Eyewear Roundup: Trying A Few New Styles

Eyewear Roundup: Spring 2016

eyewear trends 2016I’ve been promising to write about eyewear for eons now, but I always wrestle with how best to approach the topic. I’ve worn glasses since my early 20’s, and have always considered them an important accessory and a great opportunity to make a style statement. (For that reason and extreme squeamishness about my eyes, I’ve never tried contact lenses.) There are so many factors that go into choosing eyewear, most of which are very personal and individual (face shape, nose shape, coloring, style, comfort…) that it’s hard to tackle except on a purely subjective basis.

My current stable of frames is dominated by variations on rectangular or cat-eye shapes in shades of tortoiseshell, so I’ve been looking for something completely different. I tend to gravitate toward “geeky” frames which are very on trend now, and I had a lot to choose from.

I started my search at Warby Parker, one of the companies that offers both frames and lenses online. All of the frames in the collage at the top of the post are from that brand. Their frames and lenses are reasonably priced (starting at $95 for single-vision, add another $200 or so for progressive lenses).  They group their frames by width, which makes it easier to find styles that will work with your face size. They’ll send you 5 pairs to try for free. And they partner with non-profits to help get glasses to those in need. They have a few brick and mortar shops, which is where I tried these on. Many of their styles lean a bit “hipster,” so if you’re looking for something more traditional you may not like the choices.

My friend D., who always has the coolest eyewear, offered to take me to some of her favorite shops so we made a day of it.

finding best eyewear shapes

These shots were taken at a few different shops in my area. That top left pair are kid’s frames from the Hello Kitty line, and actually fit me quite well. I like the idea of round frames, but when I put them on, I can’t help but think “Harry Potter.”

I’ve always felt that eyewear should express one’s personality, or some aspect of it. D. goes even further. Her dad was an optometrist, and she told me about childhood memories of him taking her and some of her siblings into his shop after hours when he needed to do paperwork. The kids would play and try on the glasses and pretend to be other people. She still looks for that distinct sense of Persona in her eyewear…it needs to take her beyond herself. Here are the two pairs she chose:

bold eyewear

It’s important to find an optometry shop or eyewear line that “gets” you. I’ve had so many people try to put me in glasses that, while they may have been flattering for my face shape and coloring, were just so darn generic. D. introduced me to SEE Eyewear and out of all the shops we visited, they had the best combo of reasonable prices and fun styles. They do not sell online unfortunately, and make a limited number of each style.

The last shop we visited on our Eyewear Quest was Morgenthal Frederics in Beverly Hills, which had an amazing selection of unique frames. They carry brands from all over the world, and the styles range from subtle to very avant-garde. Their merchandise is on the pricier side, but again, you’ll find pieces that you’d probably never see anywhere else, including one-of-a-kind vintage frames. If you come in to browse, prepare to spend some time as their inventory is substantial.

I also tried on several pairs of sunglasses that I really liked, but I’m pretty well set for those at the moment, so filed these styles away for future reference…

fabulous sunglasses

All except the pair on the top right were from Morgenthal Frederics. The top right pair is Saint Laurent. I really liked that one, but it was too big for my face/head.

In each shop, I asked the Sales Associates about biggest eyewear trends, based on what people were requesting and purchasing. Their answers were pretty consistent: cat-eye shapes, clear frames, mirrored lenses, and interesting textures or finishes.

I’m not trained in choosing the best styles for your face shape, so I’ll send you over to Inside Out Style for an expert’s advice. I find that I choose eyewear by three criteria: it has to be comfortable, it has to fit my face (I have a small, narrow face and many styles are just too big or wide) and I must love it immediately; it must feel like a good fit for my style.

