Saturday, January 30, 2016

How To Choose Glasses For Your Face Shape

Because I take them off in a lot of my pictures due to the lighting challenges that wearing them presents, some of you might not know that I wear glasses. For a while I switched out contacts and glasses pretty routinely but chose contacts more frequently because of how ugly my small, oval, wire-framed glasses were. I'm not kidding guys. They were just awful. Because of my astigmatism the contacts I have to wear are obscenely expensive, not to mention hard to fit. So two years ago I took a risk and bought a pair of plastic, purple + black rectangle frames and loved them. These days I'm a straight-up glasses-wearer. So much so that whenever I bring up the option of getting re-fitted for contacts, more than one friend has panicked and hurried to tell me that, though I'd look great any way, they prefer how I look in glasses.
“It fits you,” they say.
And yeah, I admit it does: slightly bookish but stylish, intelligent but playful. Outgoing social butterfly with a streak of philosophy. My friend, Brandt, explained this phenomenon for me:
“When most people wear glasses, it's like, 'Oh, yeah. They have glasses. Hmmm.' Your glasses are so great for you, they're practically part of your personality. They add to you and express you really well so don't get rid of them.”
I hadn't realized how widespread this opinion was until an acquaintance was getting fitted for glasses and sent me a Facebook message asking for tips to find a pair of glasses that belonged to her as perfectly as my glasses belonged to me. Apparently I did something right with that pair.

It's no wonder, then, when I went in to choose new glasses a couple weeks ago, that I felt a little intimidated. Ir's like a great pair of jeans: you know you need new ones but gosh it's hard to let go of the worn-out pair! I decided to officially forego the idea of contacts for the time-being (budget, budget) but I would splurge on two pairs of frames. To prep myself for the awful choice of Which Eye-Wear To Have For The Next 2+ Years, I did a little brush-up research on which frames best suit which face-shapes. Here's what I found:

How to Find The Best Glasses For Your Face-Shape:

Step One: Start by determining your face shape. There are a number of charts available online that will help you decide which yours is. The most common types of face shapes are as follows:
  • Square
  • Oval
  • Heart
  • Round
If you're really having trouble, you can even trace the outline of your face with a window-marker in the mirror and step back to study it. Remember, the shape of your face has nothing to do with the size of your face. You could be a petite, tiny person and have a round face, or you could be a heavy-set person with a heart-shaped face. Once you've determined your facial structure, you'll want to start looking at the frames in-shop or online. As a general guideline, you're looking for a pair of frames that will provide contrast for your face without overwhelming your features. For instance, my face is a generous oval. I don't have a lot of contour to my face; my cheekbones aren't prominent, nor do I have a square jawline, etc. That means that whatever glasses I choose need to have structure. Thus, I know to lean toward rectangular, square, or cat-eye frames and to avoid round or oval glasses. Refinery 29 has an excellent article on the matter but for now, here is a quick cheat-sheet of styles to look for:

Square: For a square face, look for oval or round glasses. Something to soften the edges and angles already existing in your face.

Oval: Lucky duck! Your face shape, being a sort of non-shape, can get away with nearly any sort of glasses. Try something playful like cat-eye styles, or large, rounded square frames.

Heart: Since your face will likely be wider at the forehead than it is at the chin, try something that angles out at the bottom. The classic “aviator” shape is a good look on this type of face as well as lighter colored or rimless frames.

Round: Since your face is already all about curves, try something angular. Start with geometric shapes such as rectangles. It's all about getting some linear action going on. If you have good cheekbones, why not try an “upswept” frame – sort of like a cat-eye in rectangular form? You can try square styles too, but beware of choosing something with more width than length, as round faces already tend to the width-over-length paradigm.

Step Two: Within these styles, begin trying on the glasses. Try more pairs then you think you need to try. Many times a shape you thought you liked (or didn't like) will look entirely different on you than it did on the shelves. Don't be afraid to try new colors and styles. It might look awful. It might look wonderful. You might be accustomed to wearing bolder frames – try something delicate. Or if you've always been a light-weight, choose something heavier and see how you like it! Many online glasses companies give you the ability to “try on” glasses. In fact, I used that system for the Glasses Everyone Loved.

