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25 Trendy Pairs of Sunglasses for College Girls on a Budget


trendy sunglasses on a budget

Sunny days have finally blessed us with their presence and that can only mean one thing- it’s time to break out the sunglasses! The problem is, with so many different styles on the market, how’s a girl supposed to know what kind to pick out? Well have no fear compadres, for this article was written just for you.

Interested in some hot sunglasses you can actually afford? Read on, my friends!

The Wayfarer

wayfarer sunglasses

(Center, Top to Bottom: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

This retro style has been back in for a while now, but have no fear: the Wayfarer trend will still be going strong this season, making this an easy style to track down, whether you are searching online or at the mall.

As Wayfarers are very angular, they work with many different face shapes: particularly round or heart-shaped. Whether you choose to rock the classic black ones, some fun cheetah print ones like the ones I found above, or my personal favorite, wire trimmed- you’ll look retro-cool in the summer sun. Or you can just rock them at home while you re-enact risky-business. Whatever, your choice.

The Cat Eye

cat eye sunglasses

(Center, Top to Bottom: 12, 345)

Cat eye sunglasses are the new “it” sunglasses; everyone from model Dree Hemmingway to Scarlett Johansson has been seen rocking these shades this season- and you can too!

You can go two ways with this style: understated or all the way. For you daring types, I recommend these super out-there Alexander Wang-inspired shades in black (seen front and center above). Meanwhile, for the rest of you cool cats, I pulled some equally awesome cat eye sunnies with a more understated vibe to them.

This look is great for people with square or long faces as it adds curves to the sharp angles to your face. Whatever way you choose to go with these glasses (understated or Lady Gaga), you’re guaranteed to look retro-cool.

The Rounded

round sunglasses

(Center, Top to Bottom: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Don these babies and you’ll look almost like a cartoon character- but in a good way!

Round sunglasses, though not for everyone, can look very chic on the right person. (Jackie O, anyone?) They look best on people with chiseled faces and high cheekbones, so you round faced people should probably steer clear of these as unfortunately, they will just make your face look rounder.

The Oversized

oversize sunglasses

(Center, Top to Bottom: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Oversize sunglasses have been in style for a while now, and they remain relentless this season. Great for hiding your makeup-less face, these babies give you some serious coverage and work best on people with oblong or narrow faces. A classy chic choice, these sunglasses will keep the sun off your face all season.

The Aviator

aviator sunglasses

(Center, Top to Bottom: 12, 345)

Finally, last but certainly not least, we have the forever-cool aviator sunglasses. Known for their cameo role in Top Gun, these glasses are great for people with long jaws and angular faces.

You can go a bunch of different ways with these as there are a few different styles out there right now. There are the classic all-wire frames, the more modern plastic frames, and now there are the more urban “hole-free” aviators. Whatever style aviators you choose, it’s a sure thing you’ll look too cool for school in them (it is summer after all).

Tips for Shopping for Trendy Sunglasses

  • Stick to the Cheap Ones. There’s a time and place to splurge on sunglasses: when they’re classic, will never go out of style, or just look great on you. Trends come and go, and unless you’re positive that the style you want is going to stay in for a while (or just don’t care), it’s best to stick to the lower end of the pricing spectrum. Purchase wisely and ask yourself “Am I going to want to wear these next year?” If you answer no, then look for a cheap alternative online or at trendy stores like Forever 21 or Target. You don’t want to get stuck with another pair of Shutter Shades do you? Yeah, didn’t think so.
  • If You Can, Try Before You Buy. It’s so easy to pop online and buy a pair of sunglasses willy nilly (they’re cheap!), but sometimes you can be setting yourself up for some serious buyer’s remorse. The glasses you ordered may turn out to be smaller than you thought, not the right color, or might just look all wrong on your face. And I don’t know about you, but those “guides to your face shape” articles online seriously confuse the bajeezus of of me. I have no idea if I am a heart shape a round shape or an oblong shape, and regardless, pairs of sunglasses that were supposedly “all wrong” for me have turned out to look great. You just never know with shades. If you find a pair of sunglasses online and are convinced they’re your perfect summer shades, I recommend trying on a similar style pair in a store first. That way, you know what you’re in for and you don’t have to second guess yourself.
  • Flea Markets and Thrift Stores are Your BFFs. I love perusing the mall as much as the next girl, but sometimes it’s even more fun to find sunglasses in unlikely places. Thrift stores and flea markets are notorious for having great sunglasses for super cheap (I’ve bought at least 5 pairs for 2 dollars each) and they’re almost always good quality since they’re often vintage. Instead of popping over to Urban Outfitters, try visiting your local thrift store or community flea market! Plus, how cool will you feel when you tell your friends that you got these “at a flea market for 3 bucks”- oh yeah, too cool.


