Save or Splurge: Sunglasses

I’ve come to realize there are basically two kinds of people in this world — those who like to splurge on designer sunglasses, and those who prefer to buy the cheapest sunglasses they can find because they assume they will lose them before the season is over.

I used to be the latter. I’m a little scatterbrained, and I tend to lose things if they aren’t tied down. I figured I wasn’t responsible enough for nice sunglasses. Then one day back in 2008, I was shopping with a friend and I decided to experiment with a pair of mid-price shades. My reasoning was, if I actually paid money for a decent pair of sunglasses, maybe I would be more careful with them.

We spent hours at Nordstrom that day, trying on all the sunglasses, and I finally chose a moderately priced pair — they were Michel Kors or Kate Spade or something in that range. I distinctly remember trying them both on my face and on the top of my head to be sure they looked good from all angles! I even have a picture in them… Becca was 2 1/2.

And the rest, as they say, is history! I was hooked. I’m typically one to prefer quality over quantity, and this was no different.

I was extremely careful with those sunglasses and kept track of them for several years until I did, in fact, leave them in an Old Navy store when I was shopping with small kids. But I got a decent cost per wear out of those frames, and I’ve been buying quality sunglasses ever since.

That said, I realize no amount of reasoning will convince some of you to invest in a pair of designer sunglasses, and that’s a-okay. We all have our things, so today I’ve done a Save or Splurge roundup for sunglasses.

I tried to include a variety of styles and price points, so if you’re looking for a new pair of shades, I hope you find something you like in here.

Save or Splurge Sunglasses

Which one are you, when it comes to sunglasses? Team Save or Team Splurge?

Save Sunglasses:

BP 50mm Cat Eye Sunglasses $15

Dollger Oversized Square Sunglasses (Color A) $11

Lily Pulitzer Lexy Aviator Sunglasses (Shiny Gold/Gold Mirror) $48

Quay After Hours 50mm Square Sunglasses (Tort Black/Black Fade Lens) $55

Fifth & Ninth Roma 55mm Square Sunglasses (Black/Black) $35

Sunski Dipsea Polarized Sunglasses (Tortoise/Amber) $44

Splurge Sunglasses:

Celine 55mm Polarized Cat Eye Sunglasses $400

Tory Burch 55mm Square Sunglasses $192

Ray Ban 58mm Original Aviator Sunglasses (Brown) $178

rag & bone Women’s Square Sunglasses (Havana Brown / Gray Shaded) $245

Saint Laurent 55mm Sunglasses $405

Chloé 56mm Round Sunglasses (Havana) $390

Stay In Touch

If you liked this post, be sure you’re signed up for my email newsletter. In addition to my most recent blog posts, you’ll receive exclusive newsletter content like special sales, my newest favorite finds, and an occasional peek behind the scenes — all delivered right to your inbox.

I would also love for you to join my JLS Fashion Insiders Facebook Group! This is a friendly place to discuss all matters of fashion and style with other women, share your outfits, get advice, and stay up to date on all the happenings in our community.

This post contains affiliate links. When you shop through my links, it helps support my business (at no additional cost to you) so thank you!

Join the Conversation

32 thoughts on “Save or Splurge: Sunglasses

  1. I have always chosen more cheaper to mid-price sunglasses, but over the past decade (since needing reading glasses), I’ve switched to sunglasses with bifocals, which tend to be more expensive, and the last few years I’ve invested in a couple of pairs of Maui Jims. I love them because if you order them from the website, they can put the readers in a lot of different styles. Yes, it’s more expensive, but worth it to me. (No, I don’t work for them :D)

    1. I grew up on the water wearing contacts so sunglasses were mandatory. I did buy inexpensive ones for years and one of my tests was that they could keep my long hair off my face😀. I now have 4 expensive pairs that I rotate. I do sometimes wear one of the many cheaper pairs because I like the color or I doing something where damage is likely e.g., amusement parks! My sister did buy me sunglasses readers for the beach but it was a failed experiment. You should love how you look and make sure your eyes are protected no matter which you wear.

  2. I was always in the category of buying cheap sunglasses. They always broke or bent or lost a screw. I have been reading your blog for at least 4-5 years now, and I finally decided I needed to try something nicer. I started searching in Poshmark and actually found 3 pair that I ordered. I ordered 2 Gucci and one Chanel. I searched really hard and enlarged all of the pictures and made sure there were no scratches, etc. I got the first pair of Gucci and fell in love immediately. I can’t explain it, but they fit so well and felt so good. I keep them in their case in my bag and am very careful with them. With having 3 pair, they might last me for the rest of my life, who knows? I think it’s a personal decision on which way to go, but I have decided for the most part to quit buying cheap stuff that won’t last, to having fewer items but better quality and fit.

  3. Actually there are 3 kinds of sunglass wearers – I’m in that 3rd group – the ones that can’t wear any over the counter sunglass purchase but require prescription ones.
    I’m always so sad looking at posts about pretty sunglasses and seeing them everywhere knowing I can’t wear them. I have to commit to a very expensive pair of sunglasses and wear them and only them for YEARS!!!

    1. I’m in the third group, too, and I agree – it’s a bummer to have to commit for years. If not for prescription sunglasses, I’d be part of both groups 1 and 2!

    2. Ah yes, good point. My husband finally went and got Maui Jim prescription sunglasses. They look great on him, but it is definitely a pain to have to switch them when he goes inside.

