Throwin' Shade

10 Super-Hot Sunglasses For Stylin' & Profilin'

by Mikey Rox

After a brutal winter that left most of us begging for mercy, it's finally time to enjoy some fun in the sun. To help you step out in take-that-snow-and-shove-it style this season, peep these top 10 sunglass picks for scopin' babes and throwin' shade in summer 2014.

1. Fed Thrill

Whether you're strolling around Baltimore's famous Inner Harbor, surveying the local scene at a historic municipal market, or retracing the roots of John Waters' "Hairspray," it's best to soak up Charm City's culture through the many-colored lenses of Fed Thrill sunglasses, named after the Federal Hill neighborhood the company calls home. Available in a wide range of demure and dynamic hues - categories include Classic, Collegiate, Pink Awareness, and Bold Expressions - these affordable, durable specs are as perfect for cracking blue crabs on the back porch as they are catchin' rays at Camden Yards. ($29-$39; www.fedthrill.com)

2. Mashern

It's not often you can call something out of this world and literally mean it, but in the case of American Optical sunglasses it's true. This brand of fashion-forward aviators has a long history of star-studded style, having once traveled to the moon and back; Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11 fame took the frames to the lunar surface, and the rest is history. Today you can don the same storied shades in several high-quality metallic finishes like gold, silver and chrome. ($45; www.mashern.com)

3. Panda

You'll love the way Panda sunglasses look and feel - there's a style and finish to suit just about everybody's face - but it's the brand's ethical modus operandi that'll keep you coming back for more: For each pair of the bamboo wooden sunglasses you purchase, Panda provides the Gift Of Vision - a free eye exam and eyewear to a person in need. Seeing is believing. ($120; www.wearpanda.com)

4. Moscot

Channel your favorite gay icons of the Beat Generation - paging Mr. Ginsberg! - with The Governor sunglasses from Moscot Originals. Made from block acetate with three dot rivets on the front and temples, a keyhole bridge, and a real seven-barrel hinge, these smart frames provide poetic justice to square-, pear-, and heart-shaped faces. James Franco would be proud. ($295; www.moscot.com)

5. New York Glass

The only third-party supplier on the list, New York Glass (founded to give eyewear titan Luxottica a run for its money) boasts an impressive selection of independent labels that take pride in designing and manufacturing their own unique lines. From wooden frames to vintage styles to vibrant new designs, New York Glass offers options from standout sunglass companies like LOOK/SEE, Quay, Raen, and Randolph. Also on their roster is Proof, the ECO collection from which (including the sophisticated Sawtooth Tiger style) is 100 percent renewable, biodegradable and hypoallergenic. ($39.95-$179; www.nyglass.com)

6. Brooklyn Spectacles

Brooklyn Spectacles - launched in 2012 by optical expert Jenny Ma - is on a mission to design interesting, fashion-forward, technologically advanced eyewear, and it's accomplishing that goal one quality-crafted frame at a time. Available through a wide network of authorized retailers from coast to coast (check the website for a store near you), this still-burgeoning brand offers four distinct sun styles - Benson, Kent, Monti, and Tilden - in traditional and non-traditional colors, like Moss, Blonde, and Plum. (Prices vary; www.brooklynspectacles.com)

7. Nectar

If you're in the market for a pair of shades that have pop, pizzazz, panache and a price tag that'll have you pinching yourself, move Nectar to the top of your list. Dedicated to pursuing and promoting the sweet life, this surf-, sand-, and skate-inspired brand founded by two young entrepreneurs has its finger on the pulse of what's hot, featuring an eclectic, chameleonic collection of brilliant, burst-of-color frames. You're guaranteed to find a pair to match every skimpy swimsuit you own - and then some. ($20-$110; www.nectarsunglasses.com)

8. Solo Eyewear

Like several other eyewear companies on the market, SOLO provides eye care for people in need with each pair of handcrafted recycled wood sunglasses it sells. Good form. But unlike its competition, SOLO stands apart with its hand-painted sunglasses that juxtapose bamboo temples with acetate frames - and the result is nothing short of visionary. Each pair is spec-tacular in its own right, but Peacock, Tiger and Jellyfish are the best of the bunch. ($89-$160; www.soloeyewear.com)

9. Anderne

Drawing heavy inspiration from the 1980s (among other decades), Anderne's Sun Collection harks back to those sweltering days spent hanging out in a pastel-colored sub shop, playing Pac-Mac and lusting over the cutie behind the counter, while managing to remain altogether new at the same time. Splashes of pink, blue and orange pepper this throwback set that's filled out with Lennon-era rounders and steampunk influences, all of which will have you reminiscing about that one perfect summer, no matter when you spent it. (Prices vary; www.anderne.com)

10. Krewe Du Optic

Every style of KREWE du optic is unisex - yes, even those lavender aviators you've got your eye on - which completely eliminates the stress of wondering whether or not your androgynous sunglasses are a shade too feminine. Just accept the fact that they might be - and that's OK. Besides, nobody can rock 'em like you do. ($145-$205; www.kreweduoptic.com)

Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and blogger whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He lives in Manhattan with his husband and their cuddle-buddy furbaby. Connect with Mikey on Twitter mikeyrox.
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