Big, fun Karen Walker sunglasses; worn by the incomparable Linda Rodin and shot by Ari Seth Cohen
Oops! A very early draft version of this was accidentally published over the weekend. Sorry about that, and please do try to pretend it never happened.
One particularly mean side effect of the migraines that have dogged me on and off for years now (and which are, knock wood, currently off) has been nuclear-level light sensitivity—the kind where the sun becomes a mortal enemy, and something to be avoided at all costs. Which is just exactly as awful as it sounds, multiplied by ten. At its worst, I lived like a vampire, working in an office that was retrofitted with blackout shades, and during my free time, obsessively checking the weather forecast for clouds. To shield my eyes on days when there was even the tiniest hint of light, I wore the most oversized sunglasses I could find, with lenses custom-tinted as inky-black as my optometrist would make them.
It was all quite hideously ironic—the longing for precipitation, the compulsive fear of getting “caught” in the sun—and like all hideously ironic situations, it led to more than few unintentionally quite comical moments. Like when I had a small health emergency —quite disorienting in the moment, but which turned out to be no big deal—and, as the paramedics readied me for departure to the hospital, I had the presence of mind to instruct a friend who’d come over to grab a few things I might need. Like the wallet with my insurance card, “And my Dior sunglasses! The Diors!” The paramedics, in what was surely a break from protocol, laughed out loud at me. And even I had to admit it was a pretty funny moment, if you didn’t know how totally funny it wasn’t.
My problems with light lingered for a few years after the headaches tapered off; it wasn’t until this winter that the dregs finally disappeared. And it has occurred to me lately that my recent (and aforementioned) affection for cheery, big sunglasses is probably somewhat related to this. For years, my sunglasses were as important a preventative step as any medication—aesthetics took a back seat (I even had to suspend my strict no-logo rule; if only these had existed then). But now I can have some fun, and fun I shall have. If I owned more than one pair of Karen Walker sunglasses, I’d say I was addicted, but at this stage in the game, I’ll just say I’m addicted to the notion of buying more, and leave it at that. These are satisfyingly clunky—but just short of zanily so—and indestructible, and delightfully logo-free. (Similar, but with a bit little less drama and a far lower price tag: this pair from Madewell.)
Old habits die hard, and I must say I am still drawn to that which is big and black and clunky. But doesn’t the purple lens set these apart and make them look all 50s and spy-like?
White sunglasses are a bridge too far for me, but I’d totally go for this pinky, creamy—I don’t know, do we call that clamshell?—pair.
These are YSL, and to me they somewhat resemble the big-framed pair that the actual Yves Saint Laurent used to wear every day—in a nerd chic move before nerd chic was even a thing.
On the less splurge-tastic side of things, this Cheap Monday version of the classic Ray-Ban Clubmaster.
A cat eye all in black feels way too costumey retro, but somehow this clear iteration feels like it could be quite chic.