Bespectacled? Yes, Be Very Spectacled
March 12, 2009 6:41 AM   Subscribe

Help me look spectacle-ular!

I need to get a new set of glasses and have literally zero fashion sense as far as glasses are concerned. The pair that I use I've had for 8 years and have simply swapped in new lenses as needed. This time around, this is really not an option.

Help me choose my next pair of glasses. Here are current pictures head shots: With Glasses and Without Glasses.

Here are my requirements:
1. I need my glasses to read from a computer screen (work), reading books/papers and reading music. I'd prefer full lenses over half moon.
2. The frames must be Flexon or an equivalently resilient material. My current glasses are the longest lived pair I've had because of that.
3. The frames should be able to be ordered by my local optician (preferable) or purchased by me without lenses (less preferable). I'm trying to keep my business local and I'd rather as much of the profit as possible go to local business. He already has the lenses on order.
4. Lightweight is preferred.

Bonus points if you 'chop an artist's conception of plinth with a real, reasonably purchasable pair of fashionable glasses.
posted by plinth to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (36 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried one of the online stores that let you upload your own photo and see what you look like with various frames? (I think something rectangular would balance your face nicely.)

Frames Direct

Specs on the Net is supposed to have a tool, too, but they may have moved it
posted by maudlin at 7:05 AM on March 12, 2009

Seriously, the best thing you can do is go into a glasses store and ask them for suggestions. They'll let you know what works best with your face shape, it's what they do all day long! Granted, they'll try to upsell you, but as long as you keep that in mind you should be fine. Also, bring a friend who is horrifyingly honest.
posted by soma lkzx at 7:07 AM on March 12, 2009

Well, here are two pairs of Flexons on your face:

Glasses 1
Glasses 2

This is pretty much made-up, though, as I determined the scale of the glasses. Haphazardly, at that.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:23 AM on March 12, 2009

Response by poster: I'm not trusting my own intuition in this, so maudlin your links help me not at all - it's no different than going in and trying them on.

soma, asking at a glasses store is, I feel, a conflict of interest. I want glasses that will look good and appropriate; they want to sell me glasses that meet their sales goal.

I'm asking the hivemind not because I'm incapable of using google or going to a store, but to help select something that I wouldn't normally consider from people who don't have a vested interest in selling frames. You see?
posted by plinth at 7:26 AM on March 12, 2009

It's really tough to say without seeing them on you, but maybe try something in this general style?

Really the best advice we can give you is to take your most stylish friend with you to the store and try on everything there, regardless of whether or not you think it'll look good. Pretty soon you and your friend will start to notice that one particular shape looks better on you than the others, and then you can start to narrow it down.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:40 AM on March 12, 2009

I agree with you're a kitty!. Bring someone who knows you well and has a good sense of style.

Your concern about overly aggressive sales people is valid, but remember that you don't have to buy glasses you don't want. I have left certain glasses stores before because the salespeople were too pushy.

A technique I have used is to ask people whose glasses I like where they got them. If I know them, I'll ask for their help in picking out frames, too.

Good luck.
posted by rachelpapers at 7:42 AM on March 12, 2009

There's one inherent problem here. We don't know how big your head is. So we could scale any frames up or down and they will look fine on your photograph, but in real life they might not fit at all. Just because you pick out and try on frames at a store, doesn't mean you have to buy them there. Many times your doctor can order frames for you if you have the product number.
posted by slowfasthazel at 7:42 AM on March 12, 2009

If the issue is that you don't trust your aesthetic sense or ability to withstand high pressure sales, then I agree that you should take a tough friend with good taste to a store. And even if you were to get a few more mock-ups of you with various frames, somehow appropriately scaled, how could you decide what to choose? You could have everyone participating in the thread vote on your options, but that might be a little awkward to arrange.

(I think the soft rectangles from DarlingBri's first link look good. Look for more soft rectangles in stores.)
posted by maudlin at 7:53 AM on March 12, 2009

I like the shape of what DarlingBri did for you, but based on your coloring, which is my coloring, more or less, I suggest going for brown or copper rather than black, grey or gold. If you want something that stands out, go dark; if not, go light.

On review, I remember that you'd rather have a full lenses but I'd still go for something more square based on your head shape. But I'm just an Internet stranger who is so insecure about being a four eyes that I obsess about wearing glasses, so my best advice is find something you feel comfortable in, but don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. You might not like something at first but might be surprised what grows on you -- the glasses I have now I love but I hated them in the store at first.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:02 AM on March 12, 2009

Let's start with: what kind of personality do you have? What do you want your glasses to convey? I could find some really "hipster" (or whatever the more current word is) frames to recommend, but if that's not really "you" it won't work.
posted by amtho at 8:06 AM on March 12, 2009

I really liked the ones it's a kitty linked to, and recommend that you take MCMikeNamara's advice on colour. Your face needs a definite colour rather than something pale or light. A brown tortoiseshell-like effect would be good.
posted by orange swan at 8:15 AM on March 12, 2009

I like the shape of what DarlingBri did for you, but based on your coloring, which is my coloring, more or less, I suggest going for brown or copper rather than black, grey or gold.

