When it comes to finding that perfect pair of frames, there are many factors to take into account. Your face shape, complexion, hairstyle and colour, as well as your prescription strength and various frame materials, will all dictate the shape and colour of your ideal optical frames or sunglasses.
General rules for the best fit frames
- Spectacle or sunglass frames should flatter your best features – for example, if you have sparkling blue eyes, choose a frame with similar blue accents or details.
- Your frames should be proportionate – as wide or slightly wider – to the size of your face.
- The shape of your frames should contrast with, not be the same, as your face shape.
- Ideally, your eyes should be positioned in the very middle of your frames, with an equal distance from the centre of your eye to every part of the frame.
- The arms of your frames should be properly aligned so that the frame is positioned horizontally straight across your face and won’t dig into your temples.
- The frame temple tips should fit comfortably but snugly behind your ears so they don’t slide forwards.
- The bridge and nosepads should fit comfortably, flat against your nose – too narrow and they will dig into your skin and leave grooves, too wide and your glasses will slide down your nose.
- Consider the thickness of your lenses – higher prescription lenses would normally need rimmed frames, whereas rimless glasses work well for lower prescriptions.
- If you need bifocal or progressive lenses, your frames need enough room below the pupil to allow you to read or do computer work comfortably.
- Eyewear frames that tilt upwards rather than downwards at the top outside corners usually ‘lift’ your face, lending a more youthful look.
Which frame material is best for you?
Generally, plastic frames come in a wide range of colours, patterns and textures and are lightweight and hypoallergenic. Frames made out of plastics like cellulose propionate and nylon offer greater flexibility than those made of cellulose acetate or zylonite. Sports people prefer nylon frames as they are flexible but strong, suiting wraparound styles – and they can be coated. Possible drawbacks to plastic are that they’re more vulnerable to breakage, ageing and damage from sunlight and this could affect their lifespan over time.
Now available in a wider range than ever before, metal frames are lightweight and very durable, being very strong and highly resistant to corrosion. Although some metal frames have limited flexibility, such as titanium, stainless steel and aluminium, other metals, such as like flexon, beryllium and the metal-mixture monel (if mixed with the right plating) are extremely flexible options. Titanium frames, such as those pioneered by Lindberg, have become increasingly popular, as they are incredibly strong, hypoallergenic and can be customised in a variety of colours. Along with titanium, flexon and stainless steel are also good choices for those with allergies to certain metals.
Frames in unusual materials are increasingly popular as collector’s items or simply as fashion statements or conversation pieces for the well-heeled spectacle wearer. Frames can either be made entirely from exotic materials, or simply embellished or detailed with touches of them. Some of the popular materials include wood, bone, various animal horns, gold or silver plating, precious or semi-precious stones, leather, velvet and even feathers!
Complexion and hair colour
We all have colouring ranging somewhere between the ‘cool’ (blue or pink undertones) and ‘warm’ (yellow, peachy) colour spectrums. Ideally, the best frames for you will fall within your colour range and complement your complexion and hair colour. Although it’s always good to experiment with a range of colours, especially if you want to make a bold and striking fashion statement, here is a general guide to possible frame colours to match your complexion and hair colour:
- Pale complexion with blonde hair: honey, beige, camel pink, pale blue/ green
- Pale complexion with brown hair: honey, beige, tan, red, mauve or plum
- Pale complexion with auburn hair: green, copper red, dark blue
- Olive complexion with brown hair: brown, tortoise shell, deep red, plum or mauve
- Dark complexion/ hair: tortoise shell, purple, pink, silver, gold, bright red
Measuring your face shape
Ideally, the frames you choose should contrast your face shape. If you are not sure exactly what shape your face is, get a measuring tape or ruler and note these measurements, then refer to our
Face & Frame Shape Guide:
- The length of your face, from hairline to chin
- The width of your face across the top of your cheekbones to the outer corners of your eyes
- Your jawline, from where it starts under your ear to the middle of your chin (then double this measurement)
- The length of your forehead, from the middle of your hairline to your eyebrows
- The width of your forehead, from temple to temple across the widest point between your eyebrows and hairline.
Use cutting-edge frame selection technology
Along with following the advice of your optician, take advantage of cutting-edge technology to help you choose the perfect pair of frames. The advent of ‘virtual try-on assistants’, in the form of interactive machines such as the HOYA TrueSight machine, makes it quick, easy and fun to find the best frame choices to suit your face. Along with providing spot-on lens prescriptions and in-depth eyecare and eyewear advice, TrueSight also acts as a virtual try on mirror, snapping your photo and allowing you to experiment with different options.