A few things I’ve picked up along the way:

  • There’s a reason that tortoiseshell frames are so popular; they are one of the most neutral and versatile choices, and there’s a shade of tortoiseshell that will flatter every skin tone.
  • Clear frames are very on-trend right now, and are also a versatile choice.
  • Nose pads can sometimes be added to plastic frames.
  • The darker and thicker the frame, the more it will cast dark shadows on the eyes. If you really love a frame style but don’t like this effect, you can always have them made as sunglasses.
  • Glasses should not slide down your nose or be so snug that they hurt your ears. Have your optometrist make adjustments until you’re completely happy with the fit. One of my ears is lower than the other, so I always have the ear pieces adjusted so the glasses sit level on my face.

So which did I choose?

pink glasses

(These are from SEE. I’d ordered these with nose pads originally, but found they weren’t as comfortable as I’d hoped and had them removed.)

How do you shop for eyewear? Do you find you buy certain styles over and over?

Stay in touch.

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  1. Shelley
    June 17, 2016 / 3:27 am

    Excellent choice! They look beautiful on you. Interesting colour and shape. I love glasses, have many pair , change them according to mood and outfit.they are wonderful accessories . My husband and I often buy frames on our travels and bring them home to our optician for the prescriptions. Glasses are fun and useful mementos of the interesting places we’ve seen. And , yes, we both need them for vision correction.

  2. susanburpee
    June 17, 2016 / 3:52 am

    This is one area of “fashion” where I do not trust my own judgement. So I always buy my glasses from a small shop in our village. Jeff who owns it has a great “eye” for eyewear…pun intended. He has chosen almost all of my glasses. He seems to be able to just pluck the best pair right off the shelf…I then spend twenty minutes trying on every single other pair in the shop ending back with the one he chose. I strayed to a cheaper place for one pair a couple of years ago. Never again. Your new glasses look lovely, Sue. Really like that soft shade on you.

  3. Dee
    June 17, 2016 / 4:16 am

    Another point of consideration in choosing frames is your prescription. The thickness of the lens will exclude certain frame options. I’ve been wearing glasses since I was in grade school and have always loved the frameless look but cannot wear due to the lens thickness. I will definitely shop around a bit more next time I am getting frames as I don’t love the ones I have now.

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:35 pm

      Dee, that’s a good point. Those who wear progressives also need a certain top-to-bottom depth of the frames to accommodate the lenses.

    • sueinspain
      June 18, 2016 / 4:40 am

      Dee, I have the same problem – made worse by the fact that my eyes are so different: I’m short-sighted in my right eye and long-sighted in my left one! I have to have thick lenses, so pay more for higher quality ones that are not quite so thick.

  4. HopeSprings
    June 17, 2016 / 4:23 am

    I live in bifocal sunglasses, so those are always imperative. And I find as I age that my ‘indoor’ bifocals are becoming more important, although the glasses I use most often are my computer (single lens) glasses. In my last update, I had great luck with Seraphin, but I definitely want to check out some of the brands you linked. You have some awesome choices here, and you’re fortunate to have a friend who ‘knows’ frames. Really enjoyed this post…thanks!

    • Shelley
      June 17, 2016 / 4:35 am

      I wear progressive lenses with a complicated prescription. I’ve moved to transitional lenses which have eliminated the need for separate sunglasses and I love them! I no longer need to carry a separate pair of glasses for sunny days , I carry smaller ( and lighter) handbags.

      • Susan B
        June 17, 2016 / 1:33 pm

        Hi Shelly, I have a pair of transitions that I use mostly for travel. They are very convenient, but I’ve found that mine don’t completely lighten after a while.

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:34 pm

      HopeSprings, thank you!

  5. Faithe
    June 17, 2016 / 4:25 am

    Your timing is perfect!! I’m ready to buy glasses and have tempted but a little nervous about Warby Parker. The clear frames look great on you, but the pink is perfect!

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:34 pm

      Thanks, Faithe!

  6. Gail Indeglia
    June 17, 2016 / 4:27 am

    Just curious as to where you purchased your final choice??

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 6:09 am

      Hi Gail, those were from SEE Eyewear.

