Model wearing eyeglasses
Photo: Marc Royce
If shopping for glasses leaves you cross-eyed, here's insight from O's experts: four makeovers that match frames to faces shape and take you from glasses-as-dull-as-necessity to the joy of specs.

eyeglasses on modelFACIAL GEOMETRY

To find your shape, pull your hair back and look in the mirror (or do a postshower check—a wet head tells all). Julia Sanderson, 38, a creative associate at Eileen Fisher, is all about right angles: Her face is as long as it is wide, and she has a prominent jaw and broad cheekbones.

eyeglasses on modelTHE "BEFORE PAIR"

"The hard lines of these glasses just make her face seem boxier," says licensed optician Deborah Lochli-McGrath, a spokesperson for the Vision Council of America (VCA) and our expert guide for these makeovers. Black frames are way too dark for Julia's coloring, and their style is dated—not a good move for a hip young woman who works in the fashion industry.

eyeglasses on model THE "AFTER PAIR"

The general rule with glasses is to play against your facial contours (learn more at the VCA's website, "See how soft her face looks!" Lochli-McGrath says after Julia's transformation: A low-profile pair with a curved, rimless bottom (Moscot, "Indig," $159) gives angular features a rounder appearance, and the more emphatic upper edge diverts attention from the jaw and chin. A subtle greenish brown tint makes her blue-gray eyes stand out (look for a color that's complementary; an exact match may seem forced).

eyeglasses on model THE RIGHT SUNGLASSES

A slightly rounded shape and gradient lenses—dark on top, lighter at the bottom—help downplay Julia's jawline (Persol, "PO2866," $249). People slather on sunscreen but forget that eyes also need shielding, Lochli-McGrath says. Forget pale tints; you need dark lenses that cover the entire eye area and build in UVA/UVB protection. Beyond the health factor, there's a glamour bonus: Demiblond tortoiseshell frames pick up the highlights in Julia's hair, making her feel like an Italian movie star. Bellissima.

eyeglasses on model FACIAL GEOMETRY

The oval may not be absolutely symmetrical—Luz Stella Kochiss, 44, mother of three and a Spanish teacher, has cheekbones slightly higher than the middle of her face, and her chin is a bit narrower than her forehead—but it's close. Frequently described as classical or harmonious, this shape looks good in almost any glasses.

eyeglasses on model THE BEFORE PAIR

Although oval types can do fine in subtly rounded frames, you don't want to go ultracircular. These grannyish glasses are aging, not to mention just plain boring. They are also too narrow for Luz; to set off her gorgeous bone structure, glasses should be at least as wide as the broadest part of her face. .

eyeglasses on model THE AFTER PAIR

Narrow glasses with upswept corners and vivid accents on top (Lafont, "Sarah," $330) produce what Lochli-McGrath calls the facelift effect, emphasizing cheekbones and making the jaw look slimmer and more angular. These frames are a departure for Luz: "They're definitely different," she says. "I like change. And glasses are important—they're the first thing I reach for when I get up in the morning." Makeup alert: A strong prescription like Luz's tends to magnify the eyes, so go easy with mascara and shadow.

eyeglasses on model THE RIGHT SUNGLASSES

Newly popular shields are genius for arming you against the sun, but you don't want to look as if you just schussed down a mountain. Edged with a metal rope motif—gold and bronze are magnificent with Luz's warm brunette coloring—these shades are more elegant than athletic (Escada, "SES 627," $255). Dark sunglasses are essential for ocular health, says Lochli-McGrath, who also recommends a variety of pairs because some lenses are better suited to certain light conditions than others.

eyeglasses on model FACIAL GEOMETRY

Your shape is an inverted triangle, with more weight on top: Artist Maria Taylor, 29, has a broad forehead and cheekbones tapering to a narrow chin. (Don't worry if your face doesn't fit exactly into our categories—lots of us are hybrids. Just decide if you're essentially angular or curvilinear, then try on glasses in a contrasting shape.)

eyeglasses on model THE "BEFORE PAIR"

The straight-across look of these boxy black rectangles accentuates the width of Maria's cheeks instead of minimizing it, Lochli-McGrath says. They're also sitting way too low on her face: Always check that your eyes are centered in the frames when you're trying on a pair (and the temples, or earpieces, should be level, not tipped up or down).

eyeglasses on model THE "AFTER" PAIR

One way to lighten up the wider portions of a heart-shaped face is to wear airy, rimless glasses (Robert Marc, "368," $425). Butterfly lenses, which are slightly wider at the bottom, give a pointed chin more of a buildup. "It's amazing the difference you feel in your energy and confidence when you have a great pair of glasses," Maria says. If you're on the computer a lot, Lochli-McGrath recommends lenses with an antireflective coating that eliminates glare and reduces eye stress.

eyeglasses on model THE RIGHT SUNGLASSES

Softly curved wraparounds (Via Spiga, "VS 411-S," $160) hug Maria's face and tone down the angles. "I like big, jazzy, extravagant sunglasses," she admits. "No subtlety! These have a shininess to them, a bit of bling, and that's my style." The glasses most likely to succeed will probably have the same basic palette—warm or cool—as your skin, hair, and eyes (see how bronze illuminates Maria's complexion). But if you try a few that break the color rule, you won't get arrested. 

eyeglasses model FACIAL GEOMETRY

Full cheeks, scant angles, and roughly equal length and width place chef and food writer Judiaann Woo, 36, squarely in the round. To clarify where your face fits, try outlining it on the mirror with a washable marker or eye pencil. Once you know your type, you can reduce hundreds of optical possibilities to a few well-focused pairs.

eyeglasses model THE "BEFORE PAIR"

The last thing Judiaann needs is more curves, says Lochli-McGrath—you never want glasses that echo and reinforce your core shape. The dark color is the right idea (bolder frames help to define a round face), but stylistically these specs are pretty ho-hum; plus, they sit so high that she looks as if she has no eyebrows.

eyeglasses model THE "AFTER PAIR"

Geometrically inclined glasses take the place of visible bone structure, sculpting Judiaann's face to look longer and slimmer. Flattering rectangular frames (Vera Wang, "V169," $260) are fairly narrow, so the bottom edges won't collide with her cheeks, and the subtle metallic and discreet crystals suit her minimalist taste. They also stay secure on her hard-to-fit nose: On a flat bridge, Lochli-McGrath explains, specs slip down easily. This pair has adjustable nose pads on either side—tilt them up or down to find precisely the right angle.

eyeglasses model THE RIGHT SUNGLASSES

Shades are Judiaann's summer uniform. "I live in them," she says. "It's nice to go incognito." But they shouldn't be too much of a mask. Scale is important; these squared-off titanium sunglasses (Christian Roth, "14287," $400) aren't so jumbo that they swallow her face. Drawing the focus up and out makes plump cheeks recede. One stylish way to do it is with decorative temples—here, they're tortoiseshell—that stand out from the main frame.
Photo: Marc Royce


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