Choosing the right glasses

— by Alyson Walsh

Photo: Annie Johnson


Stars such as Linda Rodin, Caryn Franklin, Bill Nighy and Jeff Goldblum have all established their specs style. I’m still working on mine… A long-overdue trip to the optician’s – as well as finding it difficult to read the train times unless I’m standing right underneath the departure board at the station – tells me I need glasses for distance. Yep, I’m short-sighted; my left eye is good, my right eye has an astigmatism and needs help.

Glasses enhance the vision but they express personality, too. As Tom Broughton, CEO of British brand Cubitts says, ‘A pair of spectacles can completely change how someone looks, and how they are perceived. When we communicate we do it with the eyes and the face. And with a carefully chosen pair of spectacles, you can accentuate certain characteristics, and divert attention from others.’

As I’ll mostly be wearing glasses on my bicycle at the end of the working day when my eyes are tired, I decided to go big while I’m going home. There’s something to be said about following your instinct, but obviously it’s worth asking for expert advice when finding the right frames. Fit is important, in all senses of the word. Glasses should suit the face, as well as a person’s image and personality, but no one wants a pair of wonky frames. ‘I would argue that fit is the most important thing,’ asserts Broughton, ‘Get a frame that fits across the bridge, temples and to the ears, and then you can start thinking about style, material and colour.’ While Marie Wilkinson, design director at Cutler and Gross suggests choosing a style which follows a natural line on your face ‘It could be a fringe, your eyebrows, jawline or cheekbones. There is something to celebrate on everyones face. If it’s the eyebrows, ensure the frame follows the brow line, and runs just underneath the brow line to follow it’s sweep.’


Photo: Annie Johnson

New York stylist and entrepreneur Linda Rodin’s guidance on buying the right glasses is, ‘I only buy what I think suits me. It’s never to match an outfit or follow a trend. I keep in mind my silver hair and my signature strong lipstick.’

Take Marie Wilkinson’s excellent advice and look in a full-length mirror to check that the shape works with overall appearance, as well as the face. Other considerations include cost per wear and confidence. If spectacles make you feel self-conscious, then, what’s the point? Get it wrong and it’s a false economy; get it right and both confidence and style status will soar. After trying on lots of different styles and taking note of the optical assistant’s suggestions, I bought my specs from Cubitts (this style is Judd in ‘slate’). The sharp lines, chunky acetate frame and oversized fit appealed to me, and the grey colour works with my natural, Scandi-vibe and grey-ish hair.

Generally speaking, glasses-wearers are often ‘eye make-up minimalists’ who prefer to use lipstick as the focus. I haven’t upgraded my ‘that really is no-make-up, make-up’ as yet, but you could take a leaf out of Linda Rodin’s style book and choose frames that complement a signature lip colour or give a subtle mismatch.


This feature is based on an extract from Know Your Style and a feature written for Saga magazine, read the full piece HERE.

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