  7. Gina
    June 17, 2016 / 4:34 am

    Great glasses! If you get a chance check out the Tom Davies bespoke line. They are custom made for your face and you get to choose the colors. I’ve been lucky enough to find an eyeglass shop that carries the Tom Davies line AND my insurance. i think I am going to keep ordering the same frames in different color combos. I get compliments on my glasses all the time. I’m sporting flat gray with flat pink = neutral who knew…

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:33 pm

      Gina, thanks, and thank you for the tip! I will have a look for those.

  8. Gina
    June 17, 2016 / 4:38 am

    P.S. Great lip color too!

  9. June 17, 2016 / 4:52 am

    As someone who has worn glasses since 2nd grade, I am impressed that all these look so good on you. I never seem to pull that off. While my nose looks normal enough (far from a problem), it’s small at the bridge and glasses tend to slide down. I have a hard time finding some where I am looking through the middle of the frame. Having nose pads helps.
    I’m going to print this out or screen save your pictures to take with me.

    • anne
      June 17, 2016 / 8:19 am

      I have a super narrow bridge and have had good luck with Bevel frames!

      • June 17, 2016 / 8:29 am

        I’ll have to ask about them. Thanks!

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 9:09 am

      francetaste, I’ve found two lines that pretty consistently fit my narrower nose: Barton Perreira and Robert Marc.

  10. Rose
    June 17, 2016 / 5:14 am

    I swear by Persol sunglasses or they even can be made up as everyday glasses. Love them.

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:31 pm

      Rose, le Monsieur got a pair of Persol frames last year that he swears are the most comfortable he’s ever worn. They look good too.

  11. June 17, 2016 / 5:17 am

    This is a timely post, since I just broke my glasses and am shopping for new ones. But I have a question unrelated to frames: What lipstick (shade, brand) are you wearing in that final photo? It’s gorgeous!

  12. Barbara
    June 17, 2016 / 5:55 am

    I am a Ray Ban wayfarer girl since buying my first pair in
    1978. They make various widths – 52mm is a good size for my small face. Comfortable all day and don’t slip or stretch out. I have tried- and love- Persols, but the ear pieces stretch out maddeningly fast.. I am currently in the market for a mirrored pair of sunnies in a small frame. Most are aviator style, which don’t flatter me with that bar across the top and the giant droop under the eyes. Anybody know of a source?

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:30 pm

      Hi Barbara, can’t argue with a classic Ray-Ban. 😉

  13. June 17, 2016 / 6:09 am

    I really like those clear glasses on you. I am in the market for both daily wear and sunglasses. My prescription is expensive but glasses are a daily wear item that I don’t mind paying for. Like you, I was never comfortable with contacts.

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:29 pm

      Joanne, thanks. The clear pair are a close second. They are almost invisible when seen from the front.

  14. Kristi
    June 17, 2016 / 6:36 am

    Inspired choice – I really like these on you! The dark frames looked too heavy on your petite features (IMHO). Great post.

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:28 pm

      Kristi, thanks!

  15. Bronwyn Shaffer
    June 17, 2016 / 6:47 am

    I like your choice. I happen to have picked out the same frames in black at See on a trip to NYC.

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:27 pm

      Bronwyn, thanks! This is a great shape, and the black is classic.

  16. nell
    June 17, 2016 / 6:51 am

    How pretty your frames are! That soft blush (it is a pale pink blush shade, right?) is gorgeous on you. I love D.’s choices as well. A pair of stylish, individualistic ladies!

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:27 pm

      nell, thank you! Yes, the shade is a pale, frosty pink. Not one I would have considered but as soon as I tried them on I knew they were the ones.

  17. Cathy D.
    June 17, 2016 / 7:14 am

    I love your new frames! They are light and delicate, just like you.

    My current favorite specs are cat eyes in an amber tone with black ear pieces. I frequently get compliments on them. There’s one thing I always watch out for when choosing frames. I have to be able to smile without having the frames touch my cheeks.

