I always thought that an oversized pair of glasses was a silly disguise for Superman. How could anyone, fictional or otherwise, fail to recognise anyone who bears such a striking resemblance to the classic superhero? Then again, I’ve found out that a pair of glasses can significantly change the way people perceive you, even if they don’t change your identity.
A new year simply cries out for change, and so we visited one of KL’s top optometry shops, Eyez Optometry Malaysia, to learn the best way of identifying the right pair of glasses for each unique face. Since the establishment of I-Care Optometry at Bangsar Village in 2007, Eyez, under I-Care Holdings, has always placed clinical practice at the forefront of their business. This health-orientated mindset has made the company able to deliver high quality services beyond standard requirements, giving consumers a complete ocular experience. If there’s an eye problem or condition hidden behind one’s deteriorating eyesight, the company’s advanced digital machinery allows their skilled, experienced optometrists to identify the source of the problem and guide clients to healthier eye routines, or refer them to the right doctors. Eyez also provides a wide variety of designer eyewear brands with different prices and styles, such as Frost and Nine eyewear, to offer premium, high quality frames for their more discerning customers. As Kevin Siew, the Director of I-Care Holdings and Eyez, states, “We will make sure you are fitted with the right product, and get the value that you pay for, while receiving the assurance that you will enjoy good vision for a better lifestyle.”
Health First, Beauty Next
The health of our eyes can greatly impact on our choice of frame on both medical and aesthetic levels. According to Tai Hui Jun (Jun), an Eyez optometrist who has been practicing for eight years, checking one’s eye power and any other eye-related issues should always be the first step to choosing a pair of glasses.
This is because the eye power or degree directly corresponds to the thickness of your lens: the higher the degree, the thicker your lens will be. Those with higher degrees of correction will have greater limitations to their lens frame size. If the lenses get too thick, vision may become distorted, and your eyes will be magnified or minimised.
Eye and skin conditions can also directly influence your frame selection process. A good frame is one that aids your daily activities. For example, those with nickel allergies are advised to avoid metallic frames to avoid rash. However, if they desire that professional appearance, titanium frames, which are free of nickel, are a great alternative. Those who are photophobic are recommended frames with a matte finish, as it helps reduce the reflection of light into the eye, bringing more comfort to one’s vision. If you have any special eye or skin conditions, consult with your optometrist about what you should be aware of before you start your search.
Maintaining your glasses is very important when it comes to keeping up appearances. If poorly maintained, frames can bend out of shape, making the spectacles uncomfortable to wear. This also disrupts the quality of one’s vision. Although taking glasses off with one hand like CSI Miami’s Horatio Caine is pretty cool, this motion can damage the frame. Frames need to be taken off gently, with both hands. Wash your prescription lenses with diluted dishwashing liquid, or special lens cleaning liquid every day to rid them of grease and dirt. Dry your glasses with a clean lens cloth for crystal clear vision. Don’t forget to add the lens cloth to your laundry in order to get rid of the dust on them. And never leave your glasses in the car, as the heat can warp the lens.
Faces and Frames
Once the clinical side has been settled, it’s time to choose your frame! When it comes to appearances, the most crucial, significant factor to choosing the right frame is your face shape. Matching the most suitable frame to the right face shape can balance out your facial features and bring out your natural beauty. Choose the wrong pair and you may end up exaggerating your facial features, to the point of looking like a cartoon character.
If you are not sure what your face shape is, you can find out in three simple steps. First, look in the mirror and determine which is the widest part of your face. Is it the cheeks? The forehead? Or is it all the same? Next, look at your jaw. Is your jaw broad and rounded, or is it angular and narrow? Finally, roughly measure the width and length of your face by drawing a horizontal line below your eyes, and a vertical line across your nose respectively. Is the length longer then your width, or are both the length and width of your face the same length?
Round faces: Those with round faces often have a rounded jaw with an equal face length and width, as well as prominent cheeks. Because no part of the facial structure is wider than the other, people with round faces would have an overall soft, rounded appearance. Although adorable, it does have a lack of edge. To balance this out, choose square or oval frames to give yourself a sharper look.
Oval faces: An oval face is like a stretched out round face; you will have a rounded jaw and there is no particularly wide part of your face. However, the length of your head will be longer than the width. This face shape is often said to be the most desirable because it is suitable for most frame shapes, giving you a variety of stylish options.
Square faces: The square face has similar features to the round face, with the exception of an angled jaw and a broad forehead which gives the face a sharper look. But wait! Don’t start grabbing the nearest Harry Potter glasses just yet. Because the sharp edges of the face aren’t too prominent, rounded frames may cause further imbalance and make the face look less natural. Try rounded cat-eyed frames which have a good balance of round bottoms and protruding edges at the out points of the frame.
