Hip to Be Square: A Guide to Rectangular Eyeglass Frames
July 21, 2022 • 11:13 PM
Oh, hey there, Super(wo)man! We almost didn’t recognize you behind those cute rectangular eyeglass frames.
When you’re ready to channel Clark Kent or Kara Danvers, a pair of classic rectangular frames will help you create your own intriguing alter ego. This frame shape is flattering on many faces and comes in a variety of rectangular shapes. (If there’s one thing we learned in geometry class, it’s that there are a lot of ways to make a quadrilateral!)
We’ll walk you through the different types of rectangular eyeglass frames, the lens options, the best face shapes for this frame, our favorite pairs of rectangular eyewear, and tips for styling them. By the end of this shopping guide, you’ll be ready to pick out a pair of rectangle eyeglasses that make you look and feel super (and give you super vision, too)!
Types of Rectangular Eyeglass Frames
If you line up a whole bunch of rectangle frames side-by-side, you’ll see a lot of variety. There are different ways that the frames will, well, frame the lenses. Plus, there are different materials and sizes. Each of these elements will affect your experience wearing your pair of rectangle glasses. So, let’s break them down.
The size of your frames has the biggest impact on how comfortably (and cutely!) they fit. Larger frames are in fashion, which is also a big win for functionality. Large frames allow for a greater lens width, giving you a wider field of vision and allowing room for specialty prescription lenses, like progressives.
But ultimately, your face shape should dictate the size of your frames. People with smaller faces will need smaller frames so that the width fits their face and the bottom of the frame doesn’t press into their cheeks.
Look for glasses with a width that’s similar to the width of your face. If you’re not sure what width you need, you can use this FAQ about choosing the right size glasses, or chat with a Pair Eyewear stylist.
Next up is the rim design — or the way the frames, well, frame your lenses. There are three main designs:
Full-rim frames: These frames go all the way around the lenses. This is the most classic frame design and will ensure your investment in prescription rectangular glasses can stand the test of time. It also happens to be what Clark Kent wears.
Half-rim frames: Also called semi-rimless frames, these retro-looking rims go across the top and halfway down the side of the lenses. They had a big moment about 10 years ago, but the trend is already starting to fade — likely because the heavy frame along the top of the lens can look like a second browline on the wrong face. If you like the half-rim look, you can get a more modern take by choosing full-frame glasses with a two-toned or dip-dyed frame.
Rimless frames: With this look, your lenses appear to be floating on your face. There’s no rim around the lenses at all, and the only hint of a frame is a metal nose bridge and temples (or the arms of the glasses that allow them to sit on your ears). This design creates a bit of an older, more bookish look. (It makes us picture President Franklin D. Roosevelt — not exactly a fashion icon, but an icon in his own right.) For a more on-trend interpretation, choose glasses with a clear frame instead.
And just when you thought you were finished assessing your frame options, there’s one more choice to make — frame material. Here are the main options:
Acetate frames: Acetate is made from plant products — like wood pulp and cotton — instead of from petroleum products like plastic, making acetate glasses frames better for the environment. Plus, this material is also lighter weight and more durable than plastic, allowing it to bend further without breaking. And unlike metal, acetate is hypoallergenic. Essentially, it’s the super material of the future, which is why we make Pair Eyewear from acetate.
Plastic frames: The hipster-chic frames you see on every face in Hollywood, plastic is practical and stylish. These frames offer better durability than metal frames (which can easily bend), and they come in flattering colors like tortoiseshell, matte black, and clear. But, some people find plastic frames heavy.
Metal frames: Metal frames typically allow for a very thin rim around your lenses, as well as a thin nose bridge and temples. The iconic aviator glasses are an example of metal frames. However, metal frames are much more likely to cause an allergic reaction than plastic or acetate frames because they often contain nickel. Metal frames also have silicone nose pads, which many glasses wearers find uncomfortable.
The Best Face Shapes for Rectangular Glasses
Speaking of your face shape, some will look better with rectangular glasses than others. For the most flattering fit, you want the shape of your glasses to contrast, rather than mimic, the shape of your face.
So, rectangular glasses look best with round faces, oval faces, and heart-shaped faces. People who have square faces or rectangular faces will look better with round frames or cat-eye glasses.
And if you’re not sure which face shape you have, you can find out by taking some measurements or having a little fun with a mirror and a dry erase marker.
4 Best Rectangular Eyeglass Frames
Even though eyeglass frames are often marketed differently toward men and women, most frames are actually unisex. So, you really can rock a pair of Clark Kent glasses even if you’re more of a Lois Lane.
Here are four of our favorite pairs of rectangular eyeglass frames. All of these frames are made from lightweight acetate and feature scratch-resistant, anti-reflective polycarbonate lenses. The lenses are available in blue-light filtering, light responsive transitions, and premium plus lenses (ultra-thin), and can be made with single-vision lenses or progressives. And you’ll have 30 days from your first try-on to return your glasses if they don’t work for you.
1. The Kirby
These oversize square frames are ideal for wider faces. They offer the largest lens width of any pair on this list, and are available in crystal clear, blue clear, pink clear, black, classic tortoise, and blue tortoise colors so you can express your individual style. Like all the frames on this list, The Kirby is available for both men and women.
2. The Larkin
This flattering pair of rectangular eyewear is the picture of timeless design. Available in six different colors, The Larkin is ideal for narrower faces. The lens size is the perfect not-too-big, not-too-small look for people who don't want an oversize frame.
3. The Finley
This is definitely the pair of glasses that our comic book alter ego would wear. The Finley has the quintessential rectangular frame shape. In a medium width, it suits most faces. And with a lens shape that's wider from side-to-side than it is from top-to-bottom, it's a great choice for people with high cheekbones. Choose from those same six colors we listed above — crystal clear, blue clear, pink clear, black, classic tortoise, and blue tortoise — to find the pair that flatters you.
4. The Casper
This medium-width frame is ideal if you have a narrower face or you like your glasses to fit snugly. The Casper has a romantic, bookish quality that we love. We imagine reading in the corner of our favorite coffee shop while wearing this classic design with a keyhole nose bridge. It’s a unisex design that’s available in six colors.
How to Style Your Rectangular Glasses
Glasses are an investment. Most people buy one or two pairs (a pair and a spare), plus maybe one pair of prescription sunglasses, and that’s about it. But with so little variety, our style gets ... stuck.
With Pair Eyewear’s clip-on magnetic Top Frames, you can change out the look of your glasses without having to buy a new pair of frames to match every outfit. Swap out your timeless tortoiseshell design for a little Rainbow Tie-Dye or Classic Cheetah. You can even add a Sun Top to turn your prescription glasses into sunglasses — without paying for a whole separate pair of prescription sunglasses.
Add a few of your favorite Top Frames at checkout with your rectangular eyeglasses, and you’ll be able make a quick costume change anytime — like quicker than Superman in a phone booth. We even have Superman Top Frames!
You Look Super
Rectangular eyeglass frames are a classic look that’s waiting for you to add your own contemporary twist. For a comfortable, timeless design, look for full-rim frames in a lightweight acetate. Then choose your frame size based on your face shape.
Round, oval, and heart-shaped faces look best with rectangular glasses. And for an ideal fit, you want the width of your frames to be about the same as the width of your face.
Try the rectangular eyeglass frames from Pair Eyewear to get more style from your selection, starting at just $60 (including prescription lenses!). You can change your look anytime by adding a magnetic Top Frame, so your pair is as unique as you.