Is it just me or does it feel like sunglasses are either $15…or $500? And it’s always the $15 sunglasses I’m constantly losing and replacing…only to inevitably find the missing pair buried in my tote bag, days later.
No “shade,” but when it comes to sunglasses, I have Dom Perignon taste on an Andre budget (who remembers drinking Andre in high school? Shudder). I love designer sunglasses as much as the next person, but I’m also not looking to spend a monthly car payment on something that will definitely end up in my baby’s gummy mouth.
If true designer sunglasses are your thing (and trust me, I get it), the first places I typically check are Nordstrom Rack or Saks OFF 5TH. They frequently sell last season’s sunglasses for a fraction of the cost, and I’ve found some really good deals on even Chloe or Gucci sunglasses. They might not all be quite under $100, but they’re close!
Designer Sunnies for a Steal
The Best Designer-Quality Sunglasses Under $100 (+ Where To Buy Them)
Some sunglass brands, however, nail the sweet spot of well-made, trendy, functional sunglasses for less than $100. So whether you’re on a budget or have a personal wrecking ball in the form of a 27 lb., 12-month-old, you may be in the market for sunglasses that don’t break the bank. Through much trial and error (and scouring a ton of reviews) I have found four brands worth considering. Basically with all of these sunglasses, you’d be sad if you lost them, but not, like, $300 sad.
1. Le Specs
Maybe it’s because of the French name (I just assume anything with “Le” in the name will be expensive) or maybe it’s because a literal duchess wore them, but I’ve always thought of Le Specs as a designer brand. Well, le newsflash for y’all, their sunglasses look amazing and retail on average for under $70. All Le Spec frames have a timeless sort of feel. These are definitely sunglasses that will get you through many summers (and toddlers). Here are two of my favorite pairs.
I’ve been eyeing (get it) Le Specs ever since Emily wore a pair and was a dead ringer for Meghan Markle. Granted, sunglasses can’t work miracles, but these Armada Le Specs Sunglasses (also available in black) are truly fabulous. They’re a cross between a cat-eye and round frame, for the days when you can’t commit to a specific aesthetic. Armada Le Specs run for under $100 (I got mine for $59).
Air Heart Sunglasses
Obviously, I had to include these. The Air Heart Sunglasses by Le Specs (also available in Tortoise) — aka the Meghan Markle sunglasses — are literally fit for a duchess (although truly a constitutional monarchy seems kind of bogus, but we’re not here for a British History lesson). I digress. The Air Heart Sunglasses are a thicker, cat-eye frame with a somewhat retro feel. They may not come with a title, but you can feel like royalty whilst wearing them (and just by using the word “whilst”).
2. Warby Parker
When you think of Warby Parker you typically think of their regular specs (highly recommend. I own the Watts frame with prescription lenses). Prescription sunglasses will run you over $100, but many of their frames, san specialty lenses, are $95, scratch-resistant and block 100% of UV Rays. Similar to their glasses, you can try ’em online and it’s incredibly good technology.
I’m drawn to these Taye Black Tortoise frames. They’re circular and hipster, and I am a sucker for a hipster look y’all. The more I can look like a tenured professor of Art History at a small liberal arts college, the better.
If you’re looking for high drama, there’s no better option than a very oversized pair of sunglasses. These Priscilla frames fit the bill. I’m feeling the amber brown (is not a crayon, couldn’t help myself) frames and the lighter lens. They are fabulous.
3. DIFF Eyewear
Yes, these are the sunglasses you’ve seen on many an Instagram influencer and reality star. But this is one of those times where IG Ads do not fail ya! I have several pairs of DIFF Eyewear Sunglasses that have survived many drops, children, moves, etc., They hold up, plus for every pair sold, they provide a pair of eyeglasses to someone in need.
If you need a break from the typical browns and blacks (they have those too, of course) give these Cody Sunglasses — in a delightful spring green — a shot. Also, they’re polarized! Not bad for under $100.
Becky II Sunglasses
Forget about Becky with the good hair, what about Becky with the good shades! These Becky II Sunglasses by DIFF Eyewear are totally unexpected with the pink lens and tortoise frame. If bright and bold isn’t your thing, they also come in other combinations. I gravitate towards oversized sunglasses, so these are calling my name (or Becky’s) for obvious reasons.
4. QUAY Australia
QUAY sunglasses aren’t just notoriously cool, they’re notoriously affordable. Full disclosure, this is the only brand I haven’t tried, but they keep coming up in searches for affordable, quality sunglasses. Plus, they’re just a super fun brand in you’ve ever perused their frames.
I’m typically not an aviators gal, but I like these Quay High Key 62mm Oversize Aviator Sunglasses with purple/peach lenses. They are slightly oversized and available in several colors. They also have thousands (literally) of 5-star reviews. The consensus seems to be that they are oversized without being clownish and many reviewees claim to reach for their Quays over their Ray Bans (now that is love).
Cat Eye Sunglasses
If you’re really feeling the ’90s fashion that’s hot right now, then these Totally Buggin’ 49mm Cat Eye Sunglasses by QUAY are the pair for you. The perfect complement to your baggy jeans, cropped baby-doll top, and fisherman sandals. Almond-shaped and small, but not too small. As if!
Bottom line? If you’re in the market for sunglasses that don’t break the bank, but can withstand tumbles, fight clubs with other items in your purse (1st rule of Fight Club? Never talk about Fight Club) and destructo children, give some of these sunnies a second look.