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ABCs of Fashion & Function in Children's Eyewear

ABCs of Fashion & Function in Children's Eyewear

The selection and purchase of children’s eyewear sets the stage for a long-term association between the child, the parents, and their professional optician. Getting off to a solid start is essential for everyone, and the end result is that all involved should reap the benefits of exceptional eye care for their children - from adolescence to adulthood - and beyond.

The ability to see is most precious, and independent opticians provide personal advice and care - before and after the sale. They offer an enticing variety of desirable, colourful frames - welcomed by both parents and children - always keeping in mind the age; prescription demands; safety; and personal preferences of the parents/child.

Fresh new shapes and a colour palette from sporty to sophisticate liven eyewear designs for children. The latest frames are created to cater to the young set, as well as their parents. Fortunately, shopping for children’s frames is now a pleasant adventure. Nowadays, most children are delighted to wear glasses because they are so “cool.” The latest collections have great variety, style, performance and safety features.

Parents are increasingly aware an optimistic approach to eye care is vital. However, Hannah Price at Buizer & Cole Optometrists in Clacton-on-Sea comments: “We see a lot of children in the practice, and on the whole, there is a much more positive attitude from parents towards specs wear. But there is still a lack of knowledge of the importance of eye care. Many of the children we see have vision problems that aren’t picked up until they attend school, and then the parents feel badly they’ve missed that their children aren’t seeing as well as they could.”

Ms. Price added that for the benefit of the parents and the child, the importance of getting the eye exam and eyewear in the same place. “We tend to run into problems with parents getting the kids tested in one place, then go somewhere else for spectacles. For continuity of care, it is better to get the child’s eyes tested at the opticians where you want to purchase the spectacles.” From eye exam to final pickup of your frames, your optician is fully aware of every aspect of your child’s specific care and needs.

Harsh Shah at Eyewise Opticians in Uxbridge, London says: “Most parents have a very positive attitude about their child wearing glasses – but this really stems from a thorough eye test and a full explanation about why their child needs to wear glasses. Parents are also keen to know what types of lenses will suit the child best – it’s very much about keeping things simple to understand, and ensuring that the child is also very involved in the whole process.”

Although parents pay for the new eyewear, it should be a joint venture – both child and parent – in selection, style and safety. What is the priority for parents? “Most parents are looking for glasses that will be strong – to last for a reasonable time,” says Shah, “And others are looking for quality. Price is more important especially for parents who do not wear glasses themselves. Most parents are also quite particular about the aesthetic appeal of certain types of frames on their child.”

Ms Price also notes that parents usually look foremost for value, and are interested to know about the quality of the frame materials. They are also concerned with the cost involved if the frames need to be repaired or replaced, especially with younger children.

Undoubtedly, children are increasingly style conscious, and aware of fashion and eyewear. “Children are like mini-adults and they want what is trendy these days,” says Shah, “and this can be a challenge as some children are restricted by their prescription. A child-friendly environment, and one where there is dialogue and discussion between all individuals, always helps and educates the child and parent. And it helps cement the bond in the relationship that is being formed.”

What eyewear do parents and children currently favour? Shah observes: “The prevailing trend is for acetate frames, and very much like the adult Ray Ban styles.” The wayfarer is a favourite with youngsters; however, Shah points out: “This can be a difficult situation, and one has to guide some children and parents away from certain styles due to the complex nature of the prescription.”

Choices abound, and rectangular and round shapes are popular with kids, and girls like the updated versions of cat-eye designs. Shah says black is a favourite with youngsters, another reference to children wanting to look “grown up.” Ms. Price says that bolder “geek” look frames in darker colours are an important direction. Dark blue, tortoiseshell, solid brown tones, and olive green are also colourations that appeal to the fashion-aware young set and their parents.

Bright lively colours, fun patterns, from arty prints to Tartan plaids, provide great variety so that children can make their own personal statement with eyewear. Children’s collections now offer amazing variety, in style, colour, materials, and safety features.

As with fashion labels, parents and children are tuned in to brand awareness. “Our preferred brands at Eyewise are Rock Star by Eyespace; Wolf Cubs; adidas; Zoobug; and Laser Junior by Continental Eyewear,” says Shah.

We don’t offer any character or themed frames, although we are asked for Frozen for girls, and Avengers or Spiderman for boys. Friends do seem to influence a child’s decision – they do want to look like their friends.”
Know and remember your ABC’S:

A - Appointment – be sure to make that  professional optician eye appointment and get started on the best eye care for your adolescent.

B - Brands – Discuss the prescription needs, brands, safety, style and colour options with your optician, then buy with the knowledge you’ve done a great job with your selection.

C – Cost – Eye care and cost go hand in hand – with such a great variety of styles and designs available in the children’s eye wear market, you have the best options available for your child’s eye wellness – and satisfaction.

Make it an adventure to be enjoyed!

 Article taken & written for SPECS network by fashion journalist Joan Grady.

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