My Father, Peter Balani

This Father’s Day, I want to take a moment to acknowledge my father, Peter Balani, who founded Balani Custom Clothiers in 1961. 

Growing up, my father was always traveling for work and making sacrifices to give my sister and me better opportunities. When I turned 16, he proudly asked me if I would like to join the family business. Like any 16-year-old, I quickly shut him down stating I would pave my own path.

 Peter Balani - Chicago Trunk Show - 1962

Peter Balani – Chicago Trunk Show – 1962

Ten years later as I was going through a career transition, he asked me the same question again. With several years of finance and corporate experience under my belt, I was finally able to recognize the magnitude of this opportunity. 

 Sonny Balani & Peter Balani - 2003

Sonny Balani & Peter Balani – 2003

To this day, my father is still encouraging yet firm, pushing me and the business to our fullest potential. My father exemplifies quality, teamwork, and top-notch customer service; core values that were not only bestowed on me, but on each and every member of the Balani team. 

 Sonny Balani, Peter Balani, Jai Balani - 2016

Sonny Balani, Peter Balani, Jai Balani – 2016

Today, my father is 80-years-old and continues to support and challenge me every step of the way. Nowadays, his wish is that my 7-year-old son, Jai, gives me just as hard of a time as I once gave him. 

I wish you all a Happy Father’s Day and hope you take the opportunity to recognize the father figure in your life.

– Sonny Balani  

Sonny BalaniMy Father, Peter Balani
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Summer Must-Haves

SummerMustHaves
 

It’s hot.

It’s humid.

It rains and then it pours.

The weather is as unpredictable as which country will win the World Cup.

The good new is that we can still look impeccably stylish amidst these harsh summer elements.

These are BALANI’s Summer Must-Haves:

British Blue Suit & Patterned Shirts

Get a case of the Summer blues and embrace your British Blue and sapphire tones. The warmer shades lend themselves nicely for suiting, trousers, and even blazers. Great for summer weddings, outdoor events, or even the office, a British blue garment balances beautifully with pastels and brighter colors.

Pump up your blues by adding a patterned shirt such as a check, stripe, gingham or plaid. These lively patterns are great for a festive summer look. To tone down a brighter blue suit and make it more conservative, simply pair it with a white shirt, darker shoes, and minimal accessories.

Colorful Accessories (Flower Lapel Pins – Socks – Pocket Squares)

This season, accessories are all about color, texture and pattern. One of the easiest ways to incorporate your personality into an outfit is to accessorize it with flower lapel pins, socks, cufflinks, and pocket squares.

Floral prints are a huge trend this summer, but we realize not everyone is ready to sport a bold, floral print shirt. That’s where flower lapel pins comes in handy. A subtle detail for your lapel buttonhole, flower pins will help baby step you into a hot trend and give you that little extra pop of color where you need it the most. Flower pins are made in all colors, so you can match the flower to your suit or spice it up with a bright pattern.

Socks and pocket squares also offer a unique opportunity for adding color and pattern. Whether you prefer stripes, polka-dots or wild patterns, these accessories give you the freedom to showcase your style without going overboard. For those looking to keep it classic and conservative, a white cotton pocket square is best.

 

 

 

 

 

Sonny BalaniSummer Must-Haves
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5 Facts You Didn’t Know About BALANI

BigSlacksMrB
1.) We have a suit you can pour a glass of red wine on and it won’t stain the fabric.

What is this miracle fabric you ask? It’s our Aquaplan collection by Dormeuil. For those of you who have a tendency to spill your drink (no judgment), this is the perfect fabric for you.

The Aquaplan collection is made from Super 130’s wool and finished with special Nano Technology treatment making it resistant to stains and also giving it a smooth finish. With this suit, you’ll never have to worry about rain or red wine again.

2.) The Most Expensive Suit BALANI Has Ever Made Cost Approximately $30,000

Yes you read that correctly. Thirty. Thousand. Dollars.

Made from 100% vicuña, this fabric is incredibly expensive because so few vicuñas actually exist.  In the 1960’s vicuñas were hunted to near extinction and today, they are an endangered species exclusive to South America. Incapable of being held captive or farmed, their wool has to be collected the old-fashion way.

Similar to the llama, vicuñas have extremely fine hair which can only be shorn once every three years. Their hair is so fine, that each sheering only produces 17 ounces of fiber, making it incredibly rare and one of the most expensive fabrics in the world.

3.) BALANI has dressed two First Ladies

Back when BALANI was Medos Custom Tailors, founder Peter Balani gained early recognition as as a world-class tailor. Eventually his connections gave him the opportunity to work with Jacqueline Kennedy and Claudia (Lady Bird) Johnson.

4.) The biggest suit BALANI ever made… Took an entire 9 yards of fabric to construct

That’s 1 yard shy of a first down! Just to put this in perspective, the average suit requires 3-3.5 yards of fabric.

