How to Choose the Best Eyeglasses
for Your Face Shape and Coloring
For many of us, the most important aspect of choosing eyeglass frames is how they look on our face.
You could try on every pair of eyeglasses in the store to find out how each one looks, but narrowing down your choices in advance can save you a lot of time and aggravation. You simply need to determine your face shape and coloring, and understand which eyeglass frame styles and colors would look best on you.
Matching Eyeglass Frames to Face Shapes
You should consider three main points when choosing an eyeglass frame for your face shape, according to The Vision Council:
- Eyewear should repeat your personal best feature (such as a blue frame to match blue eyes).
- The frame shape should contrast with your face shape.
- The frame size should be in scale with your face size.
Also, while most faces are a combination of shapes and angles, there are seven basic face shapes: round, oval, oblong, base-down triangle, base-up triangle, diamond and square.
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Here is a further description of these face shapes and which types of frames work best for each, according to The Vision Council. A good optician can help you use these guidelines to choose your new eyeglasses.
A round face has curved lines with the width and length in the same proportions and no angles. To make a round face appear thinner and longer, try angular narrow eyeglass frames to lengthen the face, a clear bridge that widens the eyes, and frames that are wider than they are deep, such as a rectangular shape.
An oval face is considered to be the ideal shape because of its balanced proportions. To keep the oval's natural balance, look for eyeglass frames that are as wide as (or wider than) the broadest part of the face, or walnut-shaped frames that are not too deep or too narrow.
An oblong face is longer than it is wide and has a long straight cheek line and sometimes a longish nose. To make an oblong face appear shorter and more balanced, try frames that have more depth than width, decorative or contrasting temples that add width to the face, or a low bridge to shorten the nose.
A base-down triangular face has a narrow forehead and widens at the cheek and chin areas. To add width and emphasize the narrow upper third of the face, try frames that are heavily accented with color and detailing on the top half or try cat-eye shapes.
This face has a very wide top third and small bottom third. To minimize the width of the top of the face, try frames that are wider at the bottom, very light colors and materials and rimless frame styles (which have a light, airy effect because the lenses are simply held in place by a few screws, with no surrounding frame material).
Diamond-shaped faces are narrow at the eye line and jawline, and have broad cheekbones that may be high and dramatic. This is the rarest face shape. To highlight the eyes and soften the cheekbones, try frames that have detailing or distinctive brow lines, or try rimless frames or oval and cat-eye shapes.
A square face has a strong jaw line and a broad forehead, plus the width and length are in the same proportions. To make a square face look longer and to soften the angles, try narrow frame styles, frames that have more width than depth, and narrow ovals.
The Vision Council's three keys to color analysis are:
- All people have either cool (blue-based) or warm (yellow-based) coloring.
- Everyone looks best in his or her own color base.
- Eyewear color should complement personal coloring.
The main factors that determine the best color palette are the colors of the skin, eyes and hair.
Skin. Skin tone is the prime element in determining coloring. All complexions fall into one of two color bases blue (cool) or yellow (warm).
A cool complexion has blue or pink undertones, and a warm complexion has a "peaches and cream" or yellow cast. Olive skin is considered cool because it is a mixture of blue and yellow.
In the United States, cool, blue-based complexions are more common than the yellow-based warm complexions. About 60 percent of the population are "cools."
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Eyes. Eye colors usually are a secondary element in determining coloring because of the many variations of eye color. For example, blue eyes can range from a cool almost-violet to a pale blue-gray, which is warm. Brown eyes can vary from a light cider shade (warm) through a medium-brown to a cool almost-black.
Hair. Hair colors also are considered warm or cool. Strawberry blond, platinum, blue-black, white, auburn, salt-and-pepper and ash brown are cool. Warm hair colors include golden blond, brownish black, brown-gold, "carrot" and "dirty" gray.
Eyeglass Frame Colors
Once you have determined if you are "warm" or "cool," then you can find the eyeglass frame colors that will suit you the best.
Some examples of frame colors best for warm coloring are: camel, khaki, gold, copper, peach, orange, coral, off-white, fire-engine red, warm blue and blond tortoise.
For cool coloring, the best eyeglass frame hues are black, silver, rose-brown, blue-gray, plum, magenta, pink, jade, blue and demi-amber (darker) tortoise.
Which Colors Are "In" for Apparel and Eyeglass Frames?
If you keep abreast of fashion trends, then you probably pay attention to the colors that dominate each season on the runways, in fashion magazines and in clothing stores.
Retailers and manufacturers adjust their apparel and accessories colors according to what designers think consumers will consider most appealing at a given time. Eyewear designers create frames in the latest colors, too.
These colors are what the Pantone Fashion Color Report says are in style for spring/summer 2015.
Pantone, the company that produces color palettes for graphic designers, fabric manufacturers, paint makers, interior decorators and more, releases color fashion reports each spring and fall. This spring and summer, Pantone's report includes the hues shown here.
Just because these colors are in style right now for apparel, it doesn't mean your next eyeglass or sunglass frame necessarily should match.
Consider bright, contrasting color schemes instead, such as a tangerine frame with a lucite green jacket. Or a custard yellow frame with a classic blue dress.
To tone it down, you could pair classic tortoise frames with a glacier gray blouse, or a black frame with a marsala-hued handbag.
You may be tempted to choose a frame color that "goes with everything." But consider instead a color that truly flatters you and helps you make your personal style statement. As long as you're open to new color ideas, you'll never be accused of having boring eyewear.
Liz Segre also contributed to this article.
[Page updated February 2015]