Trying on glasses is all fun and games when you don’t have to wear them. But whether you’re rotating the displays at your local optometrist, scrolling through a website like Felix Gray or Warby Parker, or noticing the latest frames released by your favorite designer, it’s a whole different ball game when you’re actually due for a new pair. Suddenly, you’re confronted with an existential conundrum: Am I wearing the right frames for my face?
The follow-up questions are enough to send you into a tailspin. How might my life change if I exchanged this ’60s-era horn-rims for the oversized lenses or the squared-off aviators of the 1980s? Or how about that beady Germanic profile of the late ’90s? Would I have to change my whole wardrobe to fit with the new frames? Would I look smarter, and would that make me more successful? Would I get more swipes on Tinder?
No one wants to be forced to confront these questions on the spot. Rather than sticking with the same style or brand of frames until they get phased out, you’re much better off putting some thought into finding the best type of glasses for you.
For most of us, choosing glasses is an arduous process of trying on pair after pair until we finally pick the most familiar profile out of sheer exhaustion. That’s why we sought out the help of a true expert in ocular style. Patty Perreira, co-founder of high-end eyewear brand Barton Perriera, provides her veteran expertise to guide you in the process of choosing the right frames to complement your personal look and style.
The Manual: How much thought does the average person put into the process of choosing eyeglass frames?
Patty Perreira: There are some interesting tips and tricks to finding the right pair of frames, but it’s largely based on face shape. When shopping for eyewear, I recommend customers look for a style that gives them confidence and accentuates their personal style. Choosing the right pair is an important decision for our customers to make (and not to be made hastily!) so the staff in our stores are equipped with the expertise to guide them through the process from start to finish.
“If you have a square face, you should opt for rounder softer shapes. If you have an oval or rounder face, you should choose more angled or square type shapes. However, I feel the most important thing is to be true to your individual style. You should wear what suits you personally and what you are comfortable in.”
TM: What are some common mistakes guys make when selecting frames?
PP: Not understanding proportions and how to balance the different areas of the face. These two factors make a huge difference in how your frames complement your face.
TM: Are there some general rules around what type of frame best shapes a particular face shape?
PP: Generally “The Rule” is to wear a frame that contrasts your face shape. If you have a square face, you should opt for rounder softer shapes. If you have an oval or rounder face, you should choose more angled or square type shapes. However, I feel the most important thing is to be true to your individual style. You should wear what suits you personally and what you are comfortable in.
- For a round face, I recommend angled shapes to balance facial proportions.
- A square-shaped face is well complemented by rounded frames to balance and soften the overall angularity of the face.
- Those with a rectangular face should choose a style that will make their face appear to be slightly longer. Glasses with a narrower lens depth are ideal.
- A heart-shaped face looks to balance out the upper part of the face by making the lower part appear a bit broader. An aviator style works well for this.
TM: What if your head is unusually large or small? How does that affect the frames you choose?
PP: It’s all about proportions here, too! We offer a variety of frames in different dimensions to ensure there’s a perfect pair for every face shape and head size.
TM: Say your face shape favors a style of frame that doesn’t match well with your sartorial style. What can you do?
PP: This definitely happens and is why we’re so committed to offering our frames in multiple different colorways, using the highest quality titanium and beautiful acetates. That way, even if the consumer may not think the style of frame is necessarily in line with their sartorial style, they can still feel good about the quality of this important accessory. I see this happening more frequently in the reverse, most often with the extreme trends that hit the market each season. Some consumers would rather not miss out on the trends and wear glasses that don’t work with their face shape. Everyone has their own relationship with eyewear — please don’t be a victim to a trend.
TM: Are there some classic styles of frames that work well on almost everyone?
PP: Generally speaking, aviators and wayfarer-type frames look great on most.
TM: What are some newer frame styles that the more style-adventurous can look for?
PP: For my collections at Barton Perreira, I like to design classic pieces that the consumer can have for years. That’s why you’ll never see any overly trendy pieces from us! That said, we love to introduce new colorways and play around with beautiful gradients in our lenses for our consumers who still want to have some fun with their eyewear.
“Having a few or multiple frames in your eyewear wardrobe in colors you commonly wear and in shapes that work with your face and personal style will last you a very long time.”
TM: If someone chooses more high-end frames, what are some tips for upkeep?
PP: Taking care of your glasses starts with storing them in the right case. I recommend cleaning your glasses with water and a cleaning cloth regularly.
TM: From a style perspective, how often do you recommend someone switch up their frames?
PP: Our philosophy is making the highest quality frames in classic shapes that our customers can wear season over season and that will never go out of style. Having a few or multiple frames in your eyewear wardrobe in colors you commonly wear and in shapes that work with your face and personal style will last you a very long time.
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