    Thanks for another great post!

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:26 pm

      Thanks, Cathy! Your glasses sound fabulous.

  18. bellsonme
    June 17, 2016 / 7:45 am

    Those glasses are perfect on you! For sunglasses, I’d have picked the Morganthal Fredericks on the bottom left for you.

    My sister and I do not look at all alike and live about a thousand miles apart. Three times now, we’ve each gone to our separate optometrists in different cities and chosen identical frames, and only discovered this the next time we got together.

    The technician at my former eye doctor had that “eye” for what looked good. When she found out I had an appointment, she’d pick something for me and set it aside, and she never failed to choose the perfect glasses. Everybody’s retired now, so I don’t know what I’m going to do!

    The last pair Sally picked out for me (which I still wear) are Jessica McClintock designs, coppery wire frames with squarish lenses that have Art Deco details near the hinges on the earpieces. My sunglasses are McClintocks, too, similar in shape but in burgundy plastic.

    Aren’t we lucky, that we have so much choice!

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:25 pm

      bellsonme, thank you! Isn’t it great to find someone that is skilled in helping choose frames to fit your face?

  19. RoseAG
    June 17, 2016 / 7:52 am

    I’ve had good luck buying reading glasses online; I have different reading strengths in each eye and there are a couple of places that will put a 1.25 in one eye and a 2.00 in the other.

    I’ve had two different fails with progressives online and even though I gotten my money back I’ve decided that paying for personal fitting of lenses is worth the money.

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:24 pm

      Rose, yes progressives can be tricky to get right.

  20. citizen spot
    June 17, 2016 / 8:00 am

    The clear plastic frames remind me of laboratory safety glasses, so for me, those are a no go. I have usually stuck with wire frame, roundish oval shapes since I started wearing glasses in my mid 30’s. I went for semi frameless rectangular glasses last time just to shake things up a bit, but I regret that rash decision every time I have to wear them (mostly for night driving). Luckily, I practically live in my Oakley prescription sunglasses when out and about during daylight hours, but at work I am stuck with safety glasses. I need to take a trusted friend with me next time I am picking out frames for my regular glasses.

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:22 pm

      Spot, maybe the “lab glasses” effect is part of the Geek Chic appeal….”one from beaker A, three from beaker B…” 😀 Go check out See Eyewear, think they have a store in San Jose.

      • citizen spot
        June 18, 2016 / 10:04 am

        Thanks, will have to check them out.
        BTW, beaker B is highly over rated and deserves much less influence on your mixture. Oooh look….bubbles. Wait…foam. Oh no! ITS ALIVE!!! RUN!

        ; )

  21. Marguerite
    June 17, 2016 / 8:02 am

    Ooh, I love your new specs, especially the pale pink color. Really flattering. I love eyewear and have been wearing glasses since the tender age of 18 months.I had pink and blue gingham frames, made in Japan! I now visit an optical boutique near me that has a fab selection of frames from all over the world. So much fun. Currently wearing Robert Marc for everyday.

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:21 pm

      Marguerite, thank you. I’ve also had very good luck with Robert Marc frames, which seem to fit smaller, narrower faces very well.

  22. Cris
    June 17, 2016 / 9:41 am

    You made a great choice. They look great on you!

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:19 pm

      Thanks, Cris!

  23. June 17, 2016 / 10:58 am

    I love your new specs. Out of all the photos above, those are the ones I thought were the coolest-looking on you and versatile. Veeery nice.

    I’ve been wearing glasses since I was six and now that the prices and selections seem to be more varied, I especially love glasses shopping. Your friend looks great in her selections.

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 1:19 pm

      Thanks, Melanie! Yes, D. really wears those bold frames very well.

  24. June 17, 2016 / 3:17 pm

    You made the perfect choice with those opaque glasses, Susan, but they all look great. I have to go on the hunt for new frames soon, hope I find as good a choice as you.

