There are plenty of people who will tell you that you can spend far too much on buying a pair of designer sunglasses and they would be right.
Luxury brand sunglasses come with a hefty price tag and, some say, a ridiculous markup for the manufacturers and retailers.
Fashion these days is about buying into an established or up-and-coming brand and fans will pay just about anything to be seen wearing the latest craze.
Buying sunglasses should not be all about the brand, of course, but there it is; a Prada or Gucci follower will not consider wearing anything else and be horrified at the suggestion that a cheaper pair of unbranded sunglasses could look just as good.
Fortunately, you don't have to dig deep into your pocket to get the best eyewear these days. There are discounts to be found if you look hard enough.
It must be admitted too that the most expensive sunglasses on the market are not necessarily the best.
High-quality eyewear will not be cheap but it doesn't have to be sky high astronomical either.
If you don't care that much about luxury brands and just want a pair of quality sunglasses that will last for more than one season, there are plenty of brands to choose from.
Even non-branded eyewear can be well made and manufactured to last.
You get what you pay for
Then again, you tend to get what you pay for, and a pair of cheap sunglasses will be inexpensive for a reason.
Cheap materials, lack of quality control, no warranty and non-existent customer support are the most important things you get with cheap eyewear.
Inexpensive sunglasses probably won't last too long. It's not only that the manufacturing is sub-standard, scratch-resistant coatings may be thinner than you thought but also hinges and nose pads may break or arms get twisted out of shape within hours.
At least with expensive designer sunglasses, you can be pretty sure that quality is built-in because brands have a reputation to protect.
But that doesn't mean that non-branded or non-fashion eyewear will necessarily be of inferior quality. Some mid-price range sunglasses come with first-rate reviews and made with robust materials that will stand the test of time.
Quality comes at a price
Higher quality comes at a price but never comes cheap. High-end sunglasses often come in a wider range of colours and lens options as well as being more customisable.
UV protection, for example, should be non-negotiable when buying sunglasses. You need to be sure that the lenses are fully compliant with industry standards or you can risk serious eye disease later in life.
Investing in more expensive sunglasses not only means that you get the protection you need but also that you may have to change them less often, which can be a saving in the long run.
Lenses made of glass, for example, can last for decades with polycarbonate alternatives come with a range of impurities. You will need to pay more for purity in polycarbonates and for lens coatings that last more than a few months.
Stay away from cheap sunglasses
Luxury label eyewear is often sold at eye-watering prices, especially in High Street stores and Opticians but there are online stores such as AlphaSunglasses which offer designer labels at discount prices.
Our advice is to stay away from very cheap sunglasses. If inexpensive eyewear comes with a label, it is almost certainly fake. Luxury brand manufacturers don't sell cheap even at trade prices, so a bargain pair of designer shades is not going to happen.
Downmarket sunglasses are cheap for a reason; impure plastics, thin metal hinges and shoddy workmanship are just a few reasons why you should steer clear.
Pay more for sunglasses, and you will save money. They will perform better, last longer and, most importantly, they will keep your eyes safe from harmful UV rays.