Standing tall at 6’8” and weighing over 700lbs, our client was unable to find a suit that fit him off the rack. Knowing his struggles, Peter Balani was determined to make him a suit that fit. After taking his measurements, and evaluating the proper cut for his client’s build, Peter Balani created an incredible fitting suit. To this day, he considers this to be the most challenging suit he has ever made.

5.) BALANI made a red trophy jacket for the winner of a Beer Pong Tournament

We’ve all seen the Masters’ prized green jacket, but did you know there’s also a highly coveted red jacket?

While we don’t get requests like this very often, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create such an original and valued garment. This fully custom jacket was made for two winners of an extremely competitive beer pong tournament. How competitive you ask? So competitive that the winner of the qualifying rounds play in Ireland.

Crafted from Holland and Sherry Super 120’s wool, the prize winning jacket is dark crimson with a white trim around the lapel. In order to guarantee this jacket is one-of-a-kind, an official championship patch was added right below the chest pocket.

Sonny Balani5 Facts You Didn’t Know About BALANI
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Story Leather: What is Custom? With BALANI Custom Clothiers

Story Leather: What is Custom? With Balani ClothiersPosted on April 21, 2014
By: Jonathan Ly

Custom clothes, accessories, furniture, etc. These are some of the few items people are customizing these days. Why is that though? Wouldn’t it be easier to order something and have it delivered right away instead of waiting for it to be made? For the most part it would be, but having something that is custom really speaks wonders. Every custom item tells a story whether we think it has one or not and every story is unique to the person that designed it.

That’s why we’re fortunate enough to speak to Elizabeth from BALANI Custom Clothiers about why custom items are so popular these days, but before we get to that I wanted to give a quick synopsis about BALANI and what makes them so unique.

Balani Clothiers is named “One of the Top 6 Tailors in World,” by JW Marriott Magazine, and “Best Custom Suit” by Chicago Magazine, Balani Custom Clothiers has been in the custom clothing business for over 50 years.

To read more about BALANI you can visit their website at www.Balanicustom.com.

For more stories you can visit www.storyleather.com/blog

Story Leather: What does “Custom” mean to you?

Elizabeth: Custom is an incredibly powerful concept in the clothing business, because it gives the consumer the ability to take complete control in an industry where they rarely have input or a voice. It allows our clients to create the “perfect” garment, while getting the exact fit and styling details that they want.

Story Leather: With fashion/style trends constantly coming and going how do you think custom items will hold up?”

Elizabeth: There’s a fine line that custom clothiers walk when it comes to style trends. There was a time when over-sized, 3-button suits, with pleats and cuffs were popular. Today, the trend leans toward very trim fit suits, with shorter jackets and little to no break in the slacks. Our goal is to help guide our clients and have them style their garments in a way that will stand the test of time. The best advice we can give is it to keep it simple and meet in the middle; Avoid fleeting trends and focus on what’s right for your body type.

Story Leather: I’ve heard that when buying a custom item it’s not really about the item it’s more about the story behind it. What are your thoughts on that?

Elizabeth: The beauty of custom is that every suit has a story, because every detail is intentional and carefully thought out. It’s these personal touches (i.e. colorful linings, functioning buttonholes, monogramming the suit jacket) that make a custom piece so special.

When others notice these details, it organically becomes a conversation starter. I’ve had dozens of clients who’ve come to me and said they closed a deal or attained new clients purely based on a compliment they’ve received on how they were dressed. That’s a wonderful gift to be able to give people.

Story Leather: Do you have a custom item that tells a unique story? If so would you care to tell us a little about it?

Elizabeth: BALANI carries thousands of fabrics from all over the world, but there’s one pinstripe suit that stands out from all the rest. Made from luxurious Super 180’s wool, this fabric is unique because the pinstripe is actually the client’s name hand-embroidered into the stripe. Costing over $10,000, the customizable pinstripe guarantees that your suit is an original and one of a kind. If that’s still not extravagant enough for you, you can opt to have the fabric mill embroider your suit with 14k gold thread.

Story Leather: Our last question is about BALANI. We know that you specialize in customize clothing, what are some of the special orders that you’ve seen go through BALANI?

Elizabeth: My favorite orders are the one’s which have the most sentiment behind them. Whether it’s a wedding tuxedo or a jacket specifically designed for the winner of a beer pong tournament, these garments mean more to our clients than just an ordinary suit. They want it to be special and we do our best to incorporate meaningful elements into each garment. Sometimes it’s as simple as embroidering the wedding date into a suit, and for others it’s adding a special crest or patch to the front of the jacket. It’s these personal details that change a suit from being simple and ordinary to extraordinary.

I wanted to thank Elizabeth and BALANI again for sharing some of their stories as well as their insight on how custom items represent such a powerful story, image, and memory. If you want to know more about BALANI their website is www.Balanicustom.com. You can also follow them on TwitterFacebook, and Google+ for any updates they might have.

For more of our stories you can visit www.storyleather.com/blog, visit our FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest for all of any updates on new styles, leathers, or promo codes.

