Eyewear Fit Guide

March 24th, 2015

Just like a tailored suit, a pair of glasses should be properly fit to the wearer. A proper fitting frame is more flattering, more comfortable, and more effective at helping you see better or keeping the sun out of your eyes. Here’s quick guide to getting the right fit, which is unique for every person depending on your head size, face shape, feature distribution, etc.

Frame Sizing

A frame size is typically noted as: lens width – bridge width – temple width. For example: 51mm – 21mm – 145mm.

The key is finding a size that corresponds to the overall width of your face, while being mindful of the distribution of the physical size of your eyes (lens width) versus the space between them (bridge width).

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 11.09.15 PM

As a rule, I think sizing should be treated on a case-by-case basis, as it depends largely on your proportions and the style being selected. But as a general guideline, here are some starting points for total width (lens width x2 + bridge width):

  • Small/Narrow Face: 125mm – 129mm
  • Medium Face: 130mm – 134mm
  • Large Face: 135mm – 139mm
  • Wide Face: 140mm – 145mm

The Keys to Proper Eyewear Fit

1. The width of the frame should match the width of your face. This means, when looking at you straight on, the glasses should not hang off the side of your face (this would mean the frame is too wide) and we should not be able to see the sides of the temples (this would mean the frame is too narrow).

2. We should be able to see your eyebrows above the frames. At least half of them, preferably a little more than half.

3. Each eyeball should be directly in the center of the lens, from left to right. The distance between the corner of the eye and the edge of lens should be the same on both sides of the eye.

4. Your eye should fill the top half of the lens. The bottom of the eye should roughly touch the vertical midpoint of the lens.

5. The temples should be adjusted to fit around your ears. If you have a problem with glasses sliding down your nose, you need to have the temples bent to keep them in place.

6. The overall frame should be located roughly in the middle of your face. It should provide a nice balance between the top of the face and the bottom of the face. In each of the examples below, notice there is roughly equal distance between the top of the frame and the top of the head, and the bottom of the from and the bottom of the chin.

Fitting Examples

mensstyleeyewearfit (2 of 27)

Will has a chiseled jaw, which is complemented nicely by the angular shape of these square lenses. Notice the eyebrow showing above the lens (a little more than half the brow, which is ideal) and his eyes filling up roughly the top half of the lenses. The dark tortoise coloring is a great tone for his fair skin and blond hair.

mensstyleeyewearfit (6 of 27)

Sansho is a big guy – 6’4 215 – which means he has a larger head/face and therefore needs a larger frame. He benefits from the larger round lenses. He also has a low nose bridge, which is ideal for keyhole frames like these clear acetates. Again, notice the relative position of the eyebrows, the spacing of the eyes, and the overall proportions of the frame versus his face.

mensstyleeyewearfit (25 of 27)

Alex has a round-ish face shape, but he looks awesome in round glasses. This is why I don’t really believe in the “only one shape of glasses will suit your face shape”. It’s more important that they are in proportion to your size and fit your face properly. Multiple shapes can fit on one face.

mensstyleeyewearfit (16 of 27)

Pat is slim with a narrow face. Therefore, he needs a narrower lens width and bridge with. He also benefits from a slighter taller frame, because a narrower face can also be seen as a longer face.

mensstyleeyewearfit (21 of 27)edit

I have a really large head and a oval shaped face. Therefore, I usually wear larger shades and I benefit from a slightly more square shape. I also have a very high nose bridge, which makes it difficult for me to wear frames that don’t have nose pads. I usually bend the nose pads all the way back (toward the lenses), to make room for my high bridge. This allows the glasses to sit lower on my face, exposing a little eyebrow and keeping my eyeballs in the top half of the lenses.

Color Considerations

In addition to finding the proper shape and size for your face, you should also look for a frame (and lens) that compliments your natural coloring – meaning your skin, hair, and the colors you wear most often.

Lens color, as well as lens opacity, also make a big difference. For example, being able to see your eyes through the lenses of a pair of shades is a decidedly different look. In general, I would advise keeping your lenses dark enough that the eyes are barely visible. The majority of my shades are dark grey or brown, with the occasional dark purple or green, and a couple with gradient lenses which are a little more “fashion-y”. I never really got into the colored or reflective lenses, they both always seemed a little cheesy.

Final Note

Lastly, if you’re in the market for a new pair of shades for the upcoming Spring season, I would advice you to shop local and try-on as many frames as possible before deciding on one. Bring a friend who’s opinion you trust. Don’t buy a style just because it looks cool on someone else; chances are their face shape is much different. The proper fit for your face is key.


Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier


Photography by Alex Crawford.

  • Thomas Halvorsen

    It’s funny, point one is that when a frame is suitably large, “one should not be able to see the sides of the temples”, yet ALL your example pictures fail at this.

  • http://www.countryshopfitting.com.au/ fit out

    As the equipment could all arrive at once, everything on the floor should be cleared away. Old chairs and tables need to be moved or recycled and it may be that the office is temporarily shut down. It might be a good idea to give the staff a holiday while the office is being redesigned, while an alternative solution would be to rent temporary office space or have employees work from home.

  • Jordan Baker

    Do you have any articles like this for women? I feel like it would be very handy to know this kind of thing. While I don’t have glasses right now, I really feel like I may have to go that direction soon. I don’t too look like a goober. I want a pair that fits perfectly for me. http://www.neweraeyecare.com/#!discounts/cee5

  • Steve

    What about wraparound sunglasses etc. The lenses for sunglasses should be deeper and wider to mask out peripheral light and therefore the temple length has to be reduced accordingly to accommodate this.

  • Akun Radikal

    Are these numbers off or what:

    Small/Narrow Face: 125mm – 129mm Medium Face: 130mm – 134mm Large Face: 135mm – 139mm Wide Face: 140mm – 145mm

    So according to that, a pair of glasses with 50mm lens and 24mm bridge is for someone with small face? I cannot comprehend, please advise.

    • Jason

      I think those are bad numbers as well. Warby Parker has 113mm frames listed as narrow and 115mm frames listed as medium. I think the numbers are too large.

  • Brandon Roberts

    It is crazy to think that the color and fit of the glasses could make all the difference. These are really good examples to show, because all of these men have different shaped heads. And it’s important for people to realize, that you can get the right kind of glasses to fit your shape, you just need the right size. http://www.markguisti.com/

  • Wilfredo Hernandez

    It’s interesting how much a difference proper fit and color can make when purchasing clothing or sunglasses. Comparing fitting sunglasses to tailoring suits really hit home for me because I believe in tailoring suits to body type. I will have to coordinate my sunglasses this way as well the next time I buy a pair. http://www.lura.us/store.html

  • Ike S

    who makes the royal blue jacket in first picture? I’ve been looking for that color sports coat.


    If anyone pays attention to this nonsense then they’ll pretty much deserve to end up self conscious and insecure.

  • tyler

    Dan, is there a chance you could tell me what the frames are that Will is wearing?

  • TO

    This is a great article! Really useful stuff. Honestly I am lazy in this department and I wear shades from the Dollar Store which seriously probably aren’t doing my eyes any favors, but they actually look like regular stylish shades. I don’t really trust myself with expensive shades, but then again I haven’t broken or lost the $1 ones in maybe the two years I’ve had them so maybe it’s time to reconsider…

    • tommyjohn_45

      Ha.. I’m of the same frame of mind. Although I go one up on the Dollar Store and hit up the kiosks in malls or on city street corners.

      • TO

        I examined how they fit me after I read this and I think they are a little wide and they cover my eyebrows. Have new things to think about when I’m shopping now!

        Will and Sansho look particularly great here, like they were born to look good in glasses (but really I guess it’s all about nailing the proportions in mentioned in the article)– reminds me that there was a post on bespoke eyewear, can that be linked into the article??

  • tommyjohn_45

    Useful stuff… I’ve always struggled selecting glasses. Not sure why, but never really felt comfortable in them either. Looking back at some photos though, I notice that they do hang off my face a little too much and are larger than what you suggest. Guess that could be the reason why, lol.

  • JoeFromTexas

    You might want to check the math on your total width guidelines under frame sizing. I have a medium face (and a pair of glasses from Warby Parker that fit well and are classified as medium width), and my glasses have a LW of 51mm and BW of 16, meaning total width 2xLW + BW = 118mm, which is decidely less than your small/narrow face guidelines. Even the example measurements you gave (51mm – 21mm – 145mm) have a total width of 123mm, less than your small/narrow face guidelines. I think you may have not carried the one somewhere…

    • JoeFromTexas

      Also, when picking glasses, it helps to have a significant other. They have to stare at your face more than most so their input is actually pretty helpful here (also applies to picking hats). Narrow down your choices to a few frames you like, and let the significant other give their opinion. Of course, depending on your significant other, you may then be beholden to that choice since you asked for it, so make sure you really like the choices.

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