This month’s column is about fine-tuning the frame selection process for face shapes. Ms. Specs was delighted to receive so many inquiries regarding this important topic. Thank you to all who wrote in!
We can be the best opticians ever with our optical knowledge, but the fact is, while skills are essential, our patients will often judge us based on their satisfaction with the frame selection, for both aesthetics and comfort. One of the awesome things about opticianry is that we combine the best of both worlds: optics and fashion. Prescription eyewear is a prosthetic device that also makes a fashion statement. Selecting a frame shape that balances the patient’s face shape is a science and an art.
Back to the Basics
Our main objective in frame selection, assuming it suits the prescription, is balancing face shapes to create the illusion of an oval. An oval face shape is a balanced face shape in that it is symmetrical. Most of us do not have a perfect oval face shape, but that does not stop us from getting the look! We can ‘add lines’ to a face to bring out our best appearances and minimize less than ideal features.
There are many ‘rules’ regarding face shapes. We can simplify these by thinking of the following simple solutions:
A long-oblong face: Add width with deep wide lines. This will establish the illusion of width to create an oval appearance. Avoid frames with high temple/endpiece attachments.
A ‘wide’ face (square or round): The original school of thought was to ‘put a round frame on a square face and put a square frame on a round face.’ But what if round frames are trending? Can the patient with a round face still enjoy this fashion? The answer is a resounding Yes! Choose frames that accentuate the top/brow, with high endpiece attachments. This will ‘draw the eye up’ which yields a slimming effect.
A Base Up triangle face: Because the ‘weight’ of the face is at the top, we want to select frames that are minimalistic, that ‘disappear on the face.’ Rimless mounts and AR coatings are a go-to in these cases. Choosing drill mounts with decorative temples will add a burst of color while not adding to the width at the top of the face. Adding fun tints is a big plus! Rimless eyewear can be fun as well as functional.
A Base Down triangle face: This is the easiest optical makeover of all! No matter what we select for the frame, it will bring attention to the top of the face. This is an opportunity to have fun with cat eyes and bold colorful acetates that will give the illusion of added width on top, thus balancing the total look.
How do we establish face shape? We can measure the patient’s face to get an idea. An oval face has the following attributes: When measuring from the middle of the nose (not the tip, or the bridge) to the top of the forehead and the bottom of the chin, the dimension will be equal. And, from the middle of the nose to the widest portions of the temples will also be equal. Note: All four quadrants should not be equal, as that would be a round or square. An average would be 1/3 – 2/3 ratio of width to height.
Our clientele wants to feel fabulous in their prescription eyewear. We can give them ‘specs appeal’ with detailed attention to color and face shape, keeping the experience memorable - a win-win for all.
See Well and Be Well,
Ms. Specs in the City
Laurie Pierce, ABOM