As worn by Morpheus in The Matrix as well as Belgian sleuth, Hercule Poirot, pince-nez glasses are iconic eyewear. However, after falling out of fashion like the monocle, they can be very hard to buy.

Today, pince-nez glasses have evolved to become predominantly reading aids. Their appearance has also changed to embrace modern designs rather than retain their vintage roots.

In the following guide, you can read about them as reading glasses and discover the best pince-nez glasses as well as whether they will suit your face shape.

Three views of pince nez frames


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Best Pince Nez Glasses Frames

Finding the right glasses is never easy. Therefore, when searching for specialised glasses with a particular style, it can be much harder.

Before we go any further, take note that pince-nez glasses are almost exclusively for reading. In fact, we weren’t able to find any prescription pince nez glasses.

If you’re looking for pince-nez glasses for reading, you can use this guide to find the best pair for you. However, if you’re looking for stylish prescription lenses, you might want to check out the best monocles instead.

Old Vs Modern Pince Nez Glasses

anton chekov wearing pince nez glasses

These days, pince-nez frames are quite rare but there are modern ones in circulation. Nevertheless, we tried over a dozen different pince-nez frames from a number of retailers. Overall, we were disappointed with the general quality.

For instance, we found that although frames by Soolala and Doubletake were great budget options, they had a tendency to wear quite quickly. Consequently, the lenses scratched soon after purchase and the spring bridges would lose their strength causing them to fall off.

Nevertheless, both were reasonably good glasses and can be found on Amazon for as little as $10.

However, we were particularly impressed by the offerings from ThinOptics. Walking the fine line between modern and retro, these were high quality pince-nez reading glasses that weren’t much more expensive that the others we tried.

ThinOptics Pince Nez Reading Glasses Review

thinoptics universal pod case blue pince nez reading glassesLaunched in 2014, ThinOptics is an ambitious startup founded upon modernising an age-old product. Inspired by the idea of storing glasses on the back of your cell phone, ThinOptics was born as the natural evolution of traditional pince-nez glasses.

During 30 months of development, hundreds of prototypes were designed on thousands of noses. Today, they’re an award-winning tool that make our technology-led lives more convenient.

Overview of ThinOptics Pince Nez Reading Glasses

  • Price: $19.77 Glasses + Adhesive Case [Buy Now]
  • Options: Glasses + iPhone Case [Buy Now For $31.10] Or Glasses + Keychain Case [Buy Now For $24.95]
  • Country Of Origin: USA
  • Brand: ThinOptics
  • Material: Nitinol & Polycardonate
  • Lens Options: +1 To +2.5 Correction
  • Lenses Available: Clear
  • Free Try At Home? No

Probably the thinnest and most comfortable reading glasses we tried, we absolutely loved the concept of modernisation pince-nez glasses that had been around for centuries.

With their patented Flex-Fit technology, these frames are made with a nitinol bridge, a titanium alloy. This means they can fit to any nose size without any concerns for fitting.

Additionally, the material is resilient, which means that they bend like springs without losing their strength over time.

ThinOptics Convenience

thinoptics keychain reading pince nez glassesWhen Teddy Shalon, founder and creator of ThinOptics, was helping out a friend read his phone when he had forgotten his reading glasses, he was inspired. And he wasn’t misguided either.

We ordered the ThinOptics frames bundled with the keychain case, which was extremely convenient. The ThinOptics saved the day a number of times when reading a map for directions, checking a menu or ticking off a shopping list.

However, we regretted not having bought the phone case instead. As we found ourselves regularly checking emails, we felt that we missed out on that extra convenience of having the glasses integrated into our iPhone case.

Comfort & Durability

thin optics iphone caseDuring those late nights gentlemen’s literature, we found that the ThinOptics were very comfortable for long wear. They perch nicely on the bridge of the nose without applying too much pressure yet still feel sturdy enough to not fall off.

Although ThinOptics are designed to bend without breaking using new ultra-flexible titanium alloy, these reading glasses are guaranteed for life, which is a huge comfort.

Being tucked safely on our keychain, we doubt that we’ll ever need to replace them. However, it’s a relief to know that ThinOptics care about their customers. According to them, most people own 8 pair of reading glasses and buy at least 2 a year.

Even if they’re cheap, they can be replaced when damaged. Having playful dogs at home, it does offer some peace of mind! Given that they’re always with us, we won’t have to rashly buy a new pair every time we leave our normal glasses at home.

ThinOptics Styling

thinoptics pince nez reading glasses colorsFinally, we loved that you aren’t just restricted to a single black pair of frames. In fact, there are currently 6 colours which you can choose from:

  • Azure Blue
  • Jet Black
  • Crystal Clear
  • Ruby Red
  • Amethyst Purple
  • Espresso Brown

In our review, we tried the jet black colour, which we found stately and refined. However, if you want a pop of colour, there’s plenty to choose from.

ThinOptics Conclusion

Unless you’re adamant about buying traditionally vintage pince-nez glasses, we highly recommend these frames. Having tried them over a number of weeks, we’ve quickly begun to realise that we can’t live without them.

Furthermore, they’re very inexpensive for what they offer. You can find them on Amazon starting at $19.77 for a pair of frames and an adhesive case. However, the keychain option is available for as little as $24.95 and the iPhone case for only $31.10.

