I promised several posts ago I’d do this, so here goes…
Picking the right frames needn’t be a Herculean task; the rules are pretty simple once you know of their existance, but it takes a little time to work out how to apply them. To begin today, you’re going to need a mirror that’s at least big enough to reflect your entire head, neck and shoulders. I also recommend doing this in a well lit area (it makes it a lot easier).
Working Out Your Face Shape
The most important element is discovering what shape your head is. The process is slightly subjective, and it’s not unheard of to be a combination of two types. If this is the case, try to pick frames that suit the strongest element of your facial profile.
Round: A soft, spherical facial structure with an absence of strong lines or angles. Examples of famous men with round faces include actor Jack Black. Men with this facial type should manipulate their features so they appear longer and thinner. Shallow, rectangular frames should do a great job of creating even balance.
Oval: This shape is the most balanced and proportional of all face types. Most frames should look good, but to ensure you don’t destabilize this shape’s poise, search for glasses that are at least as wide as the broadest part of your face.
Rectangle/Oblong: Long, narrow faces with squared features around the chin. Actor Ben Affleck and rap-artist Eminen both have rectangular faces. Here, you’ll need to add coverage around the centre of your face, so chose something with a large surface area.
Square: This facial type has very short, angular features including a strong jaw line. Male celebrities with square features include Matt Damon. In this case, chose frames that soften the face without squashing up features; good choices include wide, narrow ovals.
Triangle: Disproportionately wider at the top or bottom of the face. In either scenario, it’s best not to add emphasis to these features; I’d stick to glasses made of very light materials or rimless frames.
Diamond: A very rare type where the face is narrow around the jaw and eyes, but wide around the cheekbones. Again, with such disproportion it’s best to stick to light, rimless frames or a ‘cat’s eye’ design.
“Okay, I’ve done that, now what?”
Once you’ve identified the shape, you need to identify your skin tone. Take a look back at the previous article I wrote with regards to complexion and color to help determine the best hue for you.
For reference, there are three main skin types; they are pale, medium and dark. You may find that you fall between categories, such as medium-pale or medium-dark. If this is the case, try to find a compromise color that falls in both zones.
“So I’ve determined my skin tone – what color should I look for?”
Pale skin contrasts well with black, charcoal and silver, giving high definition and presence. However, if you’re looking for something a little more subtle, take a glance at the pastel shades on offer.
Darker skin will look great in bronze, gold and a range of reds and oranges. Black glasses don’t provide much contrast, so be careful of using it as a base color when selecting your frames.
Medium skin tones will find that burgundy, brown, copper and tortoise shell have a tendency to bring out the warmer tones in their skin, as well as emphasize key facial features.
“Should I strictly enforce these rules?”
These basic elements offer a good starting point, but they won’t take into account other factors like eye color, shape and hairstyles that clash with certain frames; for example, if you have a square head but strong oval eyes, a defined oval frame may appear unflattering.
If you’re stuck, don’t fret; a good optical assistant will be able to offer some friendly advice on the matter whilst you’re picking your frames. Just make sure they don’t rail-road you into buying something you don’t like: the rules aren’t set in stone and if you’re not comfortable accentuating your features in a particular way, you can always try on another pair.
There’s a series of video guides on choosing men’s frames right here. It’s a great resource you’d be mad not to watch in its entirety, especially if you’re going to see your optometrist any time soon.