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What are circle glasses?

woman wearing circle glasses on pink background

Circle glasses have been a fashion favorite since the 1960s and 1970s. Also called tea shades, the simplistic round or circular glasses have long been considered a fashion staple among pop icons, including John Lennon, Elton John, Ozzy Osbourne and Andy Warhol, along with more contemporary celebrities like Kendall Jenner. 

If you like circle glasses but aren’t sure about how to sport the style of the stars, read on to learn about the history of the frames, how to wear round glasses, which face shape suits circular frames, how to style around the stand-out specs and more.

Circle glasses: Vintage chic with a classic appeal

Round frames exude a classic appeal that is both timeless and chic at the same time. The ever-functional pair of round eyeglasses dates as far back as the 13th century, when frames were made using heavy materials such as iron and leather. In the 20th century, round eyeglasses and sunglasses became all the rage.

As an illustration of their versatility and cross-platform appeal, circular frames and lenses have been popular with politicians, actors, musicians, artists, fashion icons and business leaders. Some of the famous people to have donned a pair of round glasses are: 

  • Winston Churchill

  • Mahatma Gandhi

  • John Lennon 

  • Janis Joplin

  • Steve Jobs 

  • Iris Apfel

  • Andy Warhol

  • Fictional character Harry Potter  

The hippie culture of the 1960s may have popularized round glasses, but their popularity has not dipped even after so many decades. Over time, new shades and lens features in round glasses have come along, allowing people to choose from numerous colors, designs and lens coatings.

How to wear round glasses

Circle glasses feature a curved, circular-shaped lens that flatters the face, blending effortlessly with your facial features. With a modest pair of circular lenses, the focus is not drawn to your outfit or height but directly to your face. So, if you want glasses that highlight you and not your clothes, then round glasses are perfect.

Top 4 style tips for men and women

What do Gigi Hadid, Kylie Jenner, Johnny Depp and Kendall Jenner have in common? Well, all these celebrities have been spotted in round glasses, looking effortlessly cool and highly stylish at the same time. That in itself should make you grab a cool pair of round glasses. But here are more reasons and more style tips to buy circle glasses this season:

  1. Know which outfit to wear with your round frames – The modest-yet-chic pair of round frames go well with all outfits. So, you don’t need to sweat whether you’re wearing the right colors or whether your wardrobe is stylish enough. Tees and jeans or turtlenecks and hoodies, you can sport a pair of oversized round glasses for a retro-chic look. As far as accessorizing goes, sport chunky or minimalistic jewelry, or even go grunge. This frame shape works well whether you’re going for the “just out of bed” look or “elegant and understated.”

  2. Style dark, round frames with minimal makeup – When you wear darker frames, they accentuate your eyes while lending a softer tone to your prominent jawline. To balance out your features, avoid wearing heavy make-up with round glasses.

  3. Pick circular frames that complement your skin tone – Round or circle frames come in different colors and thicknesses, so find a pair that matches your skin tone, eyes and hair color. For instance, if you have fair skin, warmer undertones and light-colored hair, choose tinted or lighter-shaded glasses to bring out your natural complexion. Darker skin tones should opt for bolder colors that complement their complexion.

  4. Choose flattering materials for your round frames and lenses – Circular frames and lenses can be made in almost any material and in any color. Take your pick from metallic gold or tortoiseshell tints in bold outlines or semi-rimless frames. If you want oversized glasses, acetate frames are your best bet. For a subtler, more intellectual vibe, wire frames will probably work better. And, if the lenses are tinted, they’ll have Lennon written all over them. 

Which face shape looks best in round glasses? 

Angular features contoured by a square jawline work best in circle glasses — just think Harry Potter. Square-shaped faces are a markedly distinct face shape with a pronounced jawline and broad forehead, cheeks and chin. Rectangular, oblong and oval faces with prominent features are also perfect for circle glasses.

Bold features are complemented best by round, oversized and thin frames. Round and oval frames soften sharp features and lend a more balanced, gentler look to a person’s face.

Does that mean someone with a round face can’t pull off circular glasses? Not at all! A round-faced person can also channel their inner diva or celebrity by wearing edgy, quirky circle glasses, especially if the frames are transparent.  

Choosing the right color frames for you

The right color of frames can take your look to the next level. Going for a board meeting? Choose a metallic frame that shouts elegance! Party at 5? Add a dash of color with those purple frames!

Thankfully, round glasses come in a variety of frames to complement your every mood. Did you know that your skin tone, eyes and hair color also lend a unique style while choosing the right frames? Here are some tips and tricks to make the choice easier: 

Skin tone

Some frame colors flatter warmer skin tones, whereas other colors enhance cooler complexions. So, if you’re buying a pair of round glasses for yourself or gifting a pair to someone you care about, here’s what you should look for: 

  • Dusky complexion – Tortoiseshells, greens and browns work best. Avoid pinks and purples.

  • Pale or peachy skin tones – Choose tortoiseshells, browns, or bolder hues of purple and red. Avoid blues and lighter colors.

  • Pink complexion – Blues, pinks and beiges are made for you. Avoid golds and greens. 

  • Olive skin – Blues, blacks and purples are the best eyewear for olive skin tones. Avoid neutrals and beiges.

Hair color

When choosing new round glasses or sunglasses, your hair color may be just as important a factor as your skin tone — it all goes together, right? Here are some of the most common hair colors and the most complementary frame colors:

  • Black hair – Blacks, browns, reds and purples are most flattering

  • Brown hair – Reds, golds, greens, browns and beiges look best

  • Blond hair – Pink, brown, blue, purple and even black frames works wonders 

  • Red hair – Opt for frames in gold, green, blue or black

  • Gray hair – Go for black, gray or white frames, and avoid beige and brown 

Eye color

Eyes are the most distinct feature of your face, and since round or circle glasses draw the focus to your eyes, here’s a short list of what round frame colors work best for eye colors:

  • Brown eyes – Gold, green and tortoiseshell frames look best

  • Blue eyes – Blue, gray, brown and tortoiseshell are most complementary

  • Green eyes – Brown, gold, pink and purple frames go best

  • Hazel eyes – Green, gold and gray frames are most flattering

Are you ready to shop for circle glasses?

Now that you know what to look for, you can explore round frames in eyeglasses and sunglasses (or both) from a variety of designers and brands, including Ray-Ban, Versace, Burberry, Armani, Coastal, Michael Kors and Dolce & Gabbana.

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