Frame pricing is consistent throughout the industry. Almost all optical retailers mark up frames along similar guidelines. It is common to find identical frames selling for within a few dollars of each other in local markets. Unless the frame is unique to a very small vendor, chances are excellent that at least one other shop in town is selling the same frame. A little price comparison is always a good idea.
So, rule number one is: You will pay more for a frame with a designer name. Frame manufacturers spend millions of dollars buying the rights to put designer names on their frame lines. They have to recoup that cost somewhere, so the higher the brand recognition is, the higher the cost will be. Stores will also charge a premium for exclusive brands, styles and the latest fashion trends in eyewear.
That leads us to rule number two: Designer frames look better than non-designer frames. Do not kid yourself. The frame companies know how to manipulate style. The best-looking shapes, styles and colors are combined in the higher cost designer lines.
Now on to rule number three: Just because a frame has a designer name does not mean it is a better product. In fact, it was most likely made on the very same assembly line and from the very same materials as the company’s house brand.
When you buy a frame, think about how and when you will wear it. If you wear your contact lenses 99% of the time, then buy a house-brand frame, and save your money. Does it really matter what your bedside readers look like? Do you need a designer frame for your computer glasses?