of “frazzled.” …Or so I tell myself as my eyes dart back and forth behind the reflective frames, trying to figure out if anyone else is on to my ruse. (The revelation: we’re all just pretending to have it together anyway.)
Which brings me to the key to pulling off a pair of statement sunglasses: it’s all in the mystery. It seems that the most successful pairs not only add a dose of glam to my OOTD, they also obscure my face enough that they effectively expand my personal space because others can’t quite tell what I’m looking at or thinking. I think that’s why I’ve latched onto the reflective trend so hard; not only do they add some bling (and I’m a sucker for anything shiny) but they also give me cart blanche to throw all the side eye I want without fear of repercussion.
My beloved pair of Le Specs is about a year old, but if you love them and want to recreate the style, this pair of Le Specs Caliente Mirrored Cat Eye Sunglasses are on my list of covetable sunnies, and I’ll always come back to a classic Mirrored Ray Ban Aviator.