Thursday, August 19, 2004


Optician Amy Endo models Burberry Check eyewear, about $175, and holds polka dot frames from Lulu Guinness' new line of whimsical Hollywood-inspired sunglasses. The "Ingrid" sunglasses come in black-and-white or red-and-white with polka dots. They cost about $175.

Eye tunes

Bold, colorful eyewear is
fashionable this fall, although
minimalists can go frameless

Versace Versus Magenta, Model VR8006 is made of plastic and metal, at $140.

As an optician and optical consultant at Endo and Associates for more than 20 years, Amy Endo has learned to determine shape, color and style to suit each individual at a glance, by doing a sort of visual computation, weighing factors of facial shape, hair and skin tone, and lifestyle.

Endo was recently recognized as one of the U.S. optical industry's "50 Most Influential Women," with a drive to improve children's eye care and educate the public about eye care and safety. She also founded the paraoptometric foundation, an association that provides eye care services to nursing home residents and others in need.

But most basic to her daily routine is helping individuals concerned about looking cool in glasses.

Although the shape of a person's face is her first indication, she also looks at eye and hair color and skin tone. It gets very specific. "Sometimes we look at the teeth or fingernails to see if they are pinkish blue or more yellow," she said.

The fall trends in eyewear include plastic frames, the re-emergence of color and larger styles, as well as more subdued rimless and semirimless looks, said Endo.

"The new crop of plastic frames feature patterned laminates on their undersides, inside the temple. "It's an underlying element, kind of like underwear. ... It's a little tease," she said. Popular styles come from Safilo's Burberry, Kate Spade and Nine West.

"Eyewear is taking a cue from the fashion world and resurrecting color. The palette includes everything from candy-colored brights to earth tones."

Fall will see more purple and lilac, along with coral, rich bronze and dark red.

Burberry's Check, Cherry Check, center, and Havana Check, far right, run about $175.

Larger looks that haven't been seen since the Elton John era are also making a comeback. Endo describes these as "big, bold, beautiful frames with glamour and some added 'bling-bling' for women, and large aviators for the guys."

Rimless and semirimless eyewear continue to appeal to minimalists, she said, citing the comfort of the lightweight styles as a factor in their popularity.

Colors in rimless styles are toned down, represented by gunmetal, navy, gold, silver and bronze.

Logo and name brands remain popular. "Hugo Boss, Christian Dior, Escada and Coach eyewear, to name a few, help the savvy shopper in coordinating their wardrobe to the hilt," said Endo. "Brand name fashions never lose popularity."

An Ultra Palm Eyewear Caviar Champagne series frame has gold-toned accents with Swarovski crystals, $370.

"Audrey" frames by Lulu Guinness features a hibiscus-like flower and rhinestones in an asymmetrical design. The glasses cost about $185.


Facial shapes

Round: Full and possessing curvilinear lines, with the width and length in the same proportions and few to no angles. Frames should make the face appear longer and thinner.

>> Slightly angular frames will narrow a face.
>> Avoid excessively rounded or square styles that exaggerate facial roundness.
>> A clear bridge widens the eyes, and colored temples add width.
>> The frames should be wider than they are deep.

Oval: Considered to be the ideal shape because of its balanced proportions. The chin is slightly narrower than the forehead and the cheekbones are typically high. Frames should keep the oval's natural balance.

>> Select frames that are as wide or wider than the broadest part of the face.
>> Avoid low, swooping temples that will cause imbalance.
>> Keep frames in proportion to the face.

Oblong: Face is longer than it is wide, has a long straight cheek line and sometimes a longer nose. Frames should break the length of the face, making it appear shorter and wider.

>> To shorten the face, try round, deeper low-triangle shapes or frames that use horizontal lines.
>> Decorative or contrasting temples can add width to the face, as can low temples.

Triangle: The triangular face has a narrow forehead that widens the cheek and chin areas. Frames should add width to the forehead while softening and narrowing the appearance of the jaw, chin and cheeks.

>> Frames should accent the eye area and be wide enough to balance the jaw line.
>> Frame tops should be slightly heavy; bottoms should angle inward.
>> Avoid low-temple styles. Try square, straight-top aviators, semi-rimless or any eyewear with emphasis on the top half of the frame.

Square: Characterized by a strong line, a broad forehead and a wide chin and cheekbones. Frames should make the face look longer.

>> Gently curved narrow styles will minimize squareness and lengthen the face.
>> The frames should be wider than the widest part of the face.
>> Frames should be more horizontal than vertical.
>> Select frames with weight on top.
>> Try oval shapes with temples in the center.

Diamond: Faces are narrow at the eye line and jaw line, with a small forehead and chin. This is the rarest of the face shapes. The cheekbones are often high and dramatic. Frames should widen the forehead and jaw and minimize the temples.

>> Choose frames that are heavy on top.
>> Frame sides can be straight or rounded. Rimless frames can be a good choice.
>> Square frames or frames with a straight top and curved bottom will also work.

Heart (or base-up triangle): The face shape has a very wide forehead and high cheekbones. The face narrows gradually to the chin. Minimize the width on the top of the face. Frames should add width below the eye line to offset the narrow chin.

>> Try frames that are wider at the bottom.
>> Low temples will add balance.
>> Other choices include aviator, butterfly or low-triangle styles. Frames with rounded tops and squared bottoms also work.
>> Very light colors and rimless styles are effective.

Courtesy of Vision Council of America

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