Accessories to Improve your Suit.

Accessories to Improve your Suit.

By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

“Make it simple, but significant” – Dan Draper.

 

When we wear a suit we should always take note of the accessories that would best improve the overall look. The right accessories can improve your look from smart to outstanding.

You might think that you can wear anything you choose with a suit. That is not all true. There are some guidelines that will improve your overall look. The wrong accessories can make you look ostentatious and trying too hard.

 

Basic tip is that men’s jewelry should be subtle. Unless you are a rapper that needs all the bling, you should rather stick to the basics.

 

Watch

  • The Watch

 

This is an accessory that some people will judge you by. A watch can say a lot about a person. Some people like a diamond encrusted watch bulging from the French cuffs. Others stick to a more classic look. A thin classic watch, free from jewels and too many moving parts. They all have their place.

From my experience it is usually people in the financing sector that have the “attention seeking” models. Politicians tend to stick to more classic models.

I have a couple of watches that all have their place. I have some classic watches and also some less subtle models. This makes it easier to choose when going with a suit.

When wearing a tuxedo or tail coat it is custom not to wear a watch.

Also with so many fitness bands and other more technologically advanced watches out there. They are very popular in our society today so you will have to judge for yourself. Just try to keep it subtle.

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  • Cufflinks

When you choose to go with a dress shirt with French cuffs you have a chance to wear cufflinks.

This accessory gives you a tremendous amount of creativity, as there are so many different options. You can really get creative with your choice.

First you will have to choose between the metal options. Will you go for gold or silver? Some will even have precious stones to choose from.

When choosing them you need to think about what they will say about you. I tend to think about the event. If it is a stiff affair I stick to a classic look. Something subtle but still noticed. If it is a more casual affair I tend to go for something a bit more interesting.

My advise is to keep it simple but you can get something more interesting for more casual events. Stay away from anything that can create a bad impression about you. Pink studded playboy bunny ears is not appropriate.

 

  • Tie Clip.

This is a practical accessory, as it will prevent your tie from flying all over the place. This can also be used to accentuate the overall suit and look.

Try to keep it basic. Just a gold or silver strip will do. Otherwise it will just look gaudy.

When purchasing, think of the ties you wear. For skinny ties you will have to get a tie clip that will fit that.

Rings

  • Rings

The most popular ring will be a wedding band. My advise on this matter is to keep it simple. A plain gold or platinum band usually works best.

Another popular ring is a fraternity ring. This has a lot of symbolic value.

If you are going for a looking rich look you can choose to add a bigger, precious stone encrusted option.

 

I was at a fundraiser a while back where I got to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was wearing a couple of big rings and it looked fine on him. It suited him well. He was wearing a well-fitted suit, pointed boots, big belt buckle and the rings. He pulled that look off with great confidence. There is simply no way I will be able to do that. Just because some else looks good, doesn’t mean that I will. It is important to know your limits.

Belt

  • Belt

The basic rule here is that leather should always match leather. If you are wearing black dress shoes, choose a black belt.

When choosing the size, you need to have a few inches past the buckle. Enough to put it under the first loop. When thinking of waist size. When store purchasing, purchase two sizes up. That will be a good guideline.

When choosing a belt buckle remember this, the bigger the buckle the less formal it is.

My favorite brand is MissionBelt. I have a no other belt in my closet anymore. Give them a try. It will be money well spent.

Shoes

  • Shoes

People have different tastes so best I can do is give you some guidance. First you need to think of what color you need. Most popular is black or brown.

From there you can start having a look at style options. I suggest go for a clean uncluttered look. Consider something like a Cap-Toe Oxford. It is clean and can be worn in a variety of occasions.

Always think of comfort when buying. Last thing you want is to be at an important event and your feet are in pain. This will just put you in a bad mood and you will not be able to impress the people you need to impress.

Socks

  • Socks

Over the last couple of years we have all noticed that more and more people go for colorful options. When done right it does improve the look but also suggests that the person wearing them can be a lot of fun.

 

First rule is basic. If you are unsure how to wear your socks with the suit, stick to black socks. Make sure they match each other and that there are no visible holes.

Keep the color the same as the trousers you are wearing. White socks are a no-no. It will just look ridiculous.

 

When you do go for some colorful or patterned options, make sure it is not for a funeral or very formal event. Remember pulling off bold socks takes confidence. Just try to keep it to not clash with your suit too much. The base color of your suit and the socks should be similar. For a start I suggest you stick to basic patterns or dots. When you feel confident to go beyond that, stick to these basics and you will be fine.

