Well it happened, the inevitable, I had to get “readers”. I’ve been holding my phone and restaurant menus at an arms length for far too long!
After standing in front of the giant “wall ‘o frames” at my Optometrist’s office it’s easy to see how someone can get overwhelmed by the gazillions of optical options. Not to mention the pressure you feel because you will be wearing these same frames just about every dang day from here on out (or at least for the next year until your Health Insurance will spring for another pair).
Choosing the right eyeglass frame is way different than picking out a cute pair of sunnies! So, I went straight to the source, the vision experts at The Vision Council.
The Vision Council is a non-profit organization serving as a global voice for vision care and vision care products. Through their Eyecessorize campaign The Vision Council increases awareness of the fashion and lifestyle aspects of eyewear. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council educates millions of Americans about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.
I sat down with Lindsey Ruhe, Eyewear Expert for The Vision Council and Michael Vitale, Lens Expert for the Vision Council to get the 411 on frames and how you can choose the perfect one for your face.
Q: How does your type of prescription play into which frame you should choose?
MV: Your prescription plays a critical role in the frame choice. This is why eyecare providers typically prefer individuals choose their lenses prior to selecting their frames. If you have a strong prescription – say a high plus or minus Rx – you will want to ensure that you keep the frame size as small as possible to minimize the lens thickness. Likewise, you will want to ensure you choose a frame, be it metal or plastic, that not only adequately holds your lenses, but also helps to “hide” the thickness of your lenses.
Q: What should you look for in a frame?
LR: When selecting new frames, keep the following things top of mind:
- Prescription and eye health needs: The Vision Council recommends individuals have a comprehensive eye exam with an eyecare provider annually to determine if the eyes require a prescription – or an update to an existing prescription – check the eyes for common diseases, assess how the eyes work together as a team and evaluate the eyes as an indicator of overall health. Once an individual has established what lenses their eyes require, they can enter the frame selection process.
- Face shape: Choose frames that contrast with the shape of the face and are in proportion to the size of the face. For more details about face-fitting, see my response to question no. 3.
- Personal style: Choose frames that reflect personal style – whether an individual tends to be classier, trendier, sportier, or anything in between, there’s a variety of frames available to complement varying individual looks.
- Comfort: How the frames feel on the face is key! Individuals ought to try various pairs on to evaluate how they feel. The more comfortable they feel on the face, the more likely they are to want to wear them.
- Daily activities: Individuals should think about where they need to wear their glasses and why – are they for the workplace, at-home use, sports or elsewhere? They ought to choose frames that coincide with their daily activities. With that being said, don’t hesitate to purchase multiple pairs of frames – just like you can’t have too many pairs of jeans or shoes, the same goes for eyewear. Individuals ought to snag varying pairs to coincide with their varying activities and looks, and to stow in numerous spots (like a desk drawer, a bedside table, a purse or briefcase, etc.) so they never have to go without. Moreover, depending on an individual’s prescription, they may require different lenses for different activities – for example, one prescription for digital device usage or reading up-close, and another prescription for driving or distance viewing. It’s important for individuals to talk to their eyecare provider about what lenses and frames are best for their unique eye health needs.
Q: How do you choose the perfect frame for your face shape?
LR: First and foremost, the most important thing to do is determine the face shape. Once an individual has established that, it’s much easier to match up the right style of eyewear. The golden rule of face-fitting is: the eyewear should contrast with the shape of the face. Additionally, make sure the size of the eyewear is in proportion to the face – if you have a smaller face, make sure you don’t choose eyewear that’s too oversized, overwhelming a petite face; and on the flip side, if you have a larger face, make sure you don’t choose eyewear that’s too small, appearing disproportionate. The five most popular face shapes are:
- Heart: Characteristics of a heart-shaped face include a wide forehead and high cheekbones with a narrow chin. Look for frames that will broaden the appearance of the chin and minimize forehead width. Typically, slightly rounded frames that dip between the eyes to break up a wider forehead or frames that are wider at the bottom are good choices. It’s important to avoid overly embellished frames and top-heavy styles that draw attention upward to the forehead.
- Oblong: Characteristics of an oblong face include the face being larger than it is wide with a narrow chin and cheeks, and a large forehead. Look for frames that break up the length of the face, making it appear shorter and wider. Typically, deep frames to minimize facial length and wide, oversized frames to bring proportion to the face are good choices. It’s important to avoid short frames without depth that will accentuate face length and frames that are too narrow.
- Round: Characteristics of a round face include full cheekbones, little to no angles, and width and length in similar proportions. Look for frames that make the face appear longer and thinner. Typically, slightly angular frames that will create a narrowing effect are good choices. It’s important to avoid round frames or lenses that will exaggerate this facial shape.
- Oval: Characteristics of an oval-shaped face include the chin being slightly narrower than the forehead. This is considered the most ideal face shape due to its balanced proportions. Look for frames that keep the natural balance of the oval. Typically, those with oval faces can have fun and play with almost any style, as long as it’s in proportion to the face.
- Square: Characteristics of a square-shaped face include a broad forehead and strong jaw line, as well as a wide chin and cheekbones. Look for frames that soften and balance out a strong jaw line and make the face appear longer. Typically, round, oval or curved frames to soften the face and jaw are good choices. It’s important to avoid boxy and angular frames, as the sharp lines will be too harsh on this facial shape.
When choosing a frame, just like when choosing clothing, it’s all about balancing your features with the right lines and angles. You want them to look as cool as possible but you also want the glasses to do their job.