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How to Choose Frames for Glasses

When considering a new pair of eyeglass frames, several things should be taken into consideration. Trying on hundreds of pairs to find the right look can be time consuming and annoying, but it's possible to narrow the choices down considerably by determining what to look for in advance.

Face Shape

Round – A round face has no sharp angles and is as wide as it is long. Choose frames with a geometric shape that is narrow and angular to help lengthen the face, like wide rectangles.

Oval – An oval-shaped face is the most proportionate, with balanced width from forehead to jaw line. Choose frames that are as wide as or wider than the widest part of the face to keep the balance in proportion.

Oblong – Oblong faces are long and narrow, and the nose is often long as well. To shorten the face for a more balanced look, choose large frames (width from top to bottom) with contrasting or decorative "arms" that stand out.

Base-Down Triangle – This face is narrow at the forehead and wider at the cheek and chin. Balance the proportions with decorative frames that have color and detailing at the top. Cat-eye or geometric shapes that are wider at the top and narrower at the bottom will flatter.

Base-Up Triangle
– This face shape is wide at the forehead and narrows to the chin. Try frames in opposite proportion, narrow at the top and wider at the bottom, with lightweight wire or rimless construction.

Diamond (Heart) – This shape is narrow at both the eye line and jaw line, with high, dramatic cheekbones. To emphasize the eyes and cheekbones, try frames that are decorative at the top, rimless frames, or dramatic, unusual shapes.

Square - A prominent jaw line and a wide forehead define a square face, with width and length in the same proportion. To soften the square face, look for frames that are wider than they are tall, like a narrow oval shape.

Coloring – Frame color should complement skin and hair color. About 60 percent of the people in the United States fall into the cool or blue tones category, with skin undertones that are blue or pink. Warm complexions have yellow undertones. Olive-skinned people, with both blue and yellow undertones, fall into the cool category.

Those with cool complexions should consider frames in reddish-brown, gray-blue, purple, pink, magenta, jade green, blue, black, silver or dark tortoise. Colors that complement warm complexions are beige tones like off-white, camel, khaki and gold, or orange tones like peach, coral, copper and bright red. Warm blue works as well.

Eye color should be a secondary color consideration. Complementary colors, like purple or gray-blue, will make blue eyes really stand out. Choosing a lighter frame color or a frameless construction makes glasses less obtrusive.

Once the initial selection has been made, it's time to think about other criteria. Glasses are a personal statement, and form, function and style should all be considered. Take the time to determine which pair feels right and offers a field of vision you are comfortable with. Some people prefer a larger or smaller lens area. Frame fashion changes in the same way clothing fashion changes, and choices may be limited to whatever is currently in style. The smaller the store is, the smaller the selection will be. If you are not happy with the selection offered by your optician, take your prescription and shop around.

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