Sunglasses: The Ultimate Accessory

With a great pair of sunglasses...we can all look like movie stars.

By , Contributor

Marilyn Monroe

When you wake up in the morning
and the light is hurt your head
The first thing you do
when you get up out of bed
Is hit that streets a-runnin'
and try to beat the masses
And go get yourself
some cheap sunglasses

ZZ Top - 1980

Whether you are running from the paparazzi, striding down Fifth or hitting that perfect serve, sunglasses are the ultimate accessory. Be they oversized, retro or rimless you simply don't leave home without them.

vuarnet2011.jpgarnette.jpgSam Foster christened the trend in 1929 when he made 'glasses for the masses.' Since then, the price and fashion quotient have risen considerably when it comes to chic shades. This ubiquitous accessory, sported by uptown girls, downtown dudes and Hollywood A-listers is a must for exuding a glint of glam, modicum of mystery or a sense of sporty. As a stylist, I firmly encourage a full-fledged 'wardrobe' of tints and frames as the finishing touch for every ensemble. Save your Arnettes for the courts and sport the newest Vuarnets on the street. The trend for Summer/2011 features less logo and more understated elegance...a sign of the times.

'Sex and the City' spawned a shoe obsession with its cadre of zealous viewers. I, however, maintain that while shoes can certainly be sexy, there's a missed opportunity if you fail to focus on your face, not feet, first.

marilynmonroe.jpgMarilyn Monroe, at her zenith, was the last word when it came to a 'wardrobe' of glamorous eyewear. She emanated all that was mysterious and sexy while sunglasses accented her pouty and exuberant charm. Luxurious furs, liquid-silk gowns, pedal pushers and shirtdresses all had the perfect complement in a pair of well-chosen shades. Plastic, metals and exotic tints have widely expanded the possibilities however, Marilyn's signature frames could be worn today and look consummately current.

salma_hayek-5.jpgChannel the screen siren or leading man within by picking a few perfect pairs. There's a wealth out there, some costing a small ransom, so choose wisely. Pay attention to color and proportion when it comes to acquiring these all-important accents. Define the shape of your face and work with the angles. Square?; Soften your plateau with rounder lenses. Oval? You can choose almost any pair as your ovoid frame will flatter most all. Round? Square off the softness with something angular. Wayfarers and Aviators, while full of retro charm are not for everyone.

brad_pitt-16.jpgp_45f1e_occhiali-dolce-gabbana-angelina-jolie.jpgMarry your frame to an interesting lens for maximum drama. Brad Pitt took Tom Ford's tortoise shell 'Singular Man' and added a pale-tinted lens for great effect. Salma Hayek (above right) played up her exotic beauty with Stella McCartney's oversized, dark lenses surrounded by a cherry frame and Angelina Jolie went for the Gold Edition aviator from Dolce and Gabbana, emphasizing her perfect, petulant attitude.

illestevasunglasses.jpgsg2.jpgIt's all about attitude when you don your sunglasses...

While the tried-and-true always have something to offer, brands like Illesteva (left) and Oliver Goldsmith (right) take the fashion forward by the hand and have them leaping over the sartorial bar. Highly crafted and designed, they exude cool chic. European luxury brands like Vuarnet and Pilla, formerly reserved for the sportive set, are now walking the line between tennis and 'tinis so that one pair can bring you day into evening.

Add that little black dress and you're good to go...

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Cynthia Carr Gardner is a free-lance stylist in New York, Los Angeles and Boston. She began her career at Glamour Magazine as a sportswear editor and arbiter of the famed 'Do's and Don'ts.' Her work spans 33 years incorporating feature films, commercials, and currently, personal stylist for ESPN Monday…

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