For your eyes only

Sunglasses have long since ceased to be just accessories for utility – they are an undisputed fashion statement for people of all ages.

From Ray-Ban’s Wayfarer to the ever-popular aviators, shades have acquired new forms and designs over the years, and youngsters can’t wait to experiment with the latest styles.

The history of sunglasses dates back to pre-historic times, when crude and improvised shades were used to protect the eyes from harsh sunlight. But it wasn't until the 1700s that anything remotely close to what we wear these days was developed.

Soon, actors and musicians like Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley had dipped their hands into the honey pot and made it a fashion statement. Different trends have arisen and washed away, but the use of sunglasses have never died down.

Abhiram Sridhar, who runs a catering service, says that he looks out for designs that are unique. “I like shades because they makes me look nicer and (obviously) protect my eyes from dust and sunlight. So, when I purchase sunglasses, I always make sure they are unique and none of my friends have the same. I have four glasses which I wear with almost everything.” Aryan Gaurav Naidu, a professional, adds that sunglasses make him feel confident. “I also like them because they cover my eyes when I’m tired.”

But not everyone thinks of them as a fashion statement. Edwin Dylan Creado, a design student, says, “I don’t particularly like them - it’s more to do with whether I need them or not. When I do need them, I make sure I pick the right ones that complement my entire outfit.” He does, however, keep the latest trends in mind. “I love keeping up with the latest trends in fashion - at times they are a ‘yay’, other times a ‘nay’.”

People are spoilt for choice as there are various designs, colours, shapes and sizes to pick from. While Sridhar prefers ones that are bright and “stand out”, Creado likes the ones with the round frames and gold-tinted glass. "It’s the one that best suits my face type," says Creado. 

Naidu, on the other hand, says, “I mostly like Clubmasters or Wayfarers, depending on the occasion. And I prefer dark shaded ones.” 

Winona Laisram, also a design student, likes oversized gradient shades. Picking up the right shades is a task in itself as one has to look for something that suits their face. It’s advisable for people with round faces to go for square shaped frames, to help accentuate the bone structure, and square-shaped faces would look best in circular frames. While heart-shaped faces can pull off aviators like a boss, people with oval faces can pretty much pull off anything! 

“Sunglasses are a fashion statement when you don't do too much with them, like if you couple it with a nice shirt and chinos. Also, at times it's really important to get a good pair that suits your face type. You wouldn’t want to wear something that looks like you’ve borrowed it from someone! It’s a big fashion no-no if you go all out with them, if the shades are brighter than the sun, if they sparkle more than a diamond, or if they can be easily spotted like a traffic cone. The idea is to keep it simple, and keep it stylish,” says Creado.

While on the subject, Sridhar says that shades look fashionable when one is wearing the right clothes. “You can't wear a blue pant with a yellow shirt and red sunglasses - it look jhinchak!” According to Naidu, it’s all about purpose. “Like, you can’t wear shades in winter,” he says.

How brand conscious are youngsters? “I have a pink one from ‘Accessorize’ and a couple from ‘Fastrack’. The one I love the most is from ‘Vogue’,” says Sridhar. Naidu and Creado aren’t brand conscious though. “It’s all about how it looks on me,” says Naidu. Creado sums up, “Some of the best fashion accessories are found on the streets, and it's all about how you make it work.”

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