As winter's chill settles in and the mountains don their snow-capped peaks, ski enthusiasts everywhere eagerly anticipate the upcoming ski season. Beyond the thrill of the slopes and the cosy apres-ski gatherings, there's another aspect of skiing that deserves attention – your style on the mountains.
While the focus is typically on the latest ski gear and performance equipment, adding a touch of fashionable flair to your sporting get-up can give you that extra edge to looking the part (even if you’re a novice!). In this blog, we explore an often overlooked accessory: vintage sunglasses. We'll guide you through the essentials of choosing the best vintage sunglasses for the slopes, ensuring you protect your eyes with undeniable style.
The Necessity of Eye Protection
Before we delve into the world of vintage sunglasses, it's crucial to emphasise the importance of eye protection during a ski holiday.
Whilst most people would associate the need for sunglasses with hot, sunny and tropical destinations, they’re actually just as important to pack for snowy retreats, also. The combination of high altitudes, reflective snow surfaces and intense UV rays can pose significant risks to your eyes.
Prolonged exposure may lead to conditions such as snow blindness, officially known as photokeratitis, which is essentially sunburn of the cornea; in fact, the Inuit and the Yupik peoples of the Arctic have been using snow goggles for thousands of years to protect their eyes from snow blindness. Choosing sunglasses with proper UV protection, then, is a non-negotiable aspect of your ski gear.
Style on the Slopes
Whilst vintage sunglasses, most importantly, protect your eyes on the slopes, they also act as a unique and fashionable accessory, making them an ideal choice for those who appreciate fashion as much as they do adventure.
Many of the classic designs popularised and produced in previous decades not only look great, but often incorporate high-quality materials and craftsmanship that can withstand the rigours of the mountain environment.
We’ve listed some must-have styles below, whether you’ll be tackling the slopes or putting your feet up by the fire and enjoying the views from the chalet.
For those seeking a bold and futuristic look on the slopes, shield-style frames offer a contemporary twist to vintage eyewear. This style, characterised by a single, large lens that extends across the entire front of the sunglasses, provides a seamless and modern aesthetic - akin to that of modern ski goggles, making them a fitting accessory to wear even when you’re in your leisurely attire.
Shield-style frames offer excellent coverage, protecting your eyes from wind, snow and harmful UV rays, all of which make them a popular style of sunglasses among skiers. The minimalist design exudes a sense of cutting-edge fashion whilst eliminating the distraction of a traditional frame, allowing for unobstructed panoramic views of the mountain terrain.
We love these Nazareno Gabrielli shield design sunglasses, which perfectly bridge the gap between authentic ‘80s style and contemporary ski fashion.
When choosing shield-style vintage sunglasses, ensure they come equipped with high-quality UV protection and anti-glare features, combining avant-garde style with essential eye care for an unmatched skiing experience. This unique and contemporary take on vintage eyewear is sure to turn heads and make a statement both on and off the slopes.
One of the most iconic vintage sunglass styles, aviators, have been a staple in the fashion world since their inception in the 1930s. Aviator sunglasses traditionally feature large, teardrop-shaped lenses and thin metal frames; they were originally designed for pilots to ensure they were never blinded by glares mid-air, making them ideal for shielding your eyes from the glare of the sun reflecting off snowy mountain tops - afterall, they do say skiing is the closest you can get to flying without your feet leaving the ground!
This style is another favourite among ski enthusiasts, providing excellent coverage against wind and glare whilst boasting an effortlessly cool aesthetic. Opt for aviators with UV protection and polarised lenses to ensure optimal eye safety on the slopes. If this style is one that suits your taste, then these limited edition aviators from the Boeing Collection by Carrera would be sure to make a statement.
For a seamlessly modern style that also acts as a nod to style icons of the past, consider opting for sunglasses with oversized frames. This style has remained popular throughout the decades, offering an eclectic and versatile look while providing ample coverage for your eyes.
Choose a pair with UV protection and durable frames for optimal performance in the snowy mountains. Also consider how well the arms will A, stay secure against your head, and B, sit against your helmet if you plan on wearing them on slow slopes or for leisurely skis.
For those looking to add a touch of retro glamour to their chalet ensemble, cat-eye sunglasses are the perfect choice. Popularised in the 1950s and 1960s, these feminine and playful frames offer a stylish contrast to the rugged mountain landscape.
Cat-eye sunglasses typically have upswept corners, ranging from petite and elegant frames to larger, bolder frames that exude luxury. Though these may not be as practical as the aforementioned styles when actively skiing, they are a stylish option for complementing your winter attire on the days you spend navigating the ski resort and exploring the local scenery.
The timeless appearance of wayfarer sunglasses makes them a versatile choice for any occasion, including hitting the slopes. Introduced by Ray-Ban in the 1950s, wayfarers have a distinct trapezoidal shape and thick frames that convey a sense of casual sophistication as well as offer a comfortable fit.
When looking for vintage wayfarers, opt for polarised or mirrored lenses to reduce glare, offer maximum protection and enhance visibility in snowy conditions. If you find a pair of wayfarer frames that you love that don’t offer adequate protection, then worry not, as we offer a range of custom lenses that can be fitted into your frames to achieve both the appearance and level of protection that you’re after.
Finding Your Perfect Sunglasses Frames
Quality and Durability
While style is undoubtedly a crucial factor when selecting vintage sunglasses for the ski season, it's equally important to prioritise quality and durability. Skiing exposes your accessories to harsh conditions, including snow, wind and potential falls.
Ensure that the vintage sunglasses you choose are made from durable materials and provide adequate protection against the elements. Look for features such as scratch-resistant coatings and impact-resistant lenses to ensure your eyewear can withstand the demands of the mountain environment.
Comfort and Fit
Comfort is key when it comes to any ski gear, and vintage sunglasses are no exception. Ill-fitting or uncomfortable eyewear can distract from the skiing experience and even compromise safety. Choose sunglasses with adjustable nose pads and temple tips for a customised and secure fit. Additionally, consider frames that are compatible with your ski helmet to ensure a seamless and comfortable combination.
Lens Technology for Optimal Performance
To enhance your skiing experience, consider vintage sunglasses with advanced lens technologies. Polarised lenses are particularly beneficial in snowy conditions as they reduce glare and improve visibility. Another potential option is photochromic lenses, which automatically adjust to changing light conditions - a practical choice for variable weather on the slopes.
Experiment with different lens tints to find the one that provides optimal contrast and clarity for your skiing adventures.
Where to Find Vintage Eyewear for Ski Season
As you gear up for the ski season, don't overlook the opportunity to make a fashion statement both on and off the slopes. Whether you opt for the all-rounder shield frames, the classic aviators or versatile oversized frames, choose a pair that reflects your personality and enhances your ski-holiday experience. Embrace the combination of fashion and function, and hit the slopes with confidence and flair.
Finding the perfect pair of vintage ski sunglasses may require a bit of hunting, but the thrill of discovering a unique and stylish pair is well worth it.
Here at Ed & Sarna, we’ve done the hard work for you - scouring the globe and uncovering hidden gems so that you don’t have to. We carefully inspect all the frames we find to ensure that they are authentic and in great condition - a crucial priority in our process.
To help you find the ideal pair of vintage sunglasses for your trip, we’ve put together a collection of Ski Season Essentials. Featuring a range of frame designs and lens types, we’re confident you’ll find a pair that speaks to you. Browse the collection today so that you’re prepared for the much-anticipated ski season ahead.
If you’d like to learn more about our frames and services, or have any additional queries, then don’t hesitate to reach out! Get in touch today and we’ll be happy to help you.