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How to choose the best glasses frames for your face shape

woman with an oval shaped face wearing glasses

Why do some glasses look attractive on display in the optical shop, but not so great when you try them on? It could be that the frames are the wrong style for your face shape.

Your face shape plays a significant role in whether a certain style of glasses will look good on you.

What is my face shape?

To determine your face shape and spectacle styles that will look best on you, pull your hair away from your face and look directly into a mirror. Take a close look at the overall shape and contours of your face and head.

WATCH VIDEO: Face Shape Guide with Kate Winney

Here are the seven primary face shapes and the type of spectacle frames that look best on each face shape:

Oval face shape

An oval face shape is considered to be ideal because of its balanced proportions.

To maintain the natural balance of an oval face shape, look for spectacle frames that are as wide as (or wider than) the broadest part of the face.

Walnut-shaped frames that are not too deep or narrow are a very good choice.

Heart-shaped face

A heart-shaped face has a wide top third and a narrow bottom third. (Sometimes this is called a base-up triangle face shape.)

To reduce the apparent width of the top of the face, choose frame shapes that are wider at the bottom.

Thin, light-coloured frames and rimless frames that have a light, airy appearance also are good choices.

Oblong face shape

An oblong face shape is longer than it is wide and has a long, straight cheek line.

To make an oblong face appear shorter and more balanced, try frames that have more depth than width.

Frames with decorative or contrasting temples also add width to the face.

Square face shape

A square face shape has a strong jaw and a broad forehead, and the width and length of the face have roughly the same proportions.

To make a square face look longer and soften its angles, try narrow frame styles, frames that have more width than depth, and narrow ovals.

Diamond face shape

Diamond-shaped faces are narrow at the forehead 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.

Rimless spectacles and frames with oval or cat-eye shapes also can be good choices.

Round face shape

A round face shape has curved lines with the width and length in the same proportions and no sharp angles.

To make a round face appear thinner and longer, try angular narrow spectacle frames to lengthen the face.

Frames with a clear bridge and rectangular frames that are wider than they are deep also can be good choices.

Base-down triangle

A base-down triangular face shape has a narrow forehead and widens at the cheeks and chin areas.

To add width and emphasise the narrow upper third of the face, try frames that are heavily accented with colour and detailing on the top half (brow) of the frame.

Frames with cat-eye shapes also can be good choices.

Skin tones, eye colour and hair colour

When choosing spectacles, face shape isn't the only factor that determines which frames will look best on you — your skin tone, eye colour and hair colour also play important roles.

The best spectacles will complement the tone of your face, eyes and hair.

Skin tones

Regardless of the colour of your skin, skin tones are categorised as either "cool" or "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.

Eye colour

Eye colours usually are a secondary element in determining your colouring because of the many variations of eye colour.

For example, blue eyes can range from a cool almost-violet to a pale blue-grey, which is warm. Brown eyes can vary from a light cider shade (warm) through a medium-brown to a cool almost-black.

Hair colour

Hair colours also are considered warm or cool. Strawberry blonde, platinum, blue-black, white, auburn, salt-and-pepper and ash brown are cool.

Warm hair colours include golden blonde, brownish black, brown-gold and "dirty grey."

Spectacle frame colours

Once you have determined if you are "warm" or "cool," then you can find the spectacle frame colours that will suit you the best.

Some examples of frame colours best for warm colouring are: camel, khaki, gold, copper, peach, orange, coral, off-white, fire-engine red, warm blue and blonde tortoise.

For cool colouring, the best spectacle frame hues are black, silver, rose-brown, blue-grey, plum, magenta, pink, jade, blue and demi-amber (darker) tortoise.

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