Fashion
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Fight the Frump: Update Your Eyeglasses

Fight the Frump is back today, and it’s all about eyeglasses. (If you don’t wear eyeglasses, these tips apply to sunglasses as well.)

Eyeglasses are one of the easiest ways to date yourself (I try never to wear eyeglasses in family pictures for that reason) so if you’re trying to update your look or fight the frump, it’s probably time to reassess your eyeglasses.

Fight the Frump: Update Your Eyeglasses | How to find eyeglasses that flatter your face, and tips for wearing eyeglasses for mature women.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I always feel the need to preface these types of posts by reminding you to take your personal style into consideration as well as your body type (or in this case, face shape) when taking someone’s fashion advice. At the end of the day, you should wear what looks good on you, rather than kowtowing to the current trends.

That said, I think it’s good to be aware of the trends, and in the matter of eyeglasses specifically, update your look every few years. You can be current without being trendy, if that makes sense.

Right now eyeglasses are trending towards larger plastic frames, square or round shapes, and larger lenses. 

Here are some of the latest trends in eyewear that you may want to consider.

Eyewear Trends to Try

  1. Blush or light neutrals — I really love this trend, but it works best on women with lighter hair colors.
  2. Round frames — You have to be careful with these as they don’t work on all face shapes, but some rounded styles are more subtle than others.
  3. Flat Matte frames — I’m really liking theses styles for a change, and they can work for anyone as long as they’re the right color and shape for you.
  4. Dark mannish frames — These have been trending for a few years and don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Again, depending on their size and shape, almost anyone can wear these.
  5. Cat Eye — A cat eye is a fun throwback style, and it’s flattering on women over 40 in particular because they tilt up on the ends, which helps lift the face. At our age, we want the eye to be drawn upward!

Tips for shopping for eyeglasses:

  1. Take a trusted friend (or spouse) with you — someone who will be honest about what looks good on you (and doesn’t) and ideally someone who has a good sense of style.
  2. Elicit the opinion of the person(s) in the optical shop. They’re usually up on current trends and trained to help you select a style that works best for your coloring and face shape.
  3. Try on lots of frames. You really can’t tell how they look on YOU until you try them.
  4. Keep in mind your skin and hair coloring.
  5. Consider your facial size and shape.
  6. Look for glasses that match your personality & individual style. Eyeglasses are a fashion accessory and should suit your personality. If you’re funky and fun, you want more dramatic eyewear. If you’re conservative and traditional, look for styles that are current but classic.

How to find flattering eyeglasses

Here are some specific tips on how to find glasses that flatter your face and coloring. Ultimately, though, I recommend going into the store and trying on a bunch. There are so many factors, and every face is unique. I know some people have luck shopping online, but I’ve always had the best experience in-store.

  1. Round or oval frames flatter a long or square face shape and helps to soften those features.
  2. Rectangular frames flatter a round face shape and add sharpness and defined lines.
  3. Avoid thick frames if you have a short face because they can make your face look smaller.
  4. Narrower, smaller frames look best on a small face because they aren’t as overwhelming.
  5. Conversely, bigger lenses balance out larger and longer faces. If you want to participate in the oversize trend, make sure they don’t ride up higher than your brow.
  6. Light colored frames flatter women with lighter hair and skin tones.
  7. Bold or bright colored frames are more youthful than blue, gray and steel frames.
  8. Black mannish frames are trending and look good on almost anyone.
  9. Tortoise shell frames are more conservative and flattering on almost all hair colors.

A couple of years ago, I updated my glasses with this Tiffany pair in Ocean Turquoise, and they’re still current. I love how the turquoise color is a little bit unexpected but the tortoise style is conservative and works with my classic style.

My face is oval and rather long, so I definitely prefer myself in larger eyeglasses. That said, my face is narrow so they can’t be too wide. It’s always a bit of a balancing act to find the perfect pair.

