Sunglasses to fit your face

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With so many styles of sunglasses on the market now it can be a nightmare finding the right pair to help you look your best. Top quality lenses are essential for good eye care but they need to look good too if you are to wear them with confidence.

The most important step is taking a good look at your face without sunglasses to determine the basic face shape you were born with. An effective way to do this is to stand or sit directly in front of a mirror and draw an outline of your face with a washable felt-tip pen.

basic face shapes

The outline will be a far better guide to your face shape than the actual image. So take a long look at the tracing and decide which category your face shape falls into. While most faces are a combination of several shapes and angles, there are seven basic face shapes: round, oval, square, oblong, heart, triangle and diamond. Knowing which is yours helps an awful lot when deciding which glasses will suit and which won't.

As a general guide, choose sunglasses or spectacles that contrast with your face shape, that are in scale with your face size and that highlight your best features. Here are some more detailed tips on matching your face shape to sunglasses.

Round
Look for sunglasses that give the face a squarer look. Frames a little wider than the face help tighten the features and emphasise the vertical. A strong bridge will put the focus on the forehead and counteract any chubby facial features. Square, chunky, angular styles look best and solid, dark colours help too. Avoid round or oval frames which fail to add definition to your features.

Oval
An oval face with a rounded chin and forehead in balanced proportions is often thought the ideal shape. More long than wide, the forehead is often just a little wider than the jaw. Lucky for you as almost all frames look good on an oval face. Frames that are slightly wider than the widest part of the face will help maintain the balance and larger frames look better. Avoid narrow frames that tend to elongate the face.

Square
A square face has a prominent jawline and broad forehead with equal width and length. The choice here is for round or oval frames to soften the angles while narrow frames will also help emphasise the eyes and lengthen the nose. Avoid square framed styles and string, chunky designs which only accentuate the sharp angles.

Oblong
A long face with a square chin will be enhanced by large, square frames as they will help shorten the face. Oval frames are also a good choice and a low bridge will also shorten a longer nose. Choose chunky frames with a 'sturdy' look to shorten the face overall. Avoid narrow frames as these tend to give an egghead appearance.

Heart
Similar to the round face, the heart shape has more strongly defined cheek bones but the aim is the same — to make it appear narrower and longer. Angular, narrow frame styles will help to achieve this and a clear bridge may also emphasise the eyes. Rectangular and wide will balance the face and narrow the features. Avoid round or heart shape frames, the idea is to narrow the facial features

Triangle
Typically, a triangle face has a broad forehead tapering to a narrow, rounded chin. Choose frames that a wider at the bottom to help narrow the forehead and emphasise the lower face. Light colours and even rimless frames may also look good. Smaller frames, round or square will help to balance the proportions. Avoid heavy, chunky or angular frames as they will only emphasise the angles.

Diamond
Basically a triangle face with a defined, pointed chin but offset by wide cheekbones and a narrow forehead. This much more rare face type lends itself well to quirky shapes that enhance the cheeks, widen the face and balance the chin. Bright colours and wrap-around frames can help accentuate the eyes.

Of course, everyone's face is different and no face shape will fit the mould exactly but the basic shape of your face does has a strong bearing on the styles that will suit you, and those which don't look as good. Use your basic face shape to discard the frames that will never make you look your best.

The principles that apply when choosing clothes or accessories should also apply when choosing glasses. Choose colours that blend in with your complexion and hair colour, soft pastel shades for fair hair and more dramatic frames for strongly coloured or dark hair works well.

Looking for frames that contrast with the basic shape and push the face towards the "classic" oval is probably the most important consideration when choosing sunglasses or spectacles. Whatever your face shape the right pair of glasses can make you feel fabulous.