Behind every great man is a great … wardrobe. Yes, it’s true — at least when it comes to the handsomely clad, professionally accomplished chaps in our new series, Dress for the Job You Want, which profiles more than a few good men who have proven that success is an equation of both substance and style.
They’ve cut their teeth in the fashion industry, climbed the corporate ladder, created their own companies, and conjured plenty of new ideas — and have looked damn good doing it. For these guys, dressing for the occasion is simply part of the gig.
But you don’t have to be a fully suited, buttoned-up show-off to stake your claim in the game, as suave subtlety often wins in the end. And, with our apologies to Mark Twain, it takes a lot more than just clothes to make the man. However, a good sartorial statement can go a long way when it comes to charting your career course.
David Calvert, entrepreneur and founder of BackVert, could tell us all a thing or two about form and function. A proper mix of style and substance is not just something he upholds in his sartorial statements, but also in his new product that ergonomically delivers back support in an effortless and effective new way.
After recovering from a near-fatal skiing accident in 2013, Calvert’s perspective on life completely changed, and he spent two years developing BackVert, a fully adjustable back support that connects to most any chair — from car to desk to plane seat — to promote proper posture while relieving back pain, aligning the spine, and strengthening the core.
After all, there’s nothing more fashionable than feeling well; dressing well is merely the natural extension. Here’s what Calvert had to say about looking good from the inside out and outfitting each day to promote an active lifestyle that celebrates movement.
The Cheat Sheet: What is your background and what led you to your current profession?
David Calvert: After my skiing accident and the subsequent surgery and 10 months of intense rehab — not to mention a new set of titanium ribs — I was back to relative normalcy in my daily life and I could even ski again. But my 9-to-5 desk job at an investment firm and hour-long commute were causing chronic back and hip pain. I was sitting for more than 13 hours a day, and I wasn’t getting the support my unique body needed.
So, that’s where the idea of my new company, BackVert, entered the equation. I value every aspect of being alive, having a healthy body, and having the ability to be active. And I wasn’t about to let back pain take that away from me. Not only am I healthier and more active now than ever, but every day I get to help others make the most of their body, too, through Backvert.
CS: How do you view the relationship between your clothes and your career?
DC: BackVert was designed to prevent back pain and provide comfort, so we can all spend more time being active. The clothes I wear do the same thing — provide comfort and mobility for my active lifestyle. When I’m not wearing sportier, performance-style joggers and T-shirts, I look for comfortable button-down shirts or pants that are low-maintenance but still stylish and appropriate for the office. Recently, I discovered the Dallas-based company Mizzen+Main. Their clothes are wrinkle-free, breathable, and comfortable — right up my alley.
CS: What do you love most about your job?
DC: It sounds cliché, but it actually gives me chills when I hear about someone benefitting from BackVert. There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you’ve helped someone live their life more fully — from race-car drivers who almost had to retire early because of poorly designed car seats to pregnant women with back pain and young fathers who were unable to pick up and play with their kids. It’s what drives me everyday because I know how debilitating and demoralizing chronic pain can be, especially when it’s caused by something unavoidable like a job or a commute.
CS: Workday essentials?
DC: You could say I’m very conscious of my ergonomic set-up at work. I use an ergonomic mouse — my colleagues refer to it as my “sting ray” mouse, along with an ergonomic footrest contraption that looks like a skateboard. Of course, I use a BackVert on my commute and my desk chair, and I take it with me when I travel — airplane seats are the worst!
CS: What’s your morning routine?
DC: I wake up at 7 a.m. and hang fully stretched from my pull-up bar for one minute. This decompresses and aligns my spine, and it feels amazing. Then I work out a bit with alternate sets of pull-ups and push-ups and other calisthenics. A couple minutes of foam-rolling my back and legs followed by light stretching — runner’s lunge is my favorite, and I recommend it to anyone who sits as much as I do. Finally I shower, throw on classic, comfortable separates that will get me through the long day ahead, have a protein drink, walk my dog Bailey, and then I’m out the door by 8 a.m.
CS: Where do you like to spend your off-duty hours?
DC: Being active! Whether it’s sand volleyball, rock climbing, dancing, or back on the slopes, I take advantage of my body and my health by using it to its fullest. But my favorite activity is probably taking my golden retriever on walks. Trying to keep up with her wears me out as it is!