Shopping the sunglass trends: Online vs In-store

OK, I’ll admit it – I have a lot of sunglasses. Too many apparently. And I’ve noticed that while I am drawn to the unique, the quirky and the statement pieces I still almost always end up going back to the same 4-5 pair. They’re all quite different to each other, have different lenses and are made of different materials, so it’s not that I have a design preference as such. It’s because of two main things;

  • They fit to perfection
  • I know they will look good with anything I wear because they suit my face shape
One from my collection

In past blog posts I’ve gone through how to get the best fitting eyewear, the materials, lens types etc so it’s not something I wasn’t to cover again here. I think its time we talk about buying habits, and risk taking.

Recently I’ve noticed a trend on my Instagram feed. There are far more likes and comments on the eyewear I share that is extremely ‘out there’. Anything Fluoro, covered in sparkles, completely unique in design, that’s what people love. Or love to ‘like’ – it’s a completely different thing. Eye candy gets all the ‘likes’ but it doesn’t necessarily get the sales. Don’t get me wrong, I love finding and sharing all these unique and different designs, designers etc and I love seeing everyone’s reactions.  But at the end of the day, this isn’t what the majority of people want to spend money on when they’re shopping, unless they are absolutely 100% sure that the investment piece is going to look perfect on them, and feel like they were made specifically for them. I get it – this is my thought every time I purchase too.

How many other people have purchased a pair of sunglasses online only to receive them, wear them once and now have no idea where they are? It’s even worse if you do it with prescription lenses – they’re not cheap! When buying online we are forgoing the two most important things about investing in eyewear; the fit and working with your face shape. If you’re only buying something cheap you think you’ll wear a couple of times its fine, but if you’re like me, and see purchases over $50 as an investment that you’d like to keep and show off for at least a little longer the 3 wears, taking a gamble by choosing to buy sunglasses online hardly ever pays off.


These days however, and especially thanks to COVID-19, online shopping is becoming an only option for a lot of people. Many brands and stores are online only, or international which if you have your heart set on a specific pair, doesn’t leave you with many options. So how can you minimise risk and still get quality eyewear? I’ve compiled a list that will hopefully make your shopping experience a bit more fruitful.

  1. If you can purchase from a local store, do so. You can try them on first, talk about the fit and the quality and get them professionally fitted. Not to mention you’d be supporting a local business (shop independent!)
  2. Do your homework. Not everything is as good a quality as the pictures make them out to be! For example, I have had a few brand new sunglasses that I have purchased arrive to me with cracks in the frame, polarised lenses off axis, and one was even missing a nosepad! Look past the flashy gems and mirrored lenses and make sure you know what the quality is of the materials they’re made of. Its no use having a beautiful bejewelled pair of sunglasses if the quality of the frame is cheap brittle plastic and the gems are glued on – one wear and half of them will be lost forever! (speaking from experience)
  3. In 99% of cases you are going to get what you pay for. Cheap price = cheap quality. That’s fine if you know what you’re getting, but if you’re getting a pair of Chloe sunglasses for $89.00, they’re either second hand or fakes. Don’t be fooled!
  4. ‘Designer’ doesn’t mean a thing! Just because a celebrity has their name on something doesn’t always mean that it’s a good quality product.
  5. If you want to experiment with a new shape, go in store. It’s simply not worth risking money on something that you try on once and throw aside. All eyewear looks COMPLETELY different on your face to what it does in a picture.
  6. Eyewear Sizes should be used as a guide only. The bridge and eye size are measured in millimetres so will technically always be the same. However that doesn’t guarantee the same fit. There are so many things that can make a frame of the same ‘size’ fit differently from the materials its made of, the angle it sits on your face, the type of bridge etc.
  7. Always – ALWAYS – check your return eligibility and timeframe. AS soon as you receive your purchase, inspect it thoroughly for lens scratches, any frame scratches, scuffs, marks, cracks or chips.

And as a final note, IF you purchase eyewear online don’t walk into an independent optometry practice and demand that they adjust them to fit you. By all means, go and ask but getting angry and yelling at them when they say ‘no’ because there is already damage to the frame is not going to go down well. (Yes this happened, just last week!) It’s your choice to purchase in store or online, not your local Optometrists.

Valley Eyewear DAGGAR

So in summary, I understand why online shopping is growing so rapidly – we all do! But that also means we should educate ourselves a little more on what we should look out for when we are ready to upgrade our sunglasses. Remember, your local store can usually get in more styles, colours and brands than what they have room to stock on their shelves so give them the benefit of doubt and start with them. If they aren’t able to help you, at least you tried and if you DO need to go to them for adjustments down the track, it’s going to be a lot easier.

M xx

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