Replace Function with Fashion
Chances are, you're one of the nearly two-thirds of American women who wear eyeglasses. But are your glasses purely functional, or do you view them as a fashion accessory? According to Vision Council of America spokeswoman Carol Norbeck, eyewear is more than a vehicle for reading the fine print. Norbeck, who owns Optical Illusions in Seattle, says, "You can have fun with it. You can make it your signature." And while new frame styles are debuted in both the Spring and the Fall, that there's no need to focus on the latest and the trendiest eyewear. "What's more important than the season," Norbeck says, "is to match your frames to your different lifestyles."
She suggests that a casual look might call for matte metal in a single color - this season, browns or grays or pewters - while filigree silver on silver or filigree gold on gold would make a beautiful statement for going out in the evening. For a straight business look, go for tortoise shell plastic, but if you want to be fashion forward, a black ebony plastic frame would be the way to go. Colored plastics, on the other hand, go great with colorful clothing and communicate "I'm proud to be me."
As for choosing the right eyewear, the key is to have frames that are the same width as the widest part of your face. So, according to Norbeck, "If your jawline is wider than your face is at your eyes, make sure your frames are as wide as your jawline."
The other considerations in choosing the right eyewear style are your coloring and the shape of your face. Everyone, no matter what ethnicity, has skin that is either warm, with gold tones, or cool, with blue tones. Norbeck says, "'Warm' people might choose frame colors in coppers, earth blue, transparent corals, antique gold, brushed gold, matte black or demi-blonde tortoise shell. ' Cool' people would go with demi-amber tortoise shell, shiny black, transparent royal blue, transparent rose-pink, pewter, shiny silver or matte rose brown."
The shape of your face determines the best frame shape for you. If you have a few moments, it's fun to play "The Frame Game" on VICA's website (www.visionsite.org/cgi-bin/glasses.cgi/). You can input information about your face shape and coloring, and then discover the eyewear that's right for you. Here's a rundown of VICA's prevailing wisdom about what works best for differently shaped faces:
- The Oval: almonds or ovals, as wide as or wider than the broadest part of your face
- The Triangle: Bold frames, cat-eye shapes that draw attention upwards
- The Heart-Shaped: Rimless styles, very thin metals or plastics that draw attention downwards
- The Square: Narrow ovals that soften the facial angle
- The Round: Angular, narrow frames that are wider than they are deep
- The Oblong: Decorative temples or top-to-bottom depth to add width
- The Diamond: Cat-eyes or ovals; frames with detailing or distinctive browlines
Vision Council of America (VICA) spokeswoman Carol Norbeck offers these tips for finding a good eyewear professional:
1. Word of mouth is always the best recommendation. When you find someone who looks good in their glasses, ask where they got them.
2. Call the eyewear professional you're considering and ask if they've been trained in VICA's "Envision Yourself" program. This program trains professionals in the various eyewear options that fit differently shaped faces and different skin tones.
In a Blink
When it comes to eyewear:
- DO wear colored frames. Color will turn your eyewear into a fashion accessory.
- DO ask for an anti-reflective coating for your lenses. This will let others see your eyes while helping you see better.
- DO as your eyewear consultant about polished lens edges. Edge polishing minimizes lens thickness and keeps you from looking nerdy.
- DON'T be afraid to own more than one pair. Eyewear is the accessory that is noticed the most - the one that frames your eyes.
- DON'T wear broken or home-mended glasses. Buy a spare pair, just in case.
- DON'T go outside in the daytime without sunglasses with 100% UV protection. Cataracts have been linked to UV radiation.
From the Vision Council of America's "Envision Yourself" program.