Will oversized glasses flatter my face?
Oversized sunglasses have been the eyewear of choice for A-list celebrities looking to travel incognito ever since the look was popularized by Jackie Kennedy in the early 1960s. They’re flattering to a variety of face shapes and sizes, can suit a retro-vintage look or post-millennial styles, and offer better sun protection — or a wider visual field — than traditional frame styles.
Here’s how to choose a pair of oversized frames that’ll work well with your facial features, even if you have a small face shape.
What are oversized glasses frames?
Oversized glasses are glasses with larger-than-expected lenses and frames. Oversized glasses are often worn as a fashion statement and an expression of style. But in sunglasses, larger lenses also mean more protection from annoying glare and damaging ultraviolet rays.
Like all eyewear, glasses with oversized frames should be sized to fit your face. “Oversized” can mean something very different to people with small or narrow faces than it would to people whose faces are larger or wider than average.
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Look for proper pupil placement
Not only can oversized eyewear be unflattering if it’s much too big, it can compromise your comfort — and even your vision — if your eyes aren’t positioned behind the lenses’ centers. When trying on a new pair of eyeglass frames, check your pupil placement.
If you’re looking straight ahead, you should find each of your pupils horizontally centered in the lens opening of the frame. On both sides, the distance between the corner of your eye and the edge of the lens should be about the same.
Also, your eye should occupy the top half of the lens, with your lower eyelashes centered vertically in the lens opening.
Your eyebrows should be visible above the top of the frame. Even though the glasses are oversized, you’re still looking for eyeglass frames that are well-proportioned with respect to the rest of your face.
Check fit at the nose bridge
Because oversized eyewear can be heavier than glasses with smaller frames, it’s especially important that their weight be properly distributed over the bridge of your nose or balanced on the nose pads. Ill-fitting oversized frames can press upon your temples, crease your skin, or cause irritation.
Try cracking a wide smile while wearing the frames. If your cheeks touch the lenses, or if the lenses rise off your nose bridge, the fit is not right for you.
Go with familiar shapes — or experiment
The traditional advice for oversized eyewear buyers is to select larger frames in a style that complements your face shape in a regular frame size. Square or rectangular frames are said to look best on round faces, while oval or round frames often suit more angular face shapes.
These rules aren’t set in stone, though. Trying on oversized glasses is a great time to experiment with bold new styles and colors.
How to style oversized glasses
Oversized eyeglass frames can be used to make a fun fashion statement in every season.
Pair oversized sunglasses with a floral-patterned sundress for a casual summer look. Wear cat-eye frames with a little black dress to channel your inner Audrey Hepburn, or style aviators with a well-fitting turtleneck or blazer for a polished autumn or wintertime look.
You may want to avoid wearing oversized frames with slouchy sweatshirts or drape-y blouses since combining too many oversized pieces at the same time can result in a look that’s sloppy.
Wearing a large hat or brightly patterned scarf with oversized frames can also overwhelm your face.
Find an eye doctor near you to get an expert’s advice on the eyeglasses styles most likely to flatter you.
Page published in September 2019
Page updated in January 2022