Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Question of Size: Hoop Springs

For those who are new to the old world of pince-nez, it is not a "one size fits all" situation which is found with modern eyewear. The question of determining size for proper fit has been covered in great depth in two prior posts [post 1, post 2]. Hoop springs, by nature of their design, are more forgiving in terms of size latitude for fit. Nevertheless, one must exercise discretion in choosing a hoop spring for wear. I have tried on many hoop springs that did not fit.

So how does one select the right size of hoop spring for wear? Since many purchases are made online, you cannot try them on before the purchase. This is why we emphasize that buyers check out the return policy of seller before committing to the sale. With hoop springs, I recommend looking at the distance between the nose guards and the design of the hoop spring itself. I recommend using simple classifications: small, medium and large. Forget about measurements in millimeters. The nose is a three dimensional object.

Below are some example of different sizes. With experience, you'll be able to easily classify a hoop spring from a photo.




It does look like there isn't much difference between the medium and large examples in terms of distance between nose guards. The real difference is in the style of the hoop spring itself. The c-clip spring is snugger than the flat spring shown in the large example. I speak from experience as the large example with nose pads was too big for me. The medium example is my current hoop spring. I wear them with nose pads.

Remember that you will almost certainly want to wear nose pads with your hoop springs for comfort and security. This decreases the distance between the nose guards and has a marked affect on fit. You will want to try on your pince-nez with nose pads to determine proper fit.

As I've said before, a visual approximation is just that. An estimate. You need to try them on with nose pads for fit.


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