The Perfect Glasses For Your Face Shape (& Personality)

This post was originally published on January 2, 2015.
We all have our staple pieces: the black coat we wear all winter, the ankle booties that look great with everything in our closet, and the tote bag that carries all of our essentials. And, the one item many of us literally cannot get out of bed without: glasses.
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Unlike a handbag, glasses are not a one-size-fits-all deal. Finding the perfect pair can test your patience. Are they cute and durable? Do they make a statement but still go with everything? Do they even really fit, or are we just imagining ourselves as Zooey Deschanel? We set out to demystify the glasses-shopping process by going straight to the experts: Sarah Betzwieser, Lily Algair, and Catherine Magee from Ditto; Vanina De Preneuf from glasses.com; and Selima Salaun of Selima Optique.
Pay Attention To Face Shape
What ultimately determines which eyewear options work and which don't is your face shape. There are supposedly seven types: round, square, oval, oblong, heart-shaped, triangle-shaped, and diamond-shaped. If you're unsure of what category you fall under, Frames Direct recommends simply "trac[ing] an outline of your face" using a picture of yourself, and noting which shape it resembles most closely.
Pick A Shade That Flatters
Once you've got your frames in hand, you'll want to focus on the details: namely, the color of your glasses. You want to find a hue that coordinates with your skin and hair tones. Salaun chimes in: “If you have dark hair,” she suggests “glasses in a dark tone [that] will bring out the richness in [your] coloring. If you have light hair, you might want to choose a frame that brings out the cream color, [brightening] your skin and your hair. Dark frames tend to lighten [pale] skin by contrast, and mid-toned frames tend to bring out the warmth in your face.”
Lens Logic
Then, you've got to fill in your frames with the right lenses — you know, the feature that actually improves your vision. There are four main lens categories, according to allaboutvision.com: plastic, polycarbonate, trivex, and high-index plastic. Algair adds ultra-thin polyurethane to this list for individuals with stronger prescriptions. (For a full breakdown of lens options according to your prescription, check out this article.)
First Impressions Matter
When it’s time to try on your options, that first look is key — regardless of your face shape. "See if the frame is wearing you," Salaun suggests, "or if you see yourself first.” If the first thing you notice are the glasses, you might want to go for a more subtle pair, so the effect is not so jarring. Both Salaun and Algair agree that one of the most common mistakes people make when shopping for glasses is gravitating towards options they’ve liked on other people. We all want to copy our favorite four-eyed icons, but we need to put ourselves (and our features) first.
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Ask For Help
Don't be afraid! "Opticians have seen many faces and should know their collections well," says Salaun. "If you have a good rapport with your optician, you can expect to find the best frames for you."
With the help of these optical experts, we found optical frames and sunnies for each face shape — to make the eyewear-shopping process less of a doozy. Check out our picks and more tips, ahead.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Round
We’ll start with a round face. You want a frame that doesn’t exaggerate that roundness — try an angular one, like a rectangle or wayfarer shape. Vanina De Preneuf of glasses.com says this style "adds definition to this soft-accented face that needs [it]."
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Proof Boise Wood, $90, available at Proof.
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Gucci Rectangular-frame Glasses, $274, available at MyTheresa.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Square
When buying glasses, the rule of thumb is: Instead of highlighting the shape of your face, complement and soften it. So, if you’re square-shaped, you’ll want to do the opposite of your round-faced counterpart and go for curved corners. To achieve this, Algair recommends a cat-eye or something with a more “oval look.”
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Kate Spade Lyssa Eyeglasses, $210, $168, available at FramesDirect.
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Topshop LULU Round Sunglasses, $40, available at Topshop.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Oval
Oval “is the easiest face shape in fitting frames,” according to Selima. Your two focus areas should be cheekbones and brows. Catherine Magee of Ditto agrees, adding that you should seek out a frame that’s “the same width as your face.” Vanina tells us that "squares and rectangles" best complement an oval shape.
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Armani Exchange Tortoise AX3005, $170, available at Target.
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Prism St. Louis Optical, $219, available at Prism.
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Tory Burch TY2038, $195, available at Glasses.
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Saint Laurent Devon Glitter Sunglasses, $405 available at Intermix.
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Heart-Shaped
Heart-shaped faces have a broad forehead and strong chin. The solution: “frames that are angled outward at the bottom,” says Lily. This translates to classic aviators, which usually posses other features that flatter a wide forehead, such as “lighter colors and more delicate or rimless frames.”
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Love L767 in Sand Petal, $65, available at Coastal.
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Prism San Diego Oversized Glasses, $202, available at Matches Fashion.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Triangle-Shaped
Faces that are shaped like upside-down triangles have a super strong chin. To downplay this, Lily recommends a cat-eye, which “will really bring more attention to your upper face.” She adds that “you also want to pick darker colors and bolder frames, to add weight to your upper face, balancing the broadness of your chin.”
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BonLook Flawless in Smokey Tort, available at Bonlook.
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Warby Parker Rose, $95, available at Warby Parker.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Oblong
In essence, an oblong face is just an elongated oval. Selima proposes a horizontal cat-eye for this shape; these frames will sit across your face but also have some curved edges. Lily, on the other hand, thinks that “round or geometric shapes, things that might be decorative on your temples" are the way to go. The goal is to “make the face look a little shorter," Lily explains.
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Kam Dhillon Carla Havana, $85, $60, available at Coastal.
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Moscow Mazel, $260, available at Moscot.
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Selma Optique Jennifer, $360, available at Selma Optique.
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Illesteva Leonard Sunglasses Tortoise With Rose Mirrored Lenses, $177, available at Illesteva.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Diamond-Shaped
Much like diamonds themselves, this face shape is characterized by sharp edges and angular features. Lily suggests finding a frame that's "heavier on top," so as to "bring more emphasis to the top and the corners of your face."And, she says "to avoid glasses that have a flat top, because [they'll] accentuate your cheekbones" too much.
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Oliver Peoples Pollack, $370, available at Oliver Peoples.
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Prada Tortoiseshell Cat-Eye Glasses, $243, available at MyTheresa.
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Warby Parker Blair in Rose Gold, $145, available at Warby Parker.
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Coach HC5047 Evie, $200, available at Target.
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Tom Ford Two-Tone Cat-Eye Optical Frames, $345, available at Neiman Marcus.
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Clare Vivier Vuarnet Sunglasses, $215, available at Clare Vivier.
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