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The Comprehensive Color Guide for Glasses
If you have ever purchased eyewear in a store before, you are familiar with the hours of fittings, trying on frame after frame to find a pair that looks good on your face. It may feel like you have tried on every pair in the store before you find one suitable for you. What if you could narrow down your choices? What if you could choose your eyeglasses entirely online?
Where to Start
Though it may seem to be a simple strategy, knowing your face shape and coloring are most important to finding a pair of glasses that suit you. Face shape can help you determine what style of frame will most flatter your features, while your skin, hair, and eye color can help determine which glasses color is best for you.
After finding a frame shape you like, it can take time to select the best eyeglasses color for you and your skin tone. Avoid the temptation to choose a frame color that simply goes with everything. Instead, take your time and select a color flattering to you and your natural color palette.
"But exactly how do I choose glasses colors?" you may wonder. "What do I need to look for, and what are the best eyeglass colors for me?"
To help guide you through the frame selection process, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to picking the right color for your glasses. Here are the factors you should consider when selecting eyeglass colors.
Determining your skin tone is the first and most important factor to consider when selecting eyeglass colors. It is important to select an eyeglass color complementary to your natural tone; otherwise, the color combination can create a flat look.
Skin tones tend to fall into two primary categories: warm and cool. Warmer skin tones tend to have yellow or green undertones to their skin, while cooler skin tones tend to have more of a blue or pink undertone. Some people fall into both categories, in which case they can base their decisions off their eye or hair color.
Warm color tones tend to do well with similarly warm colors, including shades of beige, brown, gold, pink, orange, off-white, red, yellow and green. On the other hand, cooler tones mix well with cool shades, such as black, gray, pinks, blues and purples. Tortoiseshell works for well with both color palettes.
These skin tones are further split according to overall shade, which are broadly split into light, medium and deep. Typically, your eyeglasses should add an extra dimension to your look, either by contrasting your shade with a lighter or darker one or by complementing your undertone with a more saturated hue.
This separation by tone and shade results in six total skin tone categories:
Light Skin with Warm Undertones
People with a paler, peachy complexion and a yellow or green undertone to their skin can be described as having light skin with a warm undertone. The best colors for this skin tone tend to be warm neutrals and saturated shades. Darker colors also serve well with this skin tone to better contrast against a light base color.
Try a warm tortoiseshell or brown if you are a fan of neutrals, or go bold with a pop of purple or red. Avoid any blues or lighter colors, as they will tend to wash you out.
Light Skin with Cool Undertones
Lighter skin with a pink cast and blue undertones is characteristic of a person in this category. Cooler hues and neutrals are good choices for this skin tone.
Blues, pinks and jewel tones are ideal for this skin tone, along with lighter neutrals like a cool beige. Avoid colors with a yellow tone, such as gold and green, as this may clash with your skin tone.
Medium Skin with Warm Undertones
People with a medium cast to their skin and yellow or green undertones fit well into this category. This light brown color makes complementing neutrals shine, as well as earthy colors.
Tortoiseshell and warm browns work wonderfully with this skin tone, as well as rich green hues. Earthy greens and golds are also good choices. Avoid cooler jewel tones, as these will tend to clash with your skin.
Medium Skin with Cool Undertones
Medium skin tones with a pink or blue undertone tend to fit into this cooler category. Olive skin can also fit into this category even though it is often considered to be neutral, as it is characterized by both yellow and green undertones.
Jewel tones work beautifully with this skin color category. Blues, purples and blue-tone reds are excellent eyewear choices. If you prefer neutrals, a strong black or dark gray also works well. Avoid muted or warm hues that blend in or clash with your skin tone.
Deep Skin with Warm Undertones
Deep skin tones with a golden cast are members of this category. This rich skin color is best complemented by warm colors.
Deep browns and golds work well with this skin tone, as well as gold-toned greens. Any tortoiseshell variation should look beautiful against your gold undertones as well.
Deep Skin with Cool Undertones
Deep shades with a cool blue undertone to the skin fit within this category. Look for a color that complements and plays off your blue undertones and deep color.
Purple and black are excellent colors for this skin tone, as are blue-based greens and smoky blues. This skin tone can also pull off a bluish off-white.
Hair color is another important factor to consider when choosing eyeglass colors. Tone and hue varies widely in hair color, just as it does in skin color, with both warm and cool variations. Here are some frame colors you should consider based on your hair:
Warm blond hair has a honey or bronze undertone, and tends to be on the darker side of the blond spectrum. Golden blond and dirty blond both tend to fall within this category.
Warm blonde-haired people can choose a wide variety of colors. Shades of pink and brown are excellent choices, and warm blonde-haired people can rock the tortoiseshell pattern.
Strawberry, platinum, and ash blonde-haired people tend to have lighter hair colors than their warm blonde counterparts. They tend to err on the neutral side of the blond spectrum, with white or gray undertones.
