Glasses Shopping Guide – Frame Selection

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to selecting the right frame for you. Your glasses are as much of a medical device as they are fashion accessories. It’s not wrong to want to pick a frame that makes you look your best! Just like with clothing, it’s better to look at these tips more as guidelines or suggestions than full on “fashion rules” – history is full of fabulous individuals and trend-setters that have made and broken every “rule” in the book after all! At the end of the day, it’s important to pick something that you’d like to wear, that fits you well, fulfills your needs and suits your lifestyle.

How to Find the Best Frames for Your Face Shape

Oval or Round

Oval and round faces are fairly self-explanatory. Oval face shapes are characterized by their even proportional narrowing towards the forehead and top of your head, and down towards the chin. Their widest points are less “points” and more like softer curves along the cheeks. A lot of frame styles will fit these faces quite well and will compliment or embellish natural features. From perfect rounds, chunky squares, cool aviators and stunning cat-eyes, there’s no shortage of options that fit well right from the word “go”!
Round face shapes are characterized by the width and length of their face being proportional and almost equal with one another, with softer curves and little-to-no hard edges. Any kind of round or oval frame on such a face will accentuate its roundness. Frames with distinct edges – squares, rectangles, or anything with notable geometric features – will do the opposite, and camouflage the roundness of the face, creating a nice contrasting look.

Square or Rectangle

Square faces are characterized by the width of their jaw and the width of their forehead being both the widest parts of the face and also having nearly identical measurements of width. The length of their face will also be proportional to the width of their forehead and jaw, much like with a round face. The jawline is especially prominent with square faces, and as such one might want to shy away from those strong angular frame shapes with distinct straight corners that would embellish an angular jawline. Thinner frames, and shapes with softer curves would compliment a square face well. Round, oval, frames that have a gentle swoop along the brow line or bottom edges, or ones that are just a bit wider than the widest point of the face all work wonderfully with a square face.
Similar to a square face, a more rectangular-shaped face will have the same width proportions mentioned above, but will find their faces longer in the overall length, similar to the proportions of an oval face. Many of the same suggestions for the square face will work with a rectangle face shape, though additional care should be taken with regards to the width and depth of the frames. Too wide of a frame will make a rectangular face look very thin, and too shallow of a depth of frame will appear far too undersized for the face very quickly.

The Heart

A heart-shaped face might be difficult to recognize at first. They are characterized by having a wider forehead and brow, but unlike a square or rectangle shape they will have a noticeably narrower chin in proportion. Higher set cheek-bones are also a classic characteristic of a heart face. Balance is the key for these faces; a frame shape with too much depth from the top to the bottom of the lenses will look oversized and mask the identifying proportions of the heart shape, looking almost like a costume piece. It would also be important to find a shape that isn’t so straight and harsh along the top; something with a gentle curve or a notable dip just above the nose helps to add to the natural shape of the brow line above. A frame shape that is a touch wider than the widest points of the temples would work well here, so sharp angular rectangles or curvy cat eyes would be some of the first shapes to try.


As you would expect, diamond face shapes are characterized by wide, defined cheekbones. This is typically the widest point of these faces, with a narrower forehead and jaw line in proportion to one another. The length of these faces will be similar or at least proportional to the width of the cheek bones. An overly angular shape like a square or a rectangle might clash with these faces, where the points of the frame don’t match or align with the points of the cheeks. Instead, diamond faces can try to compliment their natural bone structure with rounder or more oval frames. Cat eyes also work well with these faces, although care should be taken to avoid a frame that is too wide as it can draw attention to the narrowness of the brow line.

Triangular Shapes

Finally, triangular face shapes are characterized by having either their forehead or their jaw line as the widest points, but not both. Those with an “upside-down” triangle shape will find their faces gradually narrow towards the chin, and are typically without the more prominent cheekbones that help identify a heart shape face. Much of the same shapes that work for a heart face will work for these types of triangular faces as well. Those with the opposite however, with wider jaw lines and faces narrowing towards the brows, will enjoy frames that are wider to help balance everything out. Squares, rectangles, combination frames, shapes that are more prominent along the top, or heavier on the top and lighter on the bottom will also all work very well here.

All of this said however, it’s important to remember that you are an individual with your own sense of style, and if you have a look you’re going for that contrasts the advice above then go for it! A round face looking for a rocking perfect round with lower set temples? A heart shape with their eyes set on an ultra straight-edged bold rectangle? Do it!

If there’s only a few things to take away as hard and fast “rules” with frame selection, it’s that a frame should physically fit your head properly and you should be aware of how your lenses are going to interact with a given frame shape or size.

