For any sun loving South African, sunglasses are undoubtedly one of the most important accessories in summer. Not only do they serve the all-important purpose of protecting the eyes against ultraviolet light, but they can also be a statement of style, personality and even mood. According to Ruahan Naude, CEO at Dynamic Vision, this year, sunglass styles are more diverse than they have ever been; from retro and futuristic, to classic, high fashion and sporty, there really is something to suite all styles and tastes. One of the more notable trends this summer is ‘athleisure’ which mixes active with casual fashion. Sporty looking, colourful sunglasses are an all-important accompaniment for transitioning from the gym to the street. 

So, what’s hot in prescription frames and sunglasses for this summer? According to Naude, tinted lenses have made a comeback. Mirrored or plain, tinted lenses – in purple, yellow, green or coral – are outlined by starkly contrasting white or metallic edging for striking emphasis. Also, making a comeback are thick frames in bold colours, reminiscent of the 1980s. Cat eye shaped glasses, with slightly rounded bottoms and pointier wings, are back in vogue. Oversized frames, in all shapes – from round and square to oval – are also in the cast of summer must haves this year.

Ray-Ban is certainly back with a bang this year, bringing some serious style to the streets of South Africa this summer. 

In contrast to the trend of bigger and bolder frames, there is also a simultaneous return to minimalism, with vintage metal frames. Frames are getting heavier over the eyebrows and lighter around the cheekbones. Small round metal frames are the height of this fashion trend. While these modern throwbacks are all the rage, there is also a futuristic feel to styles coming off the runways. For instance, there are frameless designs without edges and visor-type styles that are characteristic of those worn by the actors in sci-fi flicks.

The colored frame is another hot trend of the new season. The age-old classic, tortoiseshell, is prominent with some modern dramatic exaggerations, while painted and marbled effects, as well as patterns drawn from nature, such as wood, are the colours adding an exciting new twist to sunglasses in summer 2017. This season’s eyewear must-haves for men are also full of color and character.

While the diversity of styles and colours available make sunglass shopping particularly exciting this season, Naude reminds South Africans that eyewear should also provide protection. “Your sunglasses’ lenses should be polarized and offer protection UV-A and UV-B rays. Cheapie, fashion eyewear will not provide this level of necessary protection. Premium brands will have the UV protection capabilities detailed on the frames. If the glasses you are eyeing do not detail the level of protection, you can almost guarantee that they will not deliver. Cheaper sunglasses may block some of the light, causing your iris to open to allow more light in. This also allows in more UV light which can damage your retina more than if you weren’t wearing sunglasses at all.

“Nowadays, you do not have to sacrifice aesthetics in order to have decent protection and functionality. If you are unsure, visit an optometrist for advice, and to evaluate options that suite your lifestyle, fashion style and budget,” advises Naude.

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