Saturday, June 26, 2010

How to... Choose your Eyeglass Frames

by Erinn Morgan

For many of us, the most important aspect of choosing eyeglass frames is how they look on our face.

You could try on every pair of eyeglasses in the store to find out how each one looks, but narrowing down your choices in advance can save you a lot of time and aggravation. To do so, you simply need to determine your face shape and coloring, and understand which eyeglass frame styles and colors would look best on you.

Matching Eyeglass Frames to Face Shapes
You should consider three main points when choosing an eyeglass frame for your face shape, according to The Vision Council:
  1. Eyewear should repeat your personal best feature (such as a blue frame to match blue eyes).
  2. The frame shape should contrast with your face shape.
  3. The frame size should be in scale with your face size.
  4. Also, while most faces are a combination of shapes and angles, there are seven basic face shapes: round, oval, oblong, base-down triangle, base-up triangle, diamond and square.
Here is a further description of these face shapes and which types of frames work best for each, according to The Vision Council. A good optician can help you use these guidelines to choose your new eyeglasses.

A round face has curved lines with the width and length in the same proportions and no angles. To make a round face appear thinner and longer, try angular narrow eyeglass frames to lengthen the face, a clear bridge that widens the eyes, and frames that are wider than they are deep, such as a rectangular shape.

An oval face is considered to be the ideal shape because of its balanced proportions. To keep the oval's natural balance, look for eyeglass frames that are as wide as (or wider than) the broadest part of the face, or walnut-shaped frames that are not too deep or too narrow.

An oblong face is longer than it is wide and has a long straight cheek line and sometimes a longish nose. To make an oblong face appear shorter and more balanced, try frames that have more depth than width, decorative or contrasting temples that add width to the face, or a low bridge to shorten the nose.

Base-Down Triangle
A base-down triangular face has a narrow forehead and widens at the cheek and chin areas. To add width and emphasize the narrow upper third of the face, try frames that are heavily accented with color and detailing on the top half or cat-eye shapes.

Base-Up Triangle
This face has a very wide top third and small bottom third. To minimize the width of the top of the face, try frames that are wider at the bottom, very light colors and materials and rimless frame styles (which have a light, airy effect because the lenses are simply held in place by a few screws, with no surrounding frame material).

Diamond-shaped faces are narrow at the eye line and jawline, and have broad cheekbones that may be high and dramatic. This is the rarest face shape. To highlight the eyes and soften the cheekbones, try frames that have detailing or distinctive brow lines, or try rimless frames or oval and cat-eye shapes.

A square face has a strong jaw line and a broad forehead, plus the width and length are in the same proportions. To make a square face look longer and soften the angles, try narrow frame styles, frames that have more width than depth, and narrow ovals.

Color Analysis
The Vision Council's three keys to color analysis are:
  1. All people have either cool (blue-based) or warm (yellow-based) coloring.
  2. Everyone looks best in his or her own color base.
  3. Eyewear color should complement personal coloring.
  4. The main factors that determine the best color palette are the colors of the skin, eyes and hair.
Are you warm or cool? Knowing the answer will help you easily select frame colors. These eyeglasses are by Moschino.

Skin tone is the prime element in determining coloring. All complexions fall into one of two color bases — blue (cool) or yellow (warm). A cool complexion has blue or pink undertones, and a warm complexion has a "peaches and cream" or yellow cast. Olive skin is considered cool because it is a mixture of blue and yellow. (In the United States, cool, blue-based complexions are more common than the yellow-based warm complexions. About 60 percent of the population are "cools.")

Eye colors usually are a secondary element in determining coloring because of the many variations of eye color. For example, blue eyes can range from a cool almost-violet to a pale blue-gray, which is warm. Brown eyes can vary from a light cider shade (warm) through a medium-brown to a cool almost-black.

Hair colors also are considered warm or cool. Strawberry blond, platinum, blue-black, white, salt-and-pepper and "dishwater" brown are cool. Warm hair colors include golden blond, flat black, brown-gold, "carrot" and "dirty" gray.

Eyeglass Frame Colors
Once you have determined if you are "warm" or "cool," then you can find the eyeglass frame colors that will suit you the best.

Some examples of frame colors best for warm coloring are: camel, khaki, gold, copper, peach, orange, coral, off-white, fire-engine red, warm blue and blond tortoise.

For cool coloring, the best eyeglass frame hues are black, rose-brown, blue-gray, plum, magenta, pink, jade, blue and demi-amber (darker) tortoise.

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