Sonny BalaniStory Leather: What is Custom? With BALANI Custom Clothiers
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Debunking 3 Common Clothing Urban Legends

How to Match 3 Patterns
Urban Legend #1: It’s Never Acceptable to Wear Black Shoes with a Navy Suit

This particular urban clothing legend is one we’re asked about daily.

Let us start off by saying that the answer isn’t as cut and dry as you’d expect. While many people believe black shoes and a navy suit to be a clothing sin, we don’t necessarily agree.

To get the optimal shoe for your navy suit, it’s best to examine what type of “navy” you have. The color navy varies so drastically that the spectrum ranges from almost black to brighter blue. When trying to match up a pair of shoes with your suit, consider the hue of navy that you’re wearing.

For darker blue tones, such as midnight navy, black shoes are going to be the optimal choice because they are understated, formal and conservative. They will garner less attention and blend seamlessly with the look and feel of a traditional power suit.

When it comes to warmer blue tones, such as cobalt or British blue, lighter shades of brown will look the best. Camel, chestnut and merlot colored shoes will brighten the sapphire tones within the suit and make it feel less formal.

Urban Legend #2: No One Will Notice if You Wear Your Suit Coat as a Blazer

Gentlemen, this is simply not true. A suit jacket and a sport coat are two very different things. You cannot wear a pinstripe suit jacket with a pair of slacks and try to pass it off as a sport coat. People will definitely notice, and you will look ridiculous.

A blazer is not only styled differently from a suit jacket, but the fabrics are different as well. Generally speaking, blazers have a lot of texture. They are often made from a hopsack or bird’s eye fabric, whereas suits are more often made from a simpler gabardine fabric. Blazers also have different  stitching, pockets, and buttons from a suit. These distinguishing factors are extremely telling when wearing a suit jacket versus a blazer.

What about a navy suit jacket, you ask? While we don’t encourage wearing a navy suit jacket as a blazer, we understand that sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got. For example, if you’re traveling and need to pack light, you might have to wear your suit as separate pieces. In this situation, always pack a solid color suit; preferably navy. Avoid packing a suit with a pattern, otherwise it’s a dead giveaway you’re double dipping.

Urban Legend #3: You Should Never Wear 3 Different Patterns at the Same Time.

False. Mixing patterns can be challenging for a lot of guys, but when it’s done right, it looks incredible. Mastering this skill set is simple when following these 2 guidelines.

1.) Color

A monochromatic theme is the easiest place to start when attempting to combine patterns. For example, if you have a navy glen plaid suit, you can easily pull out the blue tones in the fabric by pairing it with a light blue checked shirt. Complete the look by adding a navy striped tie. It’s that simple.

2.) Scale

When matching a patterned suit, shirt, and tie begin with the scale of the suit pattern. For example, a standard pinstripe suit has stripes about 3/8” apart. When trying to match a shirt and tie with the suit, go for different patterns and different scales. We typically recommend a narrow stripe or small checked shirt pattern when matching up a standard pinstripe suit. For the tie, go with either a diagonal wider stripe or small dot pattern to keep the eye drawn inward.

 

Sonny BalaniDebunking 3 Common Clothing Urban Legends
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The 5 Men’s Clothing Essentials for Spring 2014

There are 5 Men's Essentials for Spring 2014
 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Between Polar vortexes, sub-freezing temperatures, and record high snowfall, it’s safe to say we’re all happy to see winter to come to an end. Now that spring is here, there’s no better way to welcome it than with bright colors, bold patterns and some brand-new outwear. These 5 items will help bring your wardrobe back to life.

Car Coat

Color: Medium Grey

Not nearly as heavy or cumbersome as an overcoat, a car coat was originally designed in the 50’s for men to wear while driving an open-air vehicle. Cut to modern day, this is the quintessential in-betweener jacket due to its lightness of weight and A-line design.

Typically cut to the mid-thigh, a car coat is both stylish and functional. Often made from wool, tweed, leather or cotton, this jacket is perfect to toss over a suit, slacks, or even jeans.

The Plaid Suit

Color Range: Solid Color Plaids To Bolder Colorful Plaids

This season the bolder the plaid, the better it is. A vintage pattern with a modern twist, the plaid we’re talking about is less Catholic schoolgirl and more Mad Men. Great for adding color and pattern into an otherwise understated wardrobe, plaids vary from hardly visible to overwhelmingly bold.

With that said, many guys aren’t totally comfortable diving head first into a loud plaid suit. The best way to ease into the plaid-o-sphere (not a real word) is by going with a darker glen plaid fabric. This way you can stay in your style comfort zone while keeping on trend.

For those of you, who aren’t afraid to stand out, a bolder plaid is likely your cup of tea. The key to pulling it off is to pair it with a solid color shirt and subtle tie pattern.

Bright Colored Sport Coat

Color: brighter blue tones

Say goodbye to the dark blues and get blinded by the light. Light blues that is. With winter behind us, now’s the time to bench your midnight navy and charcoal jackets in exchange for warmer shades of blue. By brightening up the color of your sport coat, your whole outfit will awaken and come to life.

