Buying Eyeglasses

Choosing eyeglasses that suit your personality and lifestyle

selection of eyeglasses
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Because people generally recognize you by your face, the eyeglasses you wear are a very real part of your identity.

Whether you want to appear sophisticated, fun-loving, youthful, conservative or style-conscious, the right eyewear can help you shape how you are perceived. And if you choose to wear only one pair of glasses for everything you do, that says something about you, too!

What do your eyeglasses say about you?

Eyeglasses can help people see the real you, or they can help create the image you want. The key is to find the right eyeglass frames to match your personality and lifestyle.

The first step, according to eyewear styling experts, is to consider the different aspects of your life. For example, what type of work do you do? And when you're not at work, what type of leisure or other activities do you enjoy?

Are you an executive, business owner or public relations professional? Perhaps you're an active outdoor enthusiast, a busy mom, a retired senior or a student? Or maybe you are a creative person, such as an artist or writer.

Or, like most people, do you have a lifestyle that encompasses a number of different activities, interests and personality traits?

Everyone can benefit from more than one pair of eyeglasses, just as we all need more than one pair of shoes. Generally, wearing tennis shoes with formal wear is a bad look. Wearing the wrong type of glasses can be a similar mistake.

Eyeglasses for serious business

To help instill trust and confidence among a wide variety of your business clients and colleagues, it's usually best to stay with conservative frame shapes and colors. Consider these choices to enhance your professional image:

  • Classic shapes such as ovals, rectangles and almonds
  • Traditional colors of gold, silver, brown, gray and black
  • In plastic frames, no bright colors or unusual shapes

Titanium or stainless steel frame materials are good choices, as are rimless frame styles.

For colors, silver, gunmetal, brown and black generally are good choices because they match well with a variety of business suits. Golden tones, tortoise patterns and espresso are good choices for business wear for women and men alike.

Eyeglasses for creative and fashion types

One way to show your creative, fashionista side is with modern and classic shapes in thicker and larger plastic frames.

Multi-colored laminates are another possibility, as are more eye-catching colors (blue or violet, for example).

Another popular fashion choice is retro or vintage frame styles. Updated versions of classic frame shapes with fresh colors, materials and finishes never seem to go out of style.

Glasses for today's seniors

Just because you're over age 50 or nearing retirement age doesn't mean you have to wear stodgy, old-fashioned glasses. And men: get rid of those giant metal frames that dominate your face and show your age!

A fresh eyeglasses style can provide a more youthful appearance to women and men alike. Shapes such as soft rectangles for men and cat-eye shapes for women are good choices to consider.

Also, frames with a high-gloss finish give life to a face. Generally, avoid frames with a matte finish in gray, black or other dark colors.

Eyeglasses for students

Whether you're studying business, engineering, art or French literature, college is a time to develop your own identity — and show off your style.

Maybe you're interested in a geeky, retro look? A modern frame with lots of color? A sober, intellectual style?

Unusual shapes, bright colors, larger sizes and interesting details such as color laminations — the choices are endless. Don't be afraid to express yourself during this exciting time of your life.

Eyewear for the busy mom or dad

For busy moms and dads who don't have the time or inclination to follow the latest fashion trends, a basic yet stylish pair of eyeglasses often is the best choice for most occasions.

Frames with oval and soft rectangular shapes are very functional and still look great.

Depending on your personal style, you might choose to amplify the fashion effect of a basic shape with details such as jewelry-like metal accents or recognizable designer logos. Interesting colors also add a fashion edge to a basic frame.

Glasses for the weekend athlete

Most adults live dual lives — their normal 9-to-5 weekday life and their (often) more active life on the weekends.

Just as dress shoes are the wrong attire for the gym, the glasses you wear at work may be the wrong choice for sports and active wear.

For the best comfort, performance and safety during active and leisure wear, choose at least one pair of sport sunglasses, sport eyeglasses or even just a more casual, sports-suggestive eyeglass frame.

Styling can range from

to more conventionally shaped eyeglasses and sunglasses. Sporty looks might include bright colors, patterns and modern combinations of metal and plastic materials.

A knowledgeable optician can help you choose the best eyeglass frames for your sports vision and active lifestyle needs.

A few notes about eyeglass lenses

Though this discussion has been about frames, here are a few important notes about your eyeglass lenses:

  • Always choose anti-reflective coating for your lenses. AR coating eliminates annoying reflections, improves night vision and enables people to see your eyes more clearly.
  • For thinner, lighter, more attractive lenses, choose polycarbonate or high-index plastic lenses with an aspheric design. Polycarbonate lenses also are the best choice for sports eyewear and safety glasses because they are much lighter and more impact resistant than lenses made of other materials.
  • Photochromic lenses that automatically darken in sunlight are a great choice if you spend time outdoors and don't want to always carry a pair of sunglasses with you.
  • If you're over age 40, why advertise your age with bifocals or trifocals? Line-free progressive lenses provide clear vision at all distances and give older adults a more youthful appearance.

Finally, be aware that you have many choices in eyeglasses and it can get confusing. Seek the advice of a skilled optician near you or use one of the many online frame finders  to find frames and lenses that will help you look and see your best.

SHOPPING FOR GLASSES? Use your FSA funds to cover the cost of your next pair of prescription eyeglasses.

Page updated June 2019

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