Women’s glasses: How to find the perfect pair
Love with no regrets. That lesson applies to life – and eyeglass buying.
Maybe your vision blurs or fashion has left you in the dark. It’s time to step up to new specs. But weeding through prospects may intimidate, like signing up for Match.com.
Here’s how to find the perfect pair of women’s eyeglasses:
Square, round, oval, diamond. What is this – a high-school geometry nightmare? Rest easy. You don’t have to return to school to ace this test. Just look for contrast: a square chin or a box-shaped face like Jennifer Aniston’s looks best with rounded frames. Square or rectangular frames suit round faces.
If your face is oval, lucky you. You can get away with most shapes – but scale matters more. Larger frames suit a really long face, while smaller frames befit a shorter one.
Diamonds are simply faces with stand-out cheekbones. Balance them with distinctive brow lines, such as cat eyes. If you’ve got a wide forehead and tiny chin, go with aviators, as does designer Victoria Beckham.
Narrow-set peepers look cross-eyed in too wide a frame.
Or skip class altogether: Rimless glasses score high on anyone.
As with face and frame shapes, look for color contrasts. Taupe on taupe bores. So play up your Nicole Kidman alabaster complexion with dark or bright frames. And if you’re darker, rock vivid colors or pale neutrals as do Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o.
You may want to highlight your eye color à la Elizabeth Taylor or match your outfit or favorite lipstick.
Hues can be your cue. If you always look brighter, younger or less tired in certain shades, gravitate to them. (Yep, determining whether you have a “cool” or “warm” skin tone is as simple as that!)
But if you’re Insta-insatiable about the latest makeup trends – a kaleidoscope of colors on your lids – rein back the rainbow for your frames.
Speaking of which, are your glasses going to be a one-and-done or a fashion statement? The former might skew conservative. The latter merits going wild with supersized specs or shields, as seen on recent runways. Dare to wear blue leopard print or traffic cone orange frames.
Comfort is key
Long-term love shouldn’t be painful. Don’t strain to be a good match. Glasses should perch on the bridge of your nose, not slide down. Nor should they pinch your nose or ears or ignite headaches.
If frames indent the sides of your face, they’re too narrow. Don’t get cheeky: It gets old – and painful – when glasses sit on your skin. And if they break your lash extensions, don’t split hairs: Size up.
Your optician or eyewear specialist can tighten or loosen the ears or nose pads, but ultimately, just like those Jimmy Choos that make you hobble, you’ll find yourself ditching them rather than suffering. Don’t be a fashion victim.
Also don’t assume chunky frames are hefty. Today’s plastics often are lightweights.
But lenses are another matter: Glass ones are heavier and harder to scratch than acrylic – and easier to break. High-index lenses lighten the load.
A good fit
If frames fit you the way your mom’s shoes did when you played dress-up as a first-grader, then you need to downsize.
But don’t shrink peepers till they’re pint-size. Rihanna and Bella Hadid can get away with skimping. They only need to sashay down the red carpet or runway a short distance one time. You need to live in your glasses.
An easy fit formula is choosing lenses where your eye falls at the center and frames barely extend beyond the edge of your face, if that.
Those with 20/20 vision can skip to the next tip. But if you can’t find your glasses when you remove them, then your optician should direct you to the right size of glasses to carry your prescriptive lens.
The same thing applies if you’re saddled with astigmatism or another multi-syllabic eye condition. The more complex your vision is, the more relevant your lens size.
You do you
If "go big or go home" is your mantra, then go bold with your eyewear. Should you rather fade into the background or don’t want to make a sartorial scene or compete with your fabulous tresses (OK, we hate you), then consider rimless glasses or wire rims.
Also ponder where your specs are headed: What works at a nightclub won’t work in a courtroom. The great outdoors demands ultraviolet ray protection and possibly wrap-arounds, while you won’t break a sweat at Crossfit if armed with unbreakable plastic lenses and wire rims.
If you’re angling to climb the corporate ladder, you should adopt the eyeglass equivalent of power shoulders: frames that make you feel authoritative and confident.
Are you fed up with being seen as all business and no play? Then do hue – a fun print or upbeat tint. If you hope to be a Tinder temptress, colorful cat eyes purr like a sex kitten.
And if no one will see your glasses other than your laptop and UPS carrier, look for the boxer shorts of glasses: the cheapest frames that fit.
Don’t overthink: The world has changed since you were last bullied. Thicker frames won’t peg you as an egghead.
Nor should you figure that if your look worked for you in high school, it will always work. Trust us: It doesn’t. Any specs over a decade old are dated.
Still torn between two temptations? If you find yourself obsessing – as with brownies – about a particular pair of glasses you tried on, you know better than your optometrist or best friend what you should buy.
And if you’re in love with multiple pairs of glasses and can afford them, break the rules and buy them all! Glasses are easier than shoes or handbags to sneak past a price-crunching partner. Though you might have to practice saying, “This old thing?” till you’ve got even yourself convinced.
Besides, you can justify your love: You always need a back-up plan in case of breakage. And differing intents require different eyewear.
Speed dating … with glasses
Don’t rush. Finding the right glasses often is like finding the right partner or wedding gown. When you know it, you know it.
Till then, the search is on. Don’t settle for less.
READY TO SHOP FOR GLASSES? Find an optical shop near you or online.
Page published in September 2019
Page updated in January 2021