I like the soft rectangles of #1 also, and I agree with MCMikeNamara about the colour. There were no other shades available to work with on that site but they do come in Light Bronze and Mocha, whatever those are.

This site appears to have the complete Flexon range. I think you need to work with your local eye doc to get your measurements so you can order your frames online. If we knew what your measurements were, this would all be a lot easier.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:17 AM on March 12, 2009

Knowing the basic shape you're going for is the hardest part IMO. I also vote for the shape in DarlingBri's first link. Looks very manly. The darker frames stand out from your face, and it's a good shape for you. Why don't you see what your local optician has in the way of this?

If you're planning on keeping these glasses another 8 years, going classic is best, so choosing a plain style is advisable (little to no embellishments on the sides, etc.). A dark brown instead of black would be better for you, you're very fair.

Picking the right size is tough too. I'd say picking something the width of your own head is about right - so the sides of the glasses line up with the side of your head from a full-on view. The glasses should sit so that the top of the glasses is in line with the top of your eye, or thereabouts - your last pair was up into your eyebrows and that doesn't look quite right. And the bottom should come to just above the top of your cheekbone. The alignment Darlingbri set up for you is what I'm talking about here.

If you keep these points in mind, I'm sure whatever glasses you pick out will be just fine. It's kind of hard to go wrong with the square frames. If you're wishy-washy at the optician's then they will start picking stuff out for you, and that's when you start feeling pressured. Going in with this specific set of rules will cut down on that. When you have a couple of pairs in your hand that you feel happy with, then you can ask someone's opinion, and ask them "why" they think this pair's better than the others, what specifically. And fwiw, trusting the optician's judgement is not to be entirely discounted, they deal with people picking glasses every day.
posted by lizbunny at 8:23 AM on March 12, 2009

Here are the ones you're a kitty! picked out:

Glasses 3

I like those a lot. My only concern is that they're pretty stylish, and if you only change your glasses every five years or more, they may look dated in the same way your current ones do.

(Don't feel bad, I just got new glasses for the first time in ages, too!)
posted by DarlingBri at 8:24 AM on March 12, 2009

Best answer: I like the Flexon 644 in Coffee.
posted by marsha56 at 8:39 AM on March 12, 2009

DarlingBri's Glasses 1 looked great on you. They, have my opinionated vote.
posted by Vaike at 8:40 AM on March 12, 2009

Your coloring is not too far from my own. I'd recommend a brown (or tortoise or horn something else similar) finish. If you must have a metallic finish, match it to any other metal you wear (watch, wedding ring if applicable, any other stray jewelry, belt buckle). Bronze or something obscure can be an exception, by virtue of being tough to match, but do not mix silver and gold.

If you absolutely refuse to try plastic frames, you're limiting your options sharply. For sorta-nerdy cool, plastic is tough to beat. Also, plastic is light.
Respecting your preference for resilient metals, though, I gotta say darlingbri is closest right now. I'd go a little more rectangular with the shape, personally.
These are close. These might suit your face a little better, imho. These are a little less cool to me but, again, so much depends on how they fit your face. These are a little sturdier; I like them a lot, actually. These and these are also fine.
posted by willpie at 8:49 AM on March 12, 2009

I think whatever frames you get, they should be smaller than the ones you currently wear. They strike me as slilghtly too big for your face. The ones DarlingBri did of your a kitty's pick (Glasses 3) look really good!
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:16 AM on March 12, 2009

Best answer: Marsha56's suggestion of the Flexon 644 in Coffee:

Glasses 4
posted by DarlingBri at 9:24 AM on March 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

See if you can get rimless glasses that fit your criteria. I think rimless always look great because they're the least obtrusive. They're perfect for people who don't particularly care what they're glasses look like, so long as they aren't ugly.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:36 AM on March 12, 2009

>asking at a glasses store is, I feel, a conflict of interest. I want glasses that will look good and appropriate; they want to sell me glasses that meet their sales goal.

I think that's a fairly cynical and misguided interpretation. Sure, they're going to want to upsell you, but they also want to make you happy, and they're not going to push you on an expensive frame that makes you look Stoopid because then you'll be an unhappy customer.

Every time I [or my wife] have gone to look for frames, we've of course been shown the $$$ designer frames, but when we've asked "I like the shape of these, do you have anything similar closer to $?" we've been happily obliged.

