Five Ways to Ensure Your Sunglasses Last Longer

Sunglasses have actually been around for more than 2,000 years. The Inuit made snow goggles from creature bone, calfskin and wood, making tiny little slits that permitted just the most minor of light through. The result? A pretty successful protection of the eyes from the blinding glare of sunlight! Fortunately, things have moved on just a touch since then, and more vegan friendly and sustainable options are now available.

By John Pritchard, Founder of sustainable sunglasses brand Pala Eyewear

For this guest piece for Immaculate Vegan I want to talk about looking after your sunglasses. The word ‘sustainability’ is often bandied around in fashion, most often in the context of materials and production, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to quell your excitement, as I’m not here to talk about that within the context of the eyewear industry (I’ll save that for another time if they ever invite me back!) No, this is to talk about sustainability in the sense of making your sunglasses last longer. I’m a huge advocate of the mantra ‘buy less, buy well’ and that naturally a well-made product will last a long time – but it will last longer still if it is well looked after too. 

So here are five quick tips on what you can do to sustain the life of your sunglasses for many years to come and ultimately reduce your impact on the planet.

Clean your lenses... and erm, not with your t-shirt

We have all been there, indeed I’ve done it in the past... I’m no saint! You’re on the beach, you’ve been dabbling with the sun cream, the chips, the ice creams... a veritable smorgasbord of ‘grease and stickiness givers’ that leave their mark all over your fingers and of course on lenses. Instinctively, you’ll want to remove their shades and wipe those lenses on your t-shirt. No, no, no – please, just no!

Soft as your t-shirt may be, it can still potentially scratch your lenses (particularly if a few grains of sand decide to get involved). Ideally you should use the microfiber soft bag you brought along with you just to take the edge of that smear, but ultimately you need to apply lens solution when you get home (because let’s face it, no-one takes lens solution to the beach). No solution? Then soap and water is a good alternative and of course *cough* don’t dry with your t-shirt.

Always use a sunglasses case

This all sounds a bit obvious, but I’m putting it out there, because often sunglasses end up lying loose and alone in a drawer, on a mantlepiece or on the dashboard of your car. A sunglasses case will, when called upon, protect your new shades from life’s unpredictable mishaps, such as falling on the floor, being stepped on, chewed by an animal or expertly pulled apart by any child under the age of five. When you’re not wearing your sunglasses, just make sure they are snuggly tucked away in their case. Life is unpredictable and so are your sunglasses.

Don't push your sunglasses on top of your head

We never said this would be easy, however this is one a of the main reasons that sunglasses get damaged. Just like clothing for different body types, we all have different size and shaped heads. I have a big head. Fact. You didn’t need to know that, but what you do need to know is that by pushing those frames up on my head consistently over time will lead the arms – or ‘temples’ if you want the real lingo – to splay. This will mean that when they return back to their rightful position on your face, they will over time become looser and looser, to the point that they simply won’t stay on when you re enthusiastically nodding your head in appreciation of one of your friends' anecdotes. 

So the solution, if you are popping out of sight of the sun’s glare, is to fold them away, put them in their soft bag and pop them in your pocket – or buy a cord and just let them hang down from that. Safe and sound. Which leads me nicely into the next tip.

Service your sunnies

Well, just like anything else that you want to last i.e. your car, your bike, your house (you get the gist), every now and then your sunglasses are going to need a little TLC.

You can do this yourself. Regularly check to make sure the screws or lenses aren’t loose. Keep a little DIY pack of sunglasses essentials – a cloth, lens solution, and screwdriver that will help keep your sunglasses in great condition. You can easily buy this online and it’s pretty inexpensive. You can simply do this little health check every 6 months, and this more than anything will help increase the longevity of your frame.

Now, back to the issue of your frames being stretched because you didn’t listen to my earlier tip. If this is the case, then you can take your frame to the opticians who will warm it up and re-shape it to the original ‘as new’ shape. It’s a quick process and often free. You can of course get the opticians to provide a full service if you wish to go that extra step.

Ensure your frames fit right from the start

If you ask Google the question ‘What frame fits my face’, take your time for an answer as there are around 85 million of them. It’s not easy, however there is certainly some science involved based around face shape. Ultimately it can come down to the little details such as bridge height, the brow line and lens size/shape... many variables. I would always suggest have a good friend with you to provide honest feedback. I’ve lost many friends in the past this way, but I’m okay with that.

Last Words

So, to summarise remember this. Clean your lenses with a combination of the solution and microfibre bag. T-shirts, table clothes and sandpaper are not recommended. Use the sunglasses case, it will be your friend for that ‘it won’t happen to me’ accident with your sunglasses. Don’t lose your frames in your lunch because of your enthusiastic nod – keen them down, not on your crown.

Give those frames some love...a bit of TLC goes a long way for your sunnies and that means for the planet too. Last of all, work on getting that fit for your face right from the start. When you find that perfect pair, you’ll cherish them and want to look after them. I’ve got a tracksuit top that’s 25 years old I still wear. Cherished and loved by me, laughed at by all those who have any good sense of fashion. Happy hunting for your next pair of sunnies.

By John Pritchard, Founder of sustainable sunglasses brand Pala Eyewear

For stylish, sustainable and 100% vegan sunglasses, shop our Vegan Sunglasses collection at Immaculate.

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