With spring slowly heading our way, it’s time to pull out the shades! But shopping on a budget and wanting to wear the perfect designer pair with perfect protection (news flash sunglasses are meant to protect your eyes) can be a hassle. Not to fret, there are simple alternatives to the high priced shades, without compromising your budget and your fabulosity.

Firstly remember, when picking sunglasses, think long term. There are some pairs I like to call “statement sunglasses,” these are the pair you buy that

Photo Courtesy of Tory Burch

will make a vicious statement. But if you are on a budget and building up your shade collection, think classic, look for sunglasses that will look fabulous regardless of the season. This way you can stack the bills for your next pair of shades, and look fabulous doing it.

Now checkout these quick buying tips, so that when the sun graces your presence, you will be prepared.

Tip 1: Seasons Change and Fashions Rearrange

Check out some of the traditional sun glass stores like Sunglass Hut, & Solstice, many times through the year sun glass retail stores design their stores to fit seasonal layouts. When layouts are changed to make way for newer designs, this only means a sale sale sale for you and your college pockets. You can find great prices – nearly 30 to 40 percent off on classic pairs of lenses that you can wear year round. So keep your eye on the sale section at your favorite sun glass shops.


Photo Courtesy of Coastal Contacts

Tip 2: Wait, don’t you sell contacts?

Some websites which traditionally market contacts and eyeglasses have merged into selling designer lenses as well. Check out some websites you frequent for your vision and you will clearly see the great selection of lenses on the sites. Remember online retailers are always marketing and promoting hot deals!  On a quick check I found these chic purple Gucci sunglasses which retail for $350 for about $168!

Tip 3: Another Man’s Trash is Your Gold

Outlets are the best creation under the sun, from Nordstrom Rack to the Neiman Marcus Last Call . For a hefty price, no one wants a pair that isn’t perfect, well what’s perfect?  The secret is retailers send items to their outlet stores for some of the smallest minor issues. Someone can find a nick on the arm of a lens, and as a result, the lens may have to be sent away to the outlet. For you Miss/Mr. Fahionista this means a great pair of shades at literally half the price! And the plus is, depending on the sun glass outlet retailer you buy from, there’s a possibility that you are still welcome to some of the store perks, which means free adjustments and repairs for life!

Now go ahead, follow these tips! But hurry, hurry the sun waits for no one!

Tatenda Gumbo is a Native of Zimbabwe. She graduated in May 2010 from Howard University in Washington D.C. where she studied Broadcast Journalism. Shecurrently works as a reporter for Voice of America Studio 7. She is a lifetime member of NSCS and had the pleasure of working at the NSCS national office as a video intern. In her spare time she enjoys taking road trips, listening to R&B, trying new foods, keeping up with international social issues and frequenting flea markets.