With the sunglass season heading our way FAST, it’s time we start taking a look at what will be trending this summer. And what better place to start than with a trend seen everywhere in Eyewear right now: Mirror lenses.
Also known as ‘flash’ or ‘iridium’, this is actually a reflective coating on the front surface of your lenses. You’ve all seen them; traditionally bright coloured lenses that act like a rainbow mirror, blocking your ability to see the wearers’ eyes. As with everything in eyewear, this trend is available in a lot of different qualities: the good, the bad and the ugly. From high end fashion labels to petrol stations and everything in between, there is no shortage of places to try this trend.
So why would I suggest avoiding the cheap versions at markets and heading to your Eyewear Specialty stores? Because there is a massive difference in quality of the coatings and spending any money at all on something that hasn’t been set properly on your lens is only going to end in tears.
Let’s take a quick look at what you should consider before investing in Mirror lenses:
– Very on trend this year
– It adds an extra level of glare-reduction to your lenses
– They are available in a very wide range of colours
– It means no one can see where you’re looking
– Available off the shelf and can also be ordered for prescription lenses
– Scratches and marks show up very easily. Once the coating is scratched it shows the dark lens base colour underneath
– Once you get a scratch, sometimes the coating can begin to peel across the entire lens
– People can’t see your eyes
– They show signs of wear and tear quickly especially if exposed to heat ( eg left on a car dashboard)
– They are REALLY HARD AND ANNOYING to photograph!!!!
As a brief summary, if you look after your glasses this trend is a great investment. They look good, are available in a wide range of colours to suit your personal taste and actually add to your eye protection. However, if you’re a little harder on your sunnies and prefer to not have to think about a case, or leaving them in the car, this might be one type of lens to skip. Small marks and scratches that you could normally get away with are much more noticeable with a mirror lens.
This year pastel colours are really making a splash, with pink, purple, soft gold and blue leading the way. Mirror lenses can be custom ordered at your independent Optometrists though, and most practices can offer you a wide range of lens and colour choices whether you have prescription or not. Your base lens can be whatever you want – a basic tint, polarised, photochromic, and in whatever colour you choose. And most lens manufacturers are offering not only the softer coloured mirror finishes, but also the traditional Yellow, Red, Orange, Green, Blue and Purple. Silver can be a little tricky, so always make sure you ask to see samples if you’re custom ordering. Silver Mirror coatings are so bright they’re almost white with some labs, while others are very light, and may even be called ‘black iridium’ rather than silver.
One question I get asked a lot about Mirror coatings is if they change the colour of your lens to look through. The general answer is no, as your base colour still holds the majority of your lens tint, however the mirror coating can have a light impact on your vision depending on both the colour of your base lens, as well as the colour of the mirror coating. For example, if you have a very soft brown base lens with a Red mirror coating, you may find that the lens may seem a little warmer to look through than it would without the mirror coating. However, if you had a solid grey (neutral) base tint with the same red mirror coating, you’re far less likely to notice a shift in the overall lens colour. As always, ask for samples and only purchase from a store that you trust.
This is a trend I’m personally already on board with. 5 years ago would have been a different story, but I really like the way the softer pastel tones add another layer of style to the classic sunglass shapes without being too over the top. My best tip would be to try a few different colours on and make sure you pay attention to the lens you’re looking through, and not only what you’re looking at. After all, Sunglasses are, and will always be first and foremost about the health and protection of your eyes.
The Eyewear Girl xo