Do $500 Sunglasses Protect Your Eyes Better Than a $5 Pair? Maybe Not.

I was never a big fan of "designer" sunglasses. But that was before wayfarers suddenly looked fresh again. And Linda Farrow began reissuing vintage classics, as well as teaming up with new, exciting designers like The Row and Alexander Wang. And before I really learned to appreciate Persols. And Supers. And oh, long before Karen Walker. These days, I'm pretty much a sunglasses whore. I love them. I match them to my outfits. I don't own as many pairs as I'd like to, and right now I really, really need a pair of big, black cat eyes. But after my most recent purchase--more than I've ever spent on sunnies--I'm feeling a bit anxious. The glasses--as stylish, chic, and lovely as they are--offer no protection. Well, at least they don't feel like they do. I walk outside and I need to squint behind my sunglasses. I walk inside and I have no need to take them off--I can see perfectly. This is where my practical side comes in. Why, if these are 50 times more expensive than the pair I bought H&M, do my cheapo sunnies feel like they're working harder?
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I was never a big fan of "designer" sunglasses. But that was before wayfarers suddenly looked fresh again. And Linda Farrow began reissuing vintage classics, as well as teaming up with new, exciting designers like The Row and Alexander Wang. And before I really learned to appreciate Persols. And Supers. And oh, long before Karen Walker. These days, I'm pretty much a sunglasses whore. I love them. I match them to my outfits. I don't own as many pairs as I'd like to, and right now I really, really need a pair of big, black cat eyes. But after my most recent purchase--more than I've ever spent on sunnies--I'm feeling a bit anxious. The glasses--as stylish, chic, and lovely as they are--offer no protection. Well, at least they don't feel like they do. I walk outside and I need to squint behind my sunglasses. I walk inside and I have no need to take them off--I can see perfectly. This is where my practical side comes in. Why, if these are 50 times more expensive than the pair I bought H&M, do my cheapo sunnies feel like they're working harder?
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I was never a big fan of "designer" sunglasses. But that was before wayfarers suddenly looked fresh again. And Linda Farrow began reissuing vintage classics, as well as teaming up with new, exciting designers like The Row and Alexander Wang. And before I really learned to appreciate Persols. And Supers. And oh, long before Karen Walker.

These days, I'm pretty much a sunglasses whore. I love them. I match them to my outfits. I don't own as many pairs as I'd like to, and right now I really, really need a pair of big, black cat eyes.

But after my most recent purchase--more than I've ever spent on sunnies--I'm feeling a bit anxious. The glasses--as stylish, chic, and lovely as they are--offer no protection. Well, at least they don't feel like they do. I walk outside and I need to squint behind my sunglasses. I walk inside and I have no need to take them off--I can see perfectly.

This is where my practical side comes in. Why, if these are 50 times more expensive than the pair I bought H&M, do my cheapo sunnies feel like they're working harder?

Because they might be. It all comes down to UV protection. MY H&M pair is labeled "100% UV protection." The pricier style? There's no record of UV on the glasses or on the case.

So be warned. Those sunnies may be aesthetically ideal, but they're quite possibly useless. Me? I'm wearing my adorable-but-dangerous pair on gray days only. Read more from our Sunglasses Special Report: Our Favorite Sunglasses of the Season I Need, I Want, I Have To Have: Shuron’s “Freeway” Sunglasses (Or Moscot’s “Nebb”…I’m Torn)