Cool blonde-haired people can wear colors like black, blue and purple, along with cooler pink tones.
Warm browns tend to have gold or red undertones. Brown-gold and auburn are examples of this hair color category.
Warmer shades go well with warm brown hair. Earthy colors like greens, reds, and golds pair wonderfully with warm brown hair. Tortoiseshell patterns work well, too.
Cool brunettes tend to be lighter shades with ashy undertones. Ash brown and cooler shades of auburn are good examples of this.
These brown-haired people look good in blacks, pinks, and blue frames. Cooler browns and beiges do wonders with this color, and ark tortoiseshell patterns pair well with cool brown hair.
Red hair is naturally a warm and vibrant color, though variations do exist. Dark reds can be cooler in tone, while more orange, carrot-colored hair is described as warm.
With any shade of red, variations of tortoiseshell and green work wonderfully. For colder reds, shades of blue, green-blue, and black work well, while warmer reds pair well with greens and golds.
Depending on whether your black hair is a brown-black or blue black, it can pair well with a multitude of colors.
All blacks will pair well with blacks and greens, while cooler blacks will pair well with blues and warmer blacks will pair well with browns. Black hair can also work well with more saturated hues like red and purple variations.
Gray and White Hair
Like black, gray and white hair can be warm or cool. Salt-and-pepper and white hair is typically cool, while gray tends to be warmer.
All shades of gray and white pair very well with brighter, more vibrant colors like bright red or purple. Avoid beige or brown frames – these colors can dull your features. If you want a neutral color, choose black, gray or white.
Eye colors can also help you determine which eyeglass color to choose. However, eye colors may fit into more than one category. For example, although blue is a cool color, blue eyes can vary from a cool violet tone to a warm blue-gray. Brown, a warm color, can vary from a light yellow shade to a cool near-black color. Typically, people with particularly vivid eye colors like blue or green may want a pair of glasses mimicking their eye color.
Here are a few suggestions to help pick suitable frames for your eye color:
Green eyes pair well with earthy brown and gold tones and contrast nicely with pink- and purple-colored glasses.
Blue eyes pair beautifully with blue and gray tones, and contrast with rich browns and tortoiseshell patterns.
Deep greens and grays pair well with hazel eyes. To bring out gold flecks in your eyes, pair hazel eyes with gold tones.
Brown eyes can be warm or cool in tone, depending on how dark they are. However, most brown eyes pair well with warmer tones like tortoiseshells, golds and greens.
Purpose and Personality
Finally, your frames should reflect your personality and taste. They reflect your style as much as your shoes or shirt and should match the image you want to express to your co-workers and friends on a daily basis. Here are a few things to consider about the color and pattern of your glasses and how they will fit with your daily life:
Business and Professional
Conservatively shaped and colored frames are typically favorable in a business setting, instilling a sense of confidence and professionalism in your interactions with clients and colleagues. Classic shapes and traditional colors and patterns are ideal when trying to maintain a professional appearance.
Conservative tones for men include silver, gray, brown and black, while brown, gold, silver and black are good choices for women in a professional setting. Tortoiseshell and subtle stripes are both excellent patterns to complement anyone's professional look.
Fashionable and Creative
Modern shapes, flourishing cutouts and colorful frames are exciting ways to show off your creative side and add a finishing flair to your outfit. Choose a pair in a shape and color flattering to your features and expressive of your unique sense of style. Don't be afraid to go bold! Try daring modern shapes or vintage looks – whatever fits you.
Frames in unusual colors like teal blues, sea greens and bright purples or popping colors like bright red and orange are excellent choices, as are frames with floral or animal patterns. If you are working in a creative business or a semi-professional setting, try looking for glasses in traditional base colors with pops of accent colors or patterns.
Students and Academics
College is a time to expand your education, your career and your social circles as well as your personal sense of self. While you are discovering your interests and future career goals, your undergraduate career is the perfect time to experiment with your style and find what suits you and your preferences. Are you more interested in a vintage look or a modern feel, a more conservative professional appearance or a daringly creative pop of color?
Consider the colors and clothing styles you tend to prefer, as well as your lifestyle, and find a color suitable for your personal tastes and habits as well as your skin tone. Do not be afraid to experiment with patterns, either! Floral, animal print and striped patterns can lend a personality to otherwise sober frames. Experiment with your style and have fun with it!
The same can be said for the discerning graduate student expanding into the world of academia. Focus on your personal style while adding a touch of professionalism to your look. Look for frames that fit the tone of your field while still letting some of your own personality shine through. For business or science students, look for a more sober, professional look that will instill a sense of confidence when you are dealing with your peers. For students of the arts, choose a more colorful palette – serious enough for when you present your work and pursue your career, yet playful enough to express your creative side.
Above all else, the most important thing to remember when choosing eyeglass colors is your personal preference. These guidelines can help you make a choice that complements your physical traits and career choices, but use them only as guidelines, not as concrete rules. Just make sure you love what you're wearing!
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