Eyeglasses play two important (and very different) roles — they correct your vision to influence how you see the world; and they contribute to your appearance and style, influencing how the world sees you.
So it’s wise to keep these two functions in mind when shopping for glasses: you want glasses that give you the best vision possible — and that complement your style, too!
When it comes to style, it’s all about the frames.
Would You Wear Flip-Flops with a Business Suit?
First things first: Unless your budget simply won’t allow it, you should be thinking about purchasing more than one pair of glasses to complement your wardrobe and lifestyle.
Even if your style is just-off-the-beach casual, you wouldn’t wear flip-flops to an important business meeting, would you? (Okay, maybe if you’re in the surfboard business you might, but you get the picture, right?) Or wear running shoes with an evening dress. So dispel yourself of the notion that one pair of glasses will give you the look you want or need for every situation.
That said, here are some general tips for a few common styles:
Eyeglasses for Serious Business
To put your best face forward and exude confidence with a wide variety of business clients and colleagues, it’s usually best to stay with conservative frame shapes and colors. Also:
- Minimalist metal or rimless frames are always good.
- Classic oval and rectangular shapes usually look best with business attire.
- Silver, gunmetal, brown and black are good choices for men.
- Silver, gold, espresso brown, burgundy and black are good choices for women.
- Classic tortoise patterns also work well for women and men.
- Avoid bright colors or unusual shapes.
- Avoid very large and very small lens sizes; stay in the middle.
Glasses That Show Your Creativity
For a more creative or fashion-forward appearance and for fun times outside the office, consider frames that are more attention-grabbing in shape and color:
- Consider geometric shapes in thicker and larger plastic frames.
- For metal frames look for styles with more temple detailing.
- Consider frames with more dramatic colors or patterns.
- Multi-colored laminates are often a good choice.
- Retro or vintage styles with modern detailing and/or colors also are good.
Glasses for the Modern Baby Boomer or Senior
Just because you’re eligible for an AARP card doesn’t mean you have to wear stodgy, old-fashioned glasses.
For a more youthful appearance, consider frame styles that are uplifting for the face, such as upswept rectangles for men and soft cat-eye shapes for women.
Pay attention to scale. Avoid those huge metal frames that older men often wear. Also, make sure your eyes are well-centered within the lens opening and purchase anti-reflective lenses to draw more attention to your eyes.
Also, frames with lighter colors and a high-gloss finish often look more youthful on women.
The Young Intellectual
Whether you’re studying art, French literature, finance or engineering, college is a time to develop your own identity — and show off your style.
Seize the day and don’t be afraid to express yourself. Experiment with eyewear styling, including eye-catching colors, shapes and sizes.
Want to go in a different direction? Try a retro frame in basic black.
Glasses for the Weekend Warrior
Most working adults live dual lives — their normal 9-to-5 weekday life and their (usually) more active life on the weekends.
Just as dress shoes are the wrong attire for the gym, the glasses you wear in the office are nearly always the wrong choice for sports and active wear.
For the best comfort, performance and safety during “weekend warrior” hours, choose at least one pair of sports-appropriate eyeglasses or sunglasses.
Styling can range from wraparounds to more conventionally shaped eyeglasses and sunglasses. Sporty looks can include bright colors and modern combinations of metal and plastic materials.
Some important words about lenses here: Make sure you choose lightweight polycarbonate or Trivex lenses for your sports glasses and sunglasses. Lenses made of these materials are far more impact-resistant than other eyeglass lenses, and they are significantly lighter, too, to stay comfortably in place on your face. Also, consider getting sun-sensitive (photochromic) treatment applied to these lenses for optimal sight in changing light conditions.
For sunglasses for sports and active wear, consider polarized lenses to more effectively reduce glare caused by light bouncing back from water, concrete and other reflective surfaces.
The Complete Package
A common misstep people make when putting together a wardrobe is forgetting about their glasses and sunglasses.
At a minimum, the well-dressed woman or man should have an eyewear wardrobe that includes:
- A pair of glasses for the office, computer and/or formal wear
- A pair of glasses for a casual wear
- A pair of glasses with photochromic polycarbonate (or Trivex) lenses for sports and active/safety wear
- A pair of “dress” sunglasses for fashion use
(If you spend significant amounts of time fishing, on the beach or boating, consider a pair of sports glasses with polarized polycarbonate lenses for superior protection from glare.)