Experimenting with styles
Twinkle Patel, practice owner and optometrist at Walbank Opticians, discusses branching out into colourful eyewear and strengthening connections with the local community during COVID-19
04 August 2020
How many pairs of spectacles and sunglasses do you own?I have lost count. However, I think I have approximately 10 pairs of glasses and two sets of sunglasses.
What is your eyewear style?Once upon a time, I didn’t really think about the shape. But over the last year or two, I have realised that frames with upswept or a cat’s eye style best suit me. They lift my cheekbones, which is only a good thing. With colours, I always used to be in black frames. Once I entered the independent optometry market, I began to look at more colourful frames. I took a tiny step with a dark turquoise and black mix frame. Then I ventured further with my current colourful pair. After all, I wear colourful clothes, so why shouldn’t I do the same with my glasses? They are the first accessory people see on me. They are an integral part of creating that first impression. I love reds, yellows and bold pinks.
Can you describe your favourite pair?My current favourite frames are by White Optics, and the brand is Infusion. You can see the warm red and tortoiseshell complement my warm colouring. The cool blue adds some contrast and wow factor. And obviously, the frame is a semi-cat’s eye style. I ordered a muted yellow pair before the COVID-9 lockdown. They were coming from Austria, and unfortunately did not arrive. However, I can see them becoming my favourite pair when they do.
Who would you pick as your style icon of glasses wearers and why?This is difficult, as I don’t really follow celebrities. The name of a person who inspired me to try more colourful frames is Eva Davé from Mincher-Lockett & Co. Opticians (recently rebranded as Style Optique) in Market Drayton. I have only met her once, but always watch her videos on social media. Her glasses are amazing and so unusual. I absolutely love them.
How long have you worn spectacles for, and what prompted you to go for your first sight test?I have worn spectacles for 30 years. Actually, it was my brother who was having problems with his vision. My parents took him, but also decided to take me for an eye exam at the same time. Then I found out I had a problem with my left eye. It just goes to show how important regular eye exams are for everyone, even if there are no symptoms.
I only wear contact lenses very occasionally for events. Over the last year, this has even reduced, because I love wearing my glasses so much and I get lots of compliments on them.
Do you wear contact lenses?
How important is eyewear in reflecting your personality?This is crucial. I am facing clients all day, and my spectacles have to reflect my inner self. I am quite a bubbly, talkative character. Therefore, my glasses must show this off.
What are your top three tips for selecting the right pair of frames?
- Analyse your personality. This will help you decide if you want bolder, colourful frames or more chic, minimalistic frames
- Look at your face shape. My personal feeling is the cat’s eye style for women suits everyone: some dramatic, some not so dramatic. Men can opt for rectangular or round shapes
- Think about your clothes and what colours you like. Choose frame colours that complement your fashion and your skin, hair, and eye colouring.
Coronavirus: the impact
How has your practice been impacted by the outbreak and lockdown?
The impact has been dramatic. We were open throughout the lockdown for emergencies. I had the practice phone diverted to my mobile so I could look after my children and look after my patients. I went into the practice when I needed to, however I found myself going in pretty much every day.
One good thing that came out of this was I had time to become more involved in the community. My father has always taught me, ‘Your greatness lies in serving your community.’ So, my practice became an NHS foodbank, I helped with deliveries in the local self-isolation group, and I supplied face visors to optometrists with the donations going back to creating more PPE material. I also regularly donated to local charities during the community quizzes held on social media. Helping others is very fulfilling, but this has also helped me to become more known within the community.
As practices return to a level of routine eye care, how will you be navigating the way ahead?
The way ahead will be tough. However, with careful planning and hard work we will get back to where we were. For now, we have all our PPE and protection in place to keep staff and patients safe. A risk assessment has been done for staff to return to work safely. The major changes I see are longer working hours and opening on weekends to catch up on the backlog. This is the reality, and we have to do it. There is no other option. Me and my staff are well prepared and ready to come back with a bang.