With glasses, price and quality aren’t always related. An array of middlemen, from factories to distributors to opticians – plus some opaque licensing deals with fashion brands – means you can often pay up a hundred times what your specs actually cost to make. To tell the well-crafted from what will break if you fall asleep in them, look at the hinges. “The level of polish and the cleanliness of the material around the hinge is a good indicator of the overall attention to detail,” says Ducroux.
The legs are also a solid barometer of value. If they’re acetate, reject anything not supported by a metal stem ,or if you can see bubbles in the material. If they’re metal, be materialistic. Ducroux advises avoiding anything not fashioned from titanium or stainless steel if you want them to survive when you inevitably sit on them.
You’ve switched your skinny jeans for something more roomy. You’ve ditched the blazer and trilby for a bomber jacket and five-panel cap. But because your prescription hasn’t changed, nor have your glasses. Which knocks your entire outfit back three years.
Get back up to date by losing your edge. “Round frames have been very strong in the last year or so,” says Ducroux. Perfect circles don’t flatter most faces so opt instead for a panto lens shape – round at your eyebrows and tapering into an oval as it approaches your nose. “It’s a style that fits most faces and is easy to wear.” Unlike those hats.
3. Work with what you’ve got
If you’ve got a triple-bodyweight squat, then you’ve probably come to terms with the fact Hedi Slimane’s super-slim trousers will never be for you. If you couple that with a Chris Hemsworth jaw (in which case, kudos) then you’ll also have to be OK with not rocking Tom Ford’s equally chiselled eyewear. “You should try to balance out your facial features,” says Ducroux. So soften a square face with round glasses and give an oval face more edge with something angular.
4. Be web savvy
Don’t feel obliged to buy from the same place you got your peepers tested. In chain opticians, your eyes are watering because of the mark-ups as much as the eye test, and the hit your wallet doesn’t necessarily improve the quality of what’s on your face. Instead, take your prescription online and look for frames made in either Japan or Italy, says Ducroux, with lenses from a Japanese or German camera brand – think Carl Zeiss or Nikon.
Most retailers will send out samples for you to try on before you buy. “Always do it,” says Ducroux. “It’s not easy to get a notion of how frames look on your face otherwise.” To check the fit, look in the mirror and make sure your pupils are centred in the lenses. Then drop your chin to your chest to see if they slide down your nose. If so, you’ll be picking them off the gym floor after every bent-over row. But don’t steer too grippy. “They shouldn’t be too tight around your temples or you’ll get headaches.”
5. Embrace the rainbow
It’s 2015 – people won’t think you’re Elton John if your glasses aren’t matte black. “For darker skin tones, I’d recommend stronger or brighter colours to pop,” says Ducroux, while pale complexions should steer towards blues and neutrals. Just be sure to take it outside. “Colours and perceptions vary a lot with different lights,” says Ducroux, so canvass a second opinion in your living room and your garden.
To ensure you’re prepped for the sun’s occasional appearances, consider Transitions lenses, which automatically darken in bright lights. Forget your geography teacher’s perma-grey glasses; the technology’s progressed to mean you’ll walk across lobbies looking like you’ve left your sunglasses on, but be fine by the time you reach your desk.
For those who’d rather have a separate pair of shades, either steer close to shore or push the boat out. “If you’ve found your perfect frame, get something similar in sunglasses, but maybe with a brighter colour,” says Ducroux. “Otherwise, go for sunglasses that are really different from your eyeglasses, with larger frames.” When the sun’s out, you’re allowed to make a statement.