What Are ‘Alternative Fit’ Sunglasses?

Your average pair of designer sunglasses is pretty simple in terms of both form and function. Anybody not terribly interested in owning a brand-name pair can visit virtually any convenience store or pharmacy in America and pick up a cheap pair that will at least do the job. But that’s not true of everyone. There are some people who require ‘alternative fit’ sunglasses, a kind of sunglasses that isn’t necessarily available at every corner store.

So what are alternative fit sunglasses? They are sunglasses made for a certain kind of face. Also known as ‘low-bridge’ and ‘elevated fit’ sunglasses, they are made more for the Asian face than anything else, according to the Fashionista website. Fashionista published a great article in late August (2018) describing the origins of one particular brand of alternative fit sunglasses from a New York direct-to-consumer designer.

Standard Fit Don’t Fit

According to the Fashionista piece, standard fit sunglasses tend to work just fine with European, African, and Latino facial features. They do not work so well for Asian faces. Covry founder Athina Wang knows this all too well. Growing up, she had a terrible time finding sunglasses that fit her face well. But for her, it was more than just looks.

Having a lower-bridge nose meant that standard fit sunglasses were always sliding off her face unless she tightened the earpieces. But that caused headaches. She also experienced acne breakouts and hyperpigmentation issues where the frames made constant contact with her skin. Her sunglasses even left indentations in her cheeks.

Wang set out to change things by taking a trip to Asia. She discovered that Asian eyewear manufacturers made products specifically designed to fit Asian faces. She brought what she learned from her trip back to the U.S. before opening her own eyewear business. Now her company sells alternative fit sunglasses that actually fit the faces of those who wear them.

Every Face Is Different

Olympic Eyewear, a company that designs and produces more than a dozen brands of fashion sunglasses, explains that every face is different. Designers focus their efforts on the most common facial features with the intent of creating products that can be adjusted to a certain degree. But they also note that there are plenty of people for whom standard fit sunglasses just don’t work.

Olympic team members also explain that a good fit is key to comfort. Most of us tend to think of fit in terms of its aesthetic appeal. In other words, do our sunglasses complement our facial features? But fit and comfort are about more than just looks. They are also about how a pair of sunglasses actually feels while being worn.

If a person’s sunglasses pinch the nose, it is quite likely that person will stop wearing those glasses. That means either buying a new pair or going without. The same is true when a pair of sunglasses causes pressure behind the ears or leaves lines in the cheeks. If a pair doesn’t fit, they are just uncomfortable. That’s the way it is.

Worth the Cost

The lack of comfort leads to the inevitable question of whether purchasing a pair of specially designed alternative fit sunglasses is worth it. If you are the kind of person who finds it difficult to function when uncomfortable, the answer should be obvious. It is well worth spending a bit more on shades that do not pinch or cause acne breakouts.

Now you know what alternative fit sunglasses are. If you have a lower-bridge nose and round cheeks, the alternative fit concept might be just what you’re looking for.