Lorali Downes sees glasses as a piece of art you wear on your face. And as the owner of Lorali’s Optical on Main Street in Bellevue, she’s got a knack for choosing the perfect frames for her customers.
“You never want to look like you have to wear glasses,” she said. “It’s the first thing people notice. And ill-fitting is ill-fitting. Cheap is cheap. It’s probably the most important accessory just because it’s your eyes.”
Picking out the perfect frames isn’t just about style, either. If your glasses don’t fit correctly, you won’t see out of them as well.
“Say the bridge is too big, the frames are too big. They’re going to be sliding all the time, so your vision is never where it should be. There’s an optical center in a lens where it’s crystal clear,” Downes said.t
Downes goes to two large trade shows a year where she selects the frames her shop will carry — one in Milan and one in Tokyo. She finds indie designers who build glasses out of quality materials. Her shop offers unique frames built by those artisan companies.
Heard of Luxottica? Based in Milan, the company has a stronghold on the eyewear market. Its house brands include Ray-Ban and Oakley. Luxottica also makes glasses for Miu Miu, Versace, and Ralph Lauren, and many more mainstream brands. In fact, it can be a challenge to find frames that are not made by Luxottica. But that’s where Downes comes in. She does not carry any Luxottica products for reasons she’s passionate about.
As for finding the perfect glasses, Downes says there are no hard-and-fast rules. She doesn’t like to put her customers in a box. However, there are guidelines. On the following pages, with Downes’ help, we take a closer look at what makes a pair a perfect match.
Go Big or Go Home
Ishea Brown isn’t shy when it comes to eyewear. If you read her blog, Six Twenty Seven, you know this girl likes an adventure. Thick frames work well with her round face and big hair. Plus, bright colors don’t overwhelm her face. “Blue I picked because she wears black and is quite edgy. I wanted to contrast that with a big pop of color,” said Downes. Rounder frames complement her big eyes. Sometimes, bold is better.
Lisa James, who works at Hedge & Vine in Bellevue, likes glasses that will go with anything. “She likes tortoise shell, a little clunky, classic but with a little edge,” said Downes. While all of these pairs look similar, notice the subtle differences: black versus tortoise shell, a thick bridge versus a thin bridge, a little embellishment versus truly simple. It all works, depending on your personal taste.
Dana Taft has a lot of glasses. As a painter with an artistic eye, she likes to mix it up. That frees her from being tied to any one pair. “She’s a little offbeat in the best way in the world,” said Downes. Because Taft likes to experiment with color, Downes put her in these bold yellow frames (1). She says the yellow works well because of her pink complexion. The yellow would clashe on olive skin tones. Taft also looks good in darker frames (3), but they make a bigger statement.
Fit For Facial Features
It’s important to find frames that enhance your features. With Avi Soor, Downes was determined to find darker, bolder frames. When Soor tried on lighter or thinner frames, they tended to get washed out on his face. As the menswear blogger of Suited Soor, he often is making a stylish impression with his outfits. He needed frames that can follow suit.
Fit For Facial Features
Like all things in the fashion world, eyewear has trends. “Round and classic is really big,” said Downes. Diane Kroll, director of early childhood services at Puget Sound Educational Service District, has long gravitated toward rounder frames. But she loves glasses that have a unique quality. Notice the high bridge or the subtle pink along the width of the frame (1). “The pink takes them from being ordinary glasses to being really special,” said Downes.