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The Language of Lenses

Ella Kim

Posted on February 10 2020

The Language of Lenses


One of the ways that we organize our sunglasses at Cloak Supply is by Lens Type—an often overlooked aspect of sunglass design. Not all lenses are created equal, so we’re here today to break down the different functions and capabilities of each lens type, and decode what you’re really saying with your eyes…

First off, sunglasses serve the vital function of protecting your eyes from UV rays. Just like your skin, your eyes, specifically your corneas, can be sunburned. All of the sunglasses we carry have 100% UVA/UVB protection, just sayin'.

Additionally, sunglasses shield your eyes from fatigue associated with bright light & glare and protect from wind, dust, and debris. Some lens types will enhance your vision in certain settings. 

So, what are the options you have for lenses, and how do you choose? The #1 factor is how much light you want to pass through the lens (note, no UV rays), and how much of your eyes you want to reveal. 


Retrosuperfuture Drew Mama solid lens sunglasses


These darker shades of lenses are optimal in really sunny situations—the darker the lenses, the less light will come through. They are opaque so onlookers will not be able to see your eyes.
Ella's Take: It comes as no surprise that New Yorkers love this for their commutes. Definitely communicates distance, intrigue, “don’t talk to me.” Great for people-watching undetected, hiding a hangover, or for when you need to feel like a bad ass MF, but dark solid lenses are not recommended for driving.



Kaleos Paley gradient lens sunglasses

Kaleos Moran Oversized Sunglasses

These lenses are tinted from the top down, so that the top of the lens is darkest. They are good for driving, because they shield your eyes from overhead sunlight and allow light through the bottom half of the lens so you can see the dashboard clearly.

Ella’s take: Less contrast between the lens and your face creates more softness in your look. These lenses tend to have a more understated and feminine style, and are a bit more inviting than solid lenses, but still maintain some mystery. Good for socializing, and if you love showing off your beautiful eyes, give these types of lenses a go.



Sunday Somewhere Eden Mirrored sunglasses


Mirrored or Flash - This type of lens has a coating on the outside of the lenses to make them appear like small mirrors. The mirror coating decreases the amount of light passing through the tinted lens by a further 10–60%, making it especially useful for conditions with sand, water, snow, and higher altitudes. Flash lens are the lighter version of mirrored lens. You get the reflective look of a mirrored lens, but retain better visual ability in lower light situations. Mirrored/flash lenses are also a little more scratch-resistant, so if you are hard on sunglasses, this is another option for you.
Ella’s take: Similar to a solid lens, mirrored lenses hide your eyes, and forces your haters to instead contemplate upon themselves reflected in your sunnies. I love a flash lens for commuting on subways. This way I can keep my frames on on the train without sacrificing as much visibility, and still maintain some privacy. Fashion, with its love of street style and athleisure, have adopted the sporty connotations of these lens in fashion frames, so mirrored lenses are also a great choice for a statement-making day


Kaleos Miller Round sunglasses tinted lens


With these lightly colored lenses, passersby can usually can see into your eyes. We love these for cloudier days, because your eyes still need UV protection even when its overcast.
Ella's Take: Tinted lenses are fun fashion statements, and a great accessory for adding pop of color to your look on a night out. Yes, we know, sunglasses indoors/at night don’t make ANY practical sense, but it’s 2020 and the trend is not going anywhere. So if sunglasses indoors is the mood, you can go for a tinted pair that won’t affect your visibility!


Article One Park polarized sunglasses


This is a sunglasses buzz word that you may have heard around town. Here’s the rundown: most people don’t need this treatment for everyday use, especially since most companies charge extra for this feature. Polarized does not directly equal better quality or more UV protection. However, for those of you who spend a lot of time on the water or driving on the road, polarized lenses will be helpful to cut out glare from bright sunlight. Also note, polarized glasses are actually not recommended for activities such as skiing, flying, and operating heavy machinery, because polarization can make it difficult to differentiate snow from ice, and to read digital screens.


For Art's Sake Lola! Flat Lens sunglasses


This style is a relatively new addition to the contemporary fashion sunglass world. These lenses are designed to provide little to no curvature, creating a floating-like aesthetic that gives any frame an edgy, futuristic-yet-wearable vibe. Also if you have long lashes that hit your lens, this might be a good option for you, but take note — you can’t get prescriptions put into these types of lenses.
Ella's Take: These zero-curve shades are undeniably making their rounds in the festival circuit and the influencer space, so if you are looking to give your tried-and-true frames a sleek upgrade, search for a flat-lens pair.


If you're still confused after all this, feel free to reach out to us at info@cloaksupply.com and our expert sunglass stylists will be more than happy to help you find a pair that speaks to you.

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