Heart shaped faces: If the widest part of your face is the forehead or your cheekbones, and you have a pointed chin, then you have a heart-shaped face. Because of the pointed chin, this facial structure is often quite sharp and will require natural curves to balance it out. For those with this lovely face shape, it’s best to get rounded or oval pairs of glasses.
Other Physical Features
Your face shape will roughly narrow down the type of frames suited to you. But there still are other facial features to consider in order to find the best pair of glasses for an individual. This includes things such as the height of your nose bridge. If you have the typical Asian flat nose, search for a pair of glasses that has a narrow nose bridge. This will give the illusion that you have a higher nose bridge, and mimic a more natural, balanced appearance. On the other hand, people with high nose bridges should search for glasses with a wide nose bridge for a more natural look.
Not all physical features will affect the shape of your frame, but some of them can influence your colour palette. If you have a pale or yellow skin tone, dark colours such as maroon and bright brown will help bring colour to your face. Avoid greys or browns, as they will make your skin paler. On the opposing side of the spectrum, rich brown or darker skin tones will blend naturally with dark reds, purples, metallic greys and gold. Those with tanned skin will not have to worry about their colour palette, as almost every colour complements this skin shade. Hair colour and length should not affect the type of frame you choose, but be aware of the colour choice if you tend to dye your hair in drastic colours.
During your search, don’t get carried away thinking merely about style. Look out for other features in a pair of glasses, such as comfort, durability and light weightness. If you desire clearer, comfortable vision, Jun recommends purchasing a pair of glasses designed with a pantoscopic tilt. This feature is a design where the top of the lens is tilted forward, increasing the utility of the glasses for both far and short distances, while reducing the angle of light refraction.
These guidelines can also help you find the perfect pair of sunglasses for a hot Malaysian day. However, with sunglasses, there are a few more things you need to consider before making the final call. The tint colour plays an important factor to your selection process. This colour is largely dependent on the primary use of the sunglasses.
If they are for practical, everyday use, choose classic grey-tinted sunglasses, as greys are the best at blocking out UV rays. This helps provide a high level of comfort to your vision. For those who are photophobic, Jun recommends getting grey or brown tinted lenses, as these colours invoke a soothing, relaxing effect on the eyes. If you would prefer to be more fashionable with your sunglasses, try double or triple toned lenses.
If you want the best of both worlds, get a pair of those fashionable mirror lenses, as they can minimise the reflection of the light, reducing the glare in one’s eyes, while looking great. Be aware that it is strongly advised not to get a pair of sunglasses that rest on your cheeks as that can leave dent marks on your cheekbones. Therefore it may be best to leave those overly huge sunglasses on the shelves.
Choosing your style
Glasses aren’t just tools to aid one’s vision; they’re a fashion accessory that changes according to different scenarios. Jun notes that most customers - a number of which who buy non-prescription glasses for the sake of fashion - often buy three pairs of glasses to suit different occasions. Hence, when finding your style, you should think of how you want people to perceive you.
For working environments, a pair of rimless metallic glasses with a grey palette will exude an aura of professionalism. Due to the minimalistic designs that go hand-in-hand with functionality, these types of frames would convey a mature, diligent persona. This can often be seen in the design of Nine eyewear. By balancing both form and functionality, Nine’s Danish designers and Japanese manufacturers have produced seven collections of unique, ultra-light titanium glasses that weigh under nine grams. Motivated by creativity and the passion to create the best optic lens, Nine would be a great place to start searching for those impressive work glasses. If you desire a softer appearance, half-rimmed glasses will still show the same level of maturity and professionalism while exuding a more amicable aura.
Unfortunately, professional and mature frames are not great at expressing your youthful, fun side at parties or social gatherings. For a more casual vibe, put on a pair of plastic full rimmed glasses that has one or more bold colours. This makes you more approachable. If you want to go for something bold, unique and stylish, look out for Frost eyewear collections. From the creative mind of Marian Frost, the German eyewear brand has designed unique handcrafted frames with unorthodox designs and attractive blends of colour that fit comfortably on the face. Because of the wide variety this style presents, it is quite adaptable, and can express your unique personality.
Jun notes that the trend this season is for oversized, round and thin lenses among the youths, due to the growing influence of K-pop culture. While she assures there is nothing wrong with following the latest styles, Jun advises readers to find their own style, “Don’t go for something that’s fashionable, go with something that suits you, and which will make people say ‘Wow, those look nice on you!’ That won’t go out of fashion, because it is your own style.”