Step Three: Pay attention to how the frames interact with your features. As you try on frames, you'll begin to notice what looks great and what doesn't. For instance, I love the cat-eye frames but my eyes are already shaped like cat eyes so a straight-up cat-eye frame does not flatter me. It elongates my already elongated eyes and also breaks up my facial structure in a strange way. So hypothetically speaking, an round-oval face should be able to wear a certain frame, but you'll want to be certain it looks good on your face with your features. If you've got petite, delicate features, for instance, you might go for a bolder frame but if you've got round eyes, a large nose, and full mouth, more delicate rims could be more flattering. This isn't a rule, just an idea. The more pairs you try on, the easier it will become for you to see what looks good and what doesn't. Hearkening back to the discussion on cat-eyes, I was able to find a square pair that swept up on the edges with a little nod to cat-eye without crossing the line. My sisters' opinions were extremely helpful in this stage, determining that I should try a wider pair of frames to further open up my eye-area. I have extremely shapely eyes, but they're not very large so cramping them in small frame-space is not a good choice.

Step Four: Narrow it down to three favorite pairs. Now is the point in the process at which friends, family, and countrymen can be consulted. You know what you like and what looks good on you. The risk is over, as these are the pairs you want and the only opinion you're consulting is which pair you'll buy. Try them on again and snap a picture of you wearing each pair. Compare the photos. Think about the color (i.e. if you're choosing just one pair of frames, you might not want them to be aquamarine) and its wearability. Since I chose two pairs of glasses, I let myself have one more stylish but practical pair, and one that was “fashionating.” Weigh the pros and cons and attractive points of each pair and kick one to the curb. Now you're just deciding between two. When it gets to this point for me, I always think about which item I'd be haunted by if I did not purchase it. I almost always know what I do not want so even when I don't know what I do want, I can make a choice: “I don't want this one to be the one that got away.”

When you've got through all the steps and finally decided, put the frames on and snap a triumphant selfie! You've done well. Welcome to the beautiful world of stylish eye-wear.

// pardon the low photo-quality! :) //

P.S. My eye-doctor this time around was an unmarried, adorable, charming, stylish MALE eye-doctor and I was just so astonished that he wasn't an ugly, gruff, married, ancient eye-doctor I couldn't think of anything to say so I sassed him to his face and that's how I met my future husband...hah.


  1. Great article! I want glasses... Oh, and your P.S. made me crack up. : D

  2. I need new glasses desperately, I never thought about face shape, when picking out my glasses before interesting. My eye doctor is ancient and always has a dour look on his face. He isn't much fun to talk to either.

  3. I got my glasses last summer and I wanted to go all out with that style, but they so did not work with my small features. You wear them really well and I just might be jealous. :) It was a good excuse to get more eye-makeup. Maybe you should do a post on that next. [hint, hint.] I write a blog too but I'm not makeup expert, so I'd love to hear your take on this!
    P.S. My eye doctor is a lady and sort of thin and petite and reminds me of the mother of a character in one of my stories. She is not dour, just sort of businesslike. :)

  4. I hated wearing glasses in highschool, and really went without much needed vision because I felt so ugly in them. Then a couple years ago, my sister picked out a pair of frames for me, they were reddish and rectangular, they had swirls on the sides. She said they were "artsy". I loved them and know consider glasses a part of my personal style. I am on to a different pair of frames now withen the same shape of that first epic pair, and I have no regrets. I wear contacts for certain active events, but am such a lover of glasses now. Such a good article! Thanks!

  5. Good article, great tips!! But the end, I LOLed.

  6. One tip to get used to your prescription glasses is to ensure that you wear them consistently as you do your daily chores. This will help you in getting used seeing your surroundings with your new glasses. Website



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