I've been wearing glasses for nearly 30 years and for most of that time I *hated* them. Styles were limited (the 80s and 90s were not kind), and by the 2000s I was still frustrated with my specs.
I tried everything from ordering online where I got glasses that were way cheaper but caused dizziness and headaches, to a one-hour place where the salesperson spent maybe 10 minutes with me and charged $600 for a pair that didn't fit right.
A few years back I started shopping at Eyemaxx Optical Studio in downtown Ottawa, and holy cow, it was a revelation. The staff spent heaps of time with me and actually refused to let me buy certain styles because they felt the fit wasn't good enough. They straight up wouldn't take my money and suggested I wait for another style that would be a better fit. From that point on, we've basically been BFFs.
I know I can't be the only one who struggled with my glasses for years, so I asked Kaytlyn, assistant manager at Eyemaxx and resident style QUEEN, to drop her knowledge on us.
what's my face shape?
KAYTLYN FROM EYEMAXX: I'd start by looking at a front-on picture of you: I'd figure out which part of your face is widest and then go from there.
If your forehead is the widest part, you likely have an oval face.
If your cheekbones are widest (like mine!) you may have a round face.
If your jaw is the widest part (like yours!) then you may have a square face.
If your chin is pointy (like Reese Witherspoon!) you've got a heart-shaped face.
There are a few other boxes to check if you think you're widest at the jaw though! You also need to determine your jaw type. If your jaw is round like Selena Gomez, you've got a round face. If your jaw is square like Keira Knightley you've got a square face, or if you're channeling Angelina Jolie you've got a rectangular face. Of course there's a little more nuance, but that's a great start!
glasses for square faces
AMYIN613: After all these years, I finally know I have a wide, square face. What styles are best for me and what should I avoid?
EYEMAXX: With a square face, look for softer lines on the lower half of the frame. For example your vintage Dasha frames from SALT optics were fairly straight across the top, a little softer along the edges, and wider than the widest point of your face. Those proportions do double duty by drawing the eye up and away from your widest point.
Your pink Milwood frames from Garrett Leight do this really well too. Again, they're straighter across the top but have soft lines on the bottom. One major faux pas is choosing a frame that is narrower than your jaw line, or has seriously square/rectangular angles.
glasses for round faces
AMYIN613: That makes so much sense. I can think of specific glasses I had in the past that were all of those things, but I could never figure out why they weren't working for me. Frig.
What's best for a round face?
EYEMAXX: I have a round face! The goal here is to elongate and to de-emphasize the widest portion. Try a square or rectangular silhouette. I specifically look for styles that are wider than my cheek bones and I keep the angles as sharp as possible. As a rule, I shouldn't be able to pull off an aviator or round style.
Luckily, I've got a huge selection to choose from (perk of the job!) and found an aviator that was more elongated (SALT optics Meadows). I also found the perfect round shape from Garrett Leight: it's an off-round shape with edges that are a bit more square than round. But if you put me in a Harry Potter style, my face looks like a tomato. It's all in the subtleties!
glasses for long faces
AMYIN613: What's best for a long face?
EYEMAXX: I'd avoid anything rectangular or oval. The best choice for a long face is a generally cat eye, but I’ve also seen soft-edged square frames look fantastic on the right person! Keep trying on styles til you find something you love. Again, subtleties!
glasses for heart-shaped faces
AMYIN613: What's best for a heart-shaped face?
EYEMAXX: Go with a frame that is slightly wider at the top to balance the forehead, and slightly detailed on the bottom. This might mean a little angle inward or a two tone frame. Really anything to provide balance and draw the eye downward.
glasses for oval faces
AMYIN613: What are the best styles for an oval face?
EYEMAXX: Oval shaped faces are the easiest to fit! These lucky folks have the Ryan Gosling, Meghan Markle, or better yet, the Rihanna of face shapes. Essentially they can pull off pretty much anything.
AMYIN613: Those lucky turds. Any emerging trends for spring and summer?
EYEMAXX: We’re seeing so much metal and colour this season! We’re loving the latest collection from Caroline Abram. She’s always been known for her amazing colours but this season, she’s taken it up a notch with super detailed metal frames.
We’ve also seen some incredible translucent frames from pretty much all our favourite collections. Robert Laroche, Lunetterie Generale, Francois Pinton, Garrett Leight, SALT optics... they’ve all got some amazing colours to offer.
I think my favourite right now (though less practical) right is the pastel coloured lens trend. We’ve all got our eyes on a few Rihanna and Gigi inspired looks with rose or yellow lenses.
fancy sunglasses. worth it?
AMYIN613: Honestly, Riri can do no wrong. So, the days are getting longer and I'm thinking about a new pair of sunglasses. How much do yours cost?
EYEMAXX: Thank god! We’re loving the extra hour of sunlight. Our non-prescription sunglasses start at $179 and our sunglasses with prescription lenses start at $378.
AMYIN613: Is it important to spend a bit of money on sunglasses or is anything better than nothing? I guess what I'm getting at is: is there a real difference between high-end sunglasses and a $10 pair from wherever?
EYEMAXX: The trouble with vague UV claims made by low-end brands, websites, or knock-off retailers is that you never really know what you’re getting. Wearing a lens that's simply tinted might keep you from squinting or add some style to your Insta feed, but it’s not going protect your eyes from macular degeneration or glaucoma.
All the sunglasses we bring into the shop are certified UV protected, so you know that when you’re doing your due diligence to protect your eyes, you’re not wasting your investment.
AMYIN613: Okay, but if I shell out for a pricey pair and I break them, can you do repairs?
EYEMAXX: Of course! Anything from replacing nose pads, screws, or readjusting sunnies if (god forbid) you tend to put them on your head! We’re one of the few optical boutiques that has an in-house repair expert. Jim’s a third generation optician and knows all the tricks in the book. He can often even fuse plastic frames back together when they break in the middle. Unheard of, we know!
AMYIN613: Kaytlyn, thanks for taking the time to answer all my quesitions, I appreciate it!
Save 15% when you mention me!
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All photos are by Hello Lovely Studio and shot on location at Tallow Boutique in Hintonburg.