How to pick the right frames every time

by Sylvia

How to find the perfect glasses frames and sunglasses

I find picking glasses one of the hardest things to do. So I’m happy that today guest blogger Molly can give us some good advice on how to pick the right glasses frames. Enjoy!

Sunglasses are a personal favorite accessory staple: they protect from the aging affects of the sun, add a classic touch to any outfit, and hide those dark circles after a long week at work. But as much as they are a necessity to every gal’s wardrobe, it’s insanely hard to find the perfect pair without trying on what seems like a couple dozen different frames.

As a lifelong glasses wearer, I’ve had my fair share of frame-spotting moments in department stores, only to find out that they weren’t as fabulous on my face as they were in the case. And when it comes to online browsing for sunnies and glasses, where we don’t have the privalege of trying them on for size (and style), it can be especially hard to pick that perfect, feel-like-a-million bucks pair. After years of hits and misses, I’ve realized that finding your best pair doesn’t have to be a full-on frame hunt. By understanding the unique angles and lines of your face, you can actually tell a lot about the styles of glasses that work best for you—all without having to try them on first!

Which Face Shape Are You?

One of the most puzzling parts of this process is deciphering which face category yours belongs to. There are six common face shapes: round, oval, square, rectangle, heart, and triangle.

round face shape

ROUND: Round faces are extremely circular, fullest at the cheekbones, and are free of harsh or boxy angles.

oval oblong face shape

OVAL: Oval and oblong shapes have smooth lines, but are longer than they are wide with a slightly narrower jaw and hairline.

square rectangle face shape

SQUARE/RECTANGLE: Square and rectangular faces are distinguished by a strong, rectangular jaw line and an equally wide, boxy forehead.

heart triangle shape face

HEART/TRIANGLE: Heart and triangle shapes are characterized by a very narrow jawline and sharp chin, with a wider forehead.

Every face shape is comprised of unique angles and lines, so it’s important to pick the category most similar to your features. The easiest way to decipher your shape is to stand in front of a mirror. Pull hair away from your face, and using a washable marker, eyeliner, or soap, trace the reflection of your face silhouette. Take a step back and compare to the pictures above: Is yours full and round, long and egg-shaped, boxy and square, or pointed and triangular?

Picking Your Best Frames

ROUND: To balance the fuller, circular nature of round face shapes, opt for boxier frames that add a bit more dimension. Classic wayfarer and rectanglular sunglasses and glasses, with their severe square shapes, are perfect for a round face. Be sure to steer clear of round or oval styles, which will only add fullness to your face. My favorite of-the-moment sunnies and glasses for round shapes are nerd-chic and have thicker frames.

Glasses frames for round face shape

OVAL: Oval shapes are very lucky, because their long narrow faces and soft lines make finding frames easy—they can wear just about anything! The key to oval faces is to keep frame size in mind: Petite faces look best in smaller frames such as half frame readers and smaller square shapes. For longer, broader oval shapes, try sporting fuller rectangular glasses and oversized wayfarers. It’s important to stick with frames that have distinctive angles in order to combat the soft, delicate nature of an oval face.

Frames for the oval face shape

SQUARE/RECTANGLE: Square and rectangular faces call for frames with soft angles and circular lines. Balance boxy jaw and hairlines with big round sunglasses a la Jackie O, classic aviators, or smaller round sunnies like popular 70s-era styles. Shield styles (sunglasses with no-show frames) and vintage-looking cat eye glasses are perfect for softening square faces and adding a bit of playfullness to a harsh lines.

Spectacle frames for the square face shape

HEART/TRIANGLE: Frames for heart and triangle faces need to balance a pointed jawline and naturally draw the eye upwards. Offset a sharp chin with upswept styles like stylish cat eyes, butterfly shapes, and wayfarers that are pointed slightly at the temples. Heart and triangle shapes can play around with oversized and smaller frames as long as they keep proportion in mind.

Glasses frames for the heart face shape

Do you have any tips for buying the perfect glasses?

Author Bio: Molly is a fashion-loving content writer, who loves writing about timeless pieces and tips on her reading and style blog. When she’s not blogging about spring trends and book reviews, she loves spending time with family, cooking, and browsing Pinterest for style.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Suzanne

Thanks for sharing these tips Molly. I think I have a round face and I am usually attracted to square shaped sunglass frames (I recently bought a pair of Wayfarers) so it’s good to know I am doing the right thing. 🙂


2 Molly Borter

Hi Suzanne!

