Features: Fashion Feature

Oct
2004

Glasses Make the Man

Photography by NEDJELJKO MATURA
Fashion Editor: GLORIA NICOLA
Editorial Assistant: LAUREN SIEGAL

Clockwise from bottom left: CW BLISS Emcee from Lancer International/Division of Kenmark Group; GOTHAM STYLE 105 from Smilen Eyewear; BOSS HUGO BOSS 11052 from CXD/ Charmant Exclusive Division; LACOSTE 7706 from L’Amy Group; SPERRY P-65 from Zyloware 

Optical’s frontline on what it takes to make men a part of the eyewear retail bottom line. 

—Lauren Siegal and James J. Spina

Man does not live by bread alone.

And… he doesn’t even buy that bread. Or car. Or house. Or underwear. These days the “buying” button is being pushed increasingly harder by female consumers even in traditional male shopping domains. That sweeping change, as reported in data from the national consumer retail index, has driven and shaped the actual product scenario. Luxury laden SUVs and both old and new homes centered around open-spaced kitchen/living environments are female keynotes dominating retail, remodeling and real estate sales.

The same will power pulls no punches when it comes to buying any assortment of home goods and both women’s AND men’s apparel. She doesn’t just wear the pants. She buys them.

But there is hope. A few key product areas continue to be gender-specific in terms of actual consumer activity. And (sigh of relief allowed here for most 20/20 readers) eyewear remains as a product that must, by its very corrective and fit nature, be bought by the wearer.


From top: MAGAZINE 2250 from B. Robinson Optical;
MATCH ML210D from Match Eyewear;
CAZAL 701 from Eastern States Eyewear & Ultra Palm Optical



And, judging by the temper of professionals we’ve spoken to for this feature, men take great care and pride in choosing their eyeglasses. They relish the chance to be visually corrected by the latest lens offerings. They are quite conscious of the power a proper frame can have in determining “the look” of a man’s face and facial impressions. They like to indulge their quest for quality materials and high tech comfort and durability.

A frame is still within a man’s domain when it comes to making a personal statement and insightfully coping with life’s daily visual challenges. The current retail circumstances also reflect the intricate layer of modern retail branding in a manner to which male consumers can easily relate. Men are even deeper in their brand trust patterns with a faithfulness to proven successes that actually oversteps the more fickle woman consumer.

This brand loyalty is yet another key optical retailers can judiciously use in creating eyewear packages well-suited to their male patients.


Clockwise from top left: EDDIE BAUER Porter from Signature Eyewear;
RODENSTOCK 4518 from Rodenstock North America; 4th DIMENSION 4310
 from Pro Design Eyewear; MARK ECKO 5065 from Viva International Group


Clockwise from top left: VAN HEUSEN Holden from Nouveau Eyewear;
JAGUAR 33000 from Eastern States Eyewear; FEATHERLITE #1 from Zimco Optics; MONTBLANC 39 from Marcolin USA; REVOLUTION IMF 446 from Revolution Eyewear


What follows are some key tactics from eyecare professionals of what it might take to inroad your male consumer. Teamed with a concerted effort to understand men’s tastes for conservative colorations, a sensitivity to great quality at a fair price and eyewear that is distinctively male-oriented, optical professionals clearly need to embrace the attitude of eyewear that can make the man.

“Encourage men to try on something completely different than what they come in wearing. Men are reluctant to try on new things, but once they do, they usually like the way they look.”
—Debbie Boroff, OD, Office Manager,
Office of David B. Cominski, OD, Anaheim, Calif.

“When it comes to men’s frames, its function first and fashion second. Men are more heavy-handed than women, so titanium frames work well for them.”
– Gary Peters, OD, Eye Store,
Brookline, Mass.

“Men’s eyewear is not as hard to sell as women’s. Men aren’t interested in fashion; they are interested in durability and function. If you find out what they do for a living, you can gage what type of frame they will want.”
—David Blissenbach, owner, Olde Tyme Optical Shoppe,
East Saint Louis, Ill.

“When selling to men, I focus on technology. Men aren’t as concerned about price as women are and if they come by themselves, it takes about five to 15 minutes for them to pick out a frame. Rectangular plastic frames are very big right now. Older men love the classic double bar, but the younger men only like this look in the aviator sunglass.”
—Deborah Kurpjuwet, owner, Debonair Eyes,
San Luis Obispo, Calif.

“Men are functional. They like it when you point out technological elements like spring hinges and clip-ons.  Men want more for their money.”
—Casey Miller, OD, Optical Expressions,
Saint Louis, Mo.

“Men buy two frames on the spot more than women do because they don’t want to make two trips. Men are hard on their frames and durability is very important to them.”
—Valerie Meath, OD, Roy Schultz,
Minneapolis, Minn.

“Now more than ever men are concerned with brand names.  They also are concerned with material, lightness and comfort.”
—Carl Marvel, OD, Riverview Optical,
Riverview Fla.

“When men come into the store, they mostly know what they want and are ready to buy. When I am selling frames to the younger customers, I focus on brand and style.  Older men want the classic look at a reasonable price.”
—Mario Mastrojeni, owner, Wheaton Eyecare,
Silver Spring Md.

“When selling frames to men, it is important to make sure that they fit. I get a lot of pumpkin heads who want to fit into small frames, and it doesn’t look right.”
—Ronald Gurin, H G Gurin, OD,
Atlanta, Ga.

“Many men will pick out a few frames and then come back for a second opinion with a wife or a girlfriend. I use this as an opportunity to upgrade both of their frames.”
—Edwin McBeth, OD, Eyecare Center of Highland,
Littleton, Colo.

 

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