Dos and Don’ts for Eyewear over 40

  1. DO have several different pairs of eyeglasses. If you wear glasses all the time, it is suggested to have three pairs: One for work, one for weekends and one for evenings out. Eyeglasses are a fun way to change up your look, and cost permitting, it makes sense to have a few pairs to swap out depending on your mood or what you’re wearing. You can see from Brenda’s IG feed how she has a few different styles she rotates between.
  2. DON’T be afraid of change. If you’ve worn the same style of glasses for the past 10 years, it may be hard to see yourself in any other shape or size, but this is a time to take a step or three out of your comfort zone and try something new.
  3. DO be sure your glasses fit your face. See tips above.
  4. DON’T wear wear your glasses on a chain. It is aging and frumpy. That said, if you feel you MUST use a chain, find one that is funky and fun and suits your style. Maybe change it out occasionally for fun. Make it look like another accessory, not just a necessary evil.
  5. DON’T wear half glasses. They’re old fashioned and will date your look. If you wear readers, get a full-framed style. Kate Spade has a nice selection of the non-prescriptions ones.
  6. DO try a fun color if it suits your personality. Red or turquoise plastic frames are fun, or right now white or clear plastic frames are a fun trend to try. Check out Susan’s profile picture on her IG feed — I love those white frames on her with her gray hair.
  7. DO wear lip color when you wear glasses. The color balances out the bottom of the face with the top of the face.

Whew! That’s a lot. Sorry this post was so text heavy. I would love to show pictures as examples, but it’s tricky using other people’s photos so I decided it’s better just to link over the ones I like.

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For more frump-fighting tips, see all of my Fight The Frump posts.

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48 thoughts on “Fight the Frump: Update Your Eyeglasses

  1. Great information!  However, while I like the idea of having three pairs of eyeglasses, for some of us that’s just not a really.  Insurance will only cover one pair and even then mine run about $300 out of pocket.  So if I bought two more pair without insurance – ouch!  Having said that, though,  if my prescription doesn’t change this year from last year I may get new frames and then I’ll have one for the weekend (old) and one for every day.  Love all the suggestions!  

    1. I agree.  It would be nice, but I have a complicated prescription and even with insurance my last pair was $600!!!  And no I did not get designer frames.  I wish I could get more than one pair every other year.  And unfortunately every time I go in my prescription has worsened so Its not like I can wear the old pair for long.  Sigh.  Missing my youthful days when I had better vision lol.

  2. I love having different pairs of glasses to match my outfits, and the online eyeglass stores make that possible because they are usually less expensive!!
    Right now my favorite pair is a bright purple color, and I always get compliments on them!!
    The best part? They cover the bags under my eyes—ha ha!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

  3. We are so lucky and have the BEST eye insurance of anyone I’ve ever met. This means I get 4 pairs of glasses a year with all the bells and whistles. Needless to say, I am able to experiment with glasses and different frames for both daily wear and sunglasses. It’s a lot of fun.

  4. I just updated my glasses to a bright blue with mint green on the top and for work I have burgundy wire frames. I wish I had enough money to get more but with progressive lenses, I am in the same boat as Gina. The best money I ever spent was on prescription sunglasses – I would highly recommend those! Thanks again Jo-Lynne, great post!

  5. Love this post Jolene! I wear eye glasses and it’s time for met to get new frames. I did want to mention that Warby Parker will let you try on 5 pairs of frames at home. Either glasses or sunglasses. You just go to their website and choose your frames. They will send you 5 frames at a time that you can try on at home for 5 days and then return. I think the prices are good and the best part is if you buy a pair from them they will donate a pair to someone in need. How cool is that! Anyway, thanks so much for this post! I’m going to try to be bolder this you with my selection. 🙂

    1. I’ve wanted to try Warby Parker out of convenience. Several people at my office have done so. However, I don’t believe they do Progressive lenses so that rules it out. I do like going and trying on a lot at one time, though. Hard part is getting someone to go with me! Wish me luck tomorrow as I’m going there with my daughter.

      1. Sue S, Warby Parker does do progressive lenses. I got my last pair of glasses through them this past fall. They’re great! We do have a local storefront here in Austin, and I went in to order them because I wanted to try on the frames, so I don’t know if that makes a difference or not, but do check into it if you want to use them. 🙂

  6. Thank you! Very helpful. I am looking for blush or other light color cat eye readers. Did you happen to run across any?

  7. I replaced my glasses this past fall with the black mannish ones and an extra tortoise color pair. I love that the larger lenses are in style now, easier to see out of them. When I went to pick out my glasses, I was having a hard time finding a good pair. The optical shop lady suggested I look at the men’s section. That’s what I ended up getting and love them. 

