For years it always felt like I had to choose one or the other: fun and funky eyewear that commanded enough attention to become their own focal point or bold jewelry to minimise my glasses.
Not yet secure enough in my own style, I never wanted to push the envelope too far in any one direction. I suspect it’s a common concern for patients looking to change their style, as it’s a tricky business trying to pull off that unique combination of glasses and jewellery; being bold without being overpowering.
Many of my girlfriends have struggled with this dilemma and while there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer, there are questions and some pointers you and your patients can consider to get a better handle on what frames work best for their style. If you’ve been in the optical industry for years and know how to integrate eyewear into your current fashion sense, kudos to you. For others who are still learning the art of frame selection, let’s dive in.
What do you believe?
First and foremost, every optical professional should determine their own viewpoint when it comes to style. I’ve met some dispensing opticians who despised black frames in general, citing they are too harsh for anyone’s complexion. Others have a bias against aviators or metal frames. Yet when it comes to your patients, their style and personality should always rule the day.
In the optical world, we’re in a position to make our patients happy. If they choose a look that’s the exact opposite of what you’d personally wear, the only appropriate response is to congratulate them on their purchase. However, if their style aligns with your own viewpoint, you can use personal stories to help with the sale.
Avoiding a clash
Maybe you have a patient who is super nervous (like me) about looking overly done-up. By the time you add fun earrings, a pretty necklace and a pair of statement eyeglasses, she’s afraid people will think her five-year-old picked out her outfit. So, perhaps you need to guide her to a frame that’s pretty yet more low key.
The best thing is to ask a lot of questions. Ask about the earrings she likes to wear everyday to the office and the ones she puts on for date night. Ask about how professional she wants or needs to look at work. Find out if she’s a necklace gal or if she stopped wearing them so the baby wouldn’t pull them off and break them. The more questions you ask about her overall style, the more you can work to avoid a look that clashes and find something that makes her feel confident and beautiful.
Rather than trying to convince her that bold acetate is the latest trend and it will match perfectly well with her big earrings, listen to what she wants. You’ll end up with a much happier customer.
Going for it
I’ll admit, it is always a challenge for me when a woman who wears extremely loud jewellery wants to pick a leopard print frame. The sign of an experienced dispensing optician or optometrist, however, is reserving judgment and letting your customer run wild in the shop – you should always have a few wilder options on display for just such a customer. Once you’ve got to know your customer a bit, indulge her with the most unique frames you have available.
The same line of questioning holds just as true here as it does with the woman who is modest and subdued. Learn just how bold this gal wants to go, and if she plans on having one pair of frames for everything or if several styles would complement her wardrobe better. We are the experts on lens technology and frame fit, but there’s a solid line we have to stand behind when a patient decides to think outside the fashion box.
Changing your routine
It’s never too late to change how you approach a patient. While we may tend to judge a book by its cover, you don’t really know about a person’s true style until you chat with them. Try incorporating some different questions into your dialogue and see how much more success you have on the sales floor!
Perhaps the age-old question of how to incorporate glasses and jewellery can be a fun conversation topic in your office. Ask your co-workers how they feel about blending bold items together for a unique look. Their answers might surprise you and help you shift your viewpoint.
As far as I’m concerned, I still prefer my bold frames and minimal jewellery. I haven’t quite gained the confidence to go all out… yet!
About the author
Courtney Elder has more than 10 years of optical experience and loves wearing fashionable eyewear in Portland, Oregon. Today she owns a content creation company with her husband (www.author-eyes.com) but still loves all things specs.