 

 

What is your go-to accessory when wearing a suit?

 

 

 

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I Smiled for a Week. This is what happened.

I Smiled for a Week. This is what happened.

“Use your smile to change the world, don’t let the world change your smile”

By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

A friend of mine asked me why I smile so rarely. “Are you unhappy”, he asked? This came as a surprise to me as I always thought I smiled a lot. Truth is that I am a pretty happy person. Why would someone then tell me that I look unhappy?

 

This thought kept coming back to me. “Is this really true?” Can’t be. Do I really look that unhappy to the people around and how has this influenced my relationships over time? What if it were true? Maybe I do look miserable.

 

Then the though dawned on me that I tend to stay away from grumpy people or people who just look unhappy. When I do get in a conversation with a miserable person I always try to cut the conversation short. It is also a poor first impression in my opinion.

 

I started noting my feelings and expression when dealing with people. Guess what? My friend was correct. I rarely smiled enough. At work I am focused on the task at hand and dislike distractions. The way people perceive that is that I am in a bad mood. This is not my intention but that is the way it is perceived. When trying to influence people it is not my intentions that can make a defining impression but the perception of the people.

 

“So what can I do to fix this?” I thought to myself. How can I influence my own feelings and overall mood? Then it hit me. “Just focus on smiling as much as I can, even when I am alone.”

 

So this is what happened:

 

Day one in the morning was a bit tough. You wake up after a nigh of too little rest. I then realized it was going to be a long day with too much to do and too little time. I then remembered my idea of smiling. Looking in the mirror I started smiling to myself. I put on some music, as I got ready for the day.

 

Went to the gym first thing and made a point of greeting everyone with a smile. Some people kind of looked at me with a funny expression and then realized how depressed I must have looked. Most people did however greet me back with a smile. I must admit that I did feel a bit silly at first.

 

When I got to work I greeted my staff with smiles. Same as at the gym. Some greeted me with a weird look but most greeted me back with a smile. I kept it going as much as I could and the atmosphere was better. It was actually pretty cheerful. As the day went on my smile faded and by the end of the day I was exhausted and the last thing on my mind was a smile.

 

The second day was bit easier. My morning routine was the same but I felt more comfortable smiling as much as I can. I felt more energetic. By the time I got the gym I was unusually cheerful. I greeted everyone with a smile and I felt good. I did not take note of what other people’s facial expressions were as I was more focused on myself.

 

At work I did take note of my employees facial expressions towards me when greeted with a smile. There was definitely an improvement from the previous day. I had less to do in the office, so spent more time on the floor interacting with the staff. I was cheerful and so was the staff. More than usual. People that would normally avoid coming up to me did so with ease. I felt good leaving work.

 

Day three was pretty much the same but I started taking note of some drastic changes on day four.

 

By now the smiling during my morning routine was easy and did not feel silly anymore. By the time I got to the gym for my workout, I was all smiles. People were friendlier towards me. I met some new people and some friendships have grown from there. I also met some other business people in the community I had never met before. Just by smiling I had expanded my network.

 

At work things were even better. In the past I had to double-check most tasks as some individuals took short cuts. Since the workplace was now more inviting and friendlier, I have noted that the issued faced in the past was down a lot. The overall performance had increased. This couldn’t be purely from smiling, could it? I though I would not jump to conclusions just yet. Still early days.

 

That night I needed to go to the supermarket. Without thinking about it, I greeted people with a smile and the friendliness was returned. Usually I would dread going to a store, but this time things were better. In the past I would avoid making conversation with anyone in line. This time I joined the conversation and it was fine. Thinking about it now, I actually enjoyed it.

 

By day five it came more naturally. My morning routine was great. Just getting better.

 

The big difference was happening at work. I started enjoying it more going in. Some of my staff that had a tendency to be late was on time. I stood back a bit to oversee what was going on. People were friendlier all round. People were more supportive towards each other. This is why we were seeing better results. There was an increased atmosphere of teamwork. I did not have to check up on the staff all the time. I understand now that my attitude was affecting my employees as much as it did my personal life. Smiling really is contagious.

 

The weekend that followed I had some time to hang out with friends and they commented on my attitude change. I had changed that much in one week just by smiling that my friends took note.

 

Some comments I would like you to take from my experience. Greeting people with a smile is not asking much. Greeting someone with a smile will make you more attractive and people will be drawn to you. First impression is key.

 

Want to meet the cute girl at work or store. Simple. Start with a smile. Smile and be friendly. That will make her remember you. You will stand out from the crowd.

