Have to wear glasses? Congratulations, you have yet another communication tool to help you present your most attractive and authentic self to the world.
There is an art to finding the best glasses for your face, though. Here are the steps to consider when shopping for new glasses. Note that these principles work when you’re buying sunglasses, too.
1. Zero in on shape and size first.
Once you determine the best shape(s) for your face–and the right size of each shape–your eyeglass world will get a lot smaller. Sure, there are a lot of great and groovy frames out there, but only a handful will be really right for you.
Experiment like heck, starting with basic shapes—round, square, oval. From there, experiment with variants of your best shape. Your glasses will either complement (match what already exists) or contrast (offer a contrary note to create visual harmony) with your overall face shape.
Keep in Mind: The best frames will draw others into your face, not obscure or overpower it.
For example, oval frames with a bit of an edge work best for my round-ish face. The big, owl-type of round frame are out, because they exaggerate the roundness of my face. Adding a hint of a cat’s eye, for instance, to an oval frame, breaks up the roundness of my face without looking too incongruous, or unmatched. You dig?
Warby Parker Glasses: Greenleaf Whisky Tortoise
Side Note: All of these eyeglasses are by Warby Parker (they retail for about $95 and up). They use premium Japanese titanium and other impressive materials in their construction. And I am most impressed by the excellent colors they offer, which are nuanced, distinctive and flattering to real people.
2. Next, know your colors.
Yeah, you might know that grey is great against your skin, or that tortoise is a personal favorite. Great. But know there are many variants of these colors, so understand which shades and intensities are best for you.
In the photo below, there are variants of tortoise to suit nearly every skin and hair combo. I happen to be very keen on the Annette Petal Tortoise (upper right) because I cannot believe someone has figured out how to finally marry pink and brown so prettily in a lens.
Warby Parker Glasses
To start, you must determine whether your coloring is cool or warm. From there, experiment to learn which shades of warm or cool work best for you. Intense or mild, or somewhere in between?
Learn by training your eye. Each time you try on a pair that are dead wrong, take a moment to determine what it is that is so off about them. Shape? Shade? Some characteristic they project? A very kindly salesgirl tried like the Dickens to talk me into a pair of groovy oversized glasses that made me look like an insane bug. Another pair made me look like my name should be Madge and I should be wearing a beehive hairdo.
Alternately, when you try on a pair of glasses that look fairly good, but don’t truly nail it, do a drill-down to determine what does work fairly well about them.
Back to color. Knowing your best colors will further cut out many eyeglass contenders. The shape might be perfect but alas, the color is not. That means Pass Go.
Color Tip: Pick out the lightest strands in your hair. Look at them. Visually remember what the color looks like. Match this color to the lightest shades in your frames.
Exception: Let’s say you’re sporting ombre hair, or there is a huge color differential between the lightest and darkest tones in your hair. An extreme example is having blonde at the tips, black at the roots. Pinpoint the mid-range between the lightest and darkest strands, and use it to match the lightest color in the frames.
The idea behind this tip is to creates balance—which is to say, a pleasant visual cohesion between your glasses, face and hair. One big happy family.
Warby Parker Glasses: Hardy Striped Pacific
Color Tip: There are many black frame glasses out there, yet black is ideal for so few people. Sure, it works if you are going for a stark or avant-garde look, but for the majority of people, it’s too harsh a color and puts the emphasis on your glasses—not your fine face, where it bloody well should be.
The model below has dark brown hair and light brown skin that appears to have warm undertones. The tortoise frames, with specks of warm amber, are a nice visual bridge between her hair, skin and eyes. She would also look great in frames that have more amber or other warm tones in them.
Warby Parker Glasses: Durand Whisky Tortoise
You have many beautiful eyeglass colors at your disposal to enhance your unique hair, skin and eye combination. These days, eyeglass designers know they must give consumers more than just black or brown, or something zany like cherry red or school bus yellow, to choose from.
But you must independently discover which colors and shades are best for you, and stick to them.
So what have we learned? Your best glasses must ace the shape and color/shade test.
There is one final hurdle: Quality.
It is important that you invest in the best quality glasses you can afford. The fit will be better, the feel will be less obtrusive and the depth of color in the frames will be finer, more nuanced and elegant. This does not always mean that you must shell out for expensive glasses, just quality ones.
Look, look and look some more, and you will find them. Happy hunting!