6 Tips to Help Every Man Find the Best Glasses
Long ago, wearing optical glasses was basically synonymous with being uncool. Does “four-eyes” or the image of a scrawny boy with tape wrapped around the bridge of his rims spark anything? What about the phrase, “Guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses?” Fortunately for everyone without 20-20 vision, sporting eyewear is now sexy, smart, and stylish. Sure, some people may still prefer their frame-free contacts; however, everyone from academics to celebrities sport a pair of glasses every now and then.
Even the optically advanced can join the bandwagon with this accessory sans prescription. But thanks to the seemingly endless eyewear options — rimless, horn-rim, tortoise, and wire, for example — finding a pair that fits your face and aesthetic can be a struggle. “There’s no such thing as a unanimously loved pair of glasses,” said Nicolas Roseillier, creative director for REM Eyewear. Luckily, there are tricks to make this search easier. Read on for our six tips for finding the best glasses for you.
1. Size does matter
We get it: Going into an optical store can be overwhelming. Not only are there hundreds of shapes, colors, and frames, but what seems like a never-ending array of lens sizes. But just as Goldilocks did during her encounter with the three bears: find your happy medium. While you may think you’re ahead of the trend by investing in a pair of oversized or Ringo-esque opticals, the truth is that they’re actually not the most flattering option for your face. When it comes to how large your frames should be in relation to your face, Roseillier recommends that your eye rests comfortably in the middle of the lens.
Once you’ve found that pair that doesn’t look like you’ve tried on your dad or kid brother’s frames, take some time to focus on the width. “The overall width of a frame should not extend much further than the width of your face,” said Color Lee, executive director of Fetch Eyewear. As for that desire to sport a pair of enlarged or miniscule frames? Save that dream for your sunglasses, which usually skew trendier on the sartorial spectrum and aren’t an all-day necessity.
2. Contrast your frames with your face shape
Let’s be honest: Optical eyewear shopping tends to feel like a sartorial geometry class. There are just so many shapes: square, rectangular, rectangular with curved edges, square with curved edges, oval, round — are you stressed out yet? Relax, dear reader: The key to having flattering eyeglasses is finding a pair of frames to juxtapose to your face’s natural shape. Easier said than done, right? As if we would leave you hanging. For starters, figuring out your face’s shape is no easy feat. After all, oval and round are just so similar. To find the out whether your face is round, square, or oval, take a dry-erase marker and trace your face’s shape in the mirror. Once you’ve discover which category you fall into, find a pair of contrasting glasses.
While Lee recommends oval or round frames for a square face and an angular pair of rims for a round one, finding a shape for an oval face isn’t as straightforward. Since an oval shape is more versatile, it’s easier to find a variety of frames that flatter your face. But don’t consider this as a free pass to pick out any pair via eenie-meenie. Instead, focus on the size of the glasses. “The biggest downfall is a frame that is too small or too large, throwing off the natural balance of the face,” said Lee. “Square and rectangular frames add contrast to the curved lines of the oval face. Other shapes are fair game as well, just be sure to keep scale in mind.” Now that you have a basic rule of thumb in mind, go forth and browse through a slew of options. After all, there’s a major difference between square, oval, and “squoval.”
3. Master the perfect fit
Sure, those horn-rimmed tortoise glasses may look cool on the shelf (or online), but what’s the point of falling in love with a pair of glasses if they don’t even fit your face properly? They’re only going to be a nuisance when they keep slipping down the bridge of your nose or cause headaches on the daily. According to Roseillier, the perfect pair of optical glasses will rest comfortably on your nose and the pair’s temples should cling over the top of your ears without causing any indentations.
“You should be comfortable wearing these all day,” Roseillier decreed. While some aspects are not as easy to tailor, like the bridge of your frames, don’t forget to talk to an eyewear specialist before you veto a desirable pair. Even if he or she can’t tighten or loosen the frames, perhaps your optical professional can recommend a similar shape and size that will fit snuggly on your head.
4. Choose your “glasses personality”
Once upon a time, thick-rimmed glasses were only suitable for classified nerds and satirical figures like Austin Powers. Yet now, it seems as if everyone is sporting the bulky rims. But then again, there’s something very intellectual about a slim pair of rim-less glasses. So what gives? Which thicknesses are best for which types of faces? Believe it or not, the thickness of your frames is entirely up to you. “Different thickness of frames will satisfy different personalities,” says Roseillier. “You need to figure out what you want your look to be.”
Before you go down the proverbial rabbit hole of taking the Myer & Briggs personality test, take a deep breath and think about where you wear your glasses to instead. Do you sport these during your serious, nine-to-five job and swap them out for your trusty pair of contacts after hours? Try out a slim wire or rim-less pair of glasses to match the somber occasion. Or are you the type of guy who proudly sports his glasses all day? Go ahead and make a statement with some thick-rimmed glasses. After all, they are your daily accessory by default.
5. Allow your rims to stand out against your complexion
So you’ve found the perfect size, shape, and thickness of glasses, but what about the color? There’s light tan, medium tan, dark tan, light brown, dark brown, darkest brown, and black, for starters. And we haven’t even begun to discuss all the tortoise-esque options. In short? It’s basically Joseph’s Technicolor Dreamcoat for eyewear. Fortunately, this decision is up to you. Similar to the thickness of your rims, the color of the frames should be based more on your personal preference.
While a lighter shade is perfect for the guy who isn’t looking to make a sartorial scene, a louder option is perfect for someone who isn’t afraid to make a statement: striking black, two-toned, and tortoise frames are just a few high-octane options. But if you’re pretty ambivalent about the color palette and pattern, Roseillier suggests contrasting your glasses with your skin tone. While a someone of a darker complexion could look ultra- hip in a light pair of frames, Roseillier mentions that same glasses may not pop as much on someone with a lighter complexion. Instead, opting for an opaque black pair will create an effortlessly hip vibe.
6. If at first you don’t succeed…
…try, try again. No, this overly optimistic saying isn’t just applicable when you didn’t land your dream job instantly or failed to connect with that hottie from Tinder; it’s also suitable for eyewear. Sure, it sounds foolish, but you’ll know that feeling when you find the right pair of glasses. Similar to that feeling you get when you finally purchase that super luxurious watch, you’ll feel a sense of excitement and joy, as if this piece instantly makes you look smarter, funnier, thinner, and sexier. So why settle for anything less?
When shopping for anything — especially something you need to see without a blurred lens – you tend to get a little agitated and pick the first thing you find that’s semi-decent. It’s OK; we’ve all been there. But instead of succumbing to mediocre frames, venture out to different stores until you find that pair that gives you sartorial butterflies. And — perhaps the most important tip — go into a store and try them on. Let’s face it: After a long week at work, heading down to several optical stores doesn’t sound like an ideal way to spend some down time, but we promise you it’ll be more efficient than buy a random pair online (only to have to endure the frustrating return protocol).
Follow Kelsey on Twitter @KMulvs
[Editor’s Note: This story was originally published May 2016]