Considering how much thought goes into our appearance, it’s no surprise that the most important accessories we own, our glasses and sunglasses, have reached new fashion heights in recent years. “Glasses are an expression of your lifestyle,” says Stacey Plank, manager of Destination Sama, which sells ‘ultra-premium eyewear’ in the St. Louis Galleria.

“We sell a very classic collection of styles, so you don’t need to replace them every two years,” she says. “But a lot of people have multiple pairs of glasses for different areas of their life. You can own a pair of glasses for years that look good, but we see a lot of people adding new styles every so often to their eyewear wardrobe.”

Plank says the current trend in men’s eyeglasses is a retro look, primarily cast with somewhat heavy plastic frames. She cites Johnny Depp’s recent Academy Awards appearance, when he was sporting black plastic frames reminiscent of the ‘50s, as a perfect example. Men’s sunglasses, meanwhile, are harking back to the ‘30s and ‘40s World War II aviator-style frames.

For women, Plank notes that frames with textural accents, such as snakeskin, feathers or crystals, are popular in new eyewear collections. “The look is very glamorous,” she says. “We’re seeing more detailing, particularly on the temples,” which is the piece that rests on the ears and attaches to the front of the frames.

This season’s sunglasses for women are large and dark, continuing a trend seen on many celebrities. “It’s the Jackie O look,” says Jim Brown, owner of The Eyewear Loft Inc. He adds that photochromic lenses, which change from clear to dark when exposed to ultraviolet light and are marketed under the brand name Transitions, continue to be popular. “Transitions has come out with a new lens this year that changes faster,” he says. And, like most quality sunglasses, they protect the eyes from UV rays, which can damage the eyes and impair vision.

Polarized lenses that reduce glare are a must for any prescription sunglasses, explains Rhonda Williams, an optician at Pearle Vision. “Grey lenses are more soothing to the eye and keep colors truer, while brown lenses shade the eye but brighten things and make colors appear more vivid.” She also notes that photochromic lenses are not polarized, and new tints that block UV rays through some windshields also block the photochromic action of lenses so they don’t darken when driving. Williams advises consumers to invest in high-quality eyeglasses, including the best frames and lenses, for the glasses they wear most often. Additional, ‘fun’ glasses may be less expensive.

Another tip is to visit the in-store optometrist for your basic eye exam. Williams says these professionals are extremely adept at refraction, the process of determining which lens prescription is needed. They also examine the eyes to ensure they are healthy, checking for signs of diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Once you have a beautiful new pair of glasses, take good care of them. “It’s best to use the lens cleaner and cloth that your optician gives you,” Williams says. Harsh detergents and paper towels can damage lenses and compromise protective coatings, she adds. Dawn dishwashing detergent, paired with a soft cotton cloth, is a good at-home option.