  4. I actually have both! I wear the inexpensive ones playing outside with my grandsons or running errands. I save the designer ones for going out, vacation, etc I have a sunglasses wardrobe. 😂

  5. Only cheap sunglasses for me! This is a life mantra. I just know myself, and I WILL lose at least one pair per summer. Maybe it’s a stage of life thing? I have 4 children, all still at home. I don’t want to be sad about losing a $400 pair of sunglasses. It’s one less thing to worry about! Also, we do a lot of boating, and I have a few pairs lost to the lake. I can’t see ever splurging on sunglasses.

  6. That is the cutest picture of you and Becca. The years go fast huh? Before I needed prescription sunglasses, I usually bought mid range. I wanted to always make sure they were good sunglasses and not bad for my eyes. I wanted polarized too. When I started wearing regular prescription glasses, I had to get prescription sunglasses too. I’ve debated for years to try contacts, as taking my glasses on and off to change them when the suns out and you are going in and out of places is a real pain. I’d love to be able to just buy any sunglasses I like and just have to take them on and off. I’m due now for a sunglasses and regular glasses update after my upcoming eye apt. 🙂

  7. I’m neither save or splurge! Hah! I don’t wear sunglasses since I wear glasses. I think in the 20 years I’ve had glasses I might have gotten one pair of prescription glasses. The prescription sunglasses just aren’t as fun. Now that my husband has a Harley I may need to reconsider prescription sunglasses.

    1. Jennifer, when trying on sunglasses make sure they are comfortable with your helmet on. I found the aviator with the metal arms the most comfy. Mine are Oakley and live in my leather jacket. I don’t need to wear my glasses all the time ( just reading) but I did notice that you can get your prescription in Maui Jim’s or Ray Bans at my optometrist.

  8. I splurge! I’ve had a nice pair of Coach sunglasses for the last 10 years. I just recently bought a tori Burch pair and relegated the Coach pair to wear when I’m doing an activity. I agree the cost makes me take better care of them.

  9. I have both expensive and inexpensive. I have a pair of Oakley that I’ve had forevvvver, a pair of black frame Ray Bans and a pair of tortoise Maui Jim’s. But I also pick up cheap ones if they appeal to me. No biases here! Lol

  10. I’m definitely in the splurge category. I only own one pair of sunglasses and they last me around 5 years. That said I’m a devoted Maui Jim fan. They’re well made, fit my face perfectly and they last. When I add a new pair I have reader lenses added to my old pair for beach reading.

    1. I started wearing Maui Jim’s from Jo-Lynne’s prior years post. They are great and my husband loves them also. How do you go about adding reader lenses to them?
      I definitely need to have this done. Thanks!

  11. I LOVE sunglasses– mid-range to spendy. My eyes are very sensitive so I wear them year-round. I see much better out of polarized glasses so they tend to be a little more expensive, even with cheaper glasses. I’ve always worn Maui Jim and Ray-Ban but have expanded my horizons to add companies like Quay and Diff which are good quality but less expensive, maybe because they aren’t as well known. I actually own a box I bought from Amazon to store my sunglasses in my closet. They’ve become one of my favorite accessories.

  12. I don’t wear super spendy sunglasses, mostly cheap ones from Amazon. I did buy a pair of the Diff sunglasses and like them a lot. I have a weird issue with wearing sunglasses. I have one ear higher than the other, and it’s not a slight difference. Therefore, when I wear sunglasses, I ensure the arm fits my right ear but I adjust it a little up from my left ear, which is lower. That means sunglasses need to fit tightly or they’ll slip. Anyone else have this issue? I would love to know if someone makes sunglasses that can help with this problem. When I bought prescription readers, the optometrist adjusted the wire arms to fit my ears. But for fashion sunglasses, I prefer plastic arms.

  13. For all the cheap sunglasses I’ve purchased over the years in an attempt to avoid spending a lot on one pair, I probably could have purchased several expensive ones that I would have loved. I almost always end up hating the cheap ones! They never fit right and they stretch out quickly. There have been a pair or two in there that were exceptions, however, but they were rare gems. That said, I do like Quay (I don’t consider them low end,) and I’ve found quite a few amazing deals on Nordstrom Rack (since I’m frugal at heart.) Ray Bans, Tori Burch, and Rag & Bone were all purchased at around $60!

  14. I tried ordering the Maui Jim Mele and also the Orchid frame that JoLynn has modeled for us and both are too large for my face, had to return; also ordered Ray Ban new wafarer in size 52 from N.Rack which slipped down on my nose if I bowed my head which were too loose unless I got a pair that had been tried on too much, donno. Really need the polarized lenses, thinking of investing in rx ones when I see my OD next time as I have to wear safety lenses anyhow due to vision loss in my right eye. If anyone has ideas for smaller frame polarized that don’t break the bank would appreciate any comments.

      1. Found the Diff Shay 51mm with your link for Northstrom says they’re polarized so I think I’ll try them. You know I checked Zappos a few days ago when I think you were wearing the Shay and I really liked them but Zappos did not mention that they were polarized. Anyhoo, think they might work. Thanks, Nancy

  15. Team save here. I like small purses, and I will just squeeze my sunglasses in without a case, so they eventually get scratched up. But a pair will last at least a couple years, so not bad. I wouldn’t want the hassle of having to care about my sunglasses.

  16. I have always been Team Save when it comes to sunglasses (and most everything else, lol), but my husband gifted me a pair of Maui Jims over 3 years ago and I still have them. 🙂 Probably won’t go back to the cheaper ones.

Want More?