Bigga mo' betta as Burberry's familiar check pattern graces the temples of these shades ($168) worn by Asuka Matsumoto.

Super-sized shades

Bigger is better in generating
an aura of cool

Insta-celebrities are everywhere, so much so that it's difficult to separate the stars from the wannabes. You could get on a plane or elevator with Rachel McAdams, Keiko Agena or Cillian Murphy and see only clean-looking 20-somethings without recognizing them as, respectively, the star of "The Notebook" and "Mean Girls," a "Gilmore Girls" regular, and the mad psychiatrist from "Batman Begins" and star of "28 Days Later."

For rising stars or plain old stardust, the difference between being noticed and being incognito is a matter of attitude, and the easiest way to win "look at me" points is to put on the perfect pair of shades. It's amazing how a single accessory can generate a sense of mystery where little or none exists, and this summer, the only way to stand out, superstar, is to go big.

Think fly eyes and goldfish bowls and you'll find the right-size pair of specs in between. If they obscure about half your face, so much the better.

Forget what your ophthalmologist -- the one with the nerdy frames, right? -- tells you. Rules about matching frames to your face shape are out, as are the precious square specs favored by architects and artists.

Natalie Lau wears Coach's Samantha ($168) shades, with tiny crystals embedded into the temples for a bit of movie-star sparkle.

At Burberry at Ala Moana Center, you can pick up colorful acetate-frame sunglasses for $168 or sunglasses in the company's signature check in several colors for $158 to $168, or gold with gold inlay for $240.

Sunglass King at Aloha Tower Marketplace offers oversize shades from Fossil to Fendi for anywhere from $70 to $275. If you can't afford the real thing, there are also NYS shades that mimic designer styles for $11.99. At that price you can pick up a few pairs to match your daily wardrobe.

At Longs you'll find Tropical Shades oversize tortoise frames for $12.99, and Visual Healthwear's gigantic Solar Shields, the boxy goggle-style glasses favored by senior citizens for their UV protection factor. They're so big they can be worn over regular glasses.

For designers the larger eyewear affords increased advertising opportunities. No longer limited to tiny logos embedded on the lens, near the frame hinges or over the bridge across the wearer's nose, makers of glasses can now place their logos on your face and at both temples, making it easy for others to cop your style without blatantly asking, "Where'd you get those?"

Coach embellishes the temples of its Samantha frames ($168) with tiny crystals and the Coach logo on a metallic "lozenge."

Burberry's red acetate sunglasses are $168. Also available in black, white and blue.

TO KNOW HOW far we've come in our quest for attention, one need only think back to the 1970s, when pop star Elton John donned ever larger, more outrageous glasses to shock, surprise and entertain. But nobody was rushing to emulate his style back then. It would have been, in a word, embarrassing.

These days, there's no such thing as an embarrassing moment as entire lives -- the good, the bad and the mostly ugly -- are played out on national TV. Now that everyone is assured 15 minutes of reality TV fame sometime, somewhere, it's much harder to stand out. Too many people have already tried the "I wear my sunglasses at night" trick, and ever brighter bling in the form of rhinestone-studded logos and frames.

Today's shades are inspired by Jackie O., whose chunky dark frames were intended to keep the public at bay. Unfortunately, they did the opposite, intensifying her aura of glamour, mystery and celebrity so that her shield against the scrutiny of paparazzi and the public served instead as an invitation to the curious to look harder.

That's what you want, isn't it?

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