Finding frames that fit properly is possibly the most integral part to purchasing eyewear. Of course, there are always eyewear anomalies; people who love to wear hugely oversized eyewear and wear sunglasses as specs, or others who favour particularly tiny eyewear to be perched on the end of their nose. In the world of eyewear there is scope for everyone to have their own style, which is what makes it such a perfect accessory. But for the majority of us, we just want to find a frame that fits well, and if your visage happens to be on either the upper or lower scale of ‘normal’ then finding the right eyewear can be a little more difficult to navigate.

So, we are here to help! Eyewear specialists if you like. There are a few simple things to look for when purchasing eyewear, be it specs or sunglasses, particularly online. No two faces are the same, but there are some basic rules that can help, so take a look at my mini guide to buying eyewear:

How do I know my sunglasses size?

Those little numbers written on the inside of your frame are its size. But what do they mean? If you see for example 55.20.137, that is the lens size (55) the bridge size (20) and lastly the temple (arm) length (137) all in millimetres. If you don’t know, you don’t know – and now you do!

The depth, width, lens shape and overall style of the frame are all contributing factors to the size of the frame. No two faces are the same, and as with a lot of things, there isn’t a one frame fits all option, so please do take into consideration all the dimensions. Even the colour can have a major effect on the perception of its size.

Our simple guide to sizing would be; anything with an eye-size between 40-45mm would be suitable for small faces. 45-48mm would be suitable for medium sized faces and anything over 49mm (and well into the 50’s) would be best for large noggins.

Men’s eyewear tends to be bigger than women’s eyewear, but there are so many wonderful unisex shapes, so don’t forget to look at women’s frames too and vice versa for the girls.

The shape or style of the frame is crucial to the perception of size of your eyewear. Detailing on the corner of a frame, or a sharp cat eye can give the perception of more width to the eyewear, even if it has a small eye size. Particularly narrow eyewear tends to look smaller and heavy retro eyewear will have more impact and tend to look bigger. Even the curvature of the eyewear will be a contributing factor! Don’t get too het up on the size, my advice; get instore, get some advice and try things on. Frames look very different on the face to on the rack.

Lastly – don’t forget most people can pull off a bigger frame when it comes to sunglasses. Sun lenses tend to shrink the overall size of the frame, so if in doubt, go bigger.


Colour is a hard one to quantify as your skin tone plays a big part in it all, so please do consider this when picking your eyewear. Obviously contrasting your eyewear to your skin colour will give a bolder, more dramatic look. Put a black frame on a (pale) white skinned person and the frame will look bigger than if you put that same frame on someone with darker skin.

Don’t be scared to play with colour! Black and Dark Tortoiseshell are classics for a reason, but there are so many great alternatives to these colourways when it comes your choice of eyewear. Think of your skin tone, and the colours you like to wear on your body; you’ll probably be able to wear something similar on your face, why not try navy instead of black, or green tortoiseshell instead of brown.

Don’t be scared to try bold colours, you may surprise yourself (particularly in sunglasses).


Yes, the lenses also play an integral part in the overall image of your eyewear. Tints, graduations, mirroring….it all makes a difference. My advice is to try on as much as possible and take photos, you’ll soon see what I mean. Remember, you can change the lens colour! Love a frame but would prefer a grey graduated lens to a solid green? Then change it! If you have sensitive eyes and need a darker lens, just ask. Almost anything is possible, just speak to your optician. Costs can vary, but if it means you have your perfect pair of frames then it’s an investment worth making.

With the ever-growing popularity of buying glasses and sunglasses online, getting the size right can be tough, personally, I’d always advise heading to a good independent optician to try things on, but if you can’t, hopefully this will give you a few pointers on how to choose a goodie. Good luck!

Oliver Goldsmith