Keep it simple and go for the nautical look by pairing a bright blue jacket with light gray slacks and a white shirt. For the peacocks out there, wear your blue jacket with a pair of brightly colored cotton pants and a bold gingham plaid shirt.

Colorful Cottons

Color: Consider the full color spectrum

Color is the new black, and there’s no better time to play with color than during spring. Whether you’re going to the Kentucky Derby or brunch on Easter, colorful cotton slacks are the perfect clothing companions for your everyday staples.

Want to awaken a boring navy blazer? Simple, all you need to do is toss on a pair of berry colored slacks and a simple checked pattern shirt. From neutrals to neons, cotton slacks let you incorporate color in a fun and comfortable way.

Linen Tie

While we know that linen is great for suiting, what many people didn’t realize is that it’s also an amazing fabric for neckwear. Today you’ll find many linen and silk blend ties.

They are lightweight, colorful and unlike any tie in your closet. Linen’s texture gives the tie a unique and casual feel while still maintaining an elegance and formality. Make it versatile by wearing it with a button down shirt and cardigan or keep it classic with a suit and tie.

Now that you know the 5 essentials for spring, treat yourself.  You’ve earned it.

 

 

 

Sonny BalaniThe 5 Men’s Clothing Essentials for Spring 2014
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3 Wardrobe Commitments Not to Break in 2014

Custom replacement suit, workhorse custom slacks, default custom sport coatWe’re all guilty of making New Year resolutions we never keep. From hitting the gym to eating more vegetables, many of our resolutions are as faint of a memory as our champagne toasts on New Years Eve.
Even though our intentions are coming from a good place, our execution is off. The bottom line is that we’re all trying to be a better version of our 2013 selves.

Rather than falling off the all vegan, gluten-free, wheat grass wagon, use this year’s resolution as a commitment to put your best foot forward and invest in yourself. One of the best places to start is with an updated wardrobe. Considering there’s a direct correlation between your wardrobe and your level of personal and professional success, it makes sense to keep it up to date and current.

With that being said, these 3 items will help elevate your wardrobe to the next level.

The Replacement Suit

We all have that one old suit where the jacket doesn’t drape the way it used to, and the slacks look like they’ve been through hell and back. Yet for whatever reason, you still haven’t retired it from your weekly rotation. Enough is enough. Donate it to Goodwill and begin the wardrobe rebuilding process.

The best place to start is with a navy suit. Being one of the first suits you probably purchased; it should be the first one you replace. The best quality of a navy suit is that it’s appropriate for almost all professional situations. Whether you have an important meeting, a job interview, or a deal to close, your navy suit will be the perfect option because it is a classic.

Also, if you want your suits to last longer, stop wearing your suit pants as separates and invest in some new workhorse slacks.

Workhorse Slacks

What’s a workhorse slack? It’s the slacks you go to for day-to-day use. They get the most wear and tear, and you’ve probably worn them more times than you’d like to admit. When picking out new fabrics for slacks, stick with the basics. Grays, navy, and earth tones are best for maximizing versatility and matching a variety of shirt patterns. With an approximate lifespan of about 2 years, it’s likely that you will need to replace them every so often.

The Default Sport Coat

Need to amplify your workhorse slacks? Easy, toss on a “default sport coat“ and, voilà; your outfit is instantly elevated to the next level.

To be clear, a default sport coat is not a blazer, nor is it a suit jacket. It’s a sport coat consisting of a tight pattern, and it should match at least 2-3 pairs of your workhorse slacks. The subtlety of a tight pattern is ideal for creating various slack and shirt combinations while simultaneously showcasing your creativity and confidence. The greatest advantage of a default sport coat is it lets you achieve very different looks simply by what you pair it with. For a casual look, dress it down with some earth tone slacks and a patterned shirt. For a dressier feel, wear it with navy slacks and a white or blue button down shirt. Perfect for traveling, this jacket can easily be worn twice a week without anyone noticing.

Say goodbye to last year’s sub-par version of yourself and embrace the newer, better dressed you in 2014.

Sonny Balani3 Wardrobe Commitments Not to Break in 2014
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5 Stars on Yelp

BALANI Custom Clothiers

5 star Rating on Yelp 29 Yelp reviews

 

 

Review from Josh W.

Josh W.
1/7/2014

I went to Balani with no expectations, but was blown away by their fantastic service. I walked into the store on a cold afternoon, and was immediately welcomed by Will Hightower, who helped me design a custom blazer/pant combo. After sampling a range of fabrics and looking at various designs, Will helped guide me through the fabric selection and at a price that was in my range. Within a few weeks, the suit had arrived and I went in to try it on and get a second fitting. I cannot stress the importance of the second fitting enough. The suit goes from great to stellar when they fine tune the tailoring.

I am so happy with my new blazer/pants combo and would recommend Will to anyone. He has a great deal of experience with design and fitting and can help pick out a really sharp outfit for any type of occasion. I also moved to a new city and Will has been critical in coordinating shipping and making sure that I continue to use Balani despite the distance. I will never go back to buying off-the-rack suits when I can pay a bit more for something that looks better, feels better, and holds up better.

