When it comes to sunglasses, I am a notorious creature of habit. Ray-Ban Wayfarers have long been my go-to because they're safe (aka universally flattering and easy to order online). Buying a new pair of shades that I've never actually tried on before is just not common practice for me — or, at least, it wasn't until Warby Parker helped me step outside of my online-shopping box. When the cult-favourite eyewear's Sunburst Collection debuted for spring 2021, I felt inspired to branch out. (I've been a WP-stan ever since I realized that prescription glasses could actually be cute; I've also waxed poetic about its daily contacts, which I've worn exclusively since my February 2020 review.) Previously, I wouldn't have dared to buy these new unconventional styles and colourways without rigorously vetting them first — but, thanks to the brand's virtual try-on and sample-frame features, I was actually able to. Below, join me as I try on Warby Parker's newest spring frames, get feedback from my co-workers over Zoom, and find my perfect pair of statement sunglasses, all without leaving my apartment.
Warby Parker's Virtual Try-On
Even if you're in close proximity to one of Warby Parker's storefronts, trying on sample pairs during a pandemic might not be your cup of tea. Luckily, the brand has you covered with a virtual try-on feature you can access through its app (which I may, or may not, have had a little too much fun with). Everyone from makeup to furniture retailers are trying to get in on the augmented-reality bandwagon in order to entice shoppers to buy online with confidence — but, more often than not, these virtual services don't look realistic enough to be serviceable. However, I was incredibly impressed with the accuracy of Warby's front-camera feature; the frames moved with my face, my eyes were actually visible through the "lenses," and the glasses themselves scaled true-to-size. After a quick screenshot photoshoot, I sent the below pictures to my team Slack channel — because if there's anyone I could trust to guide me to the best statement pair for my face shape & personal style, it's the R29 shopping team.
Warby Parker's Sample Frames
Thanks to Slack's nifty poll function, I was able to present my fellow coworkers with the five frames I'd tried on virtually. Taye was immediately a hit but I was also vibing with the oversized Gael style (as if you couldn't tell). With this intel in mind, I proceeded to the next step: getting sample frames sent to my apartment to see how they stacked up IRL. This is key since online returns are either super easy or insanely onerous; more often than not, styles that don't end up working out will meet the tragic fate of collecting dust in some forgotten drawer.
Taupes, tortoises, and greens featured heavily in the Sunburst collection's palette, and I must say, muted beige emerged as the spring sunglass colour I never knew I needed. On a morning Zoom meeting, I shamelessly modelled the two front-running frames to my very patient, savvy team. (That's me, on the bottom, holding up Gael in Conch Crystal and Taye in Crystal Smoke.)
Warby Parker's Prescription Orders
I'm no stranger to ordering from Warby Parker's site or shopping IRL at their well-lit boutiques, so I expected this process to be a breeze. (It was!) After logging into my account, I was able to order the final pair I wanted in a matter of clicks. (The Warby team kindly gifted me a code to get my choice pair for free – thanks guys!) Since I don't own a pair of prescription sunnies (my opticals are the Ezra!), I figured this was the time to leave the double-glasses life behind. (Fellow four-eyed cuties know the #struggle.) I had a current prescription loaded onto my account from getting an eye exam at a Warby Parker location, but you can also digitally upload a current prescription from your optometrist to verify that important info. I already had my shipping info in my account, so the rest was easy-peasy.
My Final Thoughts
Even though I initially gravitated towards the Taye style, I decided on the Gael frames (which I'm wearing in the first photo featured!). This pair makes me feel like I'm living my best life even when I'm just walking to Whole Foods. For those who are used to wearing simpler frames, the Sunburst collection invites you to be a little more playful with your style — take it from someone who has literally never owned a pair of statement sunnies in her life. I never thought that I could pull off an adventurous frame since my style is pretty minimal but, as it turns out, I just needed to find the right shape for me — and Warby made that whole process feel shockingly accessible, easy, and fun. Browse the full collection below if you're ready to take a chance and make a statement with your sunnies, too.
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