Yesterday’s New York Times had an article about the rise in popularity of sunglasses and how they are even taking over the former It-status accessory, the handbag. Sales of handbags are down 14% this year, while shades are seeing a 10% increase. With all of the troubles in the U.S. economy, it makes sense that buying bags worth thousands of dollars doesn’t feel like a smart move to women. You would think that sunglasses might be a more cost-effective solution to buying designer merchandise, but that isn’t always the case. The article notes that “prices for designer sunglasses have jumped to $350 or more in recent months, from an average of $250.” Bergdorf Goodman even sells a “high-end tortoise-rim version” of Wayfarers that cost $750! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a photo of these way-too-expensive Raybans, but I doubt there is anything that special about them to warrant the price tag. Personally, I agree that sunglasses have been fairly prevalent lately and I think they can do way more for an outfit than a handbag can. However, it is insane to pay over $200 (that’s being generous) for eyewear, unless it’s prescription. Go to the thrift store! Most of them have an ample supply of vintage sunglasses, many times less than $5. I’m also a fan of the website 80s Purple — they have an 80s Collection sunglasses section with tons of unique vintage options, including the shades above, at $15 or less! And if you just have to have the designer name on the glasses, there is always Ebay.