How not to make a spectacle of yourself

By Jacqui Cooper

Hi, I’m Jacqui Cooper, The Style Counsellor, coach, stylist, Kundalini yoga & meditation teacher and one of Colour Me Beautiful’s training team. I’m all about helping people to live and dress authentically. These days I’m dependent on glasses to see me through practically every activity I do, whether it’s close-up make up application, keyboard activity or reading, and even my long-sighted vision needs a little helping hand. I’ve needed to wear glasses for a long time now and over time I’ve come to love them and view them as key accessories that express who I am and how I am feeling.

Jacqui Cooper glasses

I was asked by Bayfields Opticians to share some style tips around choosing glasses. Whether it is for reading or sunning yourself, with such a plethora of shapes, shades and sizes to choose from, it’s a bit of a minefield, isn’t it?

I know from personal experience of spectacle shopping how confusing it is. And, as with any profession, you’ll encounter some good and not so good advice about glasses that suit you.

Woman in glasses scratching head

Along with your clothing choices, to be authentic and dress who you are at your very core you’ll need to do a little bit of digging to get some answers.

Your eyewear should be an extension of who you are, rather than a purchase of the latest trend. Let’s not ignore the fact that, yes, they need to be functional, but other aspects take precedence for each of us. It might be what’s fun, what makes a statement, what’s pretty, what’s practical or perhaps they are budget-driven.

Glasses are key in projecting an image (sunnies or readers) and, just like jeans and trainers, they can look dated far quicker than most garments and accessories. Our glasses also need to function for our lifestyle too. You’ll probably be asked by the assistant about your lifestyle during a consultation so be clear about what they need to be able to do for you.

So, here are some points to consider when looking for the perfect pair (or more). Let’s face it, a girl can never have too many accessories, right?

Woman smiling in glasses

Top tips for choosing the right glasses for you …

Step 1:

Be prepared to spend oodles of time trying on frames, just like getting the perfect pair of jeans, it’s a numbers thing.

Step 2:

Know your face shape – I’ll expand on this a little later.

Step 3:

Understand your Style Profile. As with clothing style, once you know the key elements the frames are easy to select. For example, if your dominant style is dramatic, this needs to be reflected in your frames, so they feel ‘you’. I’ll bet those frames you have tried before that didn’t quite feel right just weren’t your ‘style’ as opposed to other factors like colour and shape.

Step 4:

Colour. If you’ve had a colour consultation, it’s much easier because you work within a colour spectrum which means the colour will work with your clothing style – even if you stick to neutrals for simplicity.

Step 5:

Consider skin tone, are you warm or cool? Match the frame to your skin tone for optimal alignment. Metals are a fail-safe option. Silver = Cool. Gold = Warm.

Knowing the colour, shape and style of your most flattering frames will eliminate precious time working through rack after rack of various brands. Consider the above factors before brand, just because you buy your favourite DKNY jeans, doesn’t mean that their range of sunnies will work equally well for you.

Face shapes and glasses

OK, so now for face shape because this is REALLY important. The simple formula is this:

Wear the opposite shape of frame to your face shape!

In order to balance the shape of your face, in most cases, choose the opposite style for the frames. So, if you have a round face choose frames with more angles, and vice versa, a square face will be flattered by round glasses. The exception to this rule is for those of you with a heart-shaped face – you actually need to mimic your face-shape with your frames.

Round

The width and length of your face is roughly the same (check out Emma Stone). If you have a round face wear angular glasses.

Square

A strong jawline and broad forehead (check out Jennifer Anniston). If you have a square face wear round/oval glasses.

Oval

Considered to be the most balanced face shape. An oval face can generally wear most shapes (check out Julia Roberts).

Heart-shaped

Also known as inverted triangle. Your forehead will be wider than your chin (check out Reese Witherspoon). The best shapes to look for are round, square or rounded squares. These frames work best to lengthen the face appearance, de-emphasizing the wider forehead area.

Rectangle

Your cheekbones, forehead and jaw will be in-line and your face is longer than it is wide (check out Meryl Streep). If you opt for a frame that has a softer curve (rather than anything too angular) then they will also work well to add width to a rectangle face shape.

