Buying trends are turning more towards accessories and an increasing demand for sunglasses makes this accessory too important to ignore.
According to a recent Nielson report, sunglasses rank number two on the world's list of "most wanted" designer products. Sunglasses are not only in demand, but are a major contributor to summer sales figures.
Accessory Magazine's report of sales figures for 2007 lists sunglasses fourth in dollar volume among accessories.
Of course, a big part of the sales figures is from department stores that generate a big dollar volume from designer sunglasses, but that doesn't leave out the smaller boutiques and accessory stores that can also capitalize on this huge summer market.
What about that large segment of the market that doesn't want to spend a small fortune on eyewear and still wants a more fashionable look than you get at a convenience store?
Small businesses fill this niche with stylish designs that are affordable and at the same time very profitable for the retailer. The key is to have the up-to-date look and provide service.
Sunglass Styles for 2008
The dominating fashion looks in today's sunglasses are oversize and aviators. Oversize started a few seasons ago with retros in the Jackie O look and continues to evolve each season. Plastic frames take preference over metal frames and lenses are round, square, or ovals. Designers have their own signature looks, but the bottom line is a bold statement with plastic frames.
Retros modify the Jackie O style with frames that are bolder, sometimes with translucent color, and with more rounded corners. Arms often taper and sometimes have cutouts, metal designs, or logos.
Other retros returning to the fashion scene include the bamboo look that was the hottest thing in the eighties. Plastic frames have a narrow tubular shape and large round lenses. In addition, the wayfarer shapes return that date back to the fifties and have enjoyed several comebacks and plenty of play on the silver screen.
Aviators are like an unmovable rock that stands firm as the popular choice in men's sunglasses. We've seen this look on old photographs of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and it never goes away. Now oversize aviators are a big hit with women also. Plenty of celebrities pick this flattering style that's a must in your sunglass selection. Originally aviators were wire frames, but today's options include plastic frames and colors.
Guys also like the no frills of slender sunglasses and metal frames popularized by companies appealing to a young clientele for active wear. Rectangular lenses and half frames provide a minimal design that everyone is comfortable wearing—even the gals.
Sports sunglasses remain popular with the young using colored mirrors on half rim glasses with metal frames. The lenses extend on each side to shade peripheral vision while arms are usually straight and rubber sleeved to hug the head in active sports. The main market for this style is young and active.
Linear shapes also use a mix of metals and plastics to create fashionable sunglasses with rectangular lenses. Designs vary from rimless to wire rims or plastic frames with tapered arms that have decoration or cutouts. The lenses and frames either match with the color of the arms or provide contrasts for even more variety in these flattering sunglasses that have wide appeal.
Shields remain popular with monolenses combined with minimal frames and narrow metal arms. Shields made a big impact two seasons ago and still remain as a popular choice using different shaped monolenses to create a variety of looks to appeal to different personalities and face shapes. These are unisex sunglasses that look good on guys and gals alike.
Small retailers attract customers with fashionable designs and helping customers find the right fit locks in the sale. In Style Magazine provided some valuable tips on fitting sunglasses in their June edition that just came out.
The width of sunglasses varies from style to style and narrow faces need a shorter distance measured between the hinges. Rounded lenses work well to balance angular features. Also decorated arms draw attention outward to offset an elongated face.
Sunglasses should extend slightly beyond the face and some models have spring hinges that spread for comfortable fit for rounder faces. Frame size should remain proportional to the head so bigger frames are usually more suited for larger heads. Also wider lens shapes create a narrower profile that will keep the sunglasses from sitting on the cheek.
Also the sunglasses should rest properly on the nose bridge so wider nose bridges are better served by teardrop shaped lenses that provide a wider angle at the bridge. Even many oversize sunglasses use teardrop lenses. Linear straight tops balance the wider nose bridge for a fabulous look.
Lower nose bridges can use aviators with nose pads to have sunglasses fit properly instead of touching the eyelashes every time you blink your eyes. Achieve the same effect with plastic frames by choosing models that are flat in front.
Narrow nose bridges avoid slipping by choosing frames where lenses are closer together at the bridge. Nose pads again help with this shape of nose bridge. Some plastic frames have a "saddle bridge", which is a narrowed deep bridge that fits this nose shape very well.
Sometimes the fit of the arms effects comfort and appearance of sunglasses. Many plastic frames are hard to adjust without heating so a better choice is metal arms that easily bend. Also many sunglass designs have rather straight arms for universal fit. On choosing plastic arms, styles have varying arm lengths so try them on a customer until you find a comfortable fit.
Sunglasses can make a positive impact on summer business so find your niche, stock upscale looks in sunglasses that separate your business from the convenience store, and provide one-on-one service.