  8. I love Susan’s IG and those whitish frames also ! Just so happens I’m updating my eyewear soon. I Only do it every other year because it gets costly( no vision insurance) but I shop around for months before I actually do it because it is so hard for me to find frames I like and that  are comfortable . This was helpful ! Thanks 

  9. I LOVE the blush frames! I only wear glasses to help with eye strain (I had Lasik 7 years ago) but I have been on the hunt for a new pair because my last ones were cheap and very ill fitting. I think I’m going to order them!

  10. I love this post. I have worn glasses since I was 12 years old and i am now 64 years old. The right glasses make such a difference. I get new ones every 2 years to ensure they are stylish. I will keep the older frames if they are still stylish. My prescription hasn’t changed much now.

  11. Perfect timing Jolynne! Thank you!!! When it comes to eyewear (jeans, too!), I am a hard fit…I have a narrow face and most frames look huge on my face. I have bought frames From Warby Parker and I loved them! I purchased the frame from them but had my lenses crafted at a lab in my city. Question, where did your glasses come from that you are wearing in the picture? You may have linked them but I didn’t see it! They’re adorable on you!!! 

    1. I have a small face so was directed towards the children’s frames. I found a pair of tortoise glasses that I love. I now forget they are even on my face at times. Ha!  You could try that or get your assistant to search out all the small frames for you to try. That worked for me too. I was feeling frustrated after trying on glass pair after glasses. She came over to offere assistanc, I told her my requirements, she said you have a delicate face and she was off to find me a pair that suit me and fit. From now on those will be my method of attack, so to speak

  12. Thanks so helpful!
    Gotta get new with flex spending!
    Makes it helpful we hv same kind face…
    I now have black largest frames…
    Maybe a light spring pair????

  13. I am thrilled to find that the black mannish frames are still in style. I only wear my glasses to drive at night and whenever there’s low visibility, so my glasses are so lightly used that they last a really long time. Even if I only wear them in the dark, I don’t want to look like a frump. So my black mannish glasses are still cool—this is seriously good news!!!!!

  14. I used to be able to have multiple pairs of glasses. But once you get into progressive lenses the cost of a pair of glasses and sunglasses is so high … you are lucky to have one pair of each! The good news for me is that based on your info, the frames I have are frumpy. Phew! Have a terrific day.

  15. One other consideration when looking at frames is the strength of your prescription. The stronger your prescription, the thicker your lenses are, and the bigger the frame, the thicker the lenses are at the outside edges. I have a very strong prescription, and even with lenses that are supposed to be thinner, they are still thick. Eyeglass professionals always suggest smaller frames for me. 

  16. Great post! I’ve worn glasses since I was 9! I wore contacts for probably 7 years or so, but I have dry eyes and it’s insanely dry in CO. I definitely try to have fun with my glasses. You, btw, look gorgeous in your glasses and your make-up is flawless in that pic! Interestingly I only have one pair. Once I had 2 pairs, but I never wore but one of them. ??? 

    Isn’t Brenda Kinsel the best? She’s a friend and one of my mentors. I could add the tip to match your hair and frame color like our friend Marjory does (part way down on Brenda’s feed in the middle.) 

    1. I have worn glasses most of my life and did contact lenses for a while but with my job I need the sharp focus that I can’t get with contacts. I have a small face and some of the current styles don’t flatter. Sometimes I have selected frames in the children’s section. It does get to be an expense once you’re in double and triple vision! I try to select a frame that’s flattering for all occasions and have prescription sunglasses. I have a purple-ish cast to my current lenses and it’s horrible in photos (I think it’s eye protection from computer use) which I won’t get again as I take my glasses off when I’m on it!

  17. Hi Jolynne! Great post! By any chance do you have the link to the eyeglasses you have on? I too, have a longer face shape but I’m petite and most of the frames that I’ve tried on overwhelm my face and size. The frames you have on in your picture are stylish, look great on your face shape, but don’t overwhelm you, if that makes sense? Thank you!

  18. That was a fabulous post. Not often addressed but very important. I find I need my glasses more that I use to both for reading and distance. That was very helpful. I too have oval long shape as you so loved the glasses you have on. I have short hair though. Does that make a difference? Thank you for the info. Very thorough. Did I spell that right? Ha

    1. I think hair color and style both play into the equation, but I’m not sure there is a “rule” for shorter hair with glasses.

