by Holly Sheets

fashion-trending-style-watch | 4L Magazine San Diego

The sun is shining brighter, the days are getting longer, and you are spending more and more time outside. The first day of summer is June 21, but summer started much earlier here in San Diego. It is time to hit the beaches, shop our seaside communities, dine outside in the sun, attend an outdoor wedding or three, or just enjoy your active lifestyle outside.

All of these occasions this summer call for one thing: a great pair of shades.

Wearing sunglasses is not just about fashion. Sunglasses are a form of protective eyewear designed to prevent sunlight and high-energy visible light from damaging or discomforting your eyes. Healthcare professionals recommend eye protection whenever the sun comes out to protect the eyes from ultraviolet radiation and harmful blue light, which can cause several serious eye problems such as macular degeneration, cataracts and various forms of eye cancer (in San Diego, we are talking year round eyewear protection).

People every year spend money on moisturizers, lotions, sunscreens, anti-aging stuff, etc., yet there are still many who are not willing to invest in a great pair of sunglasses. I want to clarify: When I say sunglasses I am not referring to a pair of two for $10 off some spinner.

It is important that you wear sunglasses that will actually protect your eyes and not damage them even more from eye strain. There are certain attributes that you should look for in a pair of sunglasses: clarity (distortion free), protection (100 percent UV protectant, polarized), functionality and appropriateness (performance vs. lifestyle/occasion).

Besides the obvious and previously mentioned reasons for wearing sunglasses, there is another aspect to keep in mind: FASHION. If you think about it, fashion trends are really about appropriateness. For example: the fur boot (not regular Uggs, I’m talking fur boots) is not appropriate in San Diego. If your girl was to wear them it would be a major fashion faux pas. However, you take your girl to Aspen and she is walking around the village in them, she is 100 percent fashionable and 100 percent appropriate.

People should think about their sunglasses in the same manner. If you are hanging out at the beach, it is appropriate that you wear a wrap around, maybe a polarized, dark colored lens for ultimate bright conditions. Now, you are going to a wedding this weekend that is outdoors. Sunglasses are an obvious must, but not that same pair you wore to the beach, that would not be appropriate. There are certainly hundreds of occasions to wear sunglasses and unless you are huge sunglass connoisseur, I’m pretty sure 100 different pairs are out of the question. You could certainly get by with two or three great pairs for different needs.

Think about your sunglass needs. Most men could get away with an active piece, fashion piece and something fun to show off your personality. An active piece should be polarized if your lifestyle puts you near the water. The polarized lens will eliminate the glare and offer your eyes optimum protection while enabling you to see things you may have missed with the glare. If your active lifestyle demands more of a performance frame, you will want to look for such features as nose pads or grips on the arms that keep them from slipping (shop brands like Oakley and Maui Jim).

You may think that fashion isn’t your thing. Maybe you aren’t into name brands. That’s OK, that isn’t what this is about. Remember, appropriateness is the guideline. If you dress business or business casual for work, your big plastic wrap around glasses are not appropriate for you Monday-Friday when you are dressed for work. Try a classic shape like an aviator or wayfarer. Ray Ban is the obvious go-to of these styles. However, if you are someone who likes fashion brands, you can find aviator or wayfarer shapes in just about every brand. These styles will accompany any suit (or non boardshort/flip-flop/workout attire) just beautifully.

If you want to add something fun to your sunglass wardrobe, add color! You could go for a colored, mirrored lens. You can find them in just about every brand, and they are a great way to express your fun personality. Maybe the colored lens is too much for you; you can still add something fun subtly with a colored frame, or even a traditional black or tortoise frame that has colored accent pieces. Fashion pieces are definitely a form of personal expression. What do you want your frames to say about you?