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How do I Choose the Best Round Eyeglasses?

By Elizabeth West
Updated May 21, 2024
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Round eyeglasses may be worn for fashion or vision correction. First popularized in the 1960s by the hippie movement and more recently by the literary character Harry Potter, these glasses look best on angular face shapes. They come in many different styles, including rimless and sunglasses. Lifestyle and activity level, as well as prescription strengths, should be considered when choosing round eyeglasses.

Early glasses were all round, since it was the easiest shape to make at the time. Around 1830, oval and rectangular lenses began to appear. John Lennon of the Beatles favored round eyeglasses, and they became a defining style of the hippie movement. Modern round glasses are easier for more people to wear, and often have more angular elements and slightly larger circles.

Glasses look best when they compliment the shape of the wearer's face. Round eyeglasses can soften square faces and strong jawlines. On a round face, they will accentuate curves and make the person appear larger or younger. People with oval faces can wear most shapes, but frames that are wider than the widest part of the face should be avoided by everyone. Many people like rimless glasses because they seem to disappear on the face and don't accentuate the spectacled look.

Round eyeglasses are available in wire-rimmed frames, tortoiseshell, and plastic in bold and delicate colors. Many designers offer sunglasses with round lenses, jumping on recent vintage and geek-chic trends. The wearer should choose a hue that contrasts and flatters skin tone and hair color. A cool skin tone looks best with cool colors like blue, silver, plum, and a darker tortoise. Warm tones can wear gold, copper, red, peach, and a lighter, blond tortoise.

Active people may choose contacts, but if this is not possible, frames for round eyeglasses can be made from high-impact plastic or titanium to withstand accidents. High-index lenses can reduce the thickness on the edge of the glasses. Nearsighted people who are usually stuck in Coke-bottle glasses can choose thinner polycarbonate lenses. A plastic frame hides thicker lenses better than a wire one.

In addition to John Lennon, some other famous wearers of round eyeglasses include George Burns, Dominick Dunne, and Mohandas Gandhi. Folk singer John Denver also wore round glasses, making them popular well into the 1970s. In 1997, author J.K. Rowling released the first Harry Potter book, and the black-haired boy wizard with the round lenses started a new eyewear craze. No matter what frame style is chosen, round eyeglasses give the wearer a distinctive look.

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Discussion Comments
By Emilski — On Nov 12, 2011

@jcraig - I think a lot of it depends on the style of glasses, too. I have tried on some designer eyeglasses that were round, and they seem like they looked okay. It might be that the more well designed glasses are made to accent a face better without standing out.

I think a lot of the reason older people choose round glasses is just for the convenience. I have a couple pairs of glasses with more regtangular lenses, and you can always see the frame of the glasses. If you stare forward but look down, you aren't even looking through the lenses anymore. A lot of people have bifocals, so they need the larger frames, so that they can get the full use out of their glasses.

By jcraig — On Nov 11, 2011

I don't really know how to describe my face, but I guess it would probably be angular. Whenever I have tried on round eyeglass frames, I just didn't like them because they were too big in general. I have a smaller face, and the glasses were too noticeable. I even tried some rimless eyeglass frames, but that didn't really help.

I don't know that I really see a lot of women wearing round eyeglass frames, so maybe it is more something that is better suited to men, since they usually have larger faces.

By stl156 — On Nov 10, 2011

One of the things I see and hear about a lot now are people who wear glasses with fake lenses in them just for the style. When I was growing up, I never thought I would see the day when people chose to wear glasses when they didn't need them!

Whenever I think about people wearing round sunglasses, I almost exclusively think of the colored hippie glasses from the 60s and 70s. Now that I am thinking about it, I don't know that I have ever seen someone wearing round sunglasses that weren't some color besides the normal brown or black.

By live2shop — On Nov 09, 2011

When I went to look at eyeglass frames, I tried on the round rimless kind. They just didn't look good at all. Also, they didn't give enough lens area to really see all around.

We used to call these round rimless frames, "granny glasses." Besides being popular with grandmas from a generation or two ago, they were so popular with those in the hippie culture. Even people who didn't need visual aid wore them for the effect.

Male and female can look good in them. I think you know right away if this shape is for you.

By manykitties2 — On Nov 08, 2011

@popcorn - If you are looking at round glasses frames it is definitely a good idea to buy some cheap eyeglasses before committing yourself to the look. I got a pair of round eyeglasses online for less than $10.

The pair of glasses I purchased were just reading glasses, but they certainly gave me a feel for the look. Another option you can try is a pair of cheap round sunglasses.

For myself I decided to not go with the look as I felt the glasses made my face look too round. It seems to me like you need a long face to pull round eyeglasses off.

By popcorn — On Nov 08, 2011

When I went to get my prescription glasses I was surprised at the number of round eyeglass frames for men that were available. It seems like the John Lennon style of glasses are quite popular these days. I have always found the look rather quirky, and I am not sure if it really suits me.

Do you think it is a good idea to buy some cheap glasses with a round frame just to try out the look for a few days?

I already have a pair of designer eyeglasses that I purchased, but I would certainly be open to another pair on the side for a different look.

By strawCake — On Nov 07, 2011

@Monika - I know Harry Potter re-popularized these eyeglass frames, but I think round frames can make someone look plenty stylish and studious. I mean, provided they don't have a round face that is.

I have a friend who wears round eyeglasses, and they look great on her. And I also feel like I've seen recent photos of Johnny Depp wearing round eyeglass frames. He certainly doesn't look silly or "wizard-like" in his round glasses!

Still though, I feel like the key to finding the best round eyeglasses is to try a bunch of pairs on. When I went to the eye doctor the last time, I made sure to bring my contacts so I could actually see what I looked like when I tried the glasses on. Bringing a friend along doesn't hurt either.

By Monika — On Nov 06, 2011

I actually do kind of have an angular face, but I didn't choose round eyeglass frames. Instead, I chose square shaped frames. I think they compliment my face fine, and they look a bit more stylish than round frames.

I know Harry Potter has popularized round eyeglasses again, but I'm an adult woman, not a young wizard! Round eyeglasses just don't go well with my "look." Plus, since those movies came out, everyone associates round frames with Harry Potter! I'd rather my glasses make me look smart or something.

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