When every pair is too large

You try dozens of frames at your local store. 

The adult glasses are much too large. The kid’s glasses are thick and clunky at best. Neon with cartoon characters at worst.

There’s only a handful that fit, and you don’t like any of them. Have you had this frustrating experience?

You may need petite glasses

If you have a small face, you may need petite glasses. 

Petite glasses are made for adults on the small end of the size range. Whether you are petite all over, or an average sized person with a petite face, petite glasses were made for women like you.

The sizes, shapes, and styles of petite frames are all specifically designed to fit and flatter small faces. If you want frames that look gorgeous on you and fit comfortably, read on.

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Is your face is long and thin? Oblong face shape?
Check out my narrow face glasses guide. The tips are different.

Those hard-to-find sizes

Did you know that glasses come in sizes? Most people don’t!

Learning what size you need is the first step to looking great in your frames.

Then, finding that size is the next challenge.

Best size glasses for small faces

Lens Width:  If you are a woman with a small face, try glasses in size 48 to 50 lens width, or as small as 45 for very petite faces.  

Lens Height:  Ladies with small faces particularly struggle with lenses that have too much height, swallowing the whole face behind them. A lens height of 28 to 34 works best. You can go up to 35 or 36 if you need progressive lenses, or for that modern, “oversized but I did this on purpose” look. 

Bridge Width:  A bridge size of 15 to 18 is most common for small faces.

Temple Length:  Many petite face ladies find the temples on adult frames are too long, causing them to slide down the face. But, the temples on kid’s frames are too short, causing them to pinch behind the ear. Split the difference and look for temple length between 130 to 140.

Total Frame Width:  A total frame width between 123mm to 132mm should work well for most small face ladies, but the smallest faced could go as low as 114mm. 

Learn to read glasses sizes here.

Best shape glasses for small faces

The best shapes of glasses for small faces will be short shapes, not tall shapes. 

Small faces are easily overwhelmed by too much frame height. When you shorten the lens height, you naturally end up with shorter shapes. 

Favor short shapes:  Rectangular, oval, and classic cat-eye 

Avoid tall shapes:  Square, round, or contemporary cat-eye 

Tall shapes (left) overwhelm a small face. Short shapes (right) are more proportionate.


This means:

  1. Stores are carrying fewer short rectangular and oval frames. If you haven’t updated your frames in a while, you may find that the in-store selection (and online, for that matter) is very different than when you bought your last pair. One more reason why it is hard to find glasses for small faces!
  2. You can probably pull off a bit more lens height than you did in the past, since it is “the look” of the moment. My current frames have the same width as my old pair, but are nearly double in height! If you are feeling adventurous, you might consider a pair with a few mm more lens height than your old pair.

My lens height doubled when I updated my look.


(I went 5 years without replacing my glasses because I couldn’t find anything I liked!)


There are many frame styles that are particularly flattering to small faces. 

Try glasses that are:

  • Thinner 
  • Semi-rimless 
  • Transparent acetate

Go Thinner

I used to prefer acetate frames because I thought metal frames were boring. Then, I discovered there are plenty of stylish, colorful frames in metal. And because they can be made thinner, they are very flattering on small faces.

If you are like me, you may have found that thick frames overwhelm your face.

Of course, in my case, most of those frames were too big all around. I was delighted to discover that with the right size, I can pull off a little thickness. You might find the same is true, with correct sizing.

Still, many women with small faces find that thinner is better.

This makes sense: there is simply less face to distribute the thickness around. That’s why most petite frames are thin to medium.

If you want to go really thin, favor metal frames, which come the thinnest. Or, go for thin plastic frames (which will still be thicker than the thinnest metal frames).

Semi-Rimless frames are less obtrusive

Also known as half-rim, this style has no material on the lower half of the frame, leaving the lenses exposed.

This is a great option for small face ladies. Less rim means less material to crowd the limited real estate of your small face.

This virtually eliminates the common complaint of lenses with too much height. Since there is no lower rim, the height of the lens is less obvious. This creates a subtle, unobtrusive look similar to rimless frames, but can have a more stylish look thanks to the upper rim.

Since the lower rim is absent and the lens height is therefore less obvious, this also means you can get away with more lens height than you could on a full-rim frame. This is helpful for bifocal or progressive lenses which require more lens height to accommodate the prescription.

Also, the top-heavy shape of half-rim glasses catches the eye at the top, creating the effect of lengthening the face from the browline downward. This has an attractive, balancing effect on short face shapes, such as round and square face shapes, which are common in women with small faces.

Choosing your color

Many people (petite and otherwise) find that black frames make their face look washed out. That’s especially true as we age and lose the coloration of our skin.

If this sounds like you, avoid black frames or very dark brown/tortoise.

Instead of black, try blue or burgundy. Instead of dark brown, try tan or a lighter tortoise. If your hair is greying, grey or silver frames are very flattering.

Try bold colors with thinner frames

There is a relationship between color and thickness. It makes sense that thick black frames will be more assertive than thin black frames, simply because there’s so much more of it on the thicker pair.

If you like the look of thick glasses, but haven’t been able to make them work, try a dramatic color on a thinner frame. That gives you the bold look you want, without overwhelming your features.

A light, bright color that is opaque will look very assertive. For example, opaque white, turquoise, or pink will pop off your face. Colors like this might look best on a thinner frame, just the same as very dark colors.

Clear plastic frames are both subtle and stylish

Transparent frames are a popular at the moment. They may be totally colorless, have just a hint of color, or rest halfway between clear and opaque. This gives the frame a subtle, barely there quality that helps the frames blend in with your face for an unobtrusive appearance. 

Transparent frames can be worn thicker since the transparency makes it more subtle in appearance than the same frame would be in an opaque color. Also, you have a little more wiggle room on the shape, since the shape is less obvious on a transparent frame than the same frame would be with full, opaque color.

Where to buy glasses for small faces

Online is usually the best place to find specialty sizing for any product. Using the keyword “Petite Glasses” helps you find frames that were specifically designed for small faces.

However, not all glasses that will fit and flatter small faces are marked as “petite.” Once you learn your glasses size, you can use that to search for frames in the same size range.

Ready to love your glasses?

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How to Order Home Try-on

1. Click the “Home Try-on: Free” button under any frame to select that frame.

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2. A checkmark will appear when frame is selected. Unclick to remove.

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3. Once 5 frames are selected, Home Try-on is added to Cart.

(Must choose 5).

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4. Checkout to complete your order.

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