Sunglasses for your holidays

When the weather begins to warm up and the sun visits on a more consistent basis, it’s time to start looking for a new pair of sunglasses to wear on your next vacation. When browsing through this season’s selections, you want to be mindful of key attributes to look for, because not all sunglasses are created equal.

Style Factor

There are several hot new looks for sunglasses in the 2011 spring and summer seasons. For women, the trend is toward retro-chic, more specifically sleek and glamorous cat-eye shades in a variety of colors, from demure tortoiseshell to bright neon. The upward slant can be subtle or exaggerated – think 1950s meets the Jetsons.

This season, the fashion-conscious are also leaning towards thick frames, complete with huge circular lenses or rounded square lenses. On the opposite end of the spectrum, minimalist wire-rim shades are popular with both men and women.

Fit Factor

No matter what the current trend is, your sunglasses need to fit correctly and comfortably on your face. Otherwise, they will undoubtedly end up in a drawer somewhere, instead of in your travel bag as you fly, drive or sail off on a fun adventure.

The rule of thumb is that the size of your sunglasses is directly proportional to the size of your face; so larger faces can wear bigger sunglasses. Experts also recommend that the shape of your frames be different from the shape of your face.

For instance, wider rectangular frames will suit a round face, this season’s cat-eye or round frames will look fabulous on a square face, and oval rimless sunglasses will look stunning on a diamond-shaped face.

Suitability Factor

On your vacation, you might be quite active and always on the move; on the other hand, you might be spending your days lounging about on a beach somewhere, hardly moving a muscle except to sip on a cocktail or turn the page of a book.

If you want to make a fashion statement, perhaps on a holiday to New York City or Los Angeles, you might choose a different pair of sunglasses then if you were to go skiing in Colorado or hiking in the Grand Canyon.

Lens Factor

Much of the decision over which pair of sunglasses to purchase depends on the lenses. They come in a few materials that include NXT polyurethane, which is impact-resistant and lightweight but costs a pretty penny. Polycarbonate lenses are also impact-resistant, lightweight and more affordable, but they are less scratch-resistant and have weaker optical clarity.

Acrylic lenses are the most inexpensive of the three and great for casual use; however, they are less durable, have even weaker optical clarity than polycarbonate lenses and are prone to image distortion. Lenses that are more expensive come with different kinds of protection, including water-repellant coatings, scratch-resistant coatings, and coatings that prevent lenses from fogging up.

The most important coating for your lenses is maximum UV protection, which keeps harmful ultraviolet radiation away from your eyes and deters cataracts and macular degeneration.

Sara Roberts is a content contributor for Just Eyewear, an eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses retailer.