The combination of thin rims and easy colors create a more natural blending look (Charmant Titanium Perfection Style No. 10777 in black shown here).
Recommend colors like red to complement a dressy, going-out-on-the town outfit (Safilo’s Jimmy Choo Biker Eyewear Capsule Collection Style No. JC102 shown here).
For a person who wants to stand out in the crowd and be noticed, Marchon Lacoste Style No. L2709 in purple is a winner.
More streamlined and simplified in color, semi-rimless metal eyewear offers a low-profile appearance (götti’s Punto in black and silver brushed shown here).

Consumers are starting to get more fashion-forward in their frame color choices and ECPs can help them find their ‘inner selves’ by following these tips.

There are many methods for recommending eyewear color. For example, one suggests that you focus on the potential wearer’s hair color, skin tone, and eye color; another focuses on the person’s wardrobe or jewelry accessories; and a third suggests colors based on current fashions and trends.

Some presume that women and men like dissimilar colors and that we need to approach them differently. Do we always need to separate the genders today to distinguish their eyewear? In my opinion, the secret to personalizing color for eyewear buyers is not by gender but by the image they wish to project. This leads you to choose the right colors for the individual sitting before you instead of some cookie-cutter approach.

Most patients look to you for professional, medical, and technical advice. You should be offering them fashion advice as well. Before you can recommend the right colors for your patient, you have to determine their lifestyle and the image(s) they want to project. Yes, the interview process that you use for determining what lens style, frame construction, lens treatments, etc., for your patient is also utilized to determine their preferences for color.

Part of your questioning should focus on the colors they like and ones they may be considering for the eyewear they plan to buy on this visit. Don’t be surprised if they have a hard time telling you this. One reason is that some people, especially men, don’t know their color palette so they’re not that much in tune with what looks best on them. That’s one reason why so many men’s frames are black and dark tortoise color.

One easy and helpful way to overcome this problem is to show them color samples that are arranged in two sets: one with all warm tones and the other with all cool tones. Ask them to tell you if they prefer the darker or lighter side of the color set. If they can indicate specific colors in a set, you’ve hit a home run.

I like to recommend colors based on the person’s personal likes, dislikes, and in what manner they will wear the eyewear. Is it their primary pair or are they looking for task-specific eyewear for computer use, sporting activities etc.? Would the frames be just for lounging around? Finding out what tasks they will be performing and what their environment looks like can make the difference to what colors you recommend.

For instance, a patient’s casual, hang-around-the-house attire could be blue jeans and a T-shirt. For eyewear worn during their “downtime,” suggest light blue, tortoise, tan, and other easy colors. The dressy, going-out-on-the town attire may be a suit or evening gown. Recommend black, maroon, red, gold, and other dressy colors that complement their clothing. See the difference?

Generally speaking, a woman may be more in tune with fashion but you should be prepared to offer a man stylish colors as well. The goal is to find out what their inside desires are, even if they haven’t realized they have them. Ask them how they see themselves and how they would like others to see them.

There are two basic strategies when recommending eyewear color: Make the eyewear subtle and unobtrusive or bold and obvious. This is one area where women usually know which of these they prefer. Men often have not considered choices like this in their eyewear, although they’ve been doing it unconsciously for years. Based on their responses, recommend one of these strategies for them.

Should the patient want a less noticeable look so their natural face shines through, recommend lighter, translucent colors in plastics like peach, nude, rose, and beige for women, and smoke, tan, and beige for men. The end result for the wearer is low profile, understated, and inconspicuous. These colors satisfy their comfort zone too. They may not want to be the center of attention and could feel self-conscious otherwise. For them, less is best.

Similar recommendations work for metal and rimless and semi-rimless eyewear too. The combination of thin rims and easy colors create a more natural blending look. More streamlined and simplified in color, metal eyewear can bring out the look that these folks are trying to achieve.

The polar opposite of the unobtrusive approach is the patient who dares to be different. This person wants to stand out in the crowd and be noticed. Bold, dark, and in-your-face colors work best here. She dares to wear purple, red, blue, black, solid white, etc. and he has the nerve to sport red, green, orange, and even white too. These more vibrant colors bring out a wearers’ inner VIP status and satisfy their fashion goal.

Since women have experience with adding accessories to their wardrobe, they tend to like this approach more than men who have traditionally defaulted to black and brown. Don’t let that inhibit you from recommending the bold to your male patients. Many like it and the ones that you convert from the unobtrusive side will find a new way to express their individuality.

For the three-piece rimless lover, look to thicker, tapered temple designs with similar bold colors that pop when worn. Colorful patterns on the temples work great too. These wearers enjoy the lightweight feel and look of rimless eyewear with a splash of cool trendy colors too.

As you can see, recommending color for women and men requires more than just a cut-and-dry approach. The successful key is to keep your color suggestions individualized and tailored for the wearer based more on what they do and the image they want to project than on stereotypes handed down by someone who has never met your patient and has no idea of their individuality.

Jackie O’Keefe is a licensed optician and a writer, speaker, course preparer, and optical consultant in the Tidewater area of Virginia.


Charmant Group
800-645-2121 •

407-415-0778 •

Marchon Eyewear
800-645-1300 •

Safilo USA
800-631-1188 •


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