Tacky Tourist Sunglasses: How to Put Together a Great Fancy Dress Costume – and Avoid Tacky Fake Shades

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When we think of a classic pair of tacky tourist sunglasses, it’s likely one of a few images will come to mind: either mega-oversized shades, novelty-shaped sunglasses, or obviously cheap knock-offs of designer eyewear. 

Here’s how to make a pair of tacky tourist sunglasses the basis of a great fancy dress costume – and the steps to take to avoid getting caught out by a seller offering tacky fake designer shades.

Tacky Tourist Fancy Dress Costume

If you’re looking for a fun costume for a fancy dress party, a tacky tourist get-up is a great – and easy to put together – choice! All you need is a pair of brightly colored Bermuda-style shorts, a loud short-sleeved T-shirt, a pair of tacky sunglasses, such as a hugely oversized set of shades, and a baseball cap or wide-brimmed straw hat. Finish off your look with a couple of flower garlands for the perfect tacky tourist costume – and don’t forget the white socks to wear with your sandals or sneakers.

Alternatively, opt for a pair of novelty glasses to finish off your outfit. There is a near-infinite array to choose from, whether you’d prefer a set of shades in the shapes of palm trees or bright neon shutter shades that glow in the dark.

More Accessories for Your Tacky Tourist Costume

The beauty of this fancy dress costume is you can have such fun adding accessories to the look. For example, bring a rucksack on board, choose an instant camera or another vintage model to hang around your neck, and have a map or guidebook poking prominently out of a pocket or bag. A patterned fanny pack is another perfect tacky tourist costume accessory.

And how about adding a pair of binoculars, and even a travel cushion worn around the neck? Water bottles, an oversized pretend passport, and a money belt are all additional ideas to uplevel your look.

Want to take things one step further? Use makeup to create fake sunburn streaks, deploy gel or hairspray to give yourself an out-of-date hairdo and, when you arrive at the party, proceed to take photos of absolutely everything, and frequently ask your fellow attendees for directions!

How to Avoid the Tacky Tourist Look

In real life, you give so much thought to your holiday wardrobe, and it’s vital that your look is uplifted – rather than undermined – by your choice of sunglasses. While it may be tempting to opt for the season’s most on-trend frame shapes and sizes, it’s likely that a more classic, discreet style of shades will give you years (rather than months) of stylish wearing, and won’t risk looking OTT when combined with your vacation collection.

Elegant cat eye shades, slightly oversized round sunglasses, and the ever-stylish Wayfarer shape all look great when worn with either casual or smart wear – and will never look tacky. It’s generally best to avoid fast fashion, and opt for one fabulous pair of shades that’ll go the distance, rather than choose multiple sunnies that are only likely to stay on trend – and last – for a single season.

Steering Clear of Fake Sunglasses

There’s nothing more tacky than a pair of obviously knockoff sunglasses that are pretending (badly) to be the real thing. Unfortunately, it can be easy to fall foul of sellers offering shades that purport to be from big brands but are actually super-cheap and flimsy reproductions.

However, there are plenty of steps you can take to avoid getting caught out. Most obviously, the price can provide a big clue. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. However big of a discount a store may offer, you’re not going to find a new pair of Diors for $15. 

Check the box the sunglasses come in. It should feature a barcode and the manufacturer’s details. The case can be a major giveaway, too. Designer shades almost universally come with a high-quality case made of premium material, with lettering that’s distinct, straight, and evenly spaced. Is the logo properly centered, for example, and is a soft microfiber cloth included?

Next, inspect the frames. When worn, authentic shades should feel comfortable and balanced. Counterfeit shades with a plastic frame will tend to feel too light, while those purporting to be constructed from stainless steel will sit more heavily on the face than you’d expect. Finally, consider the lenses. They should be of superior quality, without scratches or other blemishes and, when worn, should retain visual clarity while blocking brightness.

Tacky Tourist Sunglasses: The Takeaway

Whether you want to put together a classic tacky tourist look for a fancy dress bash, or are keen to know how to avoid tacky knock-off sunglasses, use the guide above to help you find the perfect holiday look – whether real or fake!