Mirror mirror on the wall–or on your eyes, that is. Reflective lenses are standouts in Spring ’11 sunglasses and add an instant refresh to your look for the season. Initially designed and manufactured for US Air Force Pilots (ala Top Gun), as well as becoming the go-to shades for police officers (nicknamed ‘cop shades”), mirrored aviator sunglasses are highly functional for their properties to reduce intense glare–up to 60 percent compared to ordinary lenses–and increase clarity and visibility. From a psychological perspective–especially for policemen–they also provide the added benefit of looking intimidating and preventing eye contact.

The mirror effect is produced by applying a coating or glaze (called a mirror coating or flash coating) to the surface of the lens, primarily in gold, silver or copper tints. You’ll find varying degrees of “opaqueness” from complete one-way mirror to more translucent reflection. These days, mirror shades have become popular among the decidedly fashion conscious as uber-designers like Christian Dior, Emporio Armani, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, and Tory Burch have taken styles beyond the classic aviator to a whole new level offering a variety of lens hues and fashion-forward frames. This season, choose from sporty details and trendy shapes like cat eye and retro-inspired over-sized rounds with a slew of reflective lens color choices including the basics silver and copper/brown, as well as funkier shades of blue, pink and purple.

Keep in mind that sunglasses with reflective coatings are more easily prone to scratching and sustaining other surface damaged so refrain from tossing them on the dash or intermittently dropping them on the concrete.

Intimidating, mysterious and insanely stylish, mirror shades definitely add this season’s cool factor. –rpuccia