 

Review from James M.

James M.
11/13/2013

I worked with Joanna at Balani’s and was quite pleased with the experience. She understood that i wanted pieces that were expressive but not over the top. We spent over 3 hours in the initial consultation (I drove in from Iowa) looking at fabric and discussing my fashion goals. In the end i came away with two suits, 4 jackets, and 4 pants and several complimentary shirts. I’ve just received the clothes (shipped for free from Chicago) and I’m in heaven. Any shop that takes the time to notice that one sleeve should be 1/4 of an inch shorter and spend the time to correct it borders on perfection. Very difficult to find in this day and age. Now i can just drop an email to Joanna to order what I need.

 

Review from Bruce M.

Photo of Bruce M.
 1/29/2014

Two months ago Will Hightower surprised me with a visit to Grand Rapids, MI. to look at my closet and give me recommendations on my needs. My life is very hectic with many business and community activities so getting to Chicago is tough for a fitting. When this young man showed up at my door I was blown away.

We have communicated many times by phone on fabrics, suit styles, shirt color ect.
It came apparent to me that over the phone was not going to work so I considered canceling the custom suit idea. Mr. Hightower was not on board with this decision he was able alter his schedule to meet me at my home at my convenience.

To finish, I gave Mr. Hightower carte blanch on this order and I was floored with the outcome. The styles, fabric, color were made for me. This young man’s customer  service reminds me of the days when my own Father would take me to the custom tailor as a boy.

As a new customer I am speechless, he has a very good eye especially when given an opportunity to view a client’s wardrobe.

A highly satisfied Customer,
Bruce Matthews

 

Review from Adam S.

Photo of Adam S.
 1/22/2014

This was by far the best men’s custom clothes store in Chicago.

I can’t say it enough how amazing the service was that I received at Balani. My wife and I came in on a Saturday in November to hear about the custom experience and I walked out with a purchase of 3 custom shirts.

Not only was Elizabeth very friendly and knowledgeable, she never pressured me or used sly sales tactics to get me to buy anything. This is different from other places I have been and a big reason why I will be coming back in the future.

I received my shirts in the middle of December and absolutely love them.

 

Review from Stephanie R.

Photo of Stephanie R.

Below is my husband’s experience:

My experience at Balani was fantastic.  At my initial consultation Cordt walked me through the entire process and patiently helped me select all my fabrics.  He was very informative and pleasant throughout.  I ended up choosing the 3 suit package (which comes with 5 free shirts).

Now that my suits have arrived I could not be happier.  The difference between a custom and off the rack suit is significant and I don’t know if I’d ever buy off the rack again. The custom fit is amazing and I truly enjoy wearing them.  I definitely plan on buying additional suits from Cordt in the future.

If you have ever considered purchasing a tailored suit, give Balani a call and ask for Cordt.  You won’t be disappointed.

Bryan R.

 

Review from Ben L.

Photo of Ben L.
 1/14/2014

I’ve had two suits made for me by Balani, including the one I wore at my wedding! I worked with Joanna and her service was impeccable. She even made time for an emergency measurement the week of my wedding to make sure those extra holiday pounds didn’t change how my suit fit! When you make an appointment, ask for Joanna!

Review from Ryan H.

Photo of Ryan H.
 7/15/2013

I had never purchased any custom fitted clothing before, but after getting connected through my friend (and repeat customer), I really can’t say enough good things about my experience at Balani, especially having the opportunity to work with Steve.

He’s been very helpful through everything, taking the time to learn what I am looking for, as well as just educating me on the whole process. He’s also been very accommodating, including staying open late on a Friday to accommodate my schedule and offering to meet me in Milwaukee for some final adjustments if needed.

I never thought I’d be one to invest too much in a custom fitted suit, but after working with Balani it might be tough to go back.

Review from David J.

Photo of David J.
 7/21/2011

I went to Balani for my first ever custom suit, and now that I have it I don’t know that I ever want to go back to getting stuff off the rack.  They have a TON of fabric choices.  They have so many fabrics available that it would have been overwhelming if Ricardo hadn’t been there guiding me through it.  Ricardo seemed to have a very intimate knowledge of the thousands of different fabrics they have available, and I ended up very happy with my selection (a worsted super 120).  Ricardo did not pressure me to go with a more or less expensive fabric (I ended up with a less expensive fabric for one of the shirts I got).  The measurement was done very carefully, and Ricardo measured everything at least two or three times.  You can tell that he takes a lot of pride in his work.

After a couple weeks, my suit was ready to try on.  I went in and was pretty happy with the fit, but Ricardo had some suggestions for some alterations.  Since he’d done such a good job before, I went with his advice, and I’m happy I did.  The suit came back a second time and this time it really fit like a glove.  I really like the feel of the suit and it looks great.  It’s pretty versatile as well, so I’d feel comfortable wearing it to a job interview, wedding, or even a fancy night out.

I really appreciate the superior service and guidance that Balani and Ricardo provided throughout my experience with them.  They’ve earned my trust and I will definitely be back for more suits in the future.  Thank you!

