Accidental Icon: Details Finishing Touches Consult at the Plaza
It has been said many times that the success of a final product is "all in the details". In the photo above Sue Randhawa of The Optical Boutique is making sure that everything about my new eyewear is perfect. There are certain experiences a woman has taking care of the "details" of her life like a haircut, facial, massage or manicure, that make her feel pampered and cared for. For the first time in my long life of wearing glasses, I felt that way about the process of choosing new eyewear. The credit for that goes to Sue who is a real professional, a creative stylist as well as being one of the most stunning women I have ever met. Read more about this accomplished woman in the rest of her interview below and follow her on Instagram @theopticalboutique and Facebook, theopticalboutique. Photos in this post were also taken by Privia Randhawa who is clearly as talented as her mother!
You are a licensed optician but you are now well known as an “eyewear stylist” and curator of luxury eyewear. Can you tell us something about how you came to create this special niche for yourself?
It's true that I'm a licensed optician. I've got many titles and it seems that "eyewear stylist" and "curator" of luxury eyewear are two that seem to get used quite often to describe me. Fashion is something that has always interested and intrigued me. It's fascinating to know that the perception of a person changes based on how he or she dresses. I hope that I'm explaining myself well. As much as people say that they like to be non-judgemental, within 3 seconds of meeting someone, we are judged. Our clothes speak before we do, our faces are the first to be looked at. This is where eyewear comes into it. I fit eyewear based on the complete look of the individual not just the Rx itself. I'm going to be looking at skin tone, bone structure, face shape and their personal style. Something Diana Vreeland said resonates with me, "Give them what they never knew they wanted." I do this by dressing the way I do, trusting my instincts when I'm buying product, making recommendations with confidence. I'm not afraid when I make my choices, this is true for every realm of my life. Along with fitting the eyewear, I want to impart a little bit of confidence onto the individual. So often I see middle aged women lose confidence in themselves as they age. This saddens me and nothing makes me happier than when somebody comes back to say, "I love them!"
It seems from everything that I have read about you that fashion is a part of every aspect of your life and integral to the roles that you play: wife, mother, businesswoman, community leader and fashion icon. How did fashion become such an essential part of your being?
Why is fashion important to me? This is an interesting question for me to answer because I've asked myself this question numerous times. I'm one of five siblings and we obviously had a similar upbringing. The other four are more conservative (shall we say) in their sense of style. I've always wanted to make a statement with my clothes. I went against the grain at the earliest opportunity that I could. I think more than anything it gives me a feeling of control and order. As I said in the last question, it amazes me how the clothes you wear define you as a person. My fashion sense has changed and developed over time and I find that as I'm getting older, I'm getting bolder in my choices. Because of the way I dress, my clients look to me for fashion advice on everything from eyewear to makeup to jewellery to hairstyles. One minute I'm talking about lenses and frames, the next it can be the latest lipstick colour from MAC!
Happily eyewear has gone from merely functional to being part of a fashion statement and expression of personal style. In your view, what are some important things to consider if someone wants to buy eyewear that makes a “statement”?
I'm very fortunate to be part of such a changing industry, where just 10-15 years ago, people irked at the thought of wearing glasses. Today, I see people everyday coming in to buy multiple pairs of glasses because one is simply not enough. For someone wanting to make a statement with their eyewear I would recommend that you get the help of a good optician. Fashion advice is very important but we must keep the Rx in mind. Knowing your skin tone makes the process a little easier because there are certain colours that will flatter you and others that will work against you. Knowing your face shape is also helpful because certain shapes will work better on certain faces. Lastly, knowing what kind of statement you want to make is always a good start. You can start by collecting pictures of eyewear on people that you like or admire. You can make a quiet statement that can speak volumes or go for something strong and bold that you will enjoy for many years.
Rather than follow trends your curated collections of luxury eyewear from around the globe makes trends. What are some of the elements that go into your decision-making when you are curating your next collection?
Bringing in a collection requires some serious thought. I find that for me cities like Milan or Paris offer me the greatest choices when it comes to forecasting trends. "Trends" is a word that I don't like to use often, you are correct when you say that our curated collections don't follow the trends. I'm being repetitive with the word but trends come and go, they are short lived. The product that I bring in needs to be unique in its styling but wearable. It has to have longevity for the wearer. Furthermore, I want to know where it's coming from, who's made it, what is it made out of, what is the story behind the collection, how did it come to be? Often I will speak to the designer or artisan myself because I want to get to know them a little bit. The challenge for me is that I tend to buy based on my personal likes and dislikes. So far this has worked out well but as a buyer you need to find a balance between that and knowing what will work well for the client.
Finally, on your blog you say, “A day at work for me is not just another day…every day is a day to reinvent myself”. Tell us more about what you mean by this because I know my readers will be as inspired as I was by your approach to fashion, work and life!
Every day is different for me and I want to show my clients that they too can take a little bit of fashion to reinvent themselves in the same way that I do. I don't take the way I dress too seriously meaning I don't take a lot of time deciding what to wear. Fashion is not something that you should worry and fret over, do whatever makes you happy. It doesn't have to be expensive or costly, I find some of my greatest pieces at thrift stores, believe it or not! Fashion has endless possibilities and your age has got nothing to do with it. I repeat...your age has got nothing to do with it.
And now for the big reveal…our final choice for Accidental Icon's new summer look!
So, what do you think?