Stylish spectacles

Alyson Walsh / 15 June 2018

If your vision is less than 20/20, don't despair - it's easy to make your specs part of your look!



What do Prue Leith, Caryn Franklin, Bill Nighy and Jeff Goldblum have in common? They all look great in glasses.

These stars have established their specs style - and, when you wear them on your face every day, how a pair of frames look does matter. Glasses enhance the vision but they can express personality, too.

As Tom Broughton, CEO of Cubbitts explains, ‘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.’

There’s something to be said about following your instinct, but it’s worth spending time to find a good optician who can offer expert advice on finding the right frames.

With this in mind, don’t skimp and go for the quickest, cheapest option – instead consider 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.

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Style tips for specs wearers

It’s all about the fit

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.’

‘Traditionally a person's pupils should fit slightly above the vertical middle of a lens, and roughly in the horizontal centre,’ adds Broughton, ‘But times have changed and lenses improved so that isn't always required. But try to avoid having your eyebrows within the lens. Indeed, frames often look more suitable to the individual if the brow along the top sits well with your own eyebrow.’

Take the long view

When buying glasses be sure to look in a full-length mirror, to check that the shape works with overall appearance, as well as the face.

For practicality and ease, transition or photochromic lenses and varifocals are worth investing in; there’s no faffing about with several frames, reducing the risk of losing one of the pairs.

As New York stylist and entrepreneur Linda Rodin points out, ‘I tint my lenses as I don’t want to carry sunglasses and indoor glasses. I have lenses that combine both. I hate changing glasses and as I need them all the time - I can’t see a thing anymore! Having just the one pair makes my life easier.’

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Avoid the online gamble

Buying online is a bit of a gamble particularly if you can’t see your reflection! Unless purchasing a repeat or replacement style for a lost or damaged pair, it’s best to visit a reputable optician.

If buying online is unavoidable, try to compare the measurements to a current pair – check the overall width, and the bridge size.

It’s worth noting thatSpecsavers offers home visits for eye tests and Cubbitts has a ‘try at home’ service whereby the customer selects up to four different frames to trial and return (free of charge).

Choosing glasses to suit your face shape

The general rule is to offset the geometry of your face,’ explains Broughton.

So, oval or round faces look good in angular frames; conversely, an angular face is softened by round and oval-shaped frames.

‘If you want to reduce the visual appearance of a large forehead,’ adds Broughton. ‘Think about a frame with thicker rims, lugs (the ends of the spectacle frame front that contains the pivot for the sides) or a stronger keyhole bridge – the latter will draw attention towards the middle of the face. But ultimately, it's a matter of choice and personal style.’ If in doubt, try on lots of pairs and ask the experts.


How to select glasses that accentuate your colouring

Often paler skin tones are advised to steer clear of dark frames, to dismiss silver and to go for warmer colours, tortoiseshell and gold.

But it’s down to the individual; as Caren Downie founder of ByOcular a new company specialising in half-lens bifocals, concurs, ‘I am a great believer in colour choice being about personal taste; there are no hard and fast rules. Certain colours tend to suit all colourations; tortoiseshell, black, navy and grey, for example. But green can be a vibrant choice that particularly suits red heads and those with dark hair, although softer shades suit blonde and grey hair, too.

'Similarly with red frames; a darker shade suits darker hair and skin but go slightly softer and anyone can do it.'

Make-up matters

Generally speaking, glasses-wearers are often ‘eye make-up minimalists’ who prefer to use lipstick as the focus.

‘I only buy what I think suits me,’ continues Linda Rodin ‘It’s never to match an outfit or follow a trend. I keep in mind my silver hair and my signature strong lipstick.’

Take a leaf out of Rodin’s style book and choose frames that complement a signature lip colour or give a subtle mismatch.'

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What about wearing accessories?

There’s really no need to shy away from accessories just because you wear glasses. Look to Prue Leith for inspiration; the Bake Off star often wears a bold necklace, small stud earrings and statement spectacles.

Small to medium hoop earrings, studs, cuffs and diamonds - and various combinations of all of the above - go with glasses.

And bigger doorknocker earrings can work if everything else is sleek and simple.

It’s all a matter of taste, though the tendency is to go for a necklace or strong lips over ginormous earrings. Alternatively, a beautiful, patterned scarf tied neckerchief-style or in the hair can look chic.

But often statement specs are enough.

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Hats on

Don’t dismiss hats. Putting on a hat with glasses can feel a bit like wearing a motorcycle helmet - the face feels too hemmed in.

But specs and Stetsons do work.

No one thinks twice about wearing a big floppy sunhat and sunglasses on holiday, do they?

Look for hat styles that allow a bit of space between the top of the frames and the brim of the hat – the beret, cloche or turban - and show a bit of forehead. For special occasions, doff your cap to the Advanced Style Set whose flamboyant outlook often involves the combination of Schiaparelli-inspired shapes and statement specs, or big hats and big glasses.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.