So, the sun is out and holidays are looming so you are set to grab your sunglasses and head off to the beach.
Most of us have a pair of cheap shades hanging around, and they do the basics; they keep the sun out of your eyes by turning the world into a murky fog.
And many will often think about splashing out on some designer eyewear, and we have all browsed the fashion stores and opticians' windows.
Thinking about how often you wear sunglasses you may decide to invest some time and money in picking some street-cool eyewear.
But designer eyewear doesn't come cheap. Even discount online sunglasses shops like AlphaSunglasses can charge well over £100 for genuine branded Ray-Ban and Oakley eyewear
Even the basic models of designer brands are expensive, so it's worth checking out what you can expect to get for your hard earned cash and what you need to know to get some perfect eyewear.
Choose the right style
Sunglasses come in a welter of shapes, colours, materials and sizes. We all know what Aviators and Wayfarers look like on other people but how about your own face? Some sunglasses can flatter your face shape while others can look horrible, no matter how good they look on someone else.
The general rule of thumb when choosing sunglasses is that opposites attract. Choose frames that contrast with your face shape. Round lenses will enhance square faces, and a strong jawline will benefit from a softer, flyaway lens style.
One of the great strengths of Aviators and Wayfarers is that they have almost universal aesthetic appeal while those blessed with oval shaped faced can wear pretty much anything.
Expect to pay top price for the best materials. Sunglasses must not only be sturdy and robust they must feel lightweight and comfortable too. That's not such an easy match to make, and designers have spent years and millions on getting the balance just right.
Metal frames must combine flexibility, strength and lightness as well as being hypoallergenic, corrosion free and scratch resistant. Plastic frames have had a poor reputation, but modern acetates come infused with nylon and other materials to meet the demands for flexibility and durability while being temperature resistant and colour fast.
Tinted lenses not only temper how you look but how you see the world too and much depends on how you are going to use your sunglasses. The most common tints are grey and green; they give a modest contrast boost without affecting the natural colours, so they are perfect for regular outdoor use on sunny days.
Amber and yellow tinted lenses come into their own in a low-level light as they improve colour contrast and depth perception. The downside is that they do affect the natural colour balance.
If you want sunglasses to improve your vision, then there is little use in choosing red, purple or blue tinted lenses as they are little more than cosmetic. Mirror lenses too can look great, but they reflect light away from the eyes so, of course, you end up seeing less.
Putting on a coat
Tremendous advances have been made in lens coating technology, and sunglasses rarely arrive these days without an army of high-tech lens coating options.
Gradient lens coatings are tinted gradually to create a shaded effect either at the top or bottom of the lens, sometimes both while polarised layers block horizontal light waves and help reduce glare from flat surfaces such as sea and snow.
Photochromic lenses darken in bright light and vice versa, but the transition is not immediate so you can still suffer from dazzle when you step outdoors or from temporary blindness when you step back inside.
Oakley has developed the proprietary Prizm lens which enhances contrast for specific colour ranges only thus claiming optimum performance for different environments — green for golfers, blue for anglers, brown for trail bikers and so on.
All these coatings have their advantages, but they often come with a hefty price market and the gains are only marginal. A good lens is a good lens and no coating will make a good lens out of a poor one.
Looking for the best sunglasses deal
With so many makes, models, colours, styles and lens options, choosing a new pair of designer sunglasses can be a complicated business.
Before digging deep into your pockets to hand over cash for some designer sunglasses it is a good plan to decide on exactly what you want first or at least rule out what you don't want.
Then you won't waste time trawling through endless racks of sunglasses and trying out scores of shades only to end up baffled and disorientated.
And remember that you don't need to pay top price for designer eyewear. AlphaSunglasses has a broad range of sunglasses to suit every need, from beachwear to street casual, from performance sports to chic glamour.
And if you ever need sunglasses repair you need to look no further than our sister website AlphaOmega Frame Repairs, the number one in the UK for glasses repair and cleaning.