The future is bright, wear sunglasses


After playing coy for weeks, smiling at us briefly before hiding behind stormy skies and rain, it looks like the sun is finally ready to commit to a long-term relationship with the Bay Area.

Flush with the excitement of new romance, it might be tempting to surrender yourself utterly to your new solar soul mate. But hold back! Like any new relationship, it’s important to protect yourself, lest you be burned.

In case it’s not clear, I’m talking about sunglasses. Not only are they important in preventing eye strain, but they’re fashionable too.

With skies finally clear, it’s time to consider finishing your look with a new pair of shades. According to a recent survey of sunglasses makers, what’s going to be in this season is style and simplicity. Retro is going to rule the day once again, and it’s harder to think of anything more retro than aviators.

Ray Ban Aviator II, $139 from

Popular with cops and totally not gay fighter pilots, aviator shades actually trace their history back to the second world war. The original aviator shades were developed by Ray Ban using the same teardrop shaped lenses they sold to the military for use in goggles for combat pilots. Originally intended to give our boys an edge in dogfights by cutting glare, the style quickly caught on with the kind of folks who were more familiar with a red carpet than a cockpit.

That officially makes Ray-Ban the O.G. of aviator shades, and they’re still the gold standard as far as fashion is concerned. A pair will set you back anywhere from $90 to $200 dollars, depending on styling. That might seem like a big chunk of change to drop on something that’s just going to end up on some hobo’s nose when you forget it on the bus, though.

Don’t worry, Helium’s got your back.

American Optics Original Pilot, $70 from

Enter American Optics. Their website may not look like much, but they’re the current supplier of aviator shades to the US Air Force. Not only does that make them authentic, but it means they’re field tested, and therefore less likely to break when you inevitably sit on them. And at just $70 dollars, they’re a bargain. I don’t know, maybe they skimp on web design and pass the savings on to you, the consumer.

Of course, AO might not have quite the cache of Ray Ban. Still, at that price there’s really nothing else doing. And really, if it’s good enough for Maverick and Iceman, it should be good enough for you.

-By Jon Xavier


Quality over price, Ray-Ban's definitely got my man's vote. For those who are weary on forking up the dough, they have a really great warranty package where if you happen to damage your pair on your own accord you pay less than half of the original price to replace them. It's worth looking into.

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