If half your office wore the same shirt and tie everyone would feel weird. Yet a good chunk of your coworkers have doppelgänger sunglasses (black acetate and/or dark colored, thin metal) and no one bats an eye. Calling your face a “visual fingerprint” seems odd, but it’s true, so it’s especially important that your glasses be unique just like the rest of your wardrobe. Several sunglass companies offer programs for customizing your shades, from the lenses to the frame to a little witty engraving, if you so desire. These are three legitimate stops — one classic, one affordable, and one with 8×10^34 variations — on your way to a shaded custom look.
Ray-Bans have been the iconic shades since pilots first donned the Aviators in the late 1930s, and James Dean wore the Wayfarer while filming Rebel Without a Cause in 1955. All that constant cool is great, but it’s also created a glut of a pretty singular look. That’s what makes these nine customizable models so great. Size, lens color, frame color, temple color, engraving and a custom case can all be adjusted, and while Ray-Bans typically run for close to $200, customizing won’t break the bank; it’s only an extra $25 to $30 to look the way you want.
Knockaround’s glasses came onto the scene in 2005 as a great “beater” option for people on a budget. Their entire line is sold in multiple colors, but for the last few years two of the styles — Premiums and Fort Knocks — became completely customizable. The front, left arm, right arm and lenses can be changed to any one of about 25 different colors, with the option to randomize for the uninspired. There are no engravings or customized cases, but if you’re after those, look to more expensive options.
As far as performance-oriented custom sunglasses go, there’s only one option. Oakley is effectively telling you to take your “Paradox of Choice” and stuff it by offering something in the neighborhood of 8×1034 different combinations. Yeah, that’s ten million billion billion billion variations of the frames, lens tints, engravings and colors offered (which equals a lot of killing time at work). Those frames, by the way, range from the near-perfect Radarlocks to the hyper-stylish Frogskins. The only problem now is not becoming obsessed with finding the exact perfect pair — it could take a while.