Down Memory Lane Shades from the Past and Present

Down Memory Lane Shades from the Past and Present

Down Memory Lane Shades from the Past and Present

Shades from the Past – During the 40’s and 50’s sunglasses made it easy to look suave and get that “Hollywood” glamour look. However, as more people have become involved in outdoor sports and activities, healthcare professionals warn us against the harmful UV and blue rays of the sun and the importance of protecting our eyes.

From skiing the pristine snowy white slopes to sand sailing glistening sand dunes, thanks to today’s advanced technologies, sunglasses are available for any sporting event, offering maximum protection for any type of activity. Direct sunlight is too bright for most people’s comfort during outdoor activities. Sunglasses help make your time outdoors more enjoyable, whether at the beach, boating, at a football game or simply going shopping

Sunglasses are believed to have roots in Rome and ancient China. Emperor Nero observed his gladiators through polished gemstones. Found in ancient China, some pieces of smoky quartz smoothed out into little flat pieces are believed to be an early form of sunglasses dating back to the 12thcentury. Chinese judges were reported to have used them to during cross-examinations witnesses to conceal faces. Purely a vanity piece, these glasses did not filter out any UV or blue rays from the sun.

Down Memory Lane Shades from the Past and Present – 18th –19thCentury Changes

James Ayscough was one of the first to experiment with tinted glass. He postulated that by tinting the glass green or blue or green it would correct specific vision-related issues.

It was not until 1929 when an American named Sam Foster offered his brand of shades that we know as Foster Grants. Not long after that, in 1936 Edwin Land “polarized” the lenses that incorporated his patented technique of the Polaroid filter. Once the Army Air Corp understood the benefits for our troops, working with Bausch & Lomb, they developed highly protective eyewear for pilots. Ray-Ban soon after joined in and developed the aviator sunglasses during WW II. They were made available to the public in 1937.

The “Hollywood” look dominated during the 70’s and on through into the ’90s. Movie stars, musicians, and celebrities became trendsetters in eyewear fashion. From the smallest “John Lennon” glasses to oversized “Jackie O’s, “sunglasses have morphed over the decades. With every change, new celebrities add sunglasses to their line of fashion accessories, elevating sunglasses to must-have status.

 “Retro” vs. “Vintage”

When it comes to fashion and old sunglasses, the difference between “retro” and “vintage” could not be greater. Let us look!

Retro: capturing the essence of the past in a reproduction, retro-sunglasses are based on the designs of yesteryear

Vintage: When it comes to “vintage,” you are dealing with old and original. Vintage sunglasses would have to have been made in during an earlier period – they are not reproductions

The ’60s – The use of mineral glass for lenses caused these sunglasses to be quite heavy and uncomfortable

70´s – Vibrant colors, design, and form became important in sunglasses styles. Plastic lenses introduced – wide lenses soon became very popular. Sunglasses evolved very rapidly and soon the “ambermatic” lenses, now known as progressive lenses became the rage. Wilhelm Anger designed and developed a new material called Optyl – an ultralight material that offered fewer allergic reactions.

Designer glasses, such as Dior, Armani, Bobbi Brown, Gucci, Carrera, Dunhill and many more soon arrived on the scene, giving rise to competition in style, materials, and bragging rights.

The 80´s– Not to leave out, other designers; such as Jaguar,  Bugatti, Colani, Cartier, Porsche, and Lacoste soon joined in the competition. Porsche even patented exchangeable glasses. Colani started using titanium and Dior came out with frameless glasses

 The ’90s – Sunglass designs became more colorful and interesting. Flexible materials introduced; giving way to bendable and non-breakable frames.

Shades from the Past – Many Shades of Gray, Green, and Amber

Over the decades, sunglasses offered in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Here is a quick look at some of the most popular ones:

Many Shades - Aviator sunglassesAviator sunglasses

Tom Cruise in Top Gun made these famous again! Aviator sunglasses are oversized oval lenses on thin metal frames. Aviators come in a variety of styles and colors – and remain popular


Gradient lenses

Gradient lenses go from dark at the top, light in the middle and dark at the bottom or a darker shade at the top to a lighter one at the bottom.


Flip-up sunglasses

Flip-up sunglasses provide an extra benefit: for those who wear correctives lenses, you can flip them up or indoor use, a nice alternative to clip-on glasses


Mirrored sunglasses

As an alternative to polarization for UV protection, mirrored lenses have a metallic, reflective coating on the lens; they improve contrast when depth perception is important



Many Shades - Oversized sunglassesOversized sunglasses

This fashion/fad has come and gone. There are many variations, such as the “Jackie Onassis” and Dior “white shades.” Designer Many Shades - Oversized sunglassesshades have taken on a completely new dimension with shapes and accents to suit any outfit



Many Shades - Shutter ShadesShutter Shades

Shutter Shades were introduced in the 80s, are alive, and well in the young, fun, fashion scene today. Initially, the principle meant to minimize the amount of sunlight reaching the eyes by the use of little slats; however, they provide little protection against UV or blue light.

Many Shades - Tea shadesTea shades -, “Round Metal”, “Granny Glasses” or any other name

this style made popular by Beatle John Lennon and often worn for purely artistic reasons by the counterculture.

The original tea shade design made up of medium-sized; perfectly round lenses, supported by pads on the bridge of the nose and a thin wireframe. When tea shades became popular; lenses were elaborately colored, mirrored, and produced in excessively large sizes; with the wire earpieces exaggerated.

Many Shades - Wrap-around sunglassesWrap-around sunglasses

Wrap-around sunglasses have come a long way in design and fashion. They sometimes called “Yoko Ono glasses”. Lightweight, they stay on in almost any sporting activity.