Taking a break from my wearable series, now I'm giving you insights on "Sunglasses" from Style.

So, are you eyeing summer's hottest shades - from avaitors to wraparounds? But before having one, knowing their origin can do no harm. They started as pure function- tinted lenses to protect eyes that are made weary by the sun. But since their beginnings in the mid-19th century, sunglasses have become more and more about form.

An interactive look at today's hottest shades - from the unadorned aviator to eclectic bejeweled and brightly colored frames:

First in Flight
First produced for pilots by Ray-Ban in the 1930's, aviators have been championed by military men of the real and fictional variety. Of course, the simple metal frames look as sharp outside the cockpit, that is why they're the shades of choice for civilians who don't wish to channel the Olsen twins.

Major Jewels
Who needs jewelry when your sunglasses are this bling? Not since they first appeared in 1950's has the future looked so bright for bejeweled frames. In the place of the subtle smatterings of rhinestones of yore, crystal logos decorate the temples and jaw-droppingly large gems stud the arms.

Cat Power
Think Grace Kelly in Monaco or Sophia Loren in Capri. The popularity of cat eyes- sometimes called "butterflies" for their winglike frames - peaked in the sixties. Where you're likely to see these retro-cool shades today: anywhere there's a starlet and a swimming pool.

Full Brights
Neon has returned to the runways, so it's no surprise that fashion brands like Roger Vivier, Armani Exchange, and Kate Spade are turning heads with electro-hued shades. Like a fire-engine-red trench or an Yves Klein-blue cocktail dress, acid-bright sunglasses are a guaranteed standout in a crowd of tortoiseshell frames.

Riffling on that old-school fashion rule of matching your bag to your shoes, some may suggest pairing your shades to your accessories instead! Even if spring's space-age trend hasn't exactly blasted off, there are too many silver, bronze, and gold totes and sandals to count- and just as many metallic sunglasses.

Wrap Stars
A direct descendant of ski goggles and other sporty styles, wraparounds not only shield wearers from the sun and snow glare, but can also serve as a personal line of defense against camera-wielding paparazzi. No wonder they're favorites of rocker-turned-philanthropist Bono and model-turned-designer Kate Moss.

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e said... @ February 6, 2008 at 7:51 AM

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