Ageing with attitude: How to choose the perfect statement spectacles


Your glasses can say as much about you and your attitude to ageing as the clothes and accessories you wear each day, says Margaret Jennings.

WEARING glasses to read the paper or your digital device?

Just because you have reached a ‘certain age’ doesn’t mean you have to prop any old spectacles on your nose, hanging from a chain around your neck. 

Or, if you are short-sighted that you stick to the same old pair you bought a decade ago.

Glasses are such a fashion statement now that some people wear prescription-free ones just for effect. 

But the type of glasses you wear can say as much about you — and how you feel about your age — as the clothes and accessories you don each day.

Cork woman Eleanor McCarthy, who will be 66 next month, has obviously got her style down to a tee.

 A mother of five and grandmother of four, she has just been announced as the Specsavers Spectacle Wearer of the Year in the over-60 category.

SEEING CLEARLY: Cork woman Eleanor McCarthyhas been named the Specsavers Spectacle Wearer of the Year in the over-60 category. Picture: John Allen
SEEING CLEARLY: Cork woman Eleanor McCarthy has been named the Specsavers Spectacle Wearer of the Year in the over-60 category. Picture: John Allen

“I have two pairs of glasses and couldn’t do a thing without them. But aside from the practical aspect, I realise they do make a statement — the frames are very important. 

"I’ve tried them all down through the years. At the moment I have black square frames and brown round ones.”

It was wearing the black ones that nabbed her the prize. But when choosing glasses, aside from our individual style, we should consider our face shape and hair colour, taking into consideration how we physically change as we age, says Claire Morrin, ophthalmic store partner at the Opera Lane outlet.

“Because skin becomes thin and loses elasticity as we age, for instance, frames need to be comfortable on the bridge of the nose,” she says.

So who does she think are good examples among older celebrities? 

“Jane Fonda, who is 78, always looks glam. Meryl Streep, 67, has a real range in all her films. I like 70-year-old Diane Keaton’s bold styles. And Susan Sarandon really brings a youthful look for someone almost 70.”


British model Twiggy is leading the way at age 66 with her own Aurora range for Specsavers which feature crystals, adding glamour as well as practicality. 

She speaks about “being on trend” in her YouTube promotional videos, if a hint was needed for any of us, still clinging on to our first pair.

Next week, in response to feedback from customers all aged over 60, a new range is being introduced by Specsavers called the ComFit. 

Bearing in mind that our skin does thin as we age, they include a discreet silicone lining on the bridge of the frame and extra soft arm tips, so that glasses don’t irritate the delicate skin behind the ears.

Meanwhile, we asked Claire to give some tips for choosing glasses:



Rectangular faces generally have a deeper forehead, longer nose, or square jaw. We recommend a frame with a strong brow line to make your face appear wider. Avoid shallow frames that lengthen your appearance.


Round faces tend to be fairly short with a wider forehead, full cheeks and a rounded chin. If that’s you, consider angular styles as they draw attention to the top half of the face. Avoid oval or round-shaped frames.


If your face width and length are proportionate and you’ve got a broad forehead and a strong jaw, you’re probably in this category. Consider oval or round frames as they soften the jawline. Avoid angular frames as these will emphasise your angular facial features.


Light grey

Try a rich deep colour frame like cherry red or sea blue — they’ll complement your natural hair tone. .

Dark grey

Bright-coloured frames in metal or plastic really suit people with dark grey hair. Avoid frames that are too heavy or dark.


If you are blonde with honey and bronze tones, try lightweight styles in tortoiseshell and amber to mimic your natural colouring. If you have cool, platinum undertones then experiment with pastel colours that complement your hair without overwhelming your face.

Light brown

Bronze and other warm-coloured metals will complement any red tones in your hair while light tortoiseshell will bring out any ash highlights.

Dark brown

Go for light-coloured metal frames like silver or gunmetal, as well as black or dark tortoiseshell.


You’ll look great in any dark colour, from black to gunmetal and dark green, especially in frames that have a simple shape. Avoid pale colours as they may appear washed out against your dark colour.


Try to reflect the warmth with reddish browns, golds, coppers, or tortoise-shell colours. Avoid yellow tones that will have a dulling effect on your red hair.

Midlife artist

Ageing with attitude: How to choose the perfect statement spectacles

It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond, Julia Cameron, €13.23 

If you were a fan of the hugely popular The Artist’s Way written over a quarter of a century ago and still a big seller then you will welcome author Julia Cameron’s new take on focussing on our creative selves as we age.

Now aged 65, Cameron is in a good position to guide people through what she believes is the most creatively fulfilling stage of life yet.

The age theme is honoured by inspiring stories of retirees who discovered new artistic pursuits and passions, but it still includes the 12-week step-by-step programme, including the ‘morning pages’, stream-of-consciousness daily writing and the artist dates, which made the original book such a bestseller.

So you may just want to dig out your old copy.

Ageing well

Ageing with attitude: How to choose the perfect statement spectacles

Are you fed up with the opinion that older people have nothing left to offer? 

If so, you can do something about it, by contributing towards Positive Ageing Week now in its 14th year.

Organised by Age Action, it takes place from September 26 to October 2.

A constantly updated list of events is available on and organisers can also register their own event.

Driving home the message at the launch of Positive Ageing Week recently was positive ager himself, celebrity hotelier, Francis Brennan, who hosted a ‘Senior Safari’ in Dublin Zoo.

Ageing quote

“I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions"

— US author Stephen Covey

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