How to choose your first pair of glasses
The test results are in, it’s time to choose your first pair of glasses. Some people embrace glasses-picking with open arms and are delighted to add a new accessory to their look, while for others, it’s a more difficult step which can be made worse if you don’t think glasses suit you. The good news is that there is a flattering pair out there for everyone, as long as you know how to choose the right shape for your face, your personality and your budget. Enter Grégory Vissac, optician and founder of Artisan du Regard to guide you through choosing your first pair of glasses.
Grégory Vissac and his team sat down with EYESEEmag in their Paris boutique, to share everything they know about choosing glasses.
Take a moment to understand the technicals
First up, we’re going to look at the technical side and find out exactly what your first glasses are designed to do. The choice you make will be different if you’re shortsighted or longsighted, and whether they are glasses you will need to wear all day, or just when you’re reading or working on the computer. You can push the boat a little further style-wise if you won’t need to wear your glasses all the time, depending on you personality and how bold a look you want.
Statement frames or low-key lenses? Each to their own
Whether or not you’re choosing your first glasses, some see a new accessory as great style news, while others prefer to keep frames discrete so that they don’t take over.
As a general rule, if you have an oval face, you have what is known as a ‘face for glasses’. Conversely, if you have a found or long face you might find your choices very limited, with only a few styles to choose from. In either case, a good optician will know how to guide you towards a pair that works for you, based on your face shape. Your first glasses could be round, square, rectangular, cat-eyes or even more original shapes if you’re bold enough.
Frame perfection is for the eye to be as centered as possible within each lens. It’s not always easy to get this perfect, especially now oversized frames are a trend, but the idea is to make sure that each pupil is horizontally and vertically central. People with an undefined nasal root might find their glasses sit too low, which will cut the eye in two horizontally and be neither comfortable nor aesthetic. People whose eyes are very close together are also a little harder to find glasses for.
What if I really don’t suit glasses?
While some people can get away with choosing pretty much anything for their first glasses, others will find it a lot harder to choose a pair that works for them. If that’s you, don’t fall into the trap of thinking frameless lenses – ‘invisible glasses’ – will be any better, as they can end up looking like a medical accessory, which is not a good look either. You might be surprised, sometimes bold looks can work really well for people who don’t think they suit glasses, but the best thing to do if you’re having trouble choosing is to go for a pair of first glasses in a classic shape, that looks discrete and elegant.
When you really don’t want to wear glasses…
As an optician, I’m particularly passionate about choosing brands with a strong aesthetic. If sometime comes to me reluctant to choose their first glasses, I try to pass that passion on to them, so that he or she enjoys choosing their glasses and comes to consider them as a fashion accessory, rather than medical equipment they are forced to wear. It’s undoubtedly best to take the time to choose your glasses with an optician you get on well with, so that the whole process is more enjoyable.
What if, after wearing them, I really don’t like my new glasses?
This is quite rare but it can happen. If you really don’t get on with them, we can swap the frames, but the choice will be more limited as the lenses will have already been cut to fit. If you’re not sure of yourself, it’s best to stay low-key with your first glasses and start with a classic style, then move onto something bolder with your next pair.
High-street brands, or independent opticians?
Whether you choose a chain or an independent optician, there will always be someone qualified to help you with the most important part of the process: choosing frames. High-street opticians will offer all the brands on the market, from Prada to Ray-Ban, via Dior, Gucci and more, so the choice is wide. In terms of price difference from one brand to another in chain opticians, it’s useful to know that the majority of glasses are produced in two factories who share the market. Whether they cost €100 or €500, they are made in the same way and the difference in price depends more on the brand that you choose. Some independent opticians also offer the big brands, alongside craft brands and others choose to offer independent brands only, to differentiate themselves from the bigger chains. Even artisanal glasses, hand made in France using the best-quality materials, are available for all budgets, with the added advantage that they are rarer and you are less likely to see someone else wearing them.
Sensitive skins, beware
In some people, the materials glasses are made with can cause allergies. Frames can also mark the skin, especially where they sit on the nose and if this happens to you, bear in mind that production methods, materials and price will not change anything. It depends on your skin, so only choosing lighter glasses can help leave less of a mark.