Where to find 11 stylish pairs of sunglasses in Canada

Where to buy sunglasses like aviators, wayfarers, cat eye frames, designer brands and affordable lenses online in Canada.

Sunglasses are the fashion accessory that meets an urgent need (to protect the eyes from sunburn at the end of the afternoon in winter).

It’s also a very accessible product available at all price points: it’s as easy to find a pair on a metal spinner at a gas station as it is to shop a wall of designer options in luxury department stores.

DO ALL SUNGLASSES IN THE WORLD COME FROM THE SAME PLACE?

Sort of, but it’s a bit more complex than that. italian conglomerate EssilorLuxottica is the world’s most dominant optical company with over 50% market share in North America; it’s the umbrella owner of major brands, retailers and licensing deals that range from Ray-Ban to Vancouver-based Clearly to Prada. If you’ve owned a pair of sunglasses in your life, chances are Luxottica made them.

WHAT IS THE KEY TO BUYING A GOOD PAIR ONLINE?

There are picture charts with plenty of advice on how to pair a style with a face shape, but throw that (and the gender designations) out the window. Sunglasses should suit individual style preferences and use.

Some key questions to consider before purchase: Are they meant for driving? (If so, polarized lenses help reduce glare and sharpness.) Can the lenses be replaced with corrective lenses if needed? Do you need sunglasses for outdoor activities like hiking or pickleball? (UV protection is important.) Is a designer logo a priority or not so much? What is the budget?

From classic frames, fashion-forward styles and cheap dupes, we’ve rounded up 11 pairs available in Canada right now.

THE ALWAYS COOL AVIATOR

Seen on everyone from Robert Redford to Carrie Bradshaw, aviator sunglasses were invented in the 1930s, popularized in the 1970s, and continue to be a solid, stylish choice that suits everyone. Over the years, brands have embraced the teardrop shape and made changes to frame thickness, color, and lens size.

RAY-BAN AVIATORS

It’s the original, wireframe style that can’t be wrong and doesn’t pander to fashion trends. Available in different colors at Clearly and Amazon.

ALL BLACK OAKLEY AVIATORS

Oakley Aviators

For those who prefer a black frame but love the teardrop style and brow bar, these Oakley sunglasses combine an aviator shape with a thicker frame and black polarized lenses. Available at Clearly.

AVIATORS TORTOISE-FRAME (FOR LESS)

turtle frame

Those tortoise-mounted aviators have a more geometric lens shape and, at under $30, are a decent dupe for more expensive designer frames. The product description also includes full specs such as deck width (16mm), which is helpful for those looking for a specific size. Available at Amazon.

THE ORIGINAL WAYFARER

traveler

In the mid-1950s, a designer at Ray-Ban set out to design a new style of sunglasses that did not use metal (the popular frame at the time). Since then, the rectangle Traveler executives have been a grown-up style marker that’s cool, but not too trendy. Over the years, Ray-Ban has extended the Wayfarer to different lenses and sizes. Available at Clearly.

THE POP OF COLOR

trendy purple sunglasses

For a classic shape with a fun pop of color, these fashion sunglasses (in collaboration with Ray-Ban) are light and youthful. Available at Sunglasses shack.

THE $20 AMAZON DUPE

traveler fooled

If sunglasses usually end up being lost, crushed, dropped, stepped on, or otherwise deemed unusable, these Wayfarer style frames cost less than $20, foldable and lightweight. Available at Amazon.

THE OUTDOOR TYPE

Maui-Jim

Maui Jim is one of the few independent optical brands in the world (and one of the most successful). Fans of unique style love the quality and patented PolarizedPlus2® lenses which, along with glare, sharpen color and protect against UV rays. Available at Sunglasses shack.

maui jim

Oakleys is one of the top selling brands in Canada. Designed for a comfortable fit (especially for larger noses), these hassle-free square sunglasses with matte finish and polarized lenses combine quality and functionality. Available at Clearly.

OVERSIZED DESIGN LENSES

Prada Sunglasses

A set of big designer sunglasses is really chic and useful because it instantly adds some polish to an outfit (and covers up tired eyes). The sharp angles and wide band of these acetates Prada frames makes a stylish and comfortable choice. Available in three colors at Sunglasses shack.

Gucci Sunglasses

For those who want a flashy monogram to go with the flashy price tag, these Gucci sunglasses (available online only) have a classic oversized round frame and the brand’s signature green and red stripe print on the temples. Available at Sunglasses shack.

THE MODERN CAT’S EYE

ca modern eye

Cat eyes can be subtle or exaggerated. Those thick frames are a Gen Z version of a cat-eye look that models like Hailey Bieber are popularizing on social media. Available at Amazon.

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