Sure, the right shirt counts and decent shoes are crucial to a good first impression; but seeing as people talk to your face more than your chest or feet (we’d hope), the importance of solid eyewear shouldn’t be overlooked.
If the eyes are the window to the soul, it’s time to take care of the flower boxes out front with our crystal-clear guide to corrective specs and stylish shades.
Choosing A Frame To Fit Your Face
Much like a beard, or hairstyle, or indeed beard and hairstyle, the types of frames available to you will be determined by the shape of your face.
(Related: How To Determine Your Face Shape In 5 Easy Steps)
There are five main shapes that all faces fall into when it comes to glasses, and around twice as many styles of frames. While this means there is bound to be at least one that suits you, this broad range also opens up plenty of scope for getting it wrong.
To omit any ocular errors, we tapped up eyewear experts at high-end opticians David Clulow to compile a failsafe guide.
We’re sure you love your round face; heck, you’re even in the same category as Justin Timberlake, Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Craig, but that doesn’t mean you want to accentuate it. Eyewear 101 states that “you should always look for a frame that goes against the face shape,” according to Tessa Forde, a senior optometrist at David Clulow. “[Therefore,] if you have a round face, go for square frames.”
Narrow, rectangular frames with a strong bridge give the illusion of a longer face, while also providing soft, round faces with definition and structure.
One of the most common shapes, men with oval faces are fortunate enough to have won the genetic jackpot and suit a range of styles. To add balance to the mix of both rounded and defined elements within your face, opt for frames that are as wide the broadest part (usually the forehead).
The David Clulow team encourage experimentation with softer angles and less of a pronounced nose bridge.
A chiselled jaw and angular features sounds like the face shape any man would trade his right kidney for. However, like all shapes, it still requires offsetting, in this case with more circular styles.
As Forde points out, round frames often cover a larger surface area, meaning care must be taken to avoid Gatsby-esque Owl-Eyes syndrome: “Depending on the style of the frame, you don’t want them to come too high above your eyebrows, or too low down on your cheeks.” Tread lightly.
In the same way oval faces are a less severe version of round faces, rectangular mugs are more easy-going than those that are square. If you see slim features and a superhero jawline looking back at you in the mirror, adding width is essential.
The David Clulow team recommend opting for softer curves on frames, combined with thick temples to draw attention to the sides of the face, making a long face look shorter.
Top-heavy inverted triangle faces are typically working with a broad forehead that narrows to a small chin. Therefore, the goal is to choose a pair of glasses that will minimise the width of the top of the face, while adding bulk to the bottom half.
Try light metal, clear plastic or rimless frames that are broader at the bottom or have an accent colour on the lower half to draw attention down the face.
Just as the fit of a suit isn’t enough to make it look good (though it certainly helps), when it comes to frames, there are other factors to consider in addition to shape.
Further balance can be added to the face by choosing a frame colour that works with your skin tone. For example, chunky black or similarly dark frames will contrast harshly against pale complexions. In this case, the David Clulow style team recommend a less stark tortoiseshell instead.
The opposite is true for medium and darker skin tones. While it’s tempting to play it safe, as with clothing, darker skin opens up the entire colour spectrum, and therefore frames can be used to add interest or act as a statement piece.
Choosing The Right Fit
By now it should be crushingly obvious that opticals are not a one-size-fits-all piece of facial furniture. When buying glasses for the first time, it’s best to visit a retailer to try models on for size.
If you’re due an upgrade, however, it’s easy to pick a size that cleaves closest to your existing pair. If the frames are fairly modern, look on the undersides of each arm or on the bridge of the nose – you should find three separate numbers stamped. In order, these represent:
Eye Size: A two-digit number in the 40-62 range. This is the width of the lens from the edge of the frame to the bridge.
Bridge Size: A two-digit number in the 14-24 range, which is the length of the bridge.
Temple Size: A measure in mm of the length of the arms.
These are usually accompanied by a series of capital letters and numbers, which you can simply ignore as they denote the model and make of the frames.
Eye size is going to be the key variable, as depending on the style of frame, angular and wide frames are likely to have a bigger eye size than round ones. Base your choice on comfort and practicality. If you find a pair of glasses that fit you perfectly, it may be worth making a note of the measurements on these to make any future buys easier.
When it comes to corrective glasses, higher prescriptions typically require thicker lenses – think more Milhouse than #menswear. Fortunately, these can be thinned (often at an extra cost) to make the overall glasses lighter and more attractive.
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