Of course, the primary aim of wearing glasses is clear vision, but over recent years glasses have become a fashion must-have. In fact, it has been reported that in certain age groups people are wearing frames with blank lenses simply to make a fashion statement. Most of us are unable to have a variety of frames to accessorise different outfits for different occasions, and the selection of a suitable frame can be an overwhelming experience. Where to start? After checking with your optometrist what type of frame will best accommodate the lenses for your specific vision problem, follow the guidelines that will help narrow down your choice. Choose a frame which accentuates your best features, complements the shape and colouring of your face, and makes you feel confident and comfortable.
While everyone's face is unique, there are basically seven face shapes. Many faces do not fit clearly into only one specific type but have features that resemble two or even more types. To determine the shape of your face, brush your hair away from your face and look straight ahead into a mirror. Look at the outline of your face from your hairline down to your jawline. Determine if your face is more angular or soft. In many ways, this is more important than the exact shape of your face when it comes to choosing glasses. Choose frames that complement the shape of your face. In general, frames add the most visual interest when they are in contrast with your natural features.
The round face has full cheeks with forehead and jaw of similar width. Soft, round faces look best with frames that have hard angles, like square or rectangular frames which tend to make the face look longer and break up the softness of the face.
Square faces have strong, wide foreheads and equally strong, wide chins. They are also proportionate in the length and width of the face. Rectangular faces are very similar in shape to square, but with a longer length than width. Square and rectangular faces look best with round or oval frames that balance the hard lines of the face. To minimise the appearance of a very heavy jawline, look for a thin delicate frame in a colour similar to your skintone, so that you don't add more bulk to your face. The glasses should be slightly wider than the cheekbones to fit the face properly.
Oblong and oval faces are similar, too: they are both proportional, with a slightly narrower forehead and jaw, but an oval face has a more pointed chin. Oblong faces look best with round or curved frames, which emphasise the width rather than the length of the face. Frames with the upper and lower rims of the frame equal in shape break up the length of the face. Oval faces look good in any type of frame, so choose something that fits your personality and enhances your features.
Triangular faces tend to have a narrow forehead and a wide, strong, often angular jaw. The best choice for this shape would be frames that emphasise the top half of the face, like half-rimmed glasses or cat-eye glasses, or two-toned frames with darker tops and lighter bottoms. Balance the look by ensuring that the frames are slightly wider than the jaw.
The heart-shaped face is almost like an upside-down triangle, with a wide forehead that narrows to a pointed chin. A heart shaped face can be long and graceful or more rounded, but both tend to have high, angled cheekbones. Frames that are wider at the bottom or have some kind of detail on the lower half would suit this face shape.
As well as the shape of the face there may be certain facial features that should be taken into consideration when choosing frames. For large noses, select a frame with a low or wide bridge over the nose to minimise the size of the nose. If the hair line is receding, choose a dark frame with a strong horizontal line rather than a clear frame which will elongate the forehead further.
Depending on your skin, eye and hair colour, different coloured frames will bring out your best features. There are three basic categories of skin tone – fair, medium and dark, or cool, neutral and warm.
If you have a cool skin tone (characterised by blue eyes and pale skin), a frame in a cool colour will complement your colouring best. Avoid bright colours which will contrast too highly with your skin tone, resulting in a washed out look. Cool colours include silver and jewel tones like amethyst, ruby, emerald and sapphire. Alternatively, opt for brown, black or tortoiseshell frames.
For a medium or neutral skin tone, choose solid colours such as blue, green and even pink, which will make a bold statement. If you prefer a more subtle look, warm-coloured frames, such as gold and earth tones like beige, orange, yellow, and mustard would be best.
For those with a darker skin tone, lighter colours are recommended so that the frame is not lost against the skin. These include white, tan, and gold.
Glasses should be in the right proportion to the rest of the face and should be in the correct position so as not to distract from your appearance. As a general rule, the top of your glasses frame should follow the line of your eyebrows. Avoid having too much eyebrow above or below the frames. The eyes should sit at the centre of each frame.
Your personal sense of style and personality can be expressed in the glasses you choose, so instead of sticking strictly to the guidelines, decide which elements work for you and which you feel comfortable with. Also, be careful to choose a model that will not bend or break easily. Follow the example of actor Daniel Radcliffe, who made round glasses "cool" as Harry Potter in the popular movie series. His character started out as a round faced young boy who eventually grew into a more square-jawed young man. He was able to pull off the round framed glasses both ways!