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HomemifashionThe Art of Fitting Frames to the Face

The Art of Fitting Frames to the Face

For some, finding just the right frame to fit a client is a joy, while others struggle. So, is it a learned skill, or something innate? The answer, it seems, lies somewhere in between.

As someone who has worn the same frames – with slight variations – for years, it was with some trepidation that I put myself in the hands of Sandi Love-Foxman.

Somehow without me really recognising it, Ms Love-Foxman gently led me from the safe and familiar to the edge of my comfort zone, pushed that one step beyond, then pulled back just enough for me to feel happy.

The result? Optical frames that are markedly different than anything I’ve ever worn, that I honestly feel excited to wear.

How did she do it?

“A lot of it is instinct, but it’s reading the people because everyone is different. And listening to them – listening to them and reading them. I will look at how my client is presenting, what sort of personal style they have,” said Ms Love-Foxman, who manages the Bailey Nelson store at Sydney’s Bondi Junction.


“Firstly, I need to know what sort of script they have because if they have a high index script, the sort of frames is more limited. And it has got to be comfortable,” Ms Love-Foxman said.

Marchon Eyewear Account Manager Justin Harford, a qualified optical dispenser, agreed, “the prescription has got to be the paramount thing… the higher the prescription, the less options the patient has.

“If it is a mild prescription, you can have free range over the shop, theoretically, but if the prescription is high, it quickly narrows down the frames they can consider.

“I’m going to be looking at the size and shape of their head. Width is the first thing I’m looking at. How big and wide their head is. I think this is something I do without thinking about it too much, size them up and start to play with the frame range,” Mr Harford said.

Mr Harford’s colleague at Marchon Eyewear, National Sales Manager Tony Mithen, said at this early stage it is important to chat to the customer to get a sense of their lifestyle: Are they sporty? Do they need something more robust? Have they worn glasses before?

“If it is their first pair of glasses, you are starting from scratch. If they have had glasses prior, you would talk through what worked and what didn’t work about previous eyewear they had.”

All three agreed that ensuring the glasses are comfortable, sit well on the face, and that the right bridge and temple fit must be prioritised, before moving onto styling.

“I’d probably have a couple of ‘go to’ frames as a starting point, as a reference, and determine what wasn’t working and start from there,” said Mr Harford.

He said it helped that optical frames were now available in so many sizes: “We (Marchon Eyewear) have quite a spectacular range… we go from extreme large to the very, very small… that covers most bases”.


There are some general rules for face shapes that can be used as a starting point for frame style.

“With a rounded face, you need to have a little bit of angle, because if you put round on round… yes, it’s okay, you could still do it, but it doesn’t give a benefit,” Ms Love-Foxman said.

“A rounder face can go with a deeper frame, and a bigger lens. In a very angular face, they’re the sort of person that can suit a more rounded frame, it softens the angles in their face. Someone with an oval face, they’re the lucky things. Just like all the models, they can basically put anything on their face, and they look good,” she said.

But she said it’s a guide only, as other factors, including hair style, can influence a choice of frame. And she said many customers, particularly teens and young adults, are often very peer orientated, and will only wear styles their friends are wearing.

Mr Harford believes face shape rules are less important to styling than current fashion trends.

“I think they (face shape rules) have a point, but fashion really plays such a strong role in determining what people are even going to try. They’ll come in, and if they’re looking for something that is round, they’ll head to that round shape.

“The input from the dispenser, you hope is acknowledged, but a lot of people have strong ideas, so you have to incorporate what they want with what you think is going to work best.”


Mr Mithen said it is important to remain focussed when fitting frames for a client, to ensure they aren’t overwhelmed by styling choices.

“I get frustrated when I see someone being shown frames and they’ll have 10 or 15 frames on the bench and the customer is just getting confused.

“It is really important for the dispenser to extract the information, so they know they have a starting point, then come down to three or four options that they think are the best fit,” Mr Mithen advised.


So, if fitting frames to a face isn’t your strong suit, can you learn? Ms Love-Foxman came to Bailey Nelson from a fashion background – she’s provided styling advice to high-end clients, including 90s supermodel Helena Christensen, and believes that’s a huge benefit to her when helping customers choose new frames.

“I think it can be partially taught. The basics can be taught, but you have got to have the instinct. I often say that as far as style goes, some people are born with it.

“Yes, you can teach people, but they have also got to be willing to learn, they have to be passionate about it.”

Mr Harford believes it is a skill that is learnt over time, until it becomes something innate.

“I’m constantly looking at television, movies, people on public transport, as to what they’re wearing… whether I think they are well-fitted, or their frames suit their face shape.

