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8 Reasons Why L.A. Is the Sunglass Capital of the Universe

8 Reasons Why L.A. Is the Sunglass Capital of the Universe

Cast your well-protected eyes on the top spots to buy shades in Los Angeles

Posted 5 years agoby Katrina Hunt

National Sunglasses Day, June 27, is the perfect time to salute the city that elevated protective eyewear to indispensable fashion. Next time you’re in Los Angeles, pick up a few extra pairs to master your A-list look, and ponder the many reasons (8 to be exact) why shades are an integral part of L.A. culture.


1. Lots of sunshine.

L.A. gets an average of 284 sunny days a year, making a good pair of shades an essential.

2. A thriving community of celebs who like to go incognito.

L.A. has a built-in consumer base for sunglasses, thanks to the movie stars who wear them for glamour’s sake, or pair them with paparazzi-dodging baseball caps while getting their morning chai latte. Two much-touted sunglass providers to the celebrity set include Oliver Peoples and its next-generation incarnation, Venice-based Garrett Leight, which has a branch on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Oliver Peoples even offers star-inspired glasses: The Gregory Peck Sun ($405) was created with the late actor’s estate to replicate the shades he wore while filming To Kill a Mockingbird.

3. Stores, stores, stores.

Shopping districts and malls around L.A. County are destinations in themselves, from Rodeo Drive to The Grove, Melrose Avenue, and Beverly Center—and each has its own sunglass outposts or counters within stores. The Grove, for instance, just opened up a branch of the timeless retailer Ray-Ban.

4. Fabulous nightlife.

Nothing builds a bridge between a big night in L.A. and the next day like good coffee and flattering sunglasses. For cutting-edge styles that will help you develop your own entourage, browse the styles at Illesteva (located at its Venice flagship and The Grove), such as the sleek Marianne ($190) or the geometric Lisbon ($240).

5. A deep commitment to luxury.

For showstopper sunglasses, go to Dita, on Melrose Avenue. Its Mach 5 Limited Edition ($1,300, with a rose gold option for women) takes its inspiration from the racing world, with titanium temples and UVA and UVB-blocking lenses that are “designed with split second decision in mind.”

6. A knack for fashion that looks pricier than it is.

One of the hottest new sunglass brands around town is Thomas JamesL.A. (with locations around L.A. County, including Westfield Culver City and Westfield Fashion Square), which boasts Kendall Jenner, Jaden Smith, and Cara Delevingne as customers. The brand also prides itself, though, on making its “California lifestyle” shades affordable. Its pair of gem-accented, cat-eye-style Eros, for instance, is just $55.

7. International appeal.

Culver City’s Dom Vetro was founded by L.A. native Ashley Bezamat, who studied eyewear in Italy then brought those skills back to the Golden State, creating sunglasses using super-durable Italian acetate. Its F36 ($295) is dubbed a “modern aviator with Italian racing design” in black, tortoise, or quartz.


8. A passion for that vintage, Old Hollywood look.

Hotel De Ville Eyewear has both new and vintage shades that channel different decades, like round 1980s sunglasses by Chanel ($500), and conversation-starting designs from Christian LaCroix and Dior. In Echo Park, Gentleman’s Breakfast Vintage Eyewear showcases anything from 1970’s “mogul shades” to 90’s side-shield shades and even pre-Hollywood, century-old sunglasses with red and green tints.

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