In fact, every frame-shopping experience at a huge range of stores [Costco to America's Best to neighborhood store to high-fashion shop] has been focused on what I have wanted, rather than what they wanted to sell me.
posted by chazlarson at 10:17 AM on March 12, 2009

Go to the store, bring a friend and a camera. Take a picture of yourself in any pair of frames that looks halfway decent. Then go home and survey your friends, family and MeFi and pick a pair at your leisure!
posted by Rora at 10:35 AM on March 12, 2009

My vote is for DarlingBri's Glasses 1 or Glasses 4 (in that order). Very flattering for your face.
posted by Brody's chum at 10:44 AM on March 12, 2009

I like glasses 4 best. In a brown or navy blue.
posted by shmurley at 12:18 PM on March 12, 2009

AAAAAUGH! I said "they're" when I meant "their." Why anyone continues to employ me as an editrix I do not know.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:22 PM on March 12, 2009

Yep, DarlingBri's 1 or 4 links. They make you look more intelligent.
posted by b33j at 2:00 PM on March 12, 2009

Best answer: My stepdad is an optician and I've worked in his store as a sales assistant for a while...

Several points:
1. Frames that best complement the face are generally ones that are opposite of the face shape itself. In your case, because your face is not very angular, it is more rectangular frames that are flattering ie. why everyone is voting for DarlingBri's 1 or 4.

2. How much do you want your glasses to stand out? Some people love glasses and feel they are an expression of their personality. Others want them to disappear as much as possible. If the former, pick a darker colour such as black or navy. If the latter, follow willpie's advice with some kind of brown/ bronze/ tortoiseshell/ maroon, possibly in a half-rimless frame (see 4.)

3. If you are interested in brands beyond Flexon, you should ask for titanium frames. Very strong, very light, pretty much indestructible.

4. If sturdy glasses are important, I would avoid rimless glasses. Rimless frames are secured by drilling holes directly into lenses therefore making them inherently less durable than full frames. Half frame/ half-rimless glasses (eg. willpie's first suggestion) are fine as the lenses are actually secured like full frames, except the bottom half is fine nylon line secured by a groove in the lenses themselves. (Which is why half-rimless glasses are also called nylon frames).

5. Might be too late since your lenses are ordered, but lenses themselves affect the total weight of a pair of glasses. Ask your optician if thinner/ lighter lenses are an option for your prescription.

6. I'm afraid, even with the points above, it is really trial and error that will reveal what looks good and what doesn't. Especially if you want to change your style; you need to find a store where you are comfortable enough to try on everything and anything.

Give the sales person conditions (eg. I'm looking for a flexon or titanium frame, I don't like glasses that are too trendy or bold, and I prefer a full frame) so at least the options they present approximates what you seek. If you want to be left alone, say you are just browsing and will let them know if you need help. A good store with good customer service will leave you alone (if you want), and understand that you need to spend a LOT of time picking frames. I've had customers pick frames (or several), then return with friends and spouses for second opinions before finalizing purchasing.

And just to echo chazlarson's point, the pushiness of sales associates depend entirely on how stores are managed. Some stores, especially bigger chains, pay staff based on commission or meeting sales targets, generating significantly pushier sales behavior. Not all stores are run on numbers, so visit different opticians to find a place where you are comfortable. Don't forget we also want the customer to return the next time they need frames (and let their friends and families know where they got their frames when they receive compliments!), so there is incentive that the customer actually looks good and is happy with their purchase.
posted by kitkatcathy at 4:07 PM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thanks DarlingBri. Couldn't figure out how to do that myself.
posted by marsha56 at 7:55 PM on March 12, 2009

Response by poster: I played with your suggestions and tried online tools and eventually went to a store to take some pictures. These are the two that I looked at:
Flexon 632
Flexon 607

I also talked to the optician at the store when I intend to buy (again, their selection is not very good, but I like the local store a lot and they'll order anything I want), and echoed kitkatcathy wrt to rimless glasses - he said that he no longer makes reading glasses with them - too fragile.
posted by plinth at 5:25 PM on March 13, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the help. I went with a Flexon 1121 in "Java", which is similar to the 644, but with half frames. I chose smaller and more rectangular glasses than I would have, left to my own devices.
posted by plinth at 1:48 PM on March 17, 2009

Photo! Photo!

posted by ocherdraco at 5:27 PM on March 17, 2009

Response by poster: Next week. The frames are on order.
posted by plinth at 5:54 PM on March 17, 2009

Response by poster: Tada!
posted by plinth at 7:12 AM on March 27, 2009

Very nice. I like that the lenses aren't as tall as they were on some of the samples you tried.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:26 AM on March 27, 2009

Nice one! You look very snazzy :)
posted by DarlingBri at 11:41 AM on March 27, 2009

I like!

But how am I supposed to choose between the Wry and Thinky poses? ARGH!!
posted by maudlin at 2:42 PM on March 27, 2009

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