Having read a brilliant piece by Elaine Grisdale (FBDO FAAO) in the August 2015 edition of Dispensing Optics magazine, I have subsequently updated this post (originally published in May) to include even more hints and tips on choosing the perfect spectacle frame for YOU! Enjoy :)
When choosing a pair of glasses, be it your first pair or your twenty-first, it can be a nightmare. And invariably just when you find one that suits, fashions change and suddenly you’re out of date and what you want isn’t available anymore. That’s where someone like me comes in, professionally trained to look at someone and have an instinct as to what will suit them (and sometimes more importantly, what will suit their prescription!!).
Generally the best advice I can give you is to try on as many frames as you can. Don’t be afraid of frames that you would never have thought of trying on in a million years – sometimes they will be the best ones, trust me! Often somebody will come in and have a set idea of what they want, but when they try it on, it just doesn’t suit them and understandably they’re deflated. Again, it’s MY job to find a similar but more suitable alternative!
Take selfies (I know, #cringe), and if you can, take someone with you for a second opinion. Over time, you will learn what suits you (and what you should definitely steer clear of!). Basically, spectacle frames should contrast the shape of your face, (hopefully) enhancing its features. It is an important choice – the correct fitting frame can change facial features for the better, making longer noses appear shorter, and making asymmetrical features appear more symmetrical.
However, if you find yourself alone and staring aimlessly at an endless wall of spectacle frames, here are some simple pointers that helped me out when I first started in this biz and generally do work (there are obviously always exceptions to the rule though)…
OVAL: The most balanced face shape - people who have oval faces are lucky as they look good in virtually any shape. Where possible, opt for almond shaped frames that are as broad as (or broader than) the widest part of the face, to keep natural balance.
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LONG: Long, rectangular faces can look thin and somewhat gaunt. The proportions can be balanced by choosing a frame that is wider, upswept, round or a deeper oval. These shapes counteract long, narrow faces, as they create focus around the eye area and add width, making the face appear more balanced. Avoid frames with thick, dark arms.
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ROUND: People who have round faces will benefit from wearing a frame that is more narrow, angular or rectangular. This will make the roundness dissipate, so that the face will appear longer and slimmer and the eyes look wider apart.
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SQUARE: Square/rectangular frames should be avoided. The face is softened by using narrower, curved, rounded, circular or oval frames that are broader than the widest part of the face, softening a strong jaw line and broad forehead. For women who have square faces an elegant upswept oval frame can work well.
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SLIM AND SQUARE: Someone with a slim face and square-ish jaw, may find that either round or square frames shapes suit, however because of the slimness of the face, particular care should be taken with sizing.
HEART - Heart-shaped faces are characterised by a wide forehead and a narrow jawline. The chosen frame should ideally minimise the width in the upper part of the face to create a better balance. Delicate, round or square styles are the most flattering. Avoid heart-shaped styles that echo the shape of the jaw, instead consider round, oval or upswept frames.
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As a general rule, the smaller the face, the key is to look for a less fussy and less overpowering frame style. Keep things simple, choosing light, slim and minimal styles. For larger and longer faces, more adventurous choices can be made – consider thicker rims, stronger colours, bolder designs and more decoration.
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