What Do We Mean by Frame Fit?

There are almost eight billion people on this planet, and recent estimates put the number of glasses wearers at over sixty percent worldwide. Barring genetically identical individuals, faces are unique person to person: length, width, how close or how far apart our eyes are set, how large or small our noses are, where our ears are in relation to the front of our faces, etc. This is the thought process behind facial recognition techniques after all. We can go even further and point out that no one is one hundred percent symmetrical between the two halves of their faces; someone might have an ear set a little further back than the other, an eye that might be closer to their temple than the other, or a nose that leans more to the left than the right.

It goes without saying, but frames are not one size fits all. What might fit one person perfectly won’t work for another. A frame might be too small for someone, and too big on another before finding the perfect fit in someone else.

What does it look like when a frame doesn’t fit well?

It’s easy to spot a frame that is too small in width: the temples would be bowing outwards and pressing right against the side of someone’s head close enough to likely leave an indent or mark in the skin. The temples might not be long enough and only just barely curl behind the ears. These fits not only look obviously undersized, but they also add stress to what might normally be hardy frames; temples that are constantly stretched outward will weaken at the hinges faster than normal, and might result in breakage. Frames with temples that don’t reach fully behind the ears are more likely to slip and fall off the face constantly regardless of adjustment by the optician.

Frames that are too large can be equally as easy to spot but might be more socially “acceptable” if you follow current social media and influencing trends. Despite this, oversized frames can be just as awkward and ill-fitting to wear, with the frames having to be bent or adjusted in ways they are not meant to be just to keep them from slipping down your nose or falling off your face entirely.

What should I look for in a well-fitted frame?

Frames should fit along the side of the head, not pressing too hard into the skin, but also not so far away that there’s a noticeable gap between the side of the head and the inside of the temples. Temples should be long enough to reach the ear and curl behind them. This might require some adjustment depending on where the ears are, but a good rule of thumb is that the temple should have at minimum an inch of length left behind the ear in order to sit properly and not slip off a face.

Bridges should rest comfortably and evenly along a nose; frames with nose pads can be adjusted to balance properly on the nose and carry the weight of the frame without being too tight. Plastic or acetate frames with no nose pads cannot be adjusted in that way, so they should sit fully on the nose with as little space between the nose and the bridge as possible. There are some exceptions to this depending on the way the bridge is constructed, such as with keyhole bridges, so it’s always best to discuss the fit of a frame with your optician.

How Can My Prescription Influence the Frame Choice?

Speaking of opticians, it’s also advised to have at least a rough idea of the prescription that will be going into these frames, and how a frame shape or size might influence the final look of the lenses.

Frames for lenses with plus prescriptions

Lenses made with plus prescriptions are going to be thicker in the centre and thinner out towards the edges. Given the nature of plus prescriptions, the stronger the power the more the lenses will magnify everything behind the lenses. When it comes to frame consideration, this is important to remember. A smaller shape – a smaller square, oval, or round – where the eyes are located close to the centre of the lenses will disguise the visible magnification effect, and will also help keep the lenses from being too bowed or “bug-eyed” in the centre. Because of the way the plus prescription lens is fabricated it’s difficult to stretch the lens to fit in an oversized frame without inducing distracting distortions in the peripheries, so larger frames are advised against for these prescriptions. Care must be taken with selecting the right material of lens when considering a semi-rimless or full rimless frame; because these frames require a grooved channel or drilled holes along the edges of the lenses for installation, plus lenses are more likely to have issues with chipping or cracking given that their edges are the thinnest parts.

Frames for lenses with minus prescriptions

Minus prescriptions will produce lenses that are thinner in the centre and gradually grow thicker towards the outer edges. They tend to be naturally flatter with their front curve, and will minify everything behind the lens. The higher the minus power, the more than minification effect is visible. For these reasons, similar frame styles are recommended to not only compensate for the minification effect, but also to keep the lenses from being too thick along the side. Plastic frames are also favoured over metal-rim frames due to the thicker eye rim, which can hide or disguise some of that unavoidable thickness.

While this might all seem daunting or intimidating, choosing the right pair of frames is a lot more intuitive than you would think, especially when you remember to focus on what style makes you happy to wear. Glasses shopping should be fun and enjoyable, not a chore, and we here at 360 Eyecare are happy to help you on your glasses journey every step of the way – from the eye exam and prescription determination all the way to the frame and lens selection. Reach out to our offices in the Beaches or Rosedale to start your glasses hunt today!