CHOOSING THE RIGHT FRAME
No accessory has the power to transform a look like a pair of glasses does and there is such a great variety of shapes to choose from at the moment: the classic aviator, the edgy cat-eye, the fashionable round styles or the go-to rectangular frames. But what frame suits what face? And what does each style reveal about the wearer?
To answer these questions and share their expertise on the process of choosing new specs are Lidia and Wulf, resident optometrists at the MYKITA Shop in Berlin-Mitte.
Where do you start with a customer who comes into the shop without a specific model in mind?
Lidia: I go through a mental flowchart of sorts, you know one of those diagrams where you have boxes with a statement, for example, “Are you looking for sunglasses or prescription frame” and the answer leads you to a new box, like “acetate or metal frame”. I like to establish if the customer is after an extravagant or neutral style in the beginning. Each answer will lead you to a smaller subset of frames until you are perhaps left with two or three glasses to choose from. Then it is up to the customer.
Wulf: You can always tell a lot from a person by how they present themselves; options will immediately spring to mind as someone walks in. Generally speaking, if a customer does not have a specific direction or frame in mind, they will prefer a more classic shape.
So, let’s talk about face-shapes: What are the rules?
Lidia: As a general rule, I guess you could say it is about balancing the geometry of the face. So, round lenses can fill out a slim, elongated face, in the same way that a more rectangular shape can lend definition to a more rounded face.
On the other hand, many other factors come into play, including the general size of the face, the distance between the eyes, etc. The position and shape of the eyebrows are also really important factors. It’s always worth breaking the rules. Round and round aren’t supposed to fit together, but I have a round face and circular frames such as the model JANIS really suit me. The trick is to pay attention to the proportions; I suit a larger frame for example. Our glasses are all easily accessible via the MYKITA Wall and we really encourage customers to try a bunch of options to see how they look.
Also, each frame has two numbers inscribed on the inside of the temple that refer to the length of the lens and bridge. When the customer finds a frame where the proportions fit, these measurements are the perfect way to narrow down the search.
Wulf: More than face-shape, lifestyle is a really important factor when choosing a frame. A fancy frame that appeals to a customer in the shop might make him or her feel awkward in everyday life. Ultimately, you have to feel like yourself in your glasses.
Can you give a little insight on the basic shapes in eyewear right now?
Lidia: The cat-eye is a feminine shape, a little eccentric, which tends to suit elongated faces by lifting and broadening. The shape of the eyebrows is especially important with cat-eye frames. When you can see the eyebrow through the frame, for example, it’s no good. You want the eyebrow to sit slightly above or follow the so-called ‘brow line’, the top of the frame-front. Our acetate model BIANCA is a very popular choice as an optical frame.
I also don’t think you need to be an absolutely flamboyant male to pull off a cat-eye. There are some subtle options for guys with rectangular shapes that have a slight lift in the corners.
Wulf: I think the cat-eye works best for more grown-up women or younger ladies with a sophisticated style.
Lidia: This is a classic shape that works well on both men and women. The models remain modern with new colourways each season. The new reflective lenses for example bring the aviator styles up-to-date for this season and are great to wear in summer when the sun is particularly strong. FANNY, which was introduced in 2008, has a great fit for smaller faces. The gradient lenses also have the effect of not overpowering the face the way a solid tinted lens can. REGINALD and MAGNUS are classic aviators that suit square-ish faces. Again it’s about going for opposites to find a balance. I am also a big fan of aviators as an optical frame for women.
Wulf: I grew up with the whole Tom Cruise-in-Top Gun association, so I personally am not a fan of aviators on women. I think it’s a frame for men but I also think that not all men have the attitude to pull them off. It’s a sporty style or reserved for those who give the impression they could actually master a plane!
THE CIRCULAR SHAPE
Lidia: Our customers are beginning to appreciate round and oval shapes more. YOLANDA, SCARLETT and JANIS are oversize round glasses that I really encourage people to try; it’s a really flattering shape for many different types of faces. For those that are ready to take the next step, we have URSULA – JANIS’ avant-garde sister – with lenses in an octagonal silhouette. For beginners, I recommend trying a round shape where the top of the frame-front is straighter, the optical frame KJELL is a good example.
Wulf: What I find interesting with round shapes is that the message can be so different depending on the size of the lenses. The oversize models are all retro, flower power, friendly and hippie-esque. But in a smaller version like the ESSENTIAL range from MYKITA + Maison Margiela, it’s sending a much more intellectual, futuristic message.
THE RECTANGULAR SHAPE
Lidia: The rectangular frame is a classic shape that suits a variety of faces. MYKITA has countless models each with their own identity created by small differences to the details: for example angular or rounded corners, double or single bridge or the position of the temples. One of our bestsellers ROLF, which was introduced about six or seven years ago, is like a rectangular aviator with its double-bridge. MULBERRY is a rectangular/cat-eye hybrid with its slightly exaggerated corners. The more traditional vibe of the rectangular shape is a great opportunity to add personality with colour or unusual lenses.
Wulf: The rectangular shape comes without the style connotations of many of the other styles. This makes it a great shape for customers who are not committed a really specific personal style. It is something of a go-to shape for many male customers.
Find Lidia and Wulf's recomendations and the sunglasses on the current MYKITA collection in the MYKITA online store.