How to choose the best glasses for your face is one of the trickiest questions in the book, so I asked style expert and You Look Fab blogger extraordinaire Angie Cox to weigh in on the issue…- Kat
As a fashion stylist who has an aversion to contact lenses and wears glasses every day, I’m very passionate about this subject. If you wear specs regularly, they should be the best pair for your eyes and face that you can afford. People usually look at your face before they look at your outfit so your specs have the power to make an instantly fab or drab impression. Along with your hairstyle, your specs can make or break your look. So if you are spending time, energy and money on a great professional wardrobe, it is even more important that this crucial accessory is current and flattering.
Like clothing and footwear, specs have to fit, feel comfortable and look attractive. I have spent many, many hours seeking out killer specs for myself, friends, family members and clients. It is all about patience and experimentation, but over the years I’ve also developed a set of guidelines that might help you to find the perfect pair.
First, how to shop:
- Find a handful of reputable stores: Do the homework of finding stores that have skilled sales assistants and sell a wide assortment of eyewear from all over the world (Japanese, French, British and Danish frames are my favourites at the moment). You’re after stores that sell classic, modern, retro and completely over-the-top vibes so that you’ll maximize your chances of finding a killer pair.
- Try on many styles: Do not go into the process with a preconceived notion of what you think might work unless you know for sure from previous experiences. Try as many different shapes, styles and colours as possible. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the cherries stand out. Be adventurous!
- Bring a style savvy friend: One little irony about specs shopping is that you have to remove your glasses to try on a new pair, and the blurry visage in the mirror makes it hard to make a good judgment (wearing contacts during the process helps). Sales assistants are not created equal so it’s imperative to bring along as extra set of stylish eyes. The second opinion can be very valuable.
- Take photos of the winners: You’ll want to compare specs across a few retailers, or get a second opinion at home. Snap photos of the styles you like best while you’re in the store for easy reference later. If you’re brave you can even post them online for input. This often happens on the YouLookFab forum.
- Beware of analysis paralysis: It is great to get lots of input, but that can also make the decision harder. After you have a shortlist, think back to your first gut instinct when you saw these frames. Sometimes we know the winner in the first few seconds of seeing the frames.
Here are some things to think about as you make your decision:
- Frames MUST LIFT: I cannot stress this point enough! Specs look best when they lift the cheek and eye area at the bottom outside corners of the frames upwards. If this isn’t the case, your specs may make it seem like your facial features are “drooping” (not a good look). So be wary of the vertical height of the style. It’s unflattering if it’s too high or sags downwards.
- Your eyes should be centered within the frames: They don’t need to be absolutely dead center, but thereabouts is good.
- Match the scale of the frames with your facial proportions: Bold, oversized frames are dramatic, Avant-Garde and fabulous, but that doesn’t guarantee that they will work for you. A small person with dainty facial features is overwhelmed in thick, chunky frames. But that person can still achieve the same effect if they choose a more refined version of a chunky style.
- Follow the line of your brows: Choose a frame shape that mirrors the arch of your eyebrows.
- Don’t be scared of extra width: Many people wear specs that are too narrow for their face. Their eyes may be centered and the style “lifts upwards”, but the narrow width of the frames constricts the face. You want a shape that “opens up” the face, so add a little width to the top outside corners of the frames. It makes a world of difference, often balancing out a pear shaped face.
- Think in three dimensions: You see your frames from the front, but everyone else sees them from all angles. They also catch glimpses of the inside of the frame. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to temple and inside color detailing. Often, if the color on the inside of the frames and the temples is different, the overall look is softer and more interesting. My favorite specs are black and white, but they are bright turquoise on the inside, which softens the harsh contrast against my pale skin and dainty features.
- Choose a color that complements your skin tone and eye color: The operative word here is “complement”, not “match”. People with bright blue eyes shouldn’t wear bright blue specs. But wearing brown specs with blue detailing might be ideal. Do not confine your choice to neutral tones either. Eyewear does not have to match what you’re wearing, but rather go with everything because it compliments your face, not your clothes. You don’t change your face to match an outfit – it’s typically the same with eyewear.
- Create the right amount of contrast: If the contrast between the color of your skin tone and the frames is too strong, you’ll look severe. If it’s not strong enough you’ll look blah. This is not a hard and fast rule, but generally, choose a color that is a little different to the colour of your hair and eyes. There are brown-eyed people with brown hair who get away with wearing brown specs, but this is not the norm.
Make sure that your lens prescription is recent. Specs can be adjusted for comfort so don’t worry if they are a little uncomfortable in stores. If you regularly wear specs, build a collection over time. I have three pairs of specs that I regularly interchange depending on my mood and outfit.
Meet some of our YouLookFab forum members who have followed these guidelines when choosing their specs. First, Sarah, Kari and Astrid. Their specs LIFT their faces upwards. No droop!
Next, Kim, Ania and Heleen. Notice how their frames complement the shape of their brows.
Finally, Steph, Julie and Joha, whose oversized specs are very “geek chic”. These are three great reminders that one should never be a slave to the guidelines. Although the fit contradicts some of my basic guidelines around scale and eye centering, they still work in a great edgy way.
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