I’m so happy this helped 🙂 Wayfarers are my go-to, too! So classic and simple.


3 Mary Johnson

Never thought that picking sunglasses should be based on the shape of our faces. I got tons of it that makes it really hard to choose. Thanks for these tips.^^


4 Molly Borter

So happy this helped, Mary!


5 Lisa

Excellent post and great tips. Picking the right glasses can be tricky and you have laid it out in a very helpful manner.


6 Molly Borter

thank you, Lisa 🙂


7 Greetje

I knew the shape of my face (oval) was the basis on which I should choose, but I didn’t know the tips. (Thanks.) Instinctly I chose the right ones.
But if “smaller” spectacles suit you and fashion dictates “big”, you will have a hell of a job finding a pair.
It does not help that I hate spectacles on me. All expression in my face is exactly in those parts where the frame is. So me, the person I know, disappears behind glasses. Time will come though that I will have to wear them. For now I have contact lenzes with a reading section at the bottom (very handy in the supermarket). Sunglasses however, do suit me. Strange thing.


8 Molly Borter

Hi Greetje!

I know what you mean about spectacles hiding important expressions! I absolutely hated my glasses in years past, until this year I picked a frame (I have a heart-shaped face) that was boxier (wayfarer-esque), but weren’t too big that I felt like I was hiding behind them.

Your contact lenses sound do cool–definitely did not know that they existed like that! I wear contacts most days, but my glasses are perfect for days where my eyes are tired, I know I’ll be staring at the computer for way too long, or if I want a little va-va-voom added to my wardrobe!

Good luck on your glasses journey 🙂


9 Catherine

Lately I’ve been on a lengthy search for new frames, plus I’m considering a career change into opticianry, so I hope you won’t mind my jumping in with some observations:

1) Whether or not the frames obscure your expression depends largely upon how much they compete with your eyebrows. One usual guideline is that the frames should not cover your brows, but sit either just below or just above them. The shape is also important: are your brows rounded or angular, straight or arched? Where does the apex of the arch fall? It helps if your frames “echo” that.

2) If you want the frames to “blend” into your face, then consider both the value (lightness vs. darkness) and contrast of your own coloring in selecting a frame color. You may, for example, be fair (light in value) but either high or low in contrast. Do sharp black-and-white combinations make you sparkle or overpower you? Do subtle, tone-on-tone variations look rich or blah on you?

I once assumed that because I, as a warm-toned brunette, wore a lot of dark brown clothing, that I could wear dark brown frames as well. Not so – all you see are the frames. A deep amber is better. My value and contrast levels are both medium.

Vivid colors are best on me in medium values – kelly green or fiery red. A light-valued person could wear a beautiful mint or bubblegum pink. A dark-valued person could pull off a rich pine, cobalt, or ruby.

3) There are exceptions to every rule. Sometimes a deliberate opposition in shape or color works, where a poor match wouldn’t. (I wonder if this is why sunglasses work for you.) Think of the platinum blonde who looks great in dramatic black frames. Her overall value is light, but she’s also high-contrast, which gives her that edge.

I could go on and on, but it’s fascinating to me how the slightest difference can affect whether or not a frame becomes you. (And isn’t “becomes” an interesting word; it implies not only that something is flattering to you, but that it becomes a part of you.) Hope this is helpful, or at least interesting. 🙂


10 Sylvia

Thanks for the feedback Catherine!


11 Emily

Love this! I really never had any idea, but I always though certain frames didn’t look good on me and now I know why! thank for posting!


12 Molly Borter

Glad I could help out, Emily! Have fun with your new, fabulous frames!


13 dan

thanks for the advice. I do love sunglasses, especially old style ones.


14 Deanna R. Jones

I’m getting my first pair of glasses next week. I want to be sure to pick out the right pair of glasses for my face shape so that I don’t look like a dork. I have an oval face, so it’s good to know that I can wear just about any type of frames. I don’t think I’ll ever wear round frames though. I have a feeling that I’ll look best wearing half reader frames. Thanks for the tips!


15 KC

What is the name of your blog, Molly? I’d like to read more!


16 Sylvia

I think she stopped writing her blog, which is why there is no link any more. Here is another article on picking eyewear that you may like


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