|From "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" to the launch of Cargo, a men's shopping magazine, society has seen the rise of the fashion-conscious male.
Important things to note about this new species of man are that he is at a new level of consumerism and is willing to purchase more, but he is also more discerning. Eyewear is a channel in which men are expressing this desire to spend more on fashion.
"Eyewear can change someone's entire look," says Salvatore Sampino, manager of Malibu Eye Center Optometry in Malibu, Calif. "It is the most visible and powerful fashion accessory, because it is on your face and in everyone else's."
According to a survey by Vertis, a Baltimore-based marketing firm, only 12 percent of men who purchased eyewear from a local optical store named price as their primary motivator. Convenience is also not as important as it used to be. Only 16 percent of those surveyed purchased prescription glasses based on the convenience of a dispensary's location.
Men are taking more chances with their eyewear style, and they are buying more pairs than ever. But, they won't make these purchases all at once. "They will wear a pair for a week or a month, and then come back for a different look," says Bamberger.
While women may purchase up to 12 frames to match their wardrobes, men may buy only two or three frames. But, Fann says she holds out hope that the metro sexual male market will boost frame sales for men. "Women are more fashion conscious now. But men are catching up."