Sunglass Shopping

I’ve been living in my Zeal Optics for almost two years.

They have taken me through hours and hours of running, 26.2 miles of my first marathon, a sun screened summer in Maine and many many days behind the wheel of the Sequoia. But their time to be retired has come, mostly because of the big chip that has appeared in the left lens. They’ve lasted far longer than they should have. I’m far from gentle with my glasses.

As I wrote about in Girl in Glasses my effort to find another pair of sunnies and my savvy Internet shopping led me to a pair of Kaenon’s.

The Kaenon’s, while oversized and cute, have turned out to be a much better headband than eye cover. They aren’t all that comfortable and leave a big imprint on the bridge of my nose. It’s not a great look and does horrible things to my face when wearing my Glo Minerals powder. I’ve succumbed to dusting my face once the glasses are on to miss that spot that rubs my makeup into my skin causing roughness, little bumps and redness, too.

Yesterday, since I was sans kids and at the mall for a scheduled visit to the genius bar (another story entirely), I figured I’d use my time to investigate sunglasses.

When I enetered the first store the girl behind the counter asked me to hand over my Zeals. Her bright face and happy voice warmed me instantly.

“Here, let me clean those,” she said.

Embarrased I handed them over. She sprayed them with magic (they never looked better when she was done) and worked away while we talked.

“Try the Tory Burch,” she mentioned as she pointed to the case.

The first pair I picked were coded TY 6006; gold rimmed aviators with pink gradient lenses. They were light and chic and sized right (not too big or small) and the sales girl and I had a bonding moment; she still working on my Zeals and smiling at my face that had lit up over the discovery of sunglass awesomeness!

The next pair I tried were TY 6016; rimless with brown and like the others had pink gradient lenses. Without a rim they look the complete opposite of every other pair of glasses I’ve ever owned, but were so pretty and felt comfortable on my face that they make it hard to decide which of the two I liked better.

As much as I feel the pull toward grown up ladylike sunglasses, I inquired about the running selection next. The store carried Oakley and I was handed a pair of Polarized Overtimes, similar to the Kaenons in shape, plastic rimmed glasses with polarized lenses and a rubber bridge piece to keep them from sliding while sweating. At $170.00 they were not cheap, but their lightness and good size made up for it. I wished I’d found them before the Kaenons.

Oakley also makes an aviator and to compare to the Tory’s, I tried them on. They were okay, but didn’t have that lightness and chicness thing that Tory does so well.

I moved down the case.

I used to wear a pair of RayBans, black and wrap around they were great to shield me from the sun. But like the Kaenons, they weren’t comfortable on my nose and would slide down my face while wearing. They also failed the headband test and wouldn’t stay put atop my noggin (a deal breaker). I passed them onto my sister. They looked much better on her anyway.

The RayBan aviator was a no the moment I put them on. Too big. Too heavy. All wrong.

Next, I tried the wayfarer.

Again, they weren’t right for me. Maybe it’s because I wore the same pair in the mid eighties? I don’t know, but I’m glad I tried them, since I’d been pulled toward a Kate Spade pair that I’d seen on Gilt.

I left the store feeling like I really need new glasses, but must decide if I should stick with Zeal, which I know perform for me or just keep the old ones for sweaty running and buy a new pair of pretty glasses for when I’m attempting to play the part of “forty-year old mommy in desperate need for some chic in her life.” Hm?

I dropped into another shop before leaving the mall.

The girl behind the counter asked if she could help me and I said I asked about Kate Spade, since I hadn’t seen any all day. She said they didn’t carry them and added that Kate Spade doesn’t have much control over the quality and control over her glasses anymore.

This can be a problem when designers expand and sell their names. I’m sure Kate Spade is making more money than she ever dreamed, but for a consumer like me, the overselling and lessening of her control makes the brand less special and less likely that I’ll buy anymore. I hope this doesn’t happen with TB, though she’s expanding at similar speed.

This store carried more luxury eyewear and avant-garde designs than the last.

My interest fell to the glass case filled with Dita frames, a manufacturer/designer I’ve been hearing a lot about. Dita is made in Japan and currently being worn by a ton of celebrities in the know. The frames were priced around high, around $500.00-$600.00 a pair.

I wished I had really great things to say about the brand, but overall I found them overpriced and while certainly quality, not worth the retail price tag. The stores selection was small, which I was okay with. They ones they had were too weird; even for me.

Below the Ditaa was another company who produce their glasses out of the same factory in Japan.

Matsuda, similarly priced and beautifully detailed were made famous by Linda Hamilton when she wore them in the movie Terminator 2. I learned that the producers of the new Iron Man film, being shot down the road in Cary, N.C had requested a bunch be sent for their film as well.

Apparently, with the death of Mr. Matsuda in 2008 there has been a new demand for his glasses, evident by the auctions on Ebay and the $1000.00 price tag for certain styles.

Sunglasses are an important accessory and I left feeling glad that I’d done a little research in the area.  I was enlightened by what I’d learned, intrigued by the many choices and thoroughly convinced that sunglasses, like running shoes, should be purchased in stores.

What glasses are you wearing?

Did you buy them online or in a shop?

Think it’s too much Tory to have her on my face, while carrying the Amanda bag and possibly also wearing TB Eddie’s on my feet? Decisions!

