Opticians have been inevitable stops on my shopping trips for over a decade – since I got my first pair of glasses. At that time, when glasses were either rimless or Oakley, my choice was a black/yellow acetate (plastic) rectangular Gucci pair I dared to wear to school (yes, the kid with yellow specs at seventeen). From that day on, my specs would never go unnoticed.
Whether, like Tinie Tempah, your vision is 20/20 and your lenses are just for effect (in that case, keep it between yourself and your optician) or because you didn’t opt for laser surgery or contacts, you are an adept of the most prominent accessory the human body can carry.
Such a powerful style tool sitting right upon your nose mustn’t make an apologetic statement on your behalf. They should help build your unique look.
With a vast amount of silhouettes, colours and materials available on the market, choosing the right pair is a complex, but enjoyable exercise. Master the challenge and you’ll see it pay off, with your new glasses becoming a trademark of your personal style.
Tips For Perfect-Fitting Spectacles
Guides for face and specs harmony are often as long as novels, but they’re actually spelling out one simple rule: in order to suit you, frames should have the opposite geometry of your face.
In other words:
- Round/Oval Faces: Look for square, rectangular or angular shapes.
- Square Faces: Go for rounder or half-rimmed frames that will soften your strong lines.
- Oblong Faces: You want larger frames that will dress the verticality of your face.
For more advice on finding the right frame for your face shape, check out our comprehensive sunglasses guide.
Spectacles Buying Guidelines
Knowing your face shape is a good start, but at the opticians the choice will not be this straightforward. Here’s a ten-step guide to help improve your optical journey:
- Smile. If your cheeks lift the glasses, kiss that style goodbye.
- Check the width. With the specs on, place your pointing fingers next to each eye, right by the inside corners of the frame. It should fit just right, with none or very little space left. If that’s not the case, the frame is too wide or too narrow for you. Next!
- Glasses need tweaking. Make sure the bridge (the between-lenses part), shaft and rims are adjusted to your face and feel absolutely comfortable. Don’t settle for anything short of perfection – this process can be compared to getting a suit tailored specifically to your body shape.
- Take a selfie. The only time FashionBeans will ever recommend a ‘selfie’, show a picture of you wearing your potential new frames to someone you trust and ask their opinion. The bold and extroverted amongst you could even try Instagram/Facebook polls and let the audience decide.
- Who are your four-eyed style icons? You can channel Andy Warhol, Clark Kent, David Gandy, Michael Caine, Buddy Holly, Jarvis Cocker – the list is endless. After all, styles are made iconic by their famous adepts.
- Don’t get blinded by over-designed frames. Multi-coloured, sculpted and pseudo-futuristic styles are prerogatives of very few people. Stick with designs that truly represent your personality and you know you can pull off.
- Watch out for the ‘everyone else is wearing it’ trap. These frames have the chance to become a signature of your personal style, so don’t fall for clichés.
- Don’t be colour blind. You found your glasses. Now look into all colours and finishes the style is available in. Tortoiseshell or black? Matte or polished? Gold or silver? These variants will strongly influence the final result, so don’t neglect them.
- Avoid in-your-face branding. After good research and working hard on individuality, you don’t want to easily give away the brand of your specs. Make people come to you asking who they are made by.
Final Tip: Your glasses should match YOU – not your attire, your car or the team you support. Think of them as an independent accessory.
Spectacles Lookbook: Brands
Spectacles Lookbook: Celebrity Inspiration
Men’s Eyewear Trends
You’ll see plenty of throwback styles on the current market. They’re inspired by vintage silhouettes and often reworked in new materials, colours and textures. This is definitely one trend you should embrace, as these frames are set to become the go-to style for the foreseeable future.
Although fashion brands introduce their own seasonal styles, you can’t beat a specialist. I personally turn to Oliver Peoples, who have mastered the art of reinterpreting vintage frames since 1987. Hollywood favourites, their designs are sleek, sophisticated, classic and collectible.
Along similar lines are Barton Perreira, Cutler and Gross and Garrett Leight – all of which offer retro-inspired styles with a contemporary twist. Alternatively, for ultra-classicism you can turn to evergreen brands like Persol, which never disappoint.
Of course, these are just some names for reference. There are plenty of stylish designer brands out there at different price points. You certainly won’t be short of choice.
Key Styles To Look Out For
1940s- and 1950s-style plastic and metal frames. Many of them follow on from the recent return to prominence of Ray-Ban Clubmasters, whilst others take the concept to new grounds with more inventive interpretations:
- Ray-ban Clubmaster Glasses
- 0755 Brown Stripe
- Banks Matte Raintree/antique Gold
- Lincoln Size 48 In Dark Tortoise-antique Gold
- Thom Browne Square-frame Acetate And Metal Optical Glasses
- Ridley Dark Walnut Antique Gold
Michael Caine-esque styles, which we’ve seen a lot of over the past few years. They come in countless adaptations, so you should find a colour and style to suit your taste. This is a bold look, so make sure you own it:
- Afton Rx Semi-matte Black
- 0772 Blue Turtle
- Cutler And Gross Square-frame Ombre Acetate Optical Glasses
- Caine Matte Teak
- Cutler And Gross Two-tone Square-frame Optical Glasses
- Po3039v Suprema
Tortoiseshell-like, translucent, transparent or coloured plastic frames. Just search for the colour way that best complements your hair, eyes and skin colour. Remember glasses are standalone accessories that don’t need to match any other item you’re wearing.
Cutler and Gross are very good at introducing new colours and texture effects to the market. They’re the ones to turn to for an unusual blue, or black textured frame you won’t find anywhere else.
Their pieces are also handmade to the highest quality standards, which make them a solid investment:
- 0974 Menthol
- 0849 Humble Potato
- Xxv-rx Workman Grey
- Garrett Leight California Optical Mens Westminster Champagne Glasses
- Larke Unisex Gill Clear Glasses
- Derrick Glasses
Matte plastic finishes. Non-shine surface treatments offer an effective way to pull off a popular style without looking like everyone else:
- Larke Unisex Horne Matt Black Glasses
- Fairmont Matte Moss Tortoise
- Tommy Hilfigier Th 56
- Thom Browne Rectangular-frame Acetate Optical Glasses
- Sheldrake Rx – Matte Sycamore
- Mp-2 Rx – Matte Black/pewter
Gregory Peck-inspired styles. Round or oval, this is a classic look that will suit virtually any wardrobe and lifestyle. The secret here is to opt for the right dimensions and colour:
- Elins Cocobolo
- Oliver Peoples Gregory Peck Tortoiseshell Acetate Optical Glasses
- Thom Browne Round-frame Acetate Optical Glasses
- 1097 Matt Dark Turtle
- American Apparel Halifax Eyeglass
So there you have it, a brief guide to finding the perfect glasses for your face shape and personality.
Whether you opt for retro-inspired cool or a more progressive, contemporary frame, remember that they are an independent accessory with the power to define your personal style and become a signature of your look – it’s definitely worth putting time and effort into getting your choice right.
But now we want to hear your view: have you got any tips for those searching for the perfect pair of specs? What style did you opt for and why?
Let us know in the comments section below…