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They look modern and bold, but half tinted sunglasses actually represent a trend stolen from the '80s. Well, it would be more fitting to say it was recycled -- Chanel was the first brand to make half tinted sunglasses, and the company still makes the most popular model. As of 2012 only two designers make half tinted sunglasses, but there are generic versions available for gals on a budget, too. These unique sunglasses provide the perfect accessory for a look that shines with retro-glamour.
Mary Kate Olsen wears Chanel's 5018 model of half tinted sunglasses. The frames have a '60s inspiration: they're thick, black and round with bent temples. The black top half of the lens is a strong contrast against the clear lower half. These are attention-grabbing sunglasses that really make a statement. The only downside of this pick? They're expensive, and they're selling like hotcakes -- you're sure to run into someone else sporting the same ones.
Gucci's model of half tinted sunglasses is less vintage and more street-cool. The frames are aviators, thick and black, and the lenses are darker than Chanel's. Rather than a blunt crossover from black lens to clear at the center, Gucci's lenses fade from black to clear. They're less obvious, so it's a great option for those who aren't confident that they can pull off the trend; pair these with tousled tresses and a biker jacket for rocker-chic style.
Beauty expert Michelle Phan loves the half tinted trend, and she's suggested a pair of less expensive lookalikes called "Channeling Chanel" which look like the designer version. She also suggests making half tinted sunglasses yourself: starting with clear lens glasses, tape off the bottom half of each lens. Mix 2 quarts of simmering water with an ounce of black liquid dye and a few drops of vinegar. Toss in your glasses (on low heat) and wait at least 10 minutes until they've changed color.
The Price Tag
Unfortunately, Chanel's 5018 half tinted sunglasses cost more than $1,000 as of February 2012 -- and even if you can afford them, they're still hard to find. Your best bet is to place an order at a Chanel boutique if you've got to have them. The Gucci aviators are not in the new 2012 collection, but many eyewear boutiques still sell them for between $250 and $350. For a much less expensive option, the "Channeling Chanel" frames are available at different online boutiques for around $10.