Those of us old enough to have seen the original Star Wars film when it was first released in 1977 are also old enough to remember clip-on, flip-up sunglasses. They were truly a gift from heaven. They made it possible for people who wore prescription lenses to protect their eyes in the sunshine without having to buy a second pair of glasses.
For some unknown reason, flip-ups faded away toward the end of the 1990s. They were nowhere to be found when the calendar turned to 2000. Even worse, they were replaced by a new kind of clip-on with a center spring and two lens-scratching grappling hooks on either side of the frames.
If you think on those old flip-ups with melancholy, you have reason to be happy once again. They are back! That’s right, the eyewear gods have heard our cries of distress and brought our favorite sunglasses back. Flip-ups are starting to make their way to big-box department stores and corner pharmacies across the country.
Imagine being a Little League baseball player playing center field for your neighborhood team. It is 1982, and you finally earned enough money from your newspaper route to buy your own sunglasses. Of course, you went out and got a pair of flip-ups to use with your regular prescription glasses. Bright sunshine out in center field is no longer a problem.
You love your sunglasses and their genius simplicity. On defense, the lenses can be in the ‘down’ position to shield your eyes from the sun. But when you are at the plate and swinging for a home run, you can flip the lenses to the ‘up’ position. Now you can clearly see that ball coming at full speed.
Flip-up sunglasses are absolutely genius. You can flip them up and down with a single finger. You can clip them to your prescription lenses as you head out in the morning and, if you like, leave them attached all day. That may not be appropriate if you are heading to a business meeting, but it is a great option if you plan on spending all day outdoors.
Changing with the Times
If you ever wondered why flip-ups virtually disappeared in the late 1990s, the answer is pretty simple. Salt Lake City’s Olympic Eyewear says it is nothing more than the normal cycle of changing times. Their recent resurgence is due to the same phenomenon.
Everything in the fashion world cycles around – even sunglasses. What is popular today will not be so popular a couple of years from now. But it will come back at some point in the future.
Olympic Eyewear designs and distributes all of the staples – like wayfarers and aviators – that never go out of style. But they also distribute all of the latest fashions as well. Those fashions come and go. Where flip-ups are concerned, they gave way to the spring-loaded clip-ons that replaced them.
Those spring-loaded sunglasses are still sold today. But chances are they will begin to fade away as more people are turned on to flip-ups. And of course, don’t forget the drop-ins. They were sunglasses that dropped in behind your prescription lenses with a little clip that hung over the top of the frames. They are set to make a return any time now.
For now, take joy in the fact that the eyewear gods have seen fit to bring flip-ups back. And if you’re so inclined, buy yourself half-a-dozen pairs before they fade away again. After all, you never know how long it will be before the eyewear gods look favorably on you again.