Optometry Podcast: 2020 Eyewear Trends

This Podcast is in Partnership with Transitions

What are the biggest trends in eyewear fashion in 2020? We sit down with Charlotte Hamel, Global Director of Communications, Events and PR at Transitions Optical and Dr. Melanie Denton, founder and owner of Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear in Salisbury, North Carolina in this podcast. We talk about what you need to do to refresh your optical and provide your patients with a unique and customized eyewear styling experience that delivers in both fashion and function. 

Hamel has worked in marketing for over twenty years, starting out in marketing at L’Oréal and then going on to help relaunch the Coach license in 2012. After working with marketing of several niche eyewear lines, including DITA Eyewear, she joined Transitions Optical in 2017 to work on accelerating the development of the brand. 

Dr. Denton graduated optometry school in 2009, completed a residency, and then opened a cold-start practice in 2016 in Salisbury, North Carolina. She’s found that opening on her own has allowed her to create a unique, fashion-forward practice that’s a reflection of her personal identity. “There are so many elements of my personality and my style that are so different from other practices in my area, but I’ve been able to incorporate all of that in starting my practice.” 

Dr. Melanie Denton, founder and owner of Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear

Hamel shares that the biggest trend across all of fashion right now is color. Where a decade ago most designers were embracing black and white minimalism, the digital world we live in has introduced us to a vibrant playground of enhanced hues and saturated tones. “The power of Instagram is bringing a new, younger demographic to the center of the fashion world. Instagram is about enhancing light and colors, and we’re seeing vibrant colors like never before.” All of the trends in terms of eyewear are very reflective of the greater fashion industry shift towards color. Vivid hues like emerald green and sapphire blue are top trends of 2020. 

Dr. Denton agrees that the digital lifestyles our patients lead have greatly changed ocular complaints, as well as fashion trends. She’s prescribing much more for digital eye fatigue and light sensitivity than when her career began a decade again. In her practice, she’s found even in a small community that embracing fashion-forward, independent eyewear has let her stand apart. The highest compliment from a patient was when someone said, “This is where the cool kids get their glasses.” She often hears doctors balk at introducing color and interesting shapes and styles into their optical because they are concerned their patients won’t be willing to branch out from their basic frames. She’s found that offering broader selections in shapes and colors has excited her patients about shopping for eyewear, and driven much more interest in her optical.

Prescribing for color and function in ophthalmic lenses is also a great way to offer patients a uniquely customized experience. “Transitions® lenses bring light and something very dynamic into a very static object which are frames. We also bring customization,” Hamel says. “Optometrists have been customizing each pair of frames for each of your patients for decades. At Transitions Optical, we want to empower every eyecare provider to customize even more, and a few years ago, we launched Transitions® Signature® style colors and Transitions® XTRActive® style mirrors to help personalize a patient’s eyewear. 

How do you get patients to try new things? Dr. Denton and her team encourage patients to try different things and consider the full scope of options when it comes to crafting their unique eyewear. She shares her experience wedding dress shopping – when she was at a boutique she was encouraged to try on every style and shape because you don’t know until you have it on how each style is going to make you feel. The optical experience is about styling the patient, and encouraging them to explore new shapes and features to create a unique, but functional look. 

Charlotte Hamel, Global Director of Communications, Events and PR at Transitions Optical

To ensure that the medical recommendations that Dr. Denton prescribes do not get left behind when the patient enters the optical, she brings a team member into the exam room to do a hand-off, tying her recommendations for eyewear into the patient’s stated complaints. Patient complaining about headaches? She recommends anti-reflective coatings and light adaptable lenses so that the patient has the right amount of protection for every level of light. 

Hamel has great advice on how to educate patients about the color options available and how to differentiate between them to make the best fashion and functional suggestions:

  • Gray: “Never sell it as a default option but as a real color!” Gray works best with bolder combinations, for example when paired with gold frames.
  • Brown: “This is one of my favorite colors in the portfolio,” Hamel shares. “It goes with everything!” Brown pairs excellently with a variety of frames and offers fantastic high contrast vision.  Transitions style colors are also available in Amber which is a warmer honey shade compared to previous iterations.
  • Transitions offers two green options: Hamel states that Graphite Green is better for patients who spend more time outdoors and want to improve contrast, whereas the Transitions style colors Emerald Green is a vivid hue which is more fashion forward.
  • Having a hard time deciding between Transitions style colors in blue or purple? Sapphire works best on lighter skin tones and pairs great with gray or silver frames. Amethyst pairs better with warmer skin tones and gold or rose frames. 

Top Eyewear Trends of 2020

1. Transparent Acetate 

“It’s easy to wear and it goes with every color!” Hamel says. This trend works for men and women, and for patients that are wanting something more minimalist in their eyewear. Dr. Denton recommends lightly tinted transparent frames are easier to wear than pure clear. Melon or tea colored translucent frames are flattering on many skin tones. 

2. 70’s Inspired Oversize Acetate 

Hamel recommends oversize frames with very thin metals to make this trend wearable. Color blocking can be another way to embrace this trend. Dr. Denton has seen many of her patients embrace frames with different color temples versus the face, or frames with a contrasting stripe of color at the top of a frame over the brows. 

3. Iconic Shapes

Don’t sleep on aviators, double bridges, and classic round shapes which are still very in style. To make these shapes more fashion forward, Hamel encourages pairing classic shapes with unexpected lens colors. Tortoise frames with gray lenses for example. She feels that lenses will lead the next level of fashion – customized engravings and unique gradient effects. “This is a way to bring something really new. The lens is going to be the epicenter of eyewear fashion.” 

Practicing in the COVID-19 reality requires more contactless and virtual experiences throughout the patient journey and the Transitions Virtual Try On will allow patients to virtually try on various Transitions style colors lenses within different frame style options. Patients can snap a photo, share, email or bring it in to their appointment knowing the frame style and color options that work best for them. 

Head to TransitionsPRO.com to see all of the available resources for practitioners on available lens options and share Transitions.com/VTO with patients to help expedite the dispensing process. You can follow Dr. Melanie Denton on her professional Instagram channel @eyethinkican.


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