Monday, August 24, 2015

Husky Strategy

At the request of a reader who read The Short Game, I've compiled a list of tips for the Husky Gentleman. Admittedly, I had to look up what 'husky' meant; embarrassing, I know. What can I say? Urban Dictionary has been a godsend.

Anyways, hope these tips will help out a few gentlemen out there. Please note that these strategies are not just for the husky gentleman, but could also be used for the tall or large-framed man.

Focus on the fit. A lot.

Regardless of the colour, style or fabric, the fit of a suit will always be the most important factor. For the husky gentleman, it's often natural to pick out a suit that is bigger than your frame, mostly because it's better than going with a suit that's too tight. And, it gives you breathing room in case you put on a few extra pounds later. Nonetheless, try to find a suit that drapes naturally over your body; there shouldn't be any significant creases, bulging or air pockets. Always try to find a suit that has clean lines around your shoulders (i.e. virtually no air pockets) and chest (the suit lapels should drape downwards without disturbance).

Stick to solid coloured suits.

Patterned and textured suits can look really nice on a man, but may be overwhelming, especially if you are on the husky side. For example, a window pane suit (pictured below) looks fashionable and trendy, but the square pattern aims to make the wearer appear wider and bigger. This effect is likely the opposite of what a husky gentleman would want.

Therefore, it would be safer to go with a solid suit. But do not confused 'safe' with 'boring'; there is nothing boring about a safe suit, especially if it complements the wearer's body frame. If you'd like to add some pattern, wear a patterned tie and/or pocket square to add a little extra texture.

Go with a wider lapel and tie.

The general rule of thumb is to have the tie width be the same as the suit jacket lapel. That way, the ensemble looks balanced and proportionate.

For those who have broad shoulders, going with wider suit jacket lapels and ties can add additional balance to your look. A standard lapel/tie will usually be around 2.5~3.0 inches; therefore, you could try going with a 3.5~4.0 inch lapel/tie combination instead to cover more real estate across your chest and make your look even more proportionate.

For example, Dwayne Johnson (pictured above left) has really broad shoulders and often goes with extra-wide peak lapels and ties, which goes well with his frame.

Cater to your face.


While not crucial, picking out a particular shirt collar to go with the shape of your face can make a difference when putting your look together. For those with round faces, a forward point collar is the most complementary since the collar is longer and downward pointing, making the wearer appear thinner. Conversely, those with angular shaped faces could choose to wear semi or full spread collars.

Wear straight cut pants.

L to R: Slim, Fitted, Straight, Loose

Finally, going with straight cut pants is recommended for the husky gentleman. Slim fit or extreme tapering may be very uncomfortable for larger individuals (especially in the thigh area) and the appearance may not be flattering. If the wearer really tapers his pants (i.e. small ankle openings), it will make him look extremely top heavy, especially if his mid-section and chest are broad. The imbalance will be reminiscent of the guys who skip leg day at the gym.

"There is no such thing as leg day," said this champion.

At the end, it really comes down to fit. You can play with all the colours, fabrics and styles all you want, but the fit will really determine whether you look put together or not. If you do generally wear suits that are too big, try going down a size; the end result is cleaner lines, less bulging and a better look. I'm not saying that you should go out and wear the smallest suit you can fit into, but it might be worth trying on a jacket that's just a touch closer to your skin. It never hurts to try out a fitted jacket.

It also never hurts to exercise your legs.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Small Business Man (2) - Backup

When I was studying for my CA (now CPA) exams, there was always a case question where a company didn't have a back up plan. The case facts would simply state "XYZ Corp. doesn't back up their data" or "Mr. Smith said he doesn't need a disaster recovery plan because a disaster has never happened before." My study-buddies and I loved these types of cases because the answer was always "Get a backup plan." That's it, that's all. Full marks for everyone.

It's so trivial to have a backup. I remember thinking those cases were such nonsense; why was I paying money to write exams that taught me to recommend having a backup? Isn't that common sense?

Yes, having a backup plan is common sense, but having now had some experience both in the CPA profession and running YourSuit, I can honestly say that having a backup plan - and implementing one - is not as easy as it sounds, and it often gets lost on the to-do list. There are enough challenges out there in running a business day-to-day, let alone going the extra distance to prepare for a disaster.

For YourSuit, delivery is key. If a client needs a suit ASAP, coordination between us and our suppliers and shippers needs to be orchestrated quickly and accurately. Sounds cliché, but it's exactly like a bike chain; should one chain break or fail, the pedaling stops. It doesn't matter how good our other chains are; the fact that one of them failed has stopped the entire process, and if it takes too long to fix, the process ultimately comes to a halt and the deadline is missed.

It's easy to "hope" that the chains won't break, but let's face it: shit happens. I've learned early on (thanks CPA exams) that preventing a disaster (or at least preparing for one) is much better than detecting disaster. If you've detected a disaster, it's already happened; the climb is all uphill from there.

I've learned to be more proactive in building backups. Got a good shipper? Great, find another two that are equally as good or better. Found a great supplier? Excellent, keep looking for more. More backups lead to more insurance, which means that recovery should be significantly easier should a break in the chain occur. And at the end, the delivery will  be made.

Off to see about a few more backups...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How to Beat the Heat

From "Charity Drive" - Arrested Development, S1 E5

If you've been living in Ottawa (or the greater southern Ontario region) this summer, you'll know that we've just recently endured one of the hottest, stickiest two-week stints in quite some time. The humidity has been near 100% and temperatures were reaching the high thirties, sometimes even forties (Celsius). This past weekend's cooler temperatures were a welcoming relief, but it's entirely possible that another heat wave will present itself.

For most, suits definitely wouldn't be the first choice when combating extreme heat, but in many cases it's unavoidable. (i.e. work, weddings, etc.) But is there anything you can do to beat the heat? Definitely, and here are some options:

Don't ride a bike while wearing a suit in a heat wave.

--- OK, that was just for the Arrested Development fans out there. If you haven't watched Arrested Development, do yourself a favor and binge-watch the entire series.

Wear a lighter-coloured suit.

If you have the option of wearing a lighter colour, do it. Dark suits, such as navies, charcoals and blacks absorb a lot more light under the sun and heat up much more than a light coloured suit.

Can you get by with just a vest?

This may not work in all circumstances, but consider scraping the jacket for a day and just go with a vest. Going without a jacket may be too informal for some occasions, but subbing in a vest instead will keep your look more formal and cool (both temperature and style wise).

Stay away from synthetic fabrics.

Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, nylon or some other sort of poly blend, are produced entirely from chemicals and do not breathe as well as natural fabrics such as cotton and wool. While synthetics have great advantages (such as durability, affordability and structure), natural fabrics are much better in dealing with extreme heat. Contrary to popular belief, a wool suit will actually be much cooler in the summer than a synthetic because there is better ventilation (wool will also be warmer in the winter). In addition, natural fabrics tend to be lighter in weight than a synthetic, so the wearer will actually feel lighter when wearing a natural fabric.

The lining in suits also varies from synthetic to natural fabrics; if you go with a natural fabric lining, chances are the suit will be more breathable.

And finally, the best way to beat the heat is...

To wear cutoffs like Tobias.