It might sound discriminatory, but the term ‘Asian-fit’ is commonly used in the eyewear industry to describe sunglasses that fit the “typical” Asian face. Although the categorization might raise a few eyebrows, Asian-fit sunglasses have been a hit among not only natives to Asia but also non-Asians who also struggle to find a well-fitted pair for their facial features.
Could you possibly be one of those? Read on for the full answer!
Asian Fit vs. Standard Fit: What’s the Difference?
Asian fit is a term commonly used in the eyewear industry to refer to frames specifically aimed toward those with facial features that are common in Asian countries. These stand-out features usually include a lower nose bridge, higher cheekbones, smaller faces, broader or wider faces, or sometimes heart-shaped faces with wider temples and narrower jaws.
The problem with standard-fit eyewear on such facial characteristics is that the sunglasses tend to slide down the nose bridge, constantly hit the cheeks, leave behind nose pad marks, and even fall off your face when you do simple activities like bending over. Not to mention, ladies, your entire eye makeup could be tragically ruined since the lenses feel almost glued to the eyes and eyelashes (yikes!)
Thankfully, eyewear manufacturers have heard those concerns loud and clear and made some tweaks to the old-fashioned frames to address these issues, giving birth to a new, brilliant specialty category of eyewear: Asian-fit sunglasses.
Now, if you go to any store and take a close look at any of these specialty sunglasses, you’ll notice the first big difference is that they come with thicker nose pads made to bring that frame further away from the nose. Another unique feature is the shorter lens up and down intended to bring the lens just a little bit higher than it normally would sit in regular sunglasses.
- Note: While most companies advertise this type of sunglasses as ‘Asian-fit’ frames, it also goes by several other names like Universal, Global, Low Bridge, or Alternative, which all address the same concerns of Asian facial features.
So, how does an Asian-fit pair feel on your face? It simply sits in a higher place on the face while ensuring the lenses don’t make any contact whatsoever with the cheeks, all while the frame sits just a little further for a more comfortable fit. Yep, no contact, no pain, no marking, and definitely no fogging!
Does Race Matter?
As the name suggests, Asian-fit sunglasses are geared toward people in Asia with the common facial features found in this part of the world. But guess what? Non-Asians can also have lower nose bridges and higher cheekbones that make the standard ‘high-bridge’ frames ill-suited for their faces.
And, surprise surprise, Nadine Lustre, Priyanka Chopra, and Hoyeon Jung are all from Asian countries but they don’t seem to have an identical “Asian face.”
Not to mention, Asian-fit sunglasses assume that all Asians have flatter nose bridges, higher cheekbones, and even smaller faces – a BIG myth! In South India, for example, you’ll find many people with higher cheekbones, more buccal fat, and fuller lips. North Indians, on the other hand, may share the common facial characteristics of longer faces and noses.
And if you think about it, Asia consists of a total of 51 countries, representing 30% of the habitable surface on Earth. This huge continent is home to numerous cultures, ethnicities, physical, and facial features. Even more, facial profile varies significantly depending on not just race (biogeographic ancestry), but also age and gender. Studies have found that East Asians and West Asians have such different cultural backgrounds that lead them to perceive human faces quite differently.
Newsflash: Asians themselves might not even look like Asians, at least according to the common facial features in mainstream media. Many of the Asian figures we see on TV originate from East Asia, which is only one part of the other parts of the continent that are home to other, strikingly different (still Asian) facial features.
Thus, despite what the name might entail, Asian-fit frames are not only meant for Asians but also for those who share one or more facial features with them, regardless of their ethnic background.
Hmm… So Can I Wear Asian Fit Sunglasses? It Depends!
Sunglasses awkwardly sliding down your nose, an uncomfortable sensation on the bridge of your nose, hideous red marks, unexplainable headaches, and light constantly leaking from the sides – if any of those irksome issues sound familiar to you, Asian-fit sunglasses are exactly what you need.
If you already don’t know, "Asian" is an umbrella term that covers many cultures and ethnicities including South Asians, East Asians, and Southeast Asians, to count a few. People from these different parts of Asia may have strikingly different facial features when compared to one another.
Asians themselves might not have an “Asian face”!
This stereotype about the typical appearance of an Asian face is still persistent in many industries trying to sell products that cater to Asian features, including but not limited to Asian-fit sunglasses.
On the bright side, although such categorization might fail to represent different ethnicities and even erase individuality, it is still a good starting point for people who think they have the so-called Asian face and seeking a well-fitted pair of sunglasses that they couldn’t find otherwise.
In other words, you don’t have to come of Asian descent to enjoy the perks of these specialty frames. Can you relate to the above-mentioned problems with sunglasses? There’s your answer!
Best Perks of Asian Fit Sunglasses
Asian-fit frames are the ultimate savior for those who have long suffered the discomfort of wearing standard-fit sunglasses that only cater to a high or medium nose bridge.
These extra-special sunglasses have an edge over regular ones when it comes to comfort, featuring a wider and shorter design with a pantoscopic angle (reduced tilt) that creates a space between the lenses and the face.
This style is a huge game-changer for those with flatter nose bridges and higher cheekbones, which ensures the frames never touch the temple and cheek, help the glasses stay in place, prevent them from smudging and fogging up, and significantly reduces pain coming from ill-fitting sunglasses.
Do You Need Asian Fit Sunglasses Tho?
There’s definitely a fashion element to both Asian and standard-fit sunglasses that people look for, but the health aspect of sunglasses still remains the most crucial one, which may well be affected if you choose the wrong fit for your facial features.
When it comes to wearing any type of sunglasses, most of the health benefits stem from their UV light-protecting ability. And guess what happens when your pair is ill-fitted? UV light will constantly leak from the sides and ruin pretty much the whole point of wearing sunglasses.
Thus, picking a well-fitted pair of sunglasses is not just for the sake of aesthetic appeal and overall comfort, but also for much more important purposes like protecting the eyes themselves from age-related cataracts. A more graphic description of this condition is that it develops over time when UV light gets into the eyes and almost in a way ‘cooks’ the crystalline lens, making the lens turn take on a cloudy appearance (jeez!)
But wait, there's more!
Preventing cataracts is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the eye protection of sunglasses. Other issues you might develop when not wearing the correct sunglasses are pterygium, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Not to mention, the eyelids feature some of the thinnest tissues in the entire body, and UV light exposure causes more thinning of these already thin skin tissues, resulting in what’s commonly known as premature eye aging.
So, unless you’re in for nasty eye issues, early signs of aging, prominent eye bags, and dark circles, you do not want to skip your Asian-fit sunglasses if standard-fit pairs sit awkwardly on your face and don’t provide maximum protection.
To make a long story short, you do need Asian-fit sunglasses only if your face has the flatter nose bridge and higher cheekbones common in regions of Asia. Otherwise, a pair of good old-fashioned, standard-fit sunglasses will do the job!
Although the now-famous Asian-fit sunglasses might have raised a few eyebrows at first, it’s now in a league of its own in the eyewear industry. The brilliant idea behind these specialty sunglasses is simply higher nose pads, shorter frame heights, and curved temples, providing a comfortable fit for those with flatter nose bridges and higher cheekbones.
Also, if you’re a non-Asian but feature some of the common facial characteristics in Asia and still wearing the “standard-fit” sunglasses, you’re leaving so many benefits on the table – limiting the amazing perks of Asian-fit sunglasses to only those from Asia is such a waste of their remarkable, life-saving designs!
So who cares? Asian, African, American, or European, as long we all share certain facial profiles, the comfortable and fashion-forward Asian-fit sunglasses are our best bet. Race doesn’t matter, indeed!