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Choosing Your Eyeglasses: A Guide on How to Select a Pair that's Right for You

Jul 3, 2008
A person's eyeglasses are usually his or her most important article of clothing and usually the one accessory that most people are self conscious of. Not only can the appearance of your eyeglasses effect other people's perception of you, more significantly, they can affect you perception of yourself.

A pair of ugly and clunky old frames can be embarrassing. On the other hand, the right pair of frames can be both sexy and stylish. Moreover, the right pair of eyeglasses can come to look so natural it can reach a point where a person appears unrecognizable without his or her usual specs.

With so much selection in the retail optical stores and, even more overwhelming, the ridiculous array of choices available on the internet, it can be a chore to find the set of eyeglasses that will perfectly compliment your features. You can't very well try on every style in the store, or if you're shopping online, you may not get to try them on at all.

Some websites sport a "try-it-on" feature, where you upload a digital photograph of your face and then past the various frame styles over top to get an idea of the final look. But even this can be an arduous process. It's good to have an idea about the conventions of eyewear fashion before you go randomly searching the racks or the web pages for your next set of glasses.

Most eyewear professionals will tell you there are seven basic types of face shapes. While we know everyone is unique, knowing which of the seven shapes is closest to your particular facial features is helpful to determine which frame style will best compliment your features. A round face is one with few angles or sharp curves. As the general rule with eyeglass frames is that they should contrast the face shape, a person with a round face will look best in narrow, angular frames.

A person with a square face, on the other hand, will look best in round frames, while an oblong face would be complimented by frames that are thick from top to bottom so as to make the face seem shorter. If one's face is like a base-up triangle, frames that are wider at the bottom will look best and vice-versa for a base down triangular face.

When it comes to color, the opposite is true: the color of the frame of a person's eyeglasses ought to be congruent with the person's coloring. A person's coloring is determined by their skin tone, eye shade, and hair color. For the purpose of eyeglasses, people fall into two distinct coloration, either warm or cool.

For skin tone, color is less important than undertone. Pink or bluish undertones are cool, whereas pale orange or yellow undertones are warm. Dark to medium brown, dirty blonde, black and salt-and-pepper hair are cool while light brown, red, blonde, and white hair are warm. Eye color is more difficult to categorize given the nearly infinite shades of the human iris, but generally speaking, dark blues, greens and browns are cool, while pale blues, greens and amber browns are warm. As we said earlier, frame colors ought to match a person's overall coloration. Warm colored people should seek out light frame colors such as orange, beige, and bright reds or greens. Cool colored people look best in dark frames, such as deep blue, dark brown, or even black.

When choosing any pair of eyeglasses keep in mind that the frames should always be in scale with a person's head size and overall body size. Big glasses look good on big people, while smaller people tend to stick to the rule that less is more.
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