Men’s glasses: How to find the perfect pair
It’s happening again — your vision is getting a bit blurry. You're due for an eye exam and you might need new glasses.
If you’re like most guys, you’d rather not think about the style or fashion of your eyeglasses. If they’re comfortable and they clarify your vision, you’re all set. But you might be overlooking the big picture, which is this:
Your face is like a user interface for everybody else.
How’s that again? Well, a user interface is what makes a video game easy to play. It’s also the part of a smartphone that puts icons and arrows right where you need them to call people and answer emails.
Your face does the same job for other people: It helps them understand what kind of person you are.
Your facial expressions — smiles, frowns and dagger-eyed stares — provide crucial clues about your character. Your face tells people you’re smart, edgy, confident, aggressive, carefree or tightly wound. Moreover, people look to your eyes to see if you’re shady or trustworthy.
Thus, adding eyeglasses to your face is a serious decision. You need to put some thought into it.
The following questions and answers are packed with tips and tricks to help you find the perfect men’s glasses.
Why are you buying eyeglasses?
Needing a new prescription is just the starting point. To make the savviest choice, you need to fully understand your motivation. That usually requires answering a few basic questions such as:
Are you over 40 and needing help with your reading vision?
Do the glasses you wear in public convey your authentic self?
Are the glasses you wear now a good fit for your face?
Are your current eyeglasses comfortable for all-day wear?
Would you like to change how people perceive you (and what would you like them to see)?
Do you need more than one set of glasses?
Eyeglasses are a crucial investment, so make sure you know why before you buy.
NEED A NEW PRESCRIPTION? Find an eye doctor near you and schedule an exam.
How will you use your new eyeglasses?
Think about what you’ll do in your new glasses. Eyeglasses for working on a computer all day may require nothing more than inexpensive, purely functional frames. But glasses for leading a sales presentation in front of a roomful of executives should help you express confidence, competence and authority.
The best eyeglasses help you accomplish your goals, clarifying and protecting your vision whether you’re working, playing sports or binge-watching a true-crime series.
Where and when will you wear your new glasses?
Working on a factory floor requires eyeglasses that safeguard your vision, while working in an office requires glasses that burnish your reputation. If you’re driving a car, you need polarized lenses that reduce glare and improve safety. On a ski slope, you need maximum protection from ultraviolet rays.
You may need different pairs for late in the evening or early in the morning, depending on your career, hobbies and interests. Make sure your choice accounts for these variables.
Which materials work best for you?
Eyeglass frames can be plastic, metallic or a combination of both. Plastic frames are sturdy and lightweight, and they tend to be more bulky and attention-grabbing. Wire frames and frameless designs are much more low-key.
You’ll also have to choose between glass and plastic lenses. Glass lenses are heavier and less likely to get scratched, making them more long-lasting. But they are more prone to breaking, which is bad news if you’re wearing them at the time. See our guide to frame materials to learn more.
Plastic lenses weigh about half as much as glass, making them more comfortable to wear all day and less likely to slide down your nose. See our guide to lenses for more crucial insights.
What kind of guy are you?
Pick eyeglasses that convey your distinct personality. Stay authentic; there’s no need to fib or exaggerate. If you’re the creative type, perhaps you want more color or unusual shapes. If you’re into classic cars, check out vintage styles like aviators and Wayfarers.
Before you go in for your next eye exam, take some time to check out the styles of the people you see at work, in the gym and outdoors. It’s OK to take your fashion cues from celebrities, professional athletes and other savvy eyeglass wearers.
When you try on frames, take your time and find the one that says “me.” And don’t be afraid to buy multiple frames — especially if you need prescription shades for driving or recreation.
What does your face look like?
Every man’s face is a bit different — a multitude of shades, hues and shapes. Thus, when you buy eyeglasses, you need the right lenses and frames to fit your unique facial characteristics.
You’re looking for balance and proportion. If you have a narrow skull, then too-wide eyeglasses will make it look even narrower. If your face is squarish, you might look more dashing in contrasting rounded frames. You don’t want frames or lenses that clash with your skin tone.
To find out more, check out our guide to matching face shape and skin tone.
Getting it right with men’s sunglasses
People may admire the cut of your suit, the brand of your athletic shoes or your choice of smartwatch. Eventually, however, they’ll scan your face and start asking themselves what kind of person you are.
Picking your eyeglasses carefully helps ensure they reach the best conclusion.
READY TO SHOP FOR MEN'S EYEGLASSES? Find an optical store near you.
Page updated February 2021