Seven ways: Styling your patients

TD Tom Davies managing director and eyewear stylist to the stars, Tom Davies, offers insight into fitting a patient with the perfect frame

1 Get to know the patient

Before you even start helping them pick out frames, try to have a chat. This should be a general ‘get to know you’ talk where you show an interest in their job, profession, what they wear and what kind of personality they have. Taking this time at the start shows them that you are taking their needs seriously and building a relationship with them at the start is going to help each of my other tips.

2 Quick reactions

People often like to show you their old frames and what they like – I prefer to start with a fresh canvas. A quick tour around your displays with the patient trying on different shapes and styles to see what looks good can often give them (and you) options that might never have been considered. It can be fun. Keep it quick and explain the idea ‘just to see what it looks like’. You will learn a lot about the patient in these early moments.

3 Their moment

This is your customer’s moment. You need to give them a great experience and a reason to be in your store, not a competitor's or even ordering online. This time with you is all about them: their face; their job; their eyes; their favourite colours; their hair. Listen to them and talk to them, about themselves. Use people’s desire to talk about themselves as a tool to learn everything about them and they will reward you with their business.

4 Follow the brow

When patients ask which shapes suit their face, they are usually referring to those old diagrams of faces shaped like diamonds and cubes, with frames floating on top. I like to explain that any frame shape can suit them. You just need to find them the correct shape. For example, ‘I can’t wear round frames’ is something I often hear. However, find this patient a round frame with a flat top and you will probably find it does suit them. You could even use my Bespoke service to take a round frame and flatten off the top. The key here is the brow line – often defined by the eyebrow. This is the crucial part of almost all frames. No matter what shape of frame you have, if it fits in with the brow of the patient, it has a high chance of suiting them.

5 Hair shape

A big influence is the patient’s hair. The brow makes a line to work from on the face, but the hair is an even bigger guide. Big hair will always fight with the glasses, so check if your patient has their hair tied up or down on the day and how they normally wear it. Eyewear doesn’t always suit both looks. What I’ve found over the years is that the hair is styled over time to suit the customer’s brow line. So, you will often see a side parting on someone with arched cat eye eyebrows, who then look great in cat’s eye frames. Or someone with round, rainbow-shaped eyebrows will have their hair tied or pulled back with a matching round frame. Flatter eyebrows mean the person will have a fringe. Your frame choice needs to take these subconsciously formed shapes into account as you can’t introduce a new frame into a different type of facial frame.

6 Challenge the patient

For the most part, customers like to be challenged on new style options. It can be all too easy to buy the same old thing time and again. It’s often all too easy to let that happen. If your gut instinct tells you that the big chunky colourful style is going to change your patient’s life, then try your best to convince them. They will love you forever and be a walking ambassador for years.

7 Colour

Colour is part opinion, part science. There have been colour matching trends in the past, but I find it much easier to just try frames on and see what looks good. Let people talk about colour themselves. They all know what colours they look good in. If a patient is looking for suggestion, I go with their eye colour. For example, for a man with blue eyes, you can put a deep blue frame on them and they will look fantastic. If they complain about themselves being too conservative, point out their blue suit or blue jeans or whatever and they will generally relent. Finally, I always take my customers to the window when selecting colour for a bespoke frame. There are two reasons for this – natural light changes colour dramatically and decisions tend be reached more quickly when standing by a window.