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The Best Summer Travel Accessory? A Great Pair of Shades

Sunglasses at Signal Hill

In today’s airline nickel and diming world it’s tempting to want to travel as light as possible. If you can manage to go carry-on only, not only will you avoid checked baggage fees but you can also eliminate the worry of lost luggage. The struggle comes with not wanting to be wearing the same outfit in all of your vacation pics. How do you maximize your look while minimizing your bags? Accessories!

Things like statement necklaces or tassel earrings don’t take up much room but can transform a basic look. Even if you can’t fit another shirt into your backpack, I bet you can find a little room for a great piece like this tassel necklace.

Tassel necklace

Another must-have accessory for travel anytime of year is a great pair of sunglasses. The perfect pair will protect your eyes, stop you from squinting, hide jet lagged eyes, and also make you look glam and put together. But the best sunglasses of all are ones that check all these boxes and didn’t cost the equivalent of a mortgage payment.

I partnered up with recently to try out their website and find my perfect pair of summer shades. I chose the Valentino VA4002 Havana pink tortoiseshell aviators. My first pair of designer sunglasses. I love the fact that they have a classic lens shape but the metal bar hits on a current trend and the purple shade adds some whimsy.

Sunglasses at Signal Hill

I found these same sunglasses over at Sunglass Hut for $480 and on Zappos for $360, but at they were just $290. I’m typically a $20 cheapie pair buying girl and I was curious to see if a more expensive pair would really be much different. More perks for buying from Free domestic and international shipping, 100 day returns, and a 2 year warranty. I love not having the convenience of shipping being included and not being restricted to a tight return timeline if they’re not what I was looking for.

I placed my order and a week later a box showed up in my mail. A little thrill went through me when I opened it and saw the red box with “Valentino” embossed in gold. Inside the box was a protective, magnetic case. Inside that was another cloth case. If these sunglasses got bent out of shape or scratched it would really be my own fault.

I gingerly took out the glasses and had a close look. The frame was dark but with a subtle purple tortoiseshell pattern. The lenses themselves had a gradient, going from a dark purple to almost clear at the bottom. I wondered how that would work in bright sunlight.

I tried them on and was thrilled that the style suited me. Glasses can be such a crapshoot sometimes. I also immediately noticed a difference between these and my typical cheap glasses. The fit was perfect. Snug on my face but not tight causing headaches. They sat balanced just on the right spot on the bridge of my nose and didn’t slip.

Sunglasses at Signal Hill

Time to take these puppies outdoors for a test drive. We’ve been having a spectacular, if late arriving, summer in Newfoundland this year so there’s been no shortage of sunny days…of course, except when I wanted to shoot sunglass photos. What odds? I took me and my new Valentino shades up to Signal Hill anyway. One of the first things I noticed was that the gradient in the lenses worked brilliantly. Instead of just making things dark the lenses seem to just filter the bright sun rays. Everything is still clear and crisp but no need to squint. I really noticed this effect when I wore them driving west one day as the sun was setting. The sun was right in my sightline but I didn’t have to squint and I could still see the road clearly. Amazing. Between the fit and lens quality, I would say these glasses are worth the price upgrade.

If you’re considering your own first pair of designer sunglasses, check out the large selection at They have all the top names: Prada, Gucci, St. Laurant, and more. If you want to splurge on a pair, choose a classic shape that you know suits you: cat eye, aviator, wayfarer, etc. Stick with a classic colour like black or tortoiseshell with a few trendy or fun accents. If this is a splurge, you want something that will stand the test of time. Save the heart-shaped red glasses for another time. It’s a bit like building a wardrobe, get yourself some good quality basics first and build from there.

What’s the one thing you look for when picking out sunglasses? Durability? Style? Price?



  1. Stephen says:

    August 14th, 2018 at 3:43 pm (#)

    They look amazing! But you obviously don’t have dachshunds… I’ve stopped buying anything other than Dollar Store sunglasses because the dogs will swipe them and chew them up into little pieces. So now I just go in and buy 4 or 5 pair at a time, knowing that in a few months I will be back for more.

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