We’re a culture that thrives on instant gratification. Shopping is evidence of that. Why make a trip to a brick-and-mortar store when you can browse for everyday essentials from your couch, then have them delivered to your door in a matter of days? For some time there were exceptions to this convenience. For instance, buying prescription eyeglasses required multiple visits to get an eye exam, work with an optician to find a flattering pair of frames, then wait for them to be made before you could get prescription eyeglasses. But now, you can bypass the middleman. So long as you have a current prescription (yes, you still need a yearly eye exam), you can upload your script and get a pair of eyeglasses shipped right to you.
We spoke with Kim Nemser, vice president of product strategy at Warby Parker, the brand that started the craze, for some must-know tips and tricks. Once you’re armed with the necessary knowledge, check out our favorite new frames of fall 2019. They’ll give you the fresh start you need.
The Best Styles for Each Face Shape
Geometry plays a considerable role, but you ultimately want to pick frames that look and feel good. “Beyond considering your face shape, it’s important to consider the width of your face, especially with optical frames,” says Nemser. “Wide frames can overwhelm narrow features, and frames that are too narrow can result in an incorrect fit.” Here’s the quick and dirty on the most flattering frames for your face shape:
Round: “Try a graphic frame,” Nemser says. “Think: a rectangular pair with more pronounced angles and edges.”
Diamond/Square: “Juxtaposition is key,” Nemser explains. “With an angular shape, go with a style that has softer edges. Round-lensed frames balance out strong jawlines or cheekbones.”
Heart: “Heart-shaped faces can pull off the aviator style—a tried-and-true shape with smooth lines that complements a wider forehead,” Nemser says.
Oval: “An oval-shaped face is great for most frames, since the ratio of your facial features is balanced,” Nemser says.
Choosing Colors to Match Your Skin Tone and Hair
You’ve probably heard that cooler skin tones look best in blues and greens, while reds and oranges flatter warmer skin tones, but there’s no hard and fast rule with eyeglasses. “Frame color is usually a personal preference, based off what people are most drawn to,” Nemser says. “Green has been trending in the market, and we introduced a ‘rosemary crystal’ this August. We’ve also seen bold tortoises, matte colorways, and graphic two-toned acetates continuing to do well.”
Embrace Your Quirks, Know Your Fit
It’s easy to assume you just need to tighten the arms of your glasses in order to ensure a proper fit, but there’s actually more at play here. Here’s how to tell if you’ve found a pair of well-fitting frames, according to Nemser:
Pupils are near the center of each lens
Lenses don’t extend past the sides of your face
Eyebrows are above the glasses
Temples sit comfortably on your ears (and aren’t too tight or too loose)
When you smile, your cheeks don’t push the frames up
“We know how important it is to find the right fit, so we offer a few no-risk ways to try on frames before purchasing,” Nemser adds. “Through our Home Try-On program, we’ll send you five frames for free to try on for size. If instant gratification is your thing, you can try on frames virtually through our app on an iPhone X. Alternatively, pop into any one of of our retail locations, and our advisors are happy to help—plus we offer a 30-day, no-hassle return policy for any frame purchase.”
Note that brands have sizing options—like wide and narrow fits—depending on the frame. For instance, Warby Parker has “low-bridge” fit for people with low nose bridges (if the bridge of your nose sits level with or below the pupils), wide faces, and/or high cheekbones. “They help keep frames from sliding down your face, resting on your cheeks, or pinching,” she explains. All of those factors indicate an improper fit.
“We also offer variations in nose pads (for less tension and to reduce slipping), lens tilt (to provide space between the cheekbones and the frames), and curved temples (creating a roomy fit, reducing pinching and any pain).” That said, if you’ve struggled to find comfortable frames in the past, it’s worth going to a brick-and-mortar store rather than shopping online so a professional can help you optimize your frames.
Consider a Specialty Lens
For the most part, it’s always best to consult an optometrist if you’re unsure whether you want a specific lens. “We offer blue-light-filtering lenses for everyday wear, for those who want to protect their eyes from UVA rays, UVB rays, and blue light,” Nemser says. “They filter more blue light from the sun and other sources than standard polycarbonate lenses and can be added to any frames with or without a prescription. For those who wear glasses every day, our standard lens options are treated with anti-reflective, scratch-resistant coatings, and come standard with impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.”
Tips for the At-home, Try-on Process
“At Warby Parker, we usually recommend starting with the quiz to get a sense of what frame shape, fit, and colors work best for you,” Nemser says. “Once you receive the glasses, you have five days to try them on for size. We recommend wearing each pair for an hour or so to get a feel for the fit. Sharing photos or consulting a friend (or even our Customer Experience team) is encouraged when making a style decision.”
What to Do if Your Eyeglasses Need an Adjustment
“All Warby Parker stores offer free adjustments by trained opticians onsite to ensure your glasses or sunglasses are the perfect fit,” Nemser says. “If there’s not a retail location nearby, we’ll reimburse you the cost of one adjustment (up to $50) within 30 days of purchase.”