Silhouette, Explorer

Tipton Vinylize Tosh

John Varvatos V204

Banana Republic Jack from Safilo

Robert Marc 800

Wouldn’t it be great if we could read the minds of our patients? Since we’re not clairvoyant, we have to ask questions. To find out what men want in their eyewear, I spoke to four owner-ECPs across the country to get some answers. Interviewees are: Lonnie Burrow, ABOC, LDO, Burrow’s & Mr. Frank’s Optical, Little Rock, AR; Mary Ann Hargrove, Empire Optical, Inc., Tulsa, OK; Sandra Schainkin-Scott, LDO, Seacrest Optical, Delray Beach, FL; and Cynthia Allen, LDO, NCLE, Careytown Optical Shoppe, Richmond, VA. 

What frame style do the majority of men prefer today?
The panel agrees that full-rimmed plastic is what most men choose but they want them light and comfortable, too. Rimless is another selection for the same reason. Retro is definitely in while “professional” with clean lines is also a favorite. Eyewear companies that the panel favors include Silhouette Optical, Ltd., Lunor (distributed by Robi Ltd.), Augusto Valentini (distributed by LAD Optiks), and Bevel Specs (Incite International).

Burrow indicates that men choose their eyewear for two reasons-comfort and to obtain a new look. Hargrove mentions that younger males take an interest in what’s trending. She expects lightweight to be a men’s eyewear trend for some time. Schainkin-Scott suggests it’s all about comfort, especially on the bridge. Allen thinks her male patients enjoy full-rimmed plastics because they are different and offer a contemporary twist.

Which trends best describes the eyewear your male patients look for?
“Professional,” Burrow shares. “We cater to career-oriented men who choose to dress up during their business day so Cartier (LEAD Amerique) is often selected for this clientele.”

Hargrove suggests the serious retailer has to cover all styles to a greater or lesser extent, depending upon their male clients’ needs. “While we experience high sales volume of casual brands in our shop like Ray-Ban (Luxottica), Banana Republic (Safilo USA), and Zac Posen (Kenmark Optical), most men feel the need for a well-chosen eyewear wardrobe,” Hargrove explains.

Schainkin-Scott offers that her male patients appreciate a combination of the trendy vintage styles so popular today with a bit of an edgy look added for unique styling, such as Tom Ford (Marcolin USA).

Allen finds a combination of both edgy and vintage sell well to men today. “For example, the frames within the Tipton Eyewear (Vinylize) brand are handmade from vinyl records,” she explains. “You can actually see and feel the groove and the shapes are extremely unique and inspired by musicians and entertainers.”

What frame colors do men like the most?
Black is still big, and gray, blue (navy), and tortoises continue to be perennial favorites. Hargrove mentions that gunmetal, silver, and cool browns were appealing too, along with bronze and gold. Schainkin-Scott suggests some patients are drawn to bolder colors, including reds. Allen offers that double laminates are popular but for the most part, the more neutral the color, the better.

Do men favor larger frame styles?
The panelists concur that men want bigger designs. Hargrove feels this trend should be tempered with an accent on individual proportions and technical optical requirements. Burrow notes that the handcrafted Robert Marc 800 vintage-inspired style is large but very comfortable. Schainkin-Scott finds that as more styles get bigger, more men are accepting them. Allen feels her male buyers favor styles with deeper B measurements, like some from REM Eyewear’s John Varvatos collection.

Do men respond to designer brands?
Men want quality and not a designer brand or logo, although Hargrove finds that young consumers are more interested in designer frames and brand names. Patients of Burrow and Allen want the finest with no visible branding. Schainkin-Scott’s buyers prefer quality and don’t shop names.

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

Incite International 877-800-1881 •
Kenmark Optical 800-627-2898 •
LAD Optiks 646-651-380 •
LEAD Amerique 800-447-7405 •
Lunor 212-675-5200 •
Luxottica 800-422-2020 •
Marchon Eyewear 800-645-1300 •
REM Eyewear 800-423-3023 •
Robert Marc 212-675-5200 •
Safilo USA 800-631-1188 •
Silhouette Optical, Ltd. 800-223-0180 •
Tipton Eyeworks 361-786-1080 •


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