    • Susan B
      June 17, 2016 / 6:54 pm

      Thanks so much, Mary! Good luck with your eyewear hunt.

  25. Carol S
    June 17, 2016 / 10:18 pm

    Really like the blush frames on you. Thanks for sharing. I have been wearing glasses since 5th grade. Now well over 40 I have progressive lenses. These are expensive so I am ever only going to have one frame at a time. I am pale in colouring so prefer glasses that ‘disappear’ like thin metal or the ones at the moment half metal in a soft brown. I like movable nose pieces as I have had trouble with rigid plastic frames. My current glasses also have magnetic sunnies rather than transitions. If I try on dark thick frames then the frames are really prominent and I disappear. Actually I find I have to ‘ride’ out the trends until my style of glasses comes back into fashion!

  26. sueinspain
    June 18, 2016 / 4:47 am

    When I scrolled down the page I chose that pair for you – so we both have great taste! I have the same problem as you because my face is long and narrow, so lots of frames are too wide on me. The really dark frames didn’t do you any favours, however I think coloured frames would also look good on you.

    • Susan B
      June 18, 2016 / 9:55 am

      Thanks, Sue! I’ve worn dark mostly darker frames for the last few years, so it’s fun to have something this light and fresh.

  27. June 18, 2016 / 7:07 am

    Great choice! And I love your friend D’s as well — easy to tell she’s fun and bright and has good taste!
    My prescription is too expensive to have had multiple pairs at once and it’s also strong enough that I’m restricted in the size of the lens/frame (i.e. even with the special glass, they become too heavy and too thick for many frames, so I do have to avoid some of my otherwise preferred styles). I’m getting ready for a new pair, though, so it’s been fun to look with you.
    I’m contemplating spoiling myself with a second pair, thinking I might pick up a frame in either France or Italy next time we’re there. Have you ever been tempted? There are some very seductive window displays there, and I’ve seen great examples on the street. . .

    • Susan B
      June 18, 2016 / 9:57 am

      Frances, thanks so much! Yes, D. is exactly that: fun, smart, creative and has a very keen eye. And yes, as a matter of fact, I am planning to pay closer attention this trip to the fabulous eyewear shops, especially in Paris… 😉

  28. June 18, 2016 / 2:13 pm

    I really liked the two paler pairs on you, which is odd as I would have thought I would have chosen darker frames for myself! Maybe I will keep a more open mind next time? The clear pair (and the pair you chose) look fresh and modern. Great choice. XXX

  29. June 19, 2016 / 12:45 am

    I love the tortoiseshell frames. I first got glasses for use at the computer a couple of years ago. I went to choose the frames with daughter number 2, who was 14 at the time, and we had so much fun. Now all the children want glasses, they tell me glasses are now the in thing and so cool. But whenever they go for an eye test their sight is perfect, they are most annoyed!!!

  30. June 19, 2016 / 10:09 pm

    Thanks for this great post, Susan. I agree, so many try to entice me into frames which are so GENERIC too!! My local opticians are always changing their “lines” of frames and the current “must haves’ do nothing for me. One of the arms of my lovely red reading glasses fell off a couple of weeks ago and they told me they don’t do bright red this year! (Some of us don’t want to look the same as the next person) So, I got out the Tarzans Grip, and between J.B. and myself, glued and willed them to stick together and so far, so good – until I find more bright red ones.
    Your glasses of choice look gorgeous!

  31. Julie
    June 26, 2016 / 10:23 pm

    Great blog since so many of us have to wear glasses full time. I’ve been wearing them since grade seven. I love an interesting frame but am limited because of a small face, very narrow bridge and a strong perscription. Nose pads are a necessity for fitting.

    My last glasses, a dark brown, were chosen when my hair was a light blonde. Since I decided to go silver and grey, they don’t suit me as well. I also have a lighter brown with a hint of gold pair for computer work, and they suit me well. I think the first pair is too dominant because of the size. These are a French brand and are titanium. They were costly but worth it for the comfort and style.

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