What Are Pince-Nez Glasses?

theodore roosevelt pince nez glassesMeaning “pinch nose” in French, the Pince-Nez dates back to the 15th Century. It originally started as a so-called “fingerpiece” that was held in one hand over the eyes. However, it evolved over the centuries until the 19th Century.

By this time, it was an enormously popular alternative to the monocle and was often worn by both men and women. Usually, they were fixed to a chain or rope, which would let them dangle from the neck or waistcoat when unworn.

Today, pince-nez glasses are often associated with 19th Century intellectuals. After all, they were worn by writers such as Mark Twain and Anton Chekov as well as Theodore Roosevelt. However, they were made popular once again by both Laurence Fishburne who played Morpheus in The Matrix as well as David Suchet’s BBC interpretion of Hercule Poirot.

Otherwise, Pince-Nez faded well out of fashion as daily eyewear. It wasn’t until startups such as ThinOptic began using the original designs as inspiration for modern reading glasses.

Will Pince-Nez Glasses Work For Me?

man & woman wearing thinoptics pince nez glassesAs they’re predominantly reading glasses today, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever wear them when you’re out and about. However, sometimes you’ll want to look your best when checking out a menu or reading Bespoke Unit’s latest guides during your daily commute.

As pince-nez frames are often very small, they tend to be universal for any head size. This also plays a role with face shapes as we’ll discuss in the next section.

ThinOptics offers a wide variety of different colours. Therefore, refer to our guide to choosing glasses to see which would suit your skin tone best.

Another consideration is your own style or persona. Are you someone with classic tastes or would you consider yourself to be eccentric? If you’re not sure, the guide linked above can help too.

Will Pince-nez Glasses Suit My Face Shape?

Firstly, the frames above are only offered in a single size. Luckily, they’re small and well-designed in a way that we believe if universal to all face shapes. Therefore, if you’re thinking about getting those, we feel that you can skip this step.

However, if you’ve found other pince nez and you’re wondering whether they will suit your facial structure, you can use the guide below.

If you already know your face shape, select yours below to avoiding scrolling:

Additionally, we suggest that you refer to our full face shape guide if you don’t yet know what your face shape is.

Ideal Matches

The following face shapes are perfect matches for pince nez glasses. That said, we may offer a few suggestions to make them even better.

Graphic of a man's diamond face shapeDiamond Face Shape

With their prominent cheekbones, Pince-Nez glasses nestle nicely on a diamond face shape. If the frames are round, they will do an excellent job in softening your features to give you a more oval structure.

Pince-nez glasses are rarely rectangular. However, if they are, make sure that the corners are beveled and not too sharp.

If this is your face shape, head to the diamond face shape guide for more styling tips.

Graphic of a man's heart face shapeHeart Face Shape

Usually round glasses wouldn’t be recommended to heart face shapes. However, thanks to their small construction, pince-nez glasses can be quite harmonious on a heart face shape.

If you can, try to find more angular styles, which will harden your features. Nevertheless, even small, round pince-nez spectacles will complement the natural flow of your face.

Head to the dedicated heart face shape guide to learn more!

What is a man's oval face shape?Oval Face Shape

As the so-called “ideal” face shape, we often say that oval faces can do no wrong. Given the small size of pince-nez glasses, this is often true.

Just ensure that those you choose aren’t too large and fit well. If they’re circular and quite big, it may impact your features and give you a rounder appearance.

You can find more styling advice on the dedicated oval face shape page.

Bespoke Unit's graphic of a man's square face shapeSquare Face Shape

With their prominent jawline and strong features, square face shapes should be absolutely fine with pince-nez frames.

Just ensure that if they’re square or rectangular, they are too sharp or too wide. Otherwise you may enhance your features too much or make it seem round. However, as a general rule, normal pince-nez glasses should look great.

Head to our full guide for square shape faces for more information on styling with glasses.

Bespoke Unit's graphic of a man's triangle face shapeTriangle Face Shape

Like square face shapes, triangle face shapes should be absolutely fine with pince-nez frames.

Whilst they may not help in offsetting their strong jawline, they will add some complexity to the upper-half of their face, which will slightly broaden the forehead.

As you will see in the triangle face shape guide, rounder glasses work best but wide rimmed glasses are great too.

Acceptable Matches

If yours is one of the following face shapes, pince-nez glasses shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. However, just keep in mind any styling advice that we may offer to improve their look.

Bespoke Unit's graphic of a man's oblong face shapeOblong Face Shape

With their tall features, oblong face shapes won’t gain many benefits from pince-nez glasses. However, if the right size, they shouldn’t be problematic either.

However, the frames offered by ThinOptics are something of an exception to the rule. Given that they’re rectangular, they should widen your cheekbones for a more oval appearance.

If you’re still uncertain, refer to the other styles presented in our oblong face shape page.

graphic of a man's round face shapeRound Face Shape

Similarly, round face shapes won’t benefit much from pince-nez glasses. However, if they’re too round, it may exaggerate their current shape.

If you can, aim for angular or tall pince-nez glasses. Those made by Thin-Optics should be fine but just make sure that they’re not too tall.

Head to the round face shape style guide to see all your frame options.

What Next?

Liking these pince-nez frames? If so, you can always head to our main glasses page to read other subjects before you buy. Alternatively, if it’s not quite what you’re looking for, feel free to peruse our other eyewear guides:

Best Monocles Guide
Reviewed by Jonathon R, on .
"Don't knock it until you've tried it. I was inspired by The Matrix and found that pince-nez reading glasses are actually very convenient!"
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★

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