Eyeglasses used to have a shabby reputation. But the day of the squinty-eyed, bespectacled look is past. Nowadays, fashion-conscious young Japanese are so fond of eyeglasses, most wearers seem to buy them for sheer fun, rather than for lack of perfect vision. Some even wear frames without any lenses at all! Indeed, glasses, especially dark boxy frames, have become an essential fashion accessory for the young people of Tokyo.

Whether or not you wear glasses out of necessity, you should be as discriminating about them as you are with your makeup. Perhaps more so, since the frames will be the most prominent part of your face. Your selection should take into account not just the shape of your face, but your whole body, as well, and whether you’re using them for casual or formal wear.

With the range of frames available today, glasses can be selected to fit the occasion—and to help cover flaws in a face, or play up its strong points.

First, let’s assess just what your particular look is. What’s your image of yourself? What kind of image would you like to project: fashionable, dressy, soft, casual? Take a look in the mirror (a full-length one, since glasses affect your entire look). Are you tall or short? Thin or chunky?

Finally, take a look at your hairstyle, makeup, and favorite clothes. What color of frames would best complement them?

For “perfect” and less than “perfect” faces

A perfectly proportioned face measures this way: The distance between the hairline to eyebrows = eyebrows to tip of nose = tip of nose to chin. The owner of this face can wear any kind of frames with ease. For the rest of us, there are frames that don’t work, and ones that look great.

Frames and your face:

In general, there are two kinds of faces in the world— long and round. If you have a long face you should select frames that don’t make it look longer. Conversely, if your face is round, you should buy glasses that thin your face.

Good for a long face —Frames that don’t play up the distance between eyes and chin. Large frames and dark colors go well. If your face is on the thin side, choose big frames that are uniformly wide or narrow all-around, but not wide on top and narrow on bottom.

Good for a round face —Small, thin frames, with little or no decoration, look great. Stay away from large frames. Frames that are thicker on the outer rims are flattering. Dark frames can make you look like a raccoon. Choose metal or plastic frames in pastel colors.

If you have a long nose —Frames with a double bridge create a strong horizontal line that shortens the nose.

If you have a short nose —Frames with an overarching bridge de-emphasize the nose.

** Do the frames suit your face?

—Check your brows. The upper frame should follow the shape of the eyebrows, with the arch slightly visible above the frame. If brows float above or sink below frames, your glasses are too small.

** Are your eyes far apart or close together?

—To check, first measure the length of your eye, then the distance between the pupils of both eyes. If the two measurements are unequal, then your frames can be used to draw away from that feature. Those whose eyes are set far apart should choose frames with decorative bridges. If your eyes are close together, opt for frames with striking color on the outside edges.

** Is the fit right? Glasses fit if:

—They don’t hurt your nose and ears

—They don’t dent or touch cheeks

—They don’t feel heavy. (Even thick lenses can be made in lightweight plastic.) Glasses should never weigh more than 35 grams (1.225 ounces)

—They settle properly, not listing to one side

A few hints to help you select frames: Metal frames are good for all occasions, while plastic tends to look more casual. Size considerations do not apply to sunglasses (anyone can wear large ones), nor if you find something that is you—go ahead and enjoy!

The traditional look

For round faces :
Colored metal frames in a cute round shape play up your strongest features. Formal but soft, these kinds of frames can add a touch of elegance.

For long faces :
Chose elegant plastic frames in a color suited to formal and everyday occasions. Decorations at sides of frames add interest and width.

The casual look

For round faces :
Plastic frames with a sharp, fox-eyed shape, and gray-to-clear shading are large but flattering to round faces, because of their color.

For long faces :
Plastic frames with a strong horizontal line shorten the face. Large frames with a dynamic shape and double bridge can also soften an otherwise hard look. Avoid aviator-style frames—they lengthen the face.

The fashionable look

For round faces :
Brimless frames add up to a smart look, and an unexpectedly high bridge slims the face. Lenses tinted in grades of pink and purple make for glasses so interesting even people with perfect vision will want them as accessories.

For long faces :
A “Boston” shape in plastic, candy-cane striped in coffee and ivory, makes for a sporty as well as a fashionable look. Lenses that are wider-on-top shorten a long face.

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