Why do some eyeglasses look attractive on display in the optical shop, but not so great when you try them on?
It could be that the frames are the wrong style for your face shape. Your face shape plays a significant role in whether a certain style of glasses will look good on you.
What is my face shape?
To determine your face shape and which eyeglass styles will look best on you, pull your hair away from your face and look directly into a mirror. Take a close look at the overall shape and contours of your face and head.
Here are the seven primary face shapes and the type of eyeglass frames that look best on each shape:
Oval face shape
An oval face shape is considered to be ideal because of its balanced proportions.
To maintain the natural balance of an oval face shape, look for eyeglass frames that are as wide as (or wider than) the broadest part of the face.
Walnut-shaped frames that are not too deep or narrow are a very good choice.
A heart-shaped face has a wide top third and a narrow bottom third.
To reduce the apparent width of the top of the face, choose frame shapes that are wider at the bottom. Thin, light-colored frames and rimless frames that have a light, airy appearance also are good choices.
Oblong face shape
An oblong face shape is longer than it is wide and has a long, straight cheek line.
To make an oblong face appear shorter and more balanced, try frames that have more depth than width.
Frames with decorative or contrasting temples
also add width to the face.
Square face shape
A square face shape has a strong jaw and a broad forehead, and the width and length of the face have roughly the same proportions.
To make a square face look longer and soften its angles, try narrow frame styles, frames that have more width than depth, and narrow ovals.
Diamond face shape
Diamond-shaped faces are narrow at the forehead and jawline, and have broad cheekbones that may be high and dramatic. This is the rarest face shape.
To highlight the eyes and soften the cheekbones, try frames that have detailing or distinctive brow lines. Rimless eyeglasses and frames with oval or cat-eye shapes also can be good choices.
Round face shape
A round face shape has curved lines with the width and length in the same proportions and no angles.
To make a round face appear thinner and longer, try angular narrow eyeglass frames to lengthen the face.
Frames with a clear bridge
and rectangular frames that are wider than they are deep also can be good choices.
A base-down triangular face shape has a narrow forehead and widens at the cheek and chin areas.
To add width and emphasize the narrow upper third of the face, try frames that are heavily accented with color and detailing on the top half (brow) of the frame.
Frames with cat-eye shapes also can be good choices.
Skin tones, eye color and hair color
When choosing eyeglasses, face shape isn’t the only factor that determines which frames will look best on you — your skin tone, eye color and hair color also play important roles.
The best eyeglasses will complement the coloration of your face, eyes and hair.
Regardless of the color of your skin, skin tones are categorized as either “cool” or “warm.”
A cool complexion has blue or pink undertones, and a warm complexion has a “peaches and cream” or yellow cast. Olive skin is considered cool because it is a mixture of blue and yellow.
Eye colors usually are a secondary element in determining your coloring because of the many variations of eye color.
Hair colors also are considered warm or cool. Strawberry blond, platinum, blue-black, white, auburn, salt-and-pepper and ash brown are cool. Warm hair colors include golden blond, brownish black, brown-gold and “dirty gray.”
Eyeglass frame colors
Once you have determined if you are “warm” or “cool,” then you can find the eyeglass frame colors that will suit you the best.
Examples of frame colors best for warm coloring are: camel, khaki, gold, copper, peach, orange, coral, off-white, fire-engine red, warm blue and blond tortoise.
For cool coloring, the best eyeglass frame hues are black, silver, rose-brown, blue-gray, plum, magenta, pink, jade, blue and demi-amber (darker) tortoise.
Get an expert opinion
To help you find the perfect glasses for your face shape and coloring, first get your eyeglass prescription updated by scheduling an eye exam with our eye doctor.
Then, visit an experienced optician to help you choose your glasses.
Liz Segre also contributed to this article.