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Sunglass and Eyeglass Frames

While lenses are the most important component in sunglasses, frames are essential to complete the deal. Many materials are available to satisfy durability, color, safety, allergy, price, and style considerations.

Materials used factor large in the cost of sunglasses. Inexpensive styles typically use plastic or wire, while higher-end brands such as Maui Jim, Revo, and Serengeti use high-strength, lightweight composite, acetate, or sophisticated metal alloy materials. Higher-end sunglass manufacturers also offer special features such as tension springs to enhance comfort and fit.

Wrap-around styles afford more protection from ambient light, direct light, and glare from angles other than your field of vision. Coupled with wrap-around lenses, this style provides the best overall eye protection.

Plastic
  • Zyl/Zylonite (cellulose acetate) is the most used and most common plastic material used. It's Very cost effective and allows thin designs and a large variety of colors and textures. Tends to discolor and become brittle with exposure to heat and as it ages.
  • Nylon -- very lightweight, almost unbreakable, and very resistant to temperature changes. Available in a variety of colors. Hypoallergenic. Tend to dry out and become brittle with age. Can be prevented by soaking the nylon in hot water once a month. Can also be made with a combination of nylon and rubber, which are mostly used for sports eyewear and are very durable, flexible, and weather resistant. Nylon/rubber styles are also available in a variety of colors.
  • Polyamides/co-polyamides – nylon blends that provide enhanced durability, flexibility, lightweight, and weather resistance over standard nylon materials. Very scratch resistant. Available in a variety of colors.
  • Kevlar – used to produce bullet proof vests. Very durable and weather resistant.
  • Polycarbonate -- highly impact resistant. Used mainly for sports or occupations where safety from impact/shattering is required.
  • Propionate (cellulose propionate) – can be made thinner, lighter, and more stable to weather conditions than Zyl, but also suffers from discoloration.
Metal
  • Aluminum – lightweight and highly corrosion-resistant. Offers a very unique, stylish look.
  • Monel – an alloy trademarked by Inco Corporation. Monel is rustproof, chemically resistant, and very malleable. It’s the most widely used material. Can be plated with palladium or other non-nickel metals.
  • Titanium – lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant. Commonly used in high-tech aircraft and aerospace applications. Available in a variety of colors. May also be alloyed with other metals, e.g., copper or nickel.
  • Beryllium – steel-gray in appearance, a less expensive alternative to titanium. Originally used by NASA. Corrosion and oxidation (tarnish) resistant; preferable around salt water environments, or for those with high skin acidity. Lightweight, strong, and flexible. It’s increasing in popularity.
  • Platinum -- very expensive but worth the price. Non-corrosive, strong, and durable. Highly resistant to abrasions.
  • Stainless steel – an alloy of iron and chromium. Great look. Corrosion resistant, weather resistant, durable, and strong.
  • Ticral – a titanium, copper, and chrome alloy. Hypoallergenic due to absence of nickel. Exceedingly lightweight. Similar properties to titanium, but at a much lower cost. Both strong and durable. Available in a variety of colors.
  • Flexon – a titanium alloy developed by the US Naval Ordnance Lab. Patents owned by Marchan. One of the most flexible metals in the world, its ‘memory’ properties prevent bending or twisting out of shape. 25% lighter than standard metals, enhancing comfort. Great for sport.
Uncommon & Exotic Materials

Some rather uncommon frame materials, typically used for alloying, plating, or stylish accents include silver, gold, leather, wood and bone, semi-precious or precious stones, and rhinestones.

Face Shape Considerations


There are three basic considerations for choosing the correct frames:
  • Frame and face shape should contrast
  • Frame and face sizes should be proportional
  • Frame should complement your best feature (e.g., green frames to match green eyes).
Faces can be categorized into several basic face shapes: round; oval; oblong; base-down triangle; base-up triangle; diamond; and square. Here are some guidelines on frame selection to enhance your particular face style.
  • Round – wear angular, square, or bold frames
  • Oval – considered the ideal face shape due to its balanced proportions. Wear any style.
  • Oblong – wear geometric or angular frames
  • Base-down triangle – narrow forehead, widens at cheeks and chin. Add width and emphasis to the narrow part of the face by wearing frames accented with color or other accents on the top half.
  • Base-up triangle – very wide at the top and small at the bottom. Minimize the width of the top of the face by wearing frames that are wider at the bottom, light in color and material, and rimless.
  • Diamond – narrow at the eyes and jaw with high, striking cheekbones. Accent the eyes by wearing frames with a distinctive brow line. Oval or cat-eye can work as well.
  • Square – characterized strong jaw line and wide forehead. Wear narrow frames, and narrow ovals.
Color

Your complexion, hair color and eye color help determine whether you are a “warm” or “cool” person and will help you choose frame colors that will look best on you. A cool complexion has blue or pink undertones while a warm complexion has a “peaches and cream” or yellow cast. Olive skin is cool since it has a mixture of blue and yellow. Almost-violet and black eyes are cool while pale blue-gray and light brown eyes are warm.

Cool hair colors include strawberry blond, platinum, blue-black, white, salt-and-pepper and “dishwater” brown. Warm hair colors include golden blond, flat black, brown-gold, “carrot” and “dirty” gray. So, are you “cool” or “warm”? Suggested colors for warm people include camel, khaki, gold, copper, peach, orange, coral, off white, red, warm blue and blond tortoise.

For cool coloring, the best eyeglass frame hues are black, rose-brown, blue-gray, plum, magenta, pink, jade, blue and demi-amber (darker) tortoise. Today’s popular metal frames work best for people with warm tone.

That should do it! Good luck in your purchase!!

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