      Okay, so I googled and found this. No clue if it is good advice or not (haha!) but it’s interesting:

      Wide Frames Avoid: Hairstyles with a lot of hair volume on the sides. Try: Hairstyles with height on top. Chunky, textured bangs. Long length ends with no volume. Short hairstyles with strong vertical lines.
      Large Frames Avoid: Long hairstyles that have low volume. Straight hairstyles. Short, impish hairstyles. Try: Proportion hairstyles. Long layered hairstyles with extra volume on the sides.
      Small Frames Avoid: Hairstyles that box in the facial features. Try: Short cropped wavy hairstyles that highlight the face or long blunt cuts.

      Read more at http://www.thehairstyler.com/features/articles/hairstyles/glasses-hairstyle#DEEAf2m6bDTGEA8P.99

  19. This is a perfect message! I wear contacts 99.9% of my waking hours but recently had an eye infection that did not allow me to put contacts into my eyes. My glasses were so dated. I vowed to make an appt to have them updated just in case!! Thanks for the post 

  20. Oh boy, lots of info here. You really did your homework. 
    I get mine treated for protection from UV rays, as well. I have sunglasses but don’t always have them on and even on an overcast day there are harmful rays. We usually only think of our skin but they can damage the eye, as well.
    I think I’ll look for a blush pair with a slight cat eye. It may give me a mini facelift. ????

  21. Great post Jo-Lynne! I love to get new glasses. My insurance covers one pair per year and my prescription doesn’t change drastically from year to year, so I can usually have 2-3 pairs to choose from. You have some great tips and ideas! I also can recommend Warby Parker, they have some great styles and in addition to being online, the also have storefronts all across the country.

  22. Great feedback. I would love to have multiple pairs of glasses to swap out, but my last pair was over $600 with my prescription and my frames weren’t one of the higher priced ones. At that rate, I hate to replace them every couple of years with just 1 pair. My insurance only covers partial frames every two years and lenses partially every year, so I just can’t justify it. 🙁

  23. That’s funny you would post this today cause i know it is getting time for a new set of glasses and I was wondering what was in style. And I didn’t know about wearing lip color when you wear glasses. that the color balances out the bottom of the face with the top of the face.

  24. Thanks! I have a main current pair that I love (tortoise shell, Bulova Newport almost a cat eye). They are suitable for both casual and dressy (my “dressy” is still probably elevated casual!). Costco optical has the best prices for what I need and you can interact with a real live person. I go to my regular optometrist for the prescription and go there for the frames. I have 3 pair, one w/ all the bells and whistles, transition, progressive, bifocal (no line). Then a driving pair/sunglasses (aviator style) and then a computer pair for a shorter distance focus (never leave my desk area). I usually just wear my main frames because I forget to change them out! Used to wear soft contacts, but my eyes got weird and now special custom hard contact lenses are required and couldn’t ever get them to fit right. (after 6 months of trying!) Thanks for this FTF post! More please! 🙂

  25. Great post! I love my tortoise shell Coach frames, this year I got a new pair to use occasionally that are a black, more rectangle shaped frame, with blue side/ear pieces! Fun!

  26. Great post. It’s very important to stay current on eyeglass trends. (People still wear their glasses on a chain? Yikes!)

    I’ve always wondered why optometrists have patients trying to pick out frames after their pupils have been dilated and they can’t see anything! It’s such a big decision, as you pointed out, and you really need to be able to see what you’re doing. Thankfully, you can always take your prescription and go elsewhere for glasses when vision is back to normal.

  27. Finally, I have time to comment!  I love your eye glasses, and I so agree that they are an accessory and something we should keep updated.  We have a lot of success ordering our no-line progressive bifocals from Zennioptical.  They have a feature where you can import a picture of your face, so that you can try on the glasses, so you can see how you look.  Our cost is anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 less than what we paid at any box store, which for us retirees, is very important.  Thanks to this post, I ordered me a pair of white with pink accent frames today, so I’ll have 3 pairs to switch between.  I hope you had a blessed day!

  28. I don’t wear eyeglasses since I got LASIK, but for FUN and trendy frames check out See Eyewear.  They have funky frames if you want something different and like to be more trendy rather than classic.

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