A lot of patients aren’t excited to buy eye glasses. If your practice includes an optical shop, that’s a problem.
Clients envision an endless round of try-ons. They are overwhelmed at the choices and nervous about the expense. The last thing they want to worry about is critiquing their reflection over and over. Your optical staff must be ready to reframe these low expectations by presenting options that flatter the client’s features, echo their style, and fit their budget.
And that’s more difficult than you think. An in-depth frame consult gives you an edge over retail and online stores, embodying the service and expertise unique to a private dispensary. As a part of that process, staff should be able to identify a client’s face shape and use it to narrow the frame selection to a manageable size. That way, most of what a client tries on will look good. It’s only a matter of deciding what looks best.
Rule of Thumb: Choose frame shapes that contrast with the clients face shape.
There are seven basic face shapes. Learn to identify them and suggest complementary frames for each client.
- Round: Round faces are all curves, with roughly equal length and width. The goal is to make the face appear thinner and longer. Narrow, angular frames will lengthen the face, while minimizing the fullness. Designs with slightly upswept corners will lift the cheeks. Avoid deep or bottom heavy shapes, which pull the face down.
- Oval: Often thought of as the ideal shape, oval faces combine high cheekbones with a narrow forehead and chin. The balanced proportions mean that oval-faced clients look great in almost any shape of frame. Preserve the face’s natural balance and choose frames that are proportional (not too deep, too wide, or too narrow). Geometric frames enhance oval faces, but avoid anything oversized that covers more than 50% of the face.
- Oblong: Oblong faces are symmetrical with a lot of length, an extended straight cheek line, and sometimes a longer nose. The right frames should break up the length of the face. Shorten the face and add balance with larger, geometric frames that are more deep than wide. The particular shape will depend on whether the face has curves versus angles. Use decorative brow lines or contrasting temples to add width to a narrow forehead.
- Base-Down Triangle: Upright triangle shapes have a narrow forehead that gradually widens though the cheeks, ending in a broad chin. Top heavy shapes or cat eyes will work to widen the forehead. Avoid anything small, round, or bottom heavy. If a client likes to stand out, suggest eye-catching details like color or embellishment on the upper part of the frame.
- Base-Up Triangle: Also known as heart-shaped, these faces feature a broad forehead with narrower cheeks and chin. Note whether the client’s triangle-shaped face is long and thin, or short and wide. Even things out by minimizing the width of the forehead and drawing attention to the lower part of the face. Round or oval shapes will deemphasize a tiny, pointed chin. Light, airy, or rimless styles work well. If the client wants a more substantial frame, avoid anything top heavy, wide, or embellished.
- Diamond: While rare, diamond face shapes can be the most difficult to fit. They are angular with strong, high cheekbones, and narrow foreheads and chins. Frames should draw attention to the eyes and soften those dramatic angles. Cat eyes, ovals, or rounded rectangles will help widen the top half of the face. Rimless or semi-rimless frames can add width while not obscuring the cheekbones. Take advantage of fashion-forward styles with distinctive brow lines, scalloped edges or other top heavy details.
- Square: More common in men, square faces have a broad forehead, wide cheeks, and a prominent jaw lines. They are angular and proportional in length and width. Soften the edges with oval or round frames. More angular styles can work as long as they have rounded edges. Add length with narrow, thin, or rimless frames. Alternatively, colored frames draw attention away from the strong shape of this face.
A client’s face shape might be obvious, but sometimes they will have a combination of two. Other times, a particular hairstyle may inform the shape. Sound simple? It will be with practice. In the meantime, print out our short and sweet cheat sheet to keep on hand.