“I don’t think about it necessarily anymore, it has just become part of what I do.”


For Mr Mithen, Mr Harford and Ms Love- Foxman, the aim is to have customers walk out with frames that fit well and make them feel good.

“Sometimes it is difficult to be honest with a patient and just tell them that you don’t think this is going to end up looking good. Sometimes there’s money involved… but I prefer to see them head off with something that looks good, rather than something I have just made a bundle of money on,” Mr Harford said.

“Repeat business is what you’re looking for. You’re hoping they enjoyed the experience and that they’re walking away with something that they feel confident and comfortable in. That’s got to be paramount. If that’s not the case, there’s something wrong.”

It’s a sentiment that’s also at the centre of Ms Love-Foxman’s approach.

“They (clients) are a walking advertisement for your business, if they walk out without good frames on, that’s telling you something. You must be real in what you do, and genuinely care and actually want that person to be the best they can be.

“When you put something on their face that gives them joy, you can see their eyes light up. They’re excited and I love that.”


l.a. Eyeworks

There are many frame variations that will perfectly frame – and fit – a face.

The l.a.Eyeworks Loquat and Wren (pictured) are very good examples of this, thanks to their softer angles and a high bridge. These features mean the frame will sit above the cheek bones and nicely across the brow line. Because they are neither circular or too square, they are very versatile in the fitting.

Contact: ProOptics (AUS) 02 8007 6041


Barton Perreira

Constructed with the finest grade Japanese acetate, every pair of Barton Perreira eyewear fits like a tailored suit. To accomplish this, the frames are wired with an adjustable foundation that aligns perfectly with your patient’s face, while maintaining its shape. Unlike many designers, who focus on the object first and foremost, Patty Perreira creates for the face, bringing an unprecedented level of customisation to every angle. Pictured is model BP5043 Norton.

Contact: Marcolin (AUS) 02 8456 0946



Bailey Nelson

Cat eye fans will love Lombardi, the latest dramatic cat eye shape to be designed and manufactured by Bailey Nelson. Available in emerald and tortoise, Lombardi best suits a medium-sized face. Felipe is a new flattering, oversized hexagonal shape to suit medium/large sized faces.

Visit: baileynelson.com.au






Nationale by Paname is perfect for those with difficult-to-fit faces. It features a unique design that contours the shape of your patient’s face, providing a comfortable and secure fit. The soft leopard top rim lifts the face and complements the wearer’s facial expressions.

Visit: minervaoptics.com.au


Instyle Plus

Opticare’s Instyle Plus collection provides attractive styling, all-day comfort, and flexibility for individuals seeking more lavish eyewear choices.

The Instyle Plus range adds an affordable solution while maintaining a professional and well-designed look.

Contact: Opticare (AUS) 1800 251 852


Flight General C1

Flight General C1 is a dainty frame that has sophistication written all over it. Designed to enhance the features of the face in a sure yet subtle way, it completely blends in as if the wearer was born with it.

Visit: ryanadda.com





OVVO frames are laser cut from an ultra-durable, ultra-light surgical steel and titanium composite, then assembled by hand in the company’s family-operated, state-of-the-art facilities. Weighing barely 0.6 ounces, these frames are virtually indestructible yet highly flexible to fit the face. Every style uses OVVO’s patented screw hinges for added resilience and style.

Contact: Aarons Eyewear (AUS) 07 3367 8447

Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor is renowned for designing edgy, colourful optical and sunglass frames. In recent years, he has adapted his approach to design, ensuring there is something for everyone in his collections. While Twizel was created to appeal to a majority of face shapes, Abagail (pictured) is designed for women who wanted to express more. Although it looks big, this frame suits just about all women who don’t have any inhibitions. Abagail is available in two sizes.

Visit: paultaylor.com.au



Tomato Glasses

With 17 sizes in multiple shapes and ontrend colours, and weighing in at around 8g, Tomato Glasses fit kids’ faces with comfort and style.

Innovative features include multiple nosepad choices and three-different nosepad heights to ensure eyes are perfectly centred in the lens. Temples are cut down to size and secured in place, with the ability to lengthen them as the child grows. With an optional headband, a comfortable and non-slip fit is guaranteed for every face.

Contact: Little 4 Eyes (AUS) 03 9448 8932

Nike Eyewear

Nike eyewear is designed to fit a wide range of face shapes and sizes. The Nike 7145 (pictured) features a floating hinge that adapts to your patient’s head shape for ultimate comfort and durability, as well as rubber temple sleeves with core wire for easy adjustability. This high-tech bio-injected frame takes inspiration from sculpted golf club designs.

Contact: Marchon (AUS) 1800 251 025