Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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In Fashion…Goggles make style statements

Often, style statements are incomplete sans accessories. One of the most common is goggles. Also called dark or cooling glasses, these spectacles have a role beyond fashion.

Goggles are a very useful protective gear that keep your most precious pair of eyes from harm’s way. With summer here and the temperature rising mercilessly, dark glasses keep your eyes safe from the dangerous ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Science tells us that ultraviolet rays can cause cataract and inflammation of the cornea, and the best way to stop these is to sport cooling glasses. In fact, medical studies have conclusively proved that those working under direct sunlight for long hours are know to suffer from eye problems.

Sometimes, celebrities use these kinds of spectacles to hide a swollen eye or, maybe, one that has been bruised. A great piece of curtain to keep the prying eye away.

However, goggles are usually seen as a style accessory rather than a health shield. In India, cinema popularised the cooling glasses, like much else. Actresses like Vyjayanthimala, Babita and Sharmila Tagore sported large dark glasses that became an off-screen craze.
These giant ones are back in fashion, with frames in shell -- a definite fad. Metal rimmed goggles are no, no for this summer.

Designer Pooja Nayyar has been quoted as saying that “the funky look will stay. I prefer smart clean shades and tinted glass colours”. Her favourite brand is Christian Dior with its graceful shapes and myriad hues. Westwood, on the other hand, caters to just about everyone, and has something to offer for every facial shape”.

Indian markets have a variety of brands to chose from, like, for instance, Chanel, Chopard and Ferragamo. Men appear to prefer shades like aviator, matrix and reflector, and these come best in Aramani.

But make and colour alone do not make the perfect glasses. One has to look at the shape of one’s face before picking coolers. Those with heart shaped faces must choose goggles that are wider at the bottom. Oval faces go splendidly with horizontal lines. If you have a square face, just go for the oval or round frame.

The colour of the glass is as important, and the ideal for summer are green, grey and brown. Shades like blue have little use. Experts say that grey is the best, because it minimises colour distortions, something that can be dangerous while one is driving.

Now go ahead and pick your blinkers. But remember, eyes are not just a great piece of engineering marvel, but also awfully precious to each one of us.

I still remember a punch line in an article I read in “Time”. It said, “You have only pair of eyes”. Indeed, yes. Pamper and pet them.

(Webposted May 8 2007)