You’ll also need to consider proportions and weight too. If you have petite features, you’ll want to keep the glasses smaller and light so as not to overpower your features.

If you’re not sure what face shape you have it’s a good idea to stand in front of a mirror or take a selfie and place dots around the edge.

All about colour

Unless you have had a professional colour consultation, here is my quick guide to choosing colour that will balance and harmonise with your natural colouring.

If you don’t want to experiment with coloured frames find a shade that’s close to your hair colour:

Very dark/black hair – go for black frames

Brown hair – go for brown tones

Copper hair – go for mid-brown tones

Silver, grey or cool blonde – go for clear or white frames

Blonde – go for light coloured frames.

We can also work with eye colour to match or contrast i.e.

Blue eyes – coloured frames like purple, green or orange

Green – brown (think tortoiseshell) plumb, purple

Brown – brown (if you like matchy matchy) gold or silver.

And if all the above isn’t enough to consider, don’t forget about your personal style. It could be the difference between buying a pair with a touch of Hollywood glamour to express your dramatic style or a simple wired frame to match your earthy, natural style preferences.

Here is a free download to help you understand what your personal style is and to give your seasonal wardrobe an overhaul. Once you have this nailed you’ll be able to confidently approach the assistant with all your requirements, i.e.

– Oval frames

– Green or blue tones

– Price range, do you have a budget

– Style preference – natural, dramatic etc.

So how was the Bayfields experience you may wonder?

Well, I have to say I had a proper Yorkshire welcome and was offered a cup of tea on arrival. At this stage, they didn’t know I was there for more than just an eye test. The branch is small which lends itself to an intimate experience. The staff seemed to know their customers very well and on a first-name basis. I observed how the staff interacted with the customers as they entered the branch.

I had a fully comprehensive eye test which also included an eye scan, something I’ve never been offered before. Faz, the friendly Optometrist, checked my current prescription and asked lots of questions and, in particular, if I was on any medication. No nothing, nada, why do you ask? ‘It’s just that your long-sighted vision has improved?’ Oh, that’ll be the meditation then, not medication, I was quick to add.

Apparently, I have the perfect pair ha ha ha!

Eye scan

Interestingly, Faz suggested I try contact lenses, something I hadn’t considered at all. ‘You may as well try some while you are here’ she said. I think it’s a bit of a weird feeling sticking something on the eye, but I was open to having a go and we both giggled as she came super close and wrestled with my eyelid to insert the lenses.

Woman trying contact lenses

So, good suggestion about the lenses, ideal for social occasions, I thought, when I don’t want to take glasses, which these days might be when I pop into my local village for some early dinner and don’t want to take a handbag. Mmmm, potentially something else less to carry now, I can survive with just a lipstick and phone.

Here are my first prescription frames, bought about 15 years ago in Canada. Mr C refers to them as my granny glasses, I only wear them for bedtime reading these days.

Woman, glasses, thinking

It was quite amusing how people were open to giving me feedback on frames as I openly pouted in front of the camera. Not being of a shy nature in a small environment compounded by wearing a bright green emerald coat it was clear the lovely Jayne assessed my style preference (on the day) as rather, errr, dramatic. The great thing is, she got me. So, without having to explain too much it was evident on that particular day (and believe me I can be very different from day to day in my style sense) I wanted frames that would align with my outward expression of colour and drama.

We tried a variety so you can see what wasn’t quite right and I finally narrowed it down to a choice of two.

Trying glasses at opticians

Dramatic all these were, but not right on me for a variety of reasons. The light frames ‘stood off’ my face, the round frames were too big for my features and the ‘cat eyes’ shape on the left (which I loved) were just too heavy a colour for me. Ultimately though, regardless of your personal style and colour ‘guidelines’ there are no rules!

I’ve chosen some new frames with the addition of Photofusion – functional, practical and dramatic. I’ll be popping back for them in about a week, along with a 10 day supply of trial contact lenses – so watch this space!

In the meantime, to give you a little clue, I think I’ve morphed into my emoji sticker.

emoji sticker, smiling woman, glasses

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