Review from Jay L.

Photo of Jay L.
 3/9/2013

As a short guy, having a resource like Balani is really incredible.

I can’t buy things off the rack and have them fit right away. What’s worse, sometimes when I buy something off the rack and I try to have it tailored, it just looks funny. There’s only so much a tailor can do with a shirt that’s made for someone a with different physique.

Enter Balani Custom Clothiers.

I’ve been going to Sonny and his staff for at least 7 years, I think.

They are truly amazing, not only for their craftsmanship, but especially for their customer service.

I’ll pick out a fabric for a shirt, and based on what I like, they will point out two more that I like even better!

I couldn’t be happier, and I couldn’t make a higher recommendation than to try Balani. They are definitely “a cut above the rest.”

Review from Angela B.

Angela B.

2/9/2014
My husband came to Balani to have a suit made that he wore in our wedding late last year. In the past he’d had some relative difficulty in buying suits because he is very thin for his height–suits that he’d bought off the rack hung on him like tents, even after alteration.

However, our experience at Balani was beyond exceptional! The sheer amount of measurements taken during the first session gave us a lot of confidence that the suit would fit well, and the sheer amount of choices he was given made our heads spin. Also, Elizabeth called him back shortly after the first round of measurements, because apparently the tailors wanted to make sure some of the vest measurements were right. This was a nice touch. Plus, of course, the finished product is superb–there was no end to the compliments on the big night!

In summary, the suit is great, Elizabeth was great, and we’ll definitely be back. Great!

Review from Jeremy R.

Photo of Jeremy R.

7/18/2013

Went to Balani to get my first custom suit as a law school grad gift from grandpa. Although this is my first custom suit, I am a savvy consumer when it comes to clothing.

Balani is a pleasure to go to. The atmosphere is clean and modern without being overly pretentious. They always offer beverages and I have never had to wait around to be seen.

I have been working with Joanna; she’s an absolute pleasure to work with! She’s been super helpful in terms of picking fabrics and patterns and is very responsive if I have a question over email (responds very quickly). She’s a great saleswoman but also not too pushy with regards to up-selling.

As for the tailoring, everything is looking great! What really distinguishes this suit is not just the meticulous taking of measurements when ordering the suit (I was there for at least 90 minutes), but the willingness to fine tune it upon arrival to make sure it fits your body perfectly. Well worth the price to look that good.

Review from Nicholas G.

Photo of Nicholas G.
 12/14/2012

Balani is a fantastic place to get great fitting custom suits and shirts. My first experience was the result of a gift certificate, which I used to get two custom fitted shirts. The downtown location was convenient to my work, and I came in the early evening. There was a receptionist, who lead me to my own room and offered me a choice of beverages, including beer and wine (all gratis, or priced into the profit margin of the clothing, I suppose).

Soon after I met a tailor/style consultant (whose name escapes me now), who walked me through their fabrics and styles, discussed what I was looking for that day, and helped me choose the right materials and shirt styles. He was very knowledgeable and not pushy about upselling to higher quality (i.e. more expensive) fabrics. After I chose my style and fabrics, he took all of the necessary measurements, I paid the bill, and was back in the store to pick up two impeccably fitting shirts about 4 weeks later.

I had such a good experience that about 8 months later I decided to get a suit as well. I went back in, and worked with a different tailor than the first time, but the experience was just as good. In the meantime I had lost about 10 pounds as I was training for a marathon. The tailor found this out, and learned that the shirt I was wearing was from my prior fitting. He noticed that the fabric around the arms was a bit too loose as a result of my weight loss and insisted that I leave it to be taken in (for no charge). Sure enough, when I came to pick it up, the shirt looked much better (not that I had the eye to realize this before the tailor did).

If you want clothes that fit better than anything in your closet, along with excellent customer service (and are willing to pay the price for these benefits) I strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment with Balani.

 

Review from Matt K.

Photo of Matt K.
 7/7/2013

Balani continues to impress me. I freaked out after finding a tear in the leg of my pants and Steve made sure that it got repaired quickly. Can’t even see where the tear used to be if you look for it.

 

Review from Leo P.

Photo of Leo P.
 6/6/2011

A few months back i purchased the Groupon  for suit, 2 shirts, 1 tie and a set of cuff links and let me tell you how pleasantly surprised i was with what i experienced at Balani’s.

At first i was a little skeptical that I could get a high quality suit and all the   trimmings for under $1000 and i was incorrect in that thinking. The experience start to finish was second to none. I have had custom made suits from other vendors such as Tom James previously. Balani hit it out of the park. The quality of the fabric, the attention to detail on the construction of the suit and the fit is perfection at its best.

Ricardo Bucio was my suit consultant. He has been a pleasure to work with and i will continue to get my suits from him at Balani. This is as good as it gets.

Thanks again Ricardo.

Review from Margaret S.

