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Thrift Designer Sunglasses: Goodwill Alert

$127 on Amazon. $2.99 at Goodwill. I thought I knew a lot about the treasures available at Goodwill (maybe I do), but I had no idea until last Wednesday that it is an amazing source for designer sunglasses frames! I have often walked by the sunglasses basket without a second glance because I need prescription sunglasses, but this time, on a hunt for photo shoot fodder, I decided to paw through. People donate some slammin' sunglasses! Prescription is not a problem. Turns out there are online businesses that will switch out the lenses, either to your prescription or to a lens with no prescription. There's also an option to put clear lenses into a sunglasses frame to make regular glasses.

There is one caveat: you need good quality frames in good condition. Replacing the lenses puts stress on the frames, so low quality or damaged frames may not survive.

1. Inspect the frames carefully, especially the part that surrounds the lenses. Even small cracks or chips can cause the frames to shatter during the replacement process.

2. Look on the insides of the temples, the parts that curve over your ears, for a string of numbers something like these. This indicates higher quality frames from an optical shop. The frames of cheap or off-the-rack sunglasses may not be strong enough to have the lenses replaced.

3. Do not buy frames that feel brittle or dried out. They may not be able withstand the stresses of the required heating process. If you're uncertain, you can purchase the frames and take them to your local optical shop for an expert opinion on condition. Just return them to the thrift store if they don't suit your purpose. But don't assume a brick-and-mortar shop will put lenses into your frames. Some opticians will not work with used frames. Double-check the policy if you're thinking of going that route.

Having discovered that I could buy vintage silk scarves for $0.50 apiece at the Goodwill Outlet, I now have a collection of about 20. Now, that these Guess babies have grabbed ahold of me, I have an overwhelming urge to visit every thrift store I know and paw through that basket of dark-lensed treasures sitting on the counter. Forget Jackie O with her one signature pair, I'm going to have a whole stable! How about you? Happy hunting!

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