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Big bling led the way to today's big shades



Published: Sun, July 10, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Style is important, but follow these tips when selecting your glasses.

SCRIPPS HOWARD

Sometimes less really is more, but not when it comes to the latest trends in sunglasses.

Big is the dominant trend in shades as winter thawed into spring and on into summer. With the many retro influences, especially the return of '60s and '70s styles, it was only a matter of time before accessories designers caught up with apparel trends.

Large-statement necklaces, bracelets and cuffs came on the scene like gangbusters last fall, and now the newest crop of sunglasses reflects the trend toward oversized and dramatic in women's sunglasses.

"Thank God for fashion," said Norman Childs, owner of Eyetique specialty stores. "Otherwise, everybody would wear the same thing over and over again. Everything has to go back around, in circles."

Supersize is sexy

Super-size frames are generally square, rectangular or round. Sleek and chic designs, usually framed but occasionally rimless, can range in the hundreds of dollars by luxury brands such as Christian Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, Prada, Dolce & amp; Gabbana, Chanel and Versace.

Knock-offs abound, with smaller labels and department stores interpreting the trend for their clientele. Crystals, animal-skin textures and other details add even more of a punch to super-size styles, such as those in Revolution Eyewear's Bling Bling Lunettes collection.

"You look sexy and glamorous in them," said Childs, who designed his own line of large shades and also carries looks by Oliver Peoples and Barry Kieselstein.

Aviators are strong

White is the most directional frame color, fueled in part by New York fashion's current obsession with white in apparel collections. Still, there's plenty of color, from fashionable red and pink to accent colors of beige, blue and purple.

Shields are also popular, a large rectangular style that has a slight wrap effect around the face. Worn by men and women, they come in black and brown as well as opaque colors such as green, orange and yellow.

Aviators, a favorite of celebs such as Brad Pitt, are back strong. Fashion designer Michael Kors deserves some of the credit for the style's comeback, as he wears the style and shows it on the runway in his fashion shows.

Ray-Ban and Silhouette are among brands that have updated the '70s look in lightweight materials, silver and gold metallic frames and lens tints ranging from smoky brown and inky black to the time-honored mirrored and gradient lenses.

Eyetique stores carry aviator styles by Retrospecs, a California-based company that uses aviator frames made in the '50s, '60s and '70s.

Factors to consider

While style is important to wearers, there are factors to consider in selecting sunglasses. Comfortable fit and adequate sun protection are examples. Here are a few tips when selecting shades:

UChoose a frame shape that complements your features and facial shape.

UMake sure the lenses are large enough to cover the eyes easily and protect them from sun damage.

UChoose sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection.

UBeware of cheapies. A pair of shades you bought at the dollar store probably offers little to no protection. Just because lenses are tinted doesn't mean they block ultraviolet rays.

UClean your shades with a soft, lint-free cloth, patting rather than rubbing to avoid scratching the lenses.

UInvest in a sturdy, padded case to protect your shades when not in use, especially if you have prescription sunglasses. Countless favorite shades are damaged every year by being dropped or inadvertently sat on.




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