Made in the Shade With the Best Bargains in Sunglasses -- Savings Experiment

How to Save on Sunglasses
How to Save on Sunglasses

Some folks know the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., as the birthplace of salt water taffy; others associate it with casino gambling, Monopoly and the Miss America beauty pageant. But the Boardwalk has another claim to fame so copious that it's hard to imagine an America without it --though prior to 1929, the Land of the Free was by and large a land free of shades.

Picture it. No Corey Hart singing/whining about wearing his sunglasses at night. No bearded dudes in ZZ Top advising us to go get some cheap sunglasses. No cruising cops in mirrored specs; no cool lifeguards in hipper-than-thou Ray Bans. But that's just how it was until Sam Foster came along with that first pair of Foster Grants. He started selling them from an Atlantic City Woolworth store in 1929, and by 1930, sunglasses were all the rage.

Fast forward 80 years and the choices for shades become, shall we say, eye-boggling. You can even get sunglasses with a built in audio player. (And why shouldn't ears get equal glam time? They hold the frames up, after all.)

From the dollar store to the chic boutique, sunglasses choices abound. So then: Is cheap a bargain? Do designer lenses do a better job protecting the eye, or showing off for onlookers? And just what are the ABCs of UVA and UVB anyway? You'll have it made in the shade, we promise, after reading this installment of the Savings Experiment.