Features: Fashion Feature


Trade Secrets

Photography by
Fashion Editor: GLORIA NICOLA

Hey Good Lookin’
Looks can be very deceiving these days. Women in their 30s look 20. Women in their 40s look 30. Women in their 50s look 40… and ALL women appreciate how great they look in a great pair of glasses… because… women love accessories… AND eyewear is a leading must-have-accessory for all women.

Frame: STEPPER SI-40 from Walman Optical

(Left) Buy-Focal
Although we would never negate the power of “progressive” thinking,
no one should dismiss the comfortable lure of patients’ intent on maintaining
their bi-focal optical rigging and the corresponding ‘deepish’ eyewear desired by that segment.

Frame: TRES JOLI 55 from Marchon Eyewear

(Right) The Days of Future Past
Care to guess which age demographic is growing at the fastest pace? Gen X? Nix. Gen Next? Not. The fastest growing
segment of the U.S. population according to the Census Bureau is… consumers over the age of 85. Take that as a sobering and mature directive when it comes to brewing your eyewear product mix.

Frame: NORMA from Lafont

“I find younger women are more concerned with brand names
so I show them frames from designers they recognize. Older woman
 on the other hand, aren’t as concerned with names. If it fits and they like it, they will buy it.”

—James Webb, OD,  R Wright Optical,
Baltimore, Md.

Belated Blooming Boomers
They protested war. They got covered in mud at Woodstock. They burned their bras. They changed the world… and then… they changed it back to what it had been before they changed it! Do NOT mistake today’s Baby Boomer with their past teenage persona. Their taste is now sophisticated, conservative and cautious. They are wary of discounts, always in search
of (no-cost) added extras and demanding of GREAT service.

Frame: BRENDEL 905100 from BBH Eyewear

“When I’m selling to older women I really focus on being honest and making sure they get a frame that gives them some color around their eyes because it will make them look younger. Since most older women wear progressive lenses, I show them the deeper shapes that will complement their prescription. With younger women, I usually like to give them trendy pieces they wouldn’t normally wear or be able to find in other places. They are always happy with the hipper frames instead of the boring tortoise and brown frames. I also show them smaller frames and I tell them in 30 years they won’t be able to wear small frames, so they better enjoy them now.”
—Astrid Chitamun, owner/buyer, European Optical,
Laguna Beach, Calif.

Touring Ancient Temples
There is a world of difference between the drop-temples from the ’60s and ’70s and the new interpretations of this reconfigured look. The separate camps have distinct and very different attitudes about style. Confuse them and you lose them.

Frames from top: DIAHANN CARROLL 155 from B. Robinson Optical;
CAZAL 175 from Eastern States Eyewear & Ultra Palm Optical

The Color Purple
Fashion editors and fashion designers love the color black. Real women love color. And real women are VERY attuned to the latest color trends in everything from cars to carpets and housewares to house paint. Don’t underestimate that love of the rainbow. Stay on top of it and decide whether you want to give away a few pairs of glasses to fashion editors or sell thousands of colorful frames to women consumers.

Frames from top: ETIENNE AIGNER 300 from Metzler International USA;
CASSINI EYEWEAR 1211 from Avalon Eyewear;
FURLA Leslie VU4529 from Viva International Group

“Once a week the eye doctor and I go to a retirement home. We offer the residents eye exams at 15 percent off and we also sell them frames. This is a great way to reach older women who wouldn’t be able to buy frames otherwise. About 25 percent of our business comes from these visits.”
—Geoffrey Smith, manager, M&D Optical, Rockville, Md. 

Bread and Butter
What the optical industry once termed as “bread and butter”
eyewear has become VERY “Bred and Better” indeed. Heritage improves the breed and appreciation of particular styles and shapes of glasses so adored by mature eyewear aficionados.   

Frames, clockwise from top center: LAUREN HUTTON  MANHATTAN L116 from Rem Eyewear; SILHOUETTE SPX 1928 from Silhouette Optical; ELIZABETH ARDEN 1012 from Eyewear Designs; LAURA ASHLEY Mimi from Signature Eyewear

Advanced Learning
More mature women are well attuned to the advantages of new technologies and cutting-edge materials. These well-informed patients are your best bet when it comes to promoting the advantage-properties such as titanium, spring hinges and the endless possibilities of rimless. Just DO NOT forget that they are equally voiced in the follies of high fashion and the latest runway styles.

Frames from left: BOSS WOMAN by HUGO BOSS 11554 from Charmant Group USA;
KENNETH COLE REACTION 608 from Marcolin USA; BCBG MAX AZRIA Kiana from ClearVision Optical; THALIA Samba from Lancer International/Division of Kenmark Group;
VIA SPIGA Alassio from Zyloware

“It’s harder to sell to younger women because they know what they want before they even come in. They read the magazines and they want the newest styles. Older woman are less style conscience and are more concerned with the fit of a frame. However, it takes a little time to get older women away from the big frames.”
—Anthony Bernard, OD, Raymond D. Leahy Opticians,
Southampton, N.Y.

Sunday School
One of the easiest ways to graduate a mature woman into
a new shape or style is to make the presentation part of a
potential sunwear purchase. Everyone gets more daring when it comes to sunwear and as the gap between sun and ophthalmic glasses continues to narrow the options of selling fresh styles grows on par.

Frames from top: JOAN COLLINS 9659 from New York Eye/A Hart Specialties Company;
LAURA BIAGIOTTI 80342 from Colors in Optics;
LIZ CLAIBORNE 270 from Sàfilo USA

“The number-one thing older woman are looking for is a frame that doesn’t make them look old. They also say they want frame colors that blend in and aren’t too loud. Younger women want frames that are different and fashionable.”
—Stephan Krohn, OD, Specs Appeal, Miami, Fla.

Have a Gray Day
All retailers need to get their color palettes in order when it comes to promoting silver, gray and black. Make sure your patient truly wants to match (or accentuate) their graying temples turf before throwing out suggestions about enhancing their hair coloring.

Frames from left: CHANEL 3072 from Luxottica Group;
ESSENTIAL 1624 from Pro Design Eyewear