Eyeglasses — whether optical or for defense against the sun/hangover — are probably the most functional accessory you own. And yet picking out the perfect pair is a daunting task.
You will, after all, be wearing them every day. People identify you by them. There’s also a good chance you’ll be buying them online — which means you won’t have the chance to see whether they actually flatter your face.
So we rang the experts at Chicago’s STATE Optical to outline how to best frame your face and avoid making a spectacle of yourself.
The Chicago-based startup launched in 2016 taking aim at the “Made in the USA” market. Each handcrafted pair is designed and manufactured in STATE’s Chicago factory, where some 60 craftspeople use a 75+ step system to build each pair by hand. They also know Chicago: each frame is named after a Chicago street and the STATE logo — hidden on the temple of each pair — is a pyramid of 21 dots, representing Illinois as the 21st state.
Follow these five rules from our optical experts and you’ll look like a vision.
Rule 1: Ensure the right fit.
Make sure the center of your eye is in the center of the lens, STATE says this will set you up for the most comfortable and flattering fit. Also, be sure the temples curl over your ear; if the bend falls in front of your ear, the frame is too small.
Rule 2: Understand your face shape.
Glasses are a fashion accessory so it’s hard to be too — ahem — prescriptive, but don’t fight your features. If you’re looking for a universal men’s look, STATE recommends the “squoval”: a rounded square shape. Otherwise, see below for shape-specific spec recommendations.
Fulton, Jarvis (2 images)
Markers: Width of forehead, jawline and cheekbones are almost equal to each other.
Best Styles: Rectangular, angular and oversized frames elongate and create definition for your face, as well as sharpen your features.
Hayes, Archer, Clybourn, Wolcott (4 images)
Markers: Strong jawline and broader forehead.
Best Styles: You’ll look best in rounder frames or Aviator styles, which will balance out and soften angular features.
Elston, Clark, Jarvis, Sandburg (4 images)
Long and Narrow
Markers: Overall face shape is longer than it is wide. Cheeks are not as full, longer chin and forehead.
Best Styles: Go for wider frames and oversized styles to add width and balance out your face.
Clark, Dearborn, Ogden, Ashland (4 images)
Markers: Cheekbones are widest part of the face, forehead may be a bit wider than the chin, sides of the face are slightly curved.
Best Styles: Congrats! With one of the most versatile face shapes, you can pull off most styles. Just avoid frames that are wider than your broadest features.
Fulton, Sheridan (2 images)
Rule 3: Try transparent colors to go bold without overcommitting.
If you want to ease in to a funkier look, transparent colors are super stylish right now and don’t create as hard a line as blacks and browns, making bolder styles easier to wear.
Elston, Augusta, Dame (2 images)
Rule 4: Take risks with sunglasses.
STATE says “you can get away with a lot more style-wise with suns over ophthalmic glasses.” Don’t forget your face shape, but amp up your look in these less-worn pairs.
Rule 5: Follow up for adjustments.
No matter what style you choose, expect your specs will need adjustment by an eyecare professional. Headaches, pinching, even deep marks on your nose are signs of a poor fit.