 

Struggling to influence people at work? Start with greeting them with a smile. Be friendly and genuine with your interest in them. This will open many doors for you.

 

The week I started smiling was a while ago and I wanted to keep going to ensure it was not a fluke. I firmly believe that this small change in my approach to people made a massive change in my life. Things seem easier and I am overall happier. I have no problem meeting new people. An area in my life I used to struggle with.

 

I have to admit that it is not easy to keep going. You have to make a conscious decision to keep going and focus on your actions. You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.

 

Give it a try, you will be surprised with the results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking the Ice.

Breaking the Ice.

“Believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic”

– Brene Brown

By Sam Kapur, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals

Most guys fail with women within the first 5 seconds of meeting them. Why is that? It’s because you don’t know how to break the ice properly. Approaching a woman at a bar, club, or any other social environment can be one the scariest aspects of dating. That’s why online sources have worked so well, they eliminate the fear of public humiliation and public rejection.

 

But if you can learn some basics of breaking the ice can not only meet women, but maybe even meet some interesting people.

 

  1. Approach with confidence

It doesn’t matter as much what you say, it’s how you say it. Obviously this is easier said than done, but the best advice I can give you is with practice comes confidence. The more you put yourself out there and try the more you realize that rejection is not the end of the world. Think of any rejection as a learning experience instead of a failure.

 

  1. The 5 Second Rule

Whether it’s women or the person sitting next to you at the bar in the airport. After 5 seconds of not breaking the ice things get exponentially more difficult. If you are going to approach someone or speak with them then make your move immediately. This will not only show confidence, but it will allow you to get out of you own head.

 

  1. Be Natural

You’re a good person that people should get to know. Don’t try to put on a fake persona, be comfortable with who you are. Even if just on a subconscious level, others can tell when you are being fake. This is another benefit of the 5 Second Rule, if you approach immediately you won’t have time to think of a cheesy line, you will say something on the cuff instead making you more genuine.

 

The main thing to remember is if you don’t try you will never learn. So go out there and be more social.

 

 

 

Single Malt or Blended?

Single Malt or Blended?

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough”

– Mark Twain

By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

 

I have a bit of a tradition on a Tuesday. Cigar and Scotch in the evening. This is my little treat during the week. My escape from daily life. I like some alone time to reflect on whatever is going on in my life. Personal and professional. Over some time I have had people join me. Some clued up on scotch and cigar traditions and some not so much.

 

I thought I would take the time to explain some things around Scotch drinking. This is just a guide for anyone interested. If you drink your Scotch with ice and plenty water, that is fine, but you will have to bring your own as I will not allow anyone to do that to my Scotch.

 

Bourbon is not a Scotch and that is why it is not listed here.

 

First let me explain some different types of Scotch available.

 

  1. Blended Scotch.

Made from at least one or more single malt Scotch whiskies that are blended together with a single grain Scotch whisky.

 

  1. Blended Malt Scotch.

Very uncommon type of Scotch. Previous known as “Vatted Malt”. Made when you take two or more single malt Scotch whiskies from at least two separate distilleries and blends them together to create one batch of whisky.

 

  1. Blended Grain Scotch.

Made when two or more single grain Scotch whiskies from at least two separate distilleries. Then blended together to create a single batch of whisky.

 

  1. Single Malt Scotch.

Simply whisky made at a single distillery. Made from just water and 100% barley.

 

Note where your Scotch (obviously Scotland) comes from and the attributes.

 

Lowland Light bodied, gentle, malty, grassy
Highland Firmer, spicy, dry and sweet
Speyside Sweet, mellow and often fruity
Islay Smoky, heavy peated, spindrift

 

 

With all the varieties available you will have to do some experimentation. I suggest you attend a tasting event in your area so you can find the one you like the best. There is no one best Scotch and single malt is not always best. The price may make that statement but not always true. It is dependent on your personal taste. There they will also give you some tips to enhance your experience while drinking Scotch.

In the past I have done tasting events at my house. It turned out to be great fun. You can pair it with some cheese and quality cold cuts. To split the cost as it can get pricey, I suggest each person attending bring a different blend so you get to taste a good variety.

 

There are a variety ways to drink your Scotch. Some people add a lot of ice in the glass and then pour the Scotch over it. All you are doing is diluting and cooling the drink. If you drink it like this there is no need to pay premium for your Scotch. You may just as well buy the cheap Scotch. If you want ice in the drink, I suggest no more than two cubes.