What are your favorite styles of sunglasses this season? Where are you going to buy your sunglasses from? Did this article help you out at all? Where are you looking forward to doing while wearing your sunglasses? Whatever your thoughts, let me know in the comments!

Posted on on June 14, 2010 / Filed Under: Shopping / Tags: , , , , ,

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26 Responses to “25 Trendy Pairs of Sunglasses for College Girls on a Budget”

  1. 1
    June 14th, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I love sunglasses! I’ve got about 30 pairs- and even own one of those spinning sunglasses displays! I collect shades like most girls collect shoes. I love going to Charlotte Russe and getting 2 for $10 in all kinds of crazy shapes and colors. I only own one expensive pair, classic black Rayban Wayfarers, which I will treasure forever because they neer go out of style! Great article!

  2. 2
    June 14th, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    If someone is looking for good quality but cheap wayfarers, I got a great classic black pair with the little silver detailing studs on each end of the front part at Garage. Garage is a Canadian store though and I got them when I traveled to Albany for a mini vaca and I don’t think they have their online setup yet but still good if you are nearby one of these stores. Oh they were 8 dollars by the way lol.

  3. 3
    June 14th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    I have a few pairs, but theres one pair that I just love. I got it at the dollar store!! Its like a cross between wayfarers and aviators, I’ve been looking for a while (its wearing down) and can’t find one I love nearly as much as this one. Great post though!

  4. 4
    June 14th, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I have an oversized (but not too oversized) black pair of sunglasses from Ralph Lauren that I love. I’m content with my one, slightly expensive pair. :)

  5. 5
    June 14th, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Be VERY careful of cheap sunglasses. Sure, they’re pretty and affordable but please PLEASE, you have to mention the health consequences.
    When you use sunglasses, you’re eyes feel ‘protected’ from the sun, but if the sunglasses you buy doesn’t block almost 100% (the ideal) of the UV rays, your eyes will only be TRICKED into thinking that you’re being protected, when your actually not. So it’s harmful, because if you weren’t wearing them, your eyes would enabletheir own mechanisms to fight the UV rays, but since you’re ‘shading’ them without protection, it just harms you.
    The PRICE TAG doesn’t matter, what matters is the protection that the sunglasses give. However, most of these stores’ sunglasses do not have protection, so please please please don’t buy them, unless you intend to use them only at night or at the top of your head.
    Please, there’s a limit to being cheap. Think of your health in first place.

  6. 6
    June 14th, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    I love sunglasses- they’re a must for any Floridian! I have a pair of purple wayfarers that I got in Chinatown for five bucks. I also have a pair of cat-eye sunglasses my mom handed down too me (Ray-ban), but I think my face might be too round for me to wear them. It’s ironic, cause my mom teases me when I wear my wayfarers. And I really wish I could wear aviators.. oh well.

    Fun post Kim- I like the Tom Cruise movie references too!

  7. 7
    June 14th, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Jessica makes a very good point! I don’t know about US stores, but the cheap sun glasses (or any sun glasses, period, but I’ve only got cheap ones!) I’ve bought here in Europe have to carry an EU marking of how high the UV protection is. Got a pair of Wayfarer-look-a-likes from the chain Bijou Birgitte that has the highest, CE 3, marking and came with a leaflet explaining said marking. Cost under 10 euros.

  8. 8
    June 14th, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    @ Jessica and Anna- Yes I definitely agree, cheap sunglasses are definitely not good for long term wear. If you find a style you really like, it’s MUCH better to buy real sunglasses with UV protection. But for short term wear or just for experimenting cheap sunglasses (in my humble opinion) are the way to go. Especially on a college girl’s budget.