Photo of Margaret S.
 11/14/2013

This review is for any woman looking for an absolutely perfect gift for a very special man in her life. I know absolutely nothing about suits. I found Balani off of yelp last year and bought a suit package for my boyfriend. Cordt was super helpful and explained the process to me.  Then when I brought boyfriend in to pick out his suits, the look on his face was priceless–completely thrilled and delighted.  Again, Cordt made the experience part of the gift–walking us through all of the possible combinations.

We picked up the suits a few weeks later and they were amazing.  He’s had them for about a year, and he gets compliments every time he wears them.  And I have to say, he looks amazing in them.  This year for Christmas, I had to get him another one.  Once again, a great experience. I’m pretty sure, short of an italian sports car, I could not find a more perfect gift.

As a gift, a custom suit is like an infinite gift: the fun experience of picking out every aspect of the suit, the actual (perfect-fitting) suit, adjustments for life, and compliments every time it is worn.

Review from Ryan D.

Photo of Ryan D.
 5/10/2011

Never thought I would take the time to get a custom suit but I’m glad I did.  It was a great process and I will absolutely be back to Balani in the future.  I really appreciated the excellent customer service and overall attention to detail.  These guys really take care of you….money well spent!

Review from Michael G.

Photo of Michael G.
9/12/2013

Had been here before to get a tuxedo and had a great experience.  came back this year to get a suit/shirts for an upcoming wedding.  I worked with Cordt and all I can say is WOW!  He had an excellent knowledge base of mens fashion and in particular what would work great for a guy my build/size while staying attuned to my personal style.  When I was stuck on patterns/cuts, he had great suggestions.  Overall, excellent experience from the appointment process, front desk staff, quality of store and craftsmanship, to the impeccable attention to detail.  Will definately be coming back and recommending Balani. 

Review from John C.

Photo of John C.
8/11/2013

My wife had purchased a package deal for me as a subtle hint to update my wardrobe. I’ve never had custom made clothing so I had no idea what to expect. I was blown away! Joanna was my stylist and she perfectly guided me through the process. She explained all the different textiles, custom features, and other options while giving her opinion and input as appropriate. Joanna clearly loves what she does and is very knowledgable. She was a delight! Having a complimentary beer or cocktail while you work through the details is a nice little bonus. They take extensive measurements your first visit and keep them on file to expedite future purchases. After my suit and shirts were made, I came back for a second fitting. By that point, I had dropped some weight and everything needed to be adjusted. They were happy to refit everything. The finished product is amazing. The price is not much different than what you would pay at a department store but the product is leaps and bounds better than off the rack. As my wife pointed out, I “have never looked better.” Everything fit me perfectly, the fabric is light and comfortable, and the extra features are great. I can’t imagine a better experience.

Review from Nick S.

Photo of Nick S.
 6/1/2011

I recently picked up my custom suit along with a couple shirts made for me. I don’t own to many suits because everything off the rack doesn’t fit right, due to height and wingspan.

I took this bad boy to Venezuela for a wedding in the 85+ degree heat, the shirt and the suit still felt remarkable comfortable.

Fellas, do yourselves a favor and don’t sell yourself short when you need a custom suit for special occasions. This is coming from a regular t-shirt and jeans guy.

Tell my homeboy Cordt I sent you, that is if you are lucky enough to have him as your consultant.

Review from Jason P.

Photo of Jason P.
 5/24/2011

I have seen the error of my ways, and I will never go back to buying a non-custom suit ever again.

I would never have tried this place out if it wasn’t for the recent Groupon. For the price of the Groupon I got a suit, a couple of shirts, a tie, and a pair of cufflinks. We’re not here to talk about Groupon though, we’re here to talk about the service and the quality. Getting an appointment was a little tricky, as they were swamped post-Groupon. I got my appointment about 3 or 4 weeks after calling (also due in part to my wacky schedule). About a month and a half to two months later, I picked up my shirts and had the first fitting on my suit, and a week later I had the finished suit. Really makes you realize how much effort goes into making sure everything looks perfect, and it does.

The initial visit (with Riccardo B.) was great. He took the time to show me just about everything, and didn’t put a hard sell (or any sell really) on me to go above and beyond what the Groupon covered. I think it took about 45 minutes to get all my measurements in, pick the fabric and options for my shirts and my suit, and to have me on my merry way.

First, the shirts. Best fitting shirts ever. I’m 6’4″ and 195 lbs with a 37″ sleeve and a 15.57 neck. Anything “off the rack” in that sleeve size is going to look like a blouse on me because for some reason clothing manufacturers equate tall with fat… dunno why. When getting a shirt made just to your specifications you have complete control. How long do you like your sleeves? How broad should the shoulders be? Do you want an extra button on the bottom because your torso is longer than the average 5’10” male? The shirts aren’t cheap, but for the awesome fit and quality you are getting, they are definitely worth it. Expect to spend around $140 on the low end to, I think, about $190 on the high end (depending on the fabric).