 

The only reason I would dilute a Scotch with ice or water is due to high alcohol content numbing my palate.

 

If you do add water to your Scotch, I suggest taking a sip or two neat first. Then add a little water as you drink. Emphasis on little. Some people use a straw to add only a couple of drops between sips. When I am smoking a cigar with my Scotch I tend to have a bottle of water at hand. A sip in-between clears the palate nicely.

 

There are also some cocktail recipes you can try. Listed below are my two favorites. I suggest you try them, as they are rather good on occasion.

  • The Godfather. (My favorite if I have to choose)

Two parts Scotch and two-part Amaretto poured in a heavy bottomed glass over ice. Stir briefly.

 

  • Rusty Nail.

I pour 1 oz Drambuie and 1.5oz Scotch in a glass over ice. Stir briefly and top with a lemon twist.

 

 

This is just an introduction to drinking Scotch. It can get very technical and some people take it way too serious. I stick to the basics and I like it that way.

I hope you find the information informative and you have fun trying some new things.

 

What is your favorite brand of Scotch and why?

 

 

Leading in the new world.

Leading in the new world.

“Leadership is not a position or title, it is a action and example” – Unknown

By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

I have been in management and leadership positions for the most part of my life. For the last couple of years I have been dealing with more multinational and millennial teams. A younger crowd opposed to the more mature teams I have had. I realized very quickly that my normal management style was not getting the results I was used to.

 

We have all dealt with people we tend to call millennial’s these days. I have heard many complaints about poor service delivery and many blame that on the millennial. When you do then complain, you are made out to be the one that needs an attitude adjustment.

Please watch this video on the millennial topic.

This has become a talking point at a recent event I attended. What can we do? I have seen people just walk out of establishments due to the “no care” attitude of the staff. I have done so myself. Then the owners wonder why business is down.

 

Other business owners find out that they have a service delivery concern. Lucky they picked it up. Then they claim they have run out of ideas on correcting it. When I ask what they did, they state that they have been doing a lot of training but it is not working. Well, of course not. The smallest thing distract people today. Well, that and everyone think they deserve to live a life-like that crazy family on the TV. Not the Osbourne’s. The other one. I think it is the Cardigans or Kardashians. Something like that. People just feel entitled.

 

Very few people understand that life owes us nothing and we are all responsible for our own successes and failures. Due to silly TV shows people just feel entitled to everything. I have seen parents purchase their kids new iPhones just because they want one. This is the wrong lesson to teach your kids.

I remember at one point while I was still at school I needed some new sports equipment. I asked my dad for it and his response to that was one of the best lessons in life I could have ever learned. He just said, “You are old enough to make your own money, have fun”. This was how I learned that it is up to me to get what I want.

 

As times have changed, so have effective leadership skills and management tactics. I have been working on adjusting my own skills and I have seen some great results. There is actually a way to lift employee spirits and get the business to function at the level it needs to. This is what I learned.

 

  1. Drop the suit.

This isn’t the 80’s and you are not Donald Trump. Except if you work in finance. The days where you are all suited up and managing your business from behind your desk on the top floor is gone. Long gone. You will only get more people to dislike you and make assumptions that you are an arrogant manager. Even if you are the kindest person there, people will not be able to see it from a distance.

 

  1. Know your product.

I have learned from experience that when I do the training my staff tends to listen more and take note. This should not be because they are scared of you. Rather that they respect you and see you part of the team.

You need to know what needs to be done and how to get it done. Whether it is a service delivery company or a retail or product driven enterprise.

 

  1. Be Present.

As mentioned before you cannot run the business from behind a desk. Understandably there will be times that you have to be office bound. But you need to do your best to be on the floor and around your team members as much as you can. This will build good rapport with your team and give you the perfect opportunity to keep an eye on the final product and ensure it is up to standard.

 

  1. Know your staff.

Whenever you meet your staff you need to remember their names. Your team will respect you for that. Some may say that they are bad with remembering names. This is no excuse. You need to get that sorted. There are books about that.

 

  1. Be an Example.

You need to lead from the front. You need to be an example to your co-workers. If you are lazy around the office they will be. If you are driven and focused, your staff will be. Remember you are always on parade as the employer or leader. Once you grasp that fact, you will be aware of what you do and how you lead.

 

 

From my experience I have learned a lot about managing people from different ages and nationalities. Try my tips and build your own ways to be effective in the workplace.

 

We cannot always control what happens to us, but ywe can control how we react to it.

What tips do you have for new leaders out there?