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Choosing the Proper EyeGlasses, Or How Not To Make a Public Spectacle of Yourself
by Marjorie Dorfman

How can one pick out the proper pair of glasses with all the many choices on the optical market today? Why are some colors and shapes better than others? Read on for some eye-opening answers.

Dorothy Parker once said: "men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses." Today, however, this really does not apply. Men not only wear glasses as well as women, but the entire industry has become a cosmopolitan fashion statement! There are glasses for every occasion and lifestyle and for every type of face as well. Unlike a new pair of shoes, eyeglasses are out there on your face and in everyone else’s. The first step in picking the proper pair is to determine what your own particular needs and lifestyle require. Seek and ye shall find, provided, that is, that you can see the path before you.

Most people can benefit from more than one pair of glasses. To continue with the shoes analogy, most people have a few pair. Your running shoes have no place at your wedding and vice versa. (If you are running from commitment, your shoes aren’t the problem and if you aren’t, why not walk?) If your life is broken up into two or three parts (such as casual, corporate and formal), you may need two or three pairs. Do not, however, consider breaking your glasses in half to compensate for numbers. Choosing a modern look keeps you from "dating yourself" and aging unnecessarily with your eyeglasses. Certain colors render a younger look; such as gunmetal, deep browns and burgundy for men and lighter, shinier hues for women. It is best to avoid silver, black and dark dull colors.

According to the Vision Council of America (VCA), there are three things to consider when matching the correct frame to your face shape. First, the frame should contrast with the shape of the face. Secondly, it should be in scale with the face size and thirdly, it should repeat your personal best feature (such as a blue frame to match blue eyes). While most faces are a combination of shapes and angles, there are seven basic shapes: round, oval, oblong, base-down triangle, base-up triangle, diamond and square.

VCA determines color analysis by using the indicators that all people have either a warm (yellow-based) or cool (blue-based) coloring, everyone looks best in his or her color base and eyewear should complement personal coloring. The best color palette for each individual involves the evaluation of skin, eyes and hair color. Once you have determined whether you are "cool" or "warm", you can find the frame color that will suit you best. Some colors that go well with "warm coloring" are: camel, khaki, gold, copper, peach, orange, coral, off-white, fire-engine red, warm blue and blond (light) tortoise. For cool coloring, stick to hues that are black, rose-brown, blue-gray, plum, magenta, pink, jade, blue and darker tortoise.

In a recent survey, The Vision Council of America determined that the majority of women are willing to sacrifice a little comfort for good looks and style, while comfort, fit and durability rank high with men when it comes to choosing a pair of eye glasses. For the best comfort and fit, make sure the frames are wide enough for your face. This will insure that the temples don’t dig into the side of your head. The edge of the frames should protrude slightly beyond your face so that the temples don’t touch your head as they extend back to your ears. Next, make sure the temples are long enough. The curve at the end should extend over the ear without pressing down on it. Also, check the nosepiece for comfort and proper fit. Many glasses have adjustable nose pads, but if you choose a pair that doesn’t, make sure the fit is secure without pinching your bridge.

The sheer volume of choices on the optical market today make selecting a pair of frames, whether they be your first or your tenth, a daunting task. Added to the fact that you might not have any idea what you want and that technological advances in new materials present even more choices turns the entire situation into one big pain in the neck (and even lower sometimes). Frames are now created from such wondrous things as titanium, providing the ultimate in strength and style. Lenses are now thinner and lighter than ever and options, such as anti-reflective coating tints and polycarbonate material let you choose a pair of glasses that will enhance your vision, your wardrobe and your life all at the same time.

So shop around before you buy and try on a few pair before making up your mind. Stop somewhere though. If you can’t decide after trying on more than twenty pair, your problem is a lot deeper than an inability to see. Take your time in making your decision, Just remember the old helpful proverbs: he who hesitates is lost and look before you leap.

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Copyright 2005