    But when I do find a style of sunglasses that I am in LOVE with, I definitely suggest that one should opt for the higher end UV protected sunnies. Gotta protect those eyes of yours.

  9. 9
    June 14th, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I am all about shopping on a budget, but sunglasses – I don’t know… You have to make sure they have all the protection your eyes need and maybe not save exactly from sunglasses?

  10. 10
    June 14th, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    I’d rather have 1 good pair than 10 cheap and law quality ones. See it as an investemnt. That said, I like the shapes you’ve chosen.

  11. 11
    June 14th, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Love your picks! I recently picked up a cheap pair of butterfly framed shades at Target (love!) for under 15 bucks. I have a ton of cheap sunglasses – stopped buying designer – they go missing too often!

  12. 12
    June 14th, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    You picked some cute ones! I have a pair of Coach sunglasses that I LOVE, but I always feel I need more for different types of outfits.

  13. 13
    June 14th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I’m loving the cat-eye and round sunglasses this season, a much-welcomed change from the enormous oversized shades I’ve been rocking since middle school. I found the PERFECT pair of cat-eye sunglasses at Free People yesterday for $18. Now I’m kicking myself for not getting them!

    xoxo Hannah

  14. 14
    June 14th, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Um, aviators work best on round faces, in my experience.

  15. 15
    June 14th, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    * heart shaped too.

  16. 16
    June 14th, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    i really like the betsey johnson ones.

    i kind of wish i could pull off readers, the ones with clear lenses.

  17. 17
    June 14th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Wayfarers are my favorite!
    I used to buy so many pairs of sunglasses because I was always unhappy with them once I bought them, but I love my black wayfarers and I’m definitely sticking to them. And I agree with Jessica, UV protection is very important when it comes to picking out sunglasses. Those UV rays can be verrrry tricky.

  18. 18
    June 15th, 2010 at 7:24 am

    i live in london, stop making me jealous. its about to rain. ;(
    love all of these though xx

  19. 19
    June 15th, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I only own two pairs of sunglasses–one has my prescription and one does not. And that is all I need to own. I love sunglasses but I would rather spend the money to protect my eyes. As someone who has had to wear glasses since before she was two years old, protecting my eyes is very important.

    Please, ladies, try on some different pairs at a cheap place to find a style you like. Once you find a style, then go somewhere to get a quality pair. A quality pair should include the SPF on it somewhere!

  20. 20
    June 15th, 2010 at 11:54 am

    I agree with Jessica and Anna. Although purchasing cheap sunglasses instead of splurging on expensive sunglasses are a huge bonus, there are some serious health issues that can follow with it.
    Although it has been mentioned that the cheaper sunglasses can be used for short periods, if people spend more money purchasing cheaper sunglasses instead of expensive ones, it’s quite unlikely that people will purchase both the cheap and expensive sunglasses to use at various intervals.

    I agree with the fact that we should all get a pair of good quality sunglasses that are timeless pieces. and then, we should purchase those “it” sunglasses to keep up with the style.

    Other than that, this was a pretty good piece! :)

  21. 21
    June 15th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    I wear sunglasses in the morning, afternoon, night, when its raining and quite frankly, indoors. It is utterly impossible for me to buy cheap no name sunglasses (I’ll pop over to Forever 21 for their cute cheap sundresses, don’t get me wrong, but sunglasses are the one thing I have the inability to buy cheap!) I’d have to say my most prized material possession is my pair of limited edition Christian Dior Grand Salons in Palladium Crystal. Of course I was one of the first to snatch them up when they came out so they’re half the price online when I bought them, but oh well :)

    For anyone that wants upper end brand name sunglasses, on occasion you can pop over to Marshall’s/TJ Maxx believe it or not. I’ve seen Juicy Couture, Ray Ban, Gucci, Prada, Miu Miu, Betsey, Marc by Marc, etc. My best find there was a pair of Juicy’s that retailed for almost $300 and they were marked down four times and I stole them for $10. This was a few years ago, and I still have them in my rotation today!

  22. 22
    September 22nd, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Great selection of Wayfarers and Aviators sunglasses. Most of the time I wear over sized glasses, but have been wearing aviators a lot lately.

  23. 23
    January 21st, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Nice and a very useful blogs for me. I like reading this blog. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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