Next, the suit. Wow. I have never had such a well made, good looking suit in my life. I don’t know how much this would have cost me if I had bought it without the Groupon (somewhere around $800 I think?), but this makes my $700 suits from Jos. A. Bank look like I picked them up from a Goodwill store. The fit is amazing, the stitching and the details feel nice and sturdy, and the attention to detail in the tailoring is apparent (making sure the pin stripes align at the seam on the shoulders, for example). My favorite part about putting together the suit, was getting to pick the lining. Might not sound very exciting to some (or most), but I like walking into court, wearing a suit that has a shiny purple paisley lining… I can even pull out the breast pocket (which is lined with the same fabric) and pass it off as a pocket hanky.

Not sure I would shop here for non-custom items (the ties, at $90 a pop, are a bit expensive), and to that end they really don’t have that huge of a selection of pre-made items. Rather, this place is all about making sure you look your absolute best. Will definitely be coming back here the next time I’m in the market for a suit.

Sonny Balani5 Stars on Yelp
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Men’s 5 Clothing Essentials for Winter

5 Clothing essentials for winter, The Top 5 Clothing Essentials for this Winter, BALANI Winter ClothingFrom the heartland of Texas all the way to the coast of New England, winter has arrived in the form of drastically low temperatures and aggressive snowstorms. Thankfully, there are 5 clothing essentials for winter that ensure you’ll look great throughout the cold months ahead.

Cashmere Overcoat

Need to make a good first impression? Your overcoat is the best way to do it.

Whether you’re walking to work, or headed to an important business meeting, your overcoat is the first thing that your client’s will notice. Typically we rely on an impactful suit, shirt or tie to make a statement, but during winter they are hidden under an overcoat. That’s why it’s important your coat exemplifies sophistication, style, and elegance. Hence, why cashmere is the perfect fabric.

A cashmere overcoat is one of the best investments you can make, because it is lightweight, exceptionally warm, drapes smoothly, and looks incredible.  Aside from being ascetically pleasing, cashmere is also practical. It weighs less than wool, meaning your coat will keep you equally as warm, but only weigh half a much. Let’s face it, no one wants to lug around a 10lb coat in the snow.

Three-Piece Flannel Suit

The British are invading America once again – only this time it’s in the form of flannel. From windowpanes to pinstripes, the three-piece flannel suit is both warm and incredibly stylish.

Made from brushed wool, flannel retains heat exceptionally well and is less prone to wrinkling. Making it the perfect suit for traveling or visiting multiple offices in one day.

By adding a vest to your suit you’ll gain versatility, style and the warmth you’ll need in the middle of winter. Once spring hits, feel free to ditch the vest and wear the suit as a two-piece.

Corduroy Pants

The best way to wear cotton in winter is with corduroy. A stylish alternative to jeans or wool slacks, corduroy is the ultimate transitional fabric. Its versatility and chameleon-like abilities allow corduroy to work for various style combinations.

For a casual look, wear your cords with a button-down shirt and a lightweight sweater overtop. For a night on the town, dress them up by pairing them with a sport coat and patterned shirt. We guarantee this will be your go-to slack this season.

Flannel – Glen Plaid Sport Coat

A glen plaid sport coat is great for incorporating color and pattern into your wardrobe. Due to the brushed look of flannel, the glen plaid pattern in the jacket appears muted and less bold. This softened effect is great for conservative men, who are looking to branch out, but don’t want to go too far down the fashion rabbit hole. The colorful glen plaid pattern will give them the ability to incorporate various colors that they otherwise wouldn’t gravitate towards.

Bright Socks

Instead of getting lost in a sea of black and grey, stand out with color. Brighten up an otherwise dark and dreary winter outfit with a pair of colorful socks. Pair them with a matching scarf, and your everyday charcoal suit will instantly come to life.

With these 5 Winter Essentials, your wardrobe will undoubtedly stand out in all the right ways.

Sonny BalaniMen’s 5 Clothing Essentials for Winter
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Nicely suited: New shops expand Chicago’s custom menswear scene

CCB_LogoCrain’s Chicago Business

Nicely suited: New shops expand Chicago’s custom menswear scene
By: Brigid Sweeney
October 18, 2013

BALANI Custom Clothiers, a 53-year-old custom suitmaker based in the Loop, is expanding to a second location in Houston and has hired seven sales representatives in other cities across the country. Owner Sonny Balani, who took over the business from his father, Peter, said he expects revenue to grow to $6 million from $3.2 million by the end of next year. A suit at BALANI starts at $895.

Mr. Balani hired Christian Boehm, a two-decade custom clothing veteran, to launch the Houston business.

“There’s an art to custom clothing that appeals to three different kinds of customer,” Mr. Boehm said. “One, the men who just completely hate to shop, and we can just take it off their plate for them; two, the connoisseur who loves to shop and sit down and choose from 356 different suit linings, and three, the guy with fit issues who is really tall, really short or really muscular. That’s why custom clothing has really grown. People realize they can spend $400 on an off-the-rack suit, but then they have to spend a fortune on tailoring, or they can do it the right way, from scratch.”

Excerpted from this weeks Crain’s

Sonny BalaniNicely suited: New shops expand Chicago’s custom menswear scene
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