Tory Burch Aviator TY 6006. I’ve never been the aviator type. These changed my mind.
Tory Burch TY 6016 rimless brown/pink. Surprisingly flattering.
Oakley Overtime
Oakley Overtime. When I say these were feather light, I am not exaggerating. Loved them!
Aviator Large Metal Gold / Crystal Rose
Ray Ban Aviator Metal Gold/Crystal Rose. Supposedly made for women, but looked hard on my face.
Original Wayfarer Black / G-15 XLT Polarized
Original Wayfarer
Matsuda style similar to the Terminator 2 pair. These with blue lenses also show the details that Matsuda is known for. Very pretty.
Kaenon Zaza. I have the tortoise.
Tory Burch Amanda Hobo. I’ve been carrying this since my birthday. Don’t think I can part with it for a summer bag. It’s too good.
Tory Burch Eddie. Best flats ever. Loathe the Revas, btw.

The Gear Goodies

Since I can’t write about an actual run today, I figured I’d write about one of my favorite things; winter running gear!

Back in the day, when I first started to run, I would wear a plain old t shirt, sweatshirt, and whatever leggings I had on hand. I remember buying a fleece hat from the Gap to keep my ears protected. I looked like a goof.  My arsenal of goodies has (thankfully) gotten much more functional and cute, and has upped my game, sincerely.

I’ll go from head to toe!

Zeal Optics are the sunglasses I’ve been wearing for about a year. Their website is down but they can be found on amazon. They also have a great facebook page filled with photos of athletes wearing their glasses and goggles. I love my Orb’s. They are shaped a little like goggles, a little like aviators (big ones), so they block out a lot of gunk, wind, and other irritants when I’m on the run. They also make a great headband (a must in my book). If it’s too dark out, I can put them on top of my head and forget that they are there. Love them!

Lululemon Running Toque’s and  wide headbands have made my winter runs bearable. I loathe cold ears, so I never leave the house without one or the other. The ones I have are made of luon, though I believe they’ve changed the name of the fabric this year; it’s now called rulu, for running luon. They also have a Brisk Run Headband that I probably should get, since it’s even wider than the headband to cover the entire ear. My neck warmer from them has been a lifesaver when it’s freezing outside as well.

I have boobs, which I try my hardest to strap down. For years I wore two bras, but have found success with the Moving Comfort Fiona.  It has a racer back and three hooks and eyes that help to hold me in really well and minimize bounce.

Because of the boobs, I never like running tops on me. I have tried them all, but am too self conscious. I have many from Lululemon (the run swiftly really performs nicely), Nike, Oiselle (love their short sleeve shirts for Summer), to name a few. The top I reach for the most is the Seamless Athletic Tee From Target. I like that it is thicker and fits close, but doesn’t show every bump and lump. It’s cheap too, at $24.99, so I don’t feel so bad blowing my nose on my sleeve when I run out of kleenex. Runners do what they have to do. Believe me, I have heard of worse!

I often like vests to keep my chest warm. Any will do from hi-brow to low, from L.L. Bean to Lulu. In the dead of winter I layer with pullovers and Lululemon always comes out with fantastic ones. My favorite is the Alpine from last year. The Define Jacket, made of Luon, is great too. They both fit close, which helps me feel warm, but wick so I don’t get clammy with drying sweat.

Last year, when I first learned of Lucy Athleticwear, I ordered a pair of their Propel Capris and a pair of the Propel Tights. I’m often a 10/l in bottoms, but customer service said I should order a medium. I’m glad I did. They have a bit of compression, which is nice and keep me toasty. I have heard good things about C-WX Pro Compression Tights, so they are on my list of things to try in the next couple of months.

I am in need of new running socks and was going to restock my Lulu No-Show Ultimate or my trusty Nike 6 pack, but I recently tried Zensah Compression Socks and love them. I think I might try a few other brands and see which I like best. The RunLove Running Compression Socks from are adorable (they have hearts on the calves). The black ones are backordered until November 30, but I definitely want to try them.

When I was training for my first half marathon last year, I went to my favorite Raleigh running store to get my gait analyzed and to try to pick the best running shoe for me. I was surprised to learn that I needed a neutral shoe. The Mizuno Wave Rider 13 in a half size larger (9) than my regular shoe size (8 1/2) that I bought that day were fantastic. I found that I am the kind of runner who likes to “feel the ground.”  I always thought I preferred cushioning, since I’m (ahem) a little cushioned myself. I bought two more pair of the 13 and figured I’d be fine buying the Wave Rider 14 online. Dumb move. It turns out that the 14 fit shorter in length than it’s predecessor and I spent the Spring and Summer running in shoes that didn’t fit properly. In July I ran the Old Port Half, in Portland, Maine and struggled the entire way. My toes were cramped, and at mile 9 I wanted them to just fall off. I went back to Raleigh Running Outfitters in September and they sized me up in the 14 (a whopping 9 1/2). I wasn’t so sure they’d work, but again I was wrong. The moral of the story; get fitted by people who know about running shoes instead of being new models online. Lesson learned.

The Zensah Compression Socks and the enormous Mizunos

Finally, I couldn’t run long distances without my belt. For the past few years I have strapped on the GoLite HydroSprint Women’s Pack, but I’ve recently purchased the Classic Collection 4 Bottle Fuel Belt. I was hoping to use it tomorrow for my 11 miler, but that will have to wait until the ankle is feeling a lot better and the swelling has gone down.

Oh, and how could I forget my favorite Gu? The Vanilla Bean is delicious! I actually crave it when I’m not running!

What do you love? Any of the goodies on my list?