Picking the Right Eyeglass Frame

Don’t like wearing glasses? Maybe you just haven’t found the right frames. In addition to helping you see the world more clearly, eyeglasses should enhance (not detract from) your appearance, and should be comfortable, stylish and stay properly positioned on your face.

Here are a few essential tips when shopping for eyeglass frames:

Consider Your Face Shape

One of the most important factors to consider when selecting eyewear is to assess the shape of your face before trying on frames. Why? Because the most attractive eyeglass frames are those that complement and balance your facial features, not mimic them. In other words, if you have a very round face, rectangular frames or other frames with well-defined angles will look better than round frames (which will tend to exaggerate the roundness of your face).

There are seven basic face shapes. Though everyone’s face is a unique blend of shapes, here are some helpful tips to determine your predominant facial shape and which frame styles will look best on you:

Round

  • A round face has nearly symmetrical curves, and the height and width is nearly the same.
  • Frames with angular shapes tend to look best on a round face, and rectangular frames that are wider than they are deep will help a round face look slightly taller, giving it a more pleasing oval appearance.
Oval

  • An oval face is taller than its width and has gentle curves. An oval face generally is considered the ideal shape because of its balanced proportions.
  • A person with an oval face can wear many frame styles successfully. To maintain the attractive balance of an oval face, look for frames that are as wide as (or wider than) the broadest part of the face and avoid frames that have an excessive width or depth.

 

Oblong

  • An oblong face is longer than it is wide and has a long straight cheek line and sometimes a longish nose.
  • To make an oblong face appear shorter and more balanced, try frames that have more depth than width. Decorative or contrasting temples also can add width to the face for a more balanced appearance.
Base-Down Triangle

  • A base-down triangular face has a narrow forehead and widens at the cheeks and lower portion of the face.
  • To add width to the narrow upper third of the face, try frames that have a “cat-eye” shape and/or decorative detailing on the top half of the frame.
Base-Up Triangle

  • A broad forehead and a slender jaw line characterize this face shape.
  • To minimize the width of the top half of the face, try frames that are wider at the bottom, such as an aviator shape. Also, light frame colors and rimless frame designs tend to look good on this face shape.
Diamond

  • Diamond-shaped faces have a relatively narrow forehead and jaw line, and broad (sometimes high) cheekbones. This face shape is relatively rare.
  • To highlight the eyes and soften the cheekbones of a diamond-shaped face, try frames that are prominent or distinctive at the top of the frame (at the brow line). Oval rimless frames also look good.
Square

  • A square face has a broad forehead and a prominent, angular jaw line, and the length and width of the face are of similar proportion.
  • To make a square face look softer, try oval frames or other curved frame shapes that have more width than depth.

 

Choose a Frame That Complements Your Skin Tone and Eye Color

According to eyewear experts at The Vision Council, the best frame colors complement your natural skin tone and enhance the color of your eyes.

When considering your skin tone, understand that all complexions are categorized as having either a “cool” or “warm” color base. A cool complexion has blue or pink undertones; a warm complexion has a “peaches and cream” or yellow undertones.

There’s one exception: olive-colored skin is considered cool despite being a mixture of blue and yellow tones. Hair color also is categorized as cool or warm. Cool hair colors include blue-black, salt-and-pepper, auburn, strawberry blond, platinum blond, and silver-white. Examples of warm hair colors include yellow-blond, golden brown, black with brown undertones, and brown-gray.

Eye color is another secondary element in determining your coloring, but there are many subtle variations of eye color. For example, blue eyes can range from nearly violet (cool) to a pale blue-gray (warm). Brown eyes can vary from a light cider shade (warm) to nearly black (cool).

Once you consider your skin tone, hair color and eye color, it’s time to start picking frames that complement your coloring:

  • Frame colors that usually look best on cool complexions include black, gray, silver, blue, blue-gray, pink, and dark tortoise.
  • Frame colors that complement warm complexions include: gold, copper, brown, khaki, peach, fire-engine red, and blond tortoise.

You may be tempted to choose a frame color that “goes with everything.” But consider instead a color that truly flatters you and helps you make your personal style statement.

Make Sure It Fits

For both comfort and appearance, the size of your eyeglass frames should be in scale with your face size. Here are a few tips to make sure your eyeglasses will be comfortable and fit well:

  • For adequate width, the edge of the frames should protrude slightly beyond the width of your face so that the frame temples don’t press against the side of your head.
  • Make sure the temples are long enough so they can be adjusted properly behind your ears to keep the frame securely on your face when bending over or making quick movements. (Your optician will help with this fit.)
  • The bridge of the frame should rest comfortably and securely on the bridge of your nose, without pinching. (Frames with adjustable nosepieces enable a more customized fit.)

Remember: even if you love the “look” of a frame, if it doesn’t fit properly, you’ll be unhappy in the long run.