Navy Suit Jacket vs. Navy Blazer

One of the most commonly asked questions we receive is whether or not it’s ok to wear a navy suit jacket as a navy blazer. While many of us are guilty of this offense, it doesn’t negate the fact that a navy blazer and a navy suit jacket are two entirely different garments.
Sure, they are both blue and yes, from a distance they look similar; however, saying there’s no difference between a navy blazer and navy suit jacket is like saying there’s no difference between a deep-dish pizza and thin crust pizza. While both share similar characteristics and traits, there are substantial distinctions between the two.

To start, blazers are typically made with textured fabrics, such as hopsack and birdseye weaves. This gives the jacket a casual and sporty feel. A deconstructed blazer takes the casual feel to the next level, by eliminating padding in the shoulders and removing canvas from inside the jacket. Ultimately, this gives the jacket a softer and more relaxed style.

Contrary to the blazer, suits are commonly made with smoother fabric weaves like twill or sharkskin. These fabrics give the suit jacket a formal and dressy feel. A suit jacket is also very structured due to the canvasing inside of the garment. A full canvas gives the suit jacket shape, structure, and a proper drape.

Pocket style is another distinguishing factor between a suit jacket and blazer. Traditionally speaking, suits are made with formal flap pockets, while blazers are made with the more casual patch pockets. Patch pockets are sewn onto the fabric of the jacket as opposed to being cut into the fabric like flap pockets.

Lastly, button style is one of the most visible differences between the two garments. Blazers are almost always made with contrasting buttons, such as brown, metal, or mother of pearl.  Contrasting buttons help make the blazer more casual and also add color to an otherwise basic navy fabric. A suit jacket’s buttons are meant to blend in with the fabric. They typically match the fabric as close as possible.

Sonny BalaniNavy Suit Jacket vs. Navy Blazer
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What Your Drink of Choice Says About Your Style

A man’s drink of choice is as unique as his fashion sense. Some of us prefer whiskey, while others like fruity drinks with an umbrella hanging off the side. No judgment if you fall into the latter category.
Even though our tastes can change from time to time, there’s always one drink you go back to night after night. This my friends, is your “Libashion.” Never heard of it? Let me explain, a “libashion” is the corresponding fashion to your libations. It’s the bro to your bromance or the man to your mantrum. We promise to never use those words again.

The Martini Guy

For those of you who are “shaken, not stirred” and occasionally dirty with extra blue cheese olives, your overall style is elegant, classic and sophisticated. In your eyes, black tie optional always means wearing a tuxedo, and you’re usually one of the best-dressed men in the room. You gravitate towards sleek, minimalist styles and you who heartedly believe that less is always more. Most of the suits in your wardrobe are solid colors and your shirt and ties combinations are frequently monochromatic. For you, simplicity is key.

The Scotch Guy

Whether it’s on the rocks or neat, your drink of choice represents your smooth, commanding style. You enjoy scotch for its complexity and robustness just like you enjoy a power suit for everything it embodies. You’re not afraid to be noticed or make an impact when you walk into a room.

When it comes to suits, you are drawn toward bold suit patterns such as chalk stripes, windowpanes and glen plaids. Unlike the ‘Martini Guy,’ you are a fan of accessorizing you ensemble with unique details. For this reason, you consider a pocket square and tie clip instrumental pieces of your ensemble.

The Wine Guy

“That’s a very nice Chardonnay you’re not drinking.” If you relate to this quote, then you’re probably one of these three things, a ‘Wine Guy,’ an Italian, or a fan of American Pyscho.

Similar to the ‘Martini Guy’ your style is fresh, classic, and semi-preppy.  You trend toward the conservative side, but you aren’t afraid of mixing patterns and textures into your wardrobe either. You embrace earth tones and rich colors like plum and midnight navy, but you also gravitate to warmer colors in the spring and summer. Like the layers of flavor in wine, you’ve mastered the art of layering fabrics no matter what the season.

The Beer Guy (Light beer drinkers not included in this category)

The last and most casual of the four categories, is the ‘Beer Guy.’ You enjoy beer for its variety and depth of flavors, but not everyday can be a Guinness day. Occasionally, you’ll swap it out for a lager or wheat beer instead. The same can be said about your wardrobe.

With a combination of bold patterns, textures, and solids, your wardrobe encompasses a multitude of casual pieces. You prefer a sport coat to a blazer, a black suit to a tuxedo, and if you can help it, you’ll never wear a tie. You’ll most likely be seen in a sport coat with jeans and rarely in a 3 piece suit. You aren’t afraid to mix and match patterns and you’re not looking to be the fanciest dressed guy in the room. You’re relaxed, casual style is both confident and unaffected.

So remember, no matter what libashion category you fall into, BALANI’s Fabric Bar serves them all.

Sonny BalaniWhat Your Drink of Choice Says About Your Style
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How to Wear a Navy Suit 3 Different Ways

Why is a navy suit considered a favorite among most men? Simply put, it’s the equivalent of a perfect girlfriend- comfortable in every situation, low-maintenance and always looks good.

The strongest characteristic of a navy suit is its chameleon-like ability to seamlessly blend into a variety of situations, maximizing its versatility. Whether you need it for work or play, day or night, a navy suit easily transforms into 3 entirely different looks depending on what you pair it with.

The Three-Piece Power Suit

In order for a suit to be considered a power suit, it is required to have the necessary accouterments to take it to the next level.  A vest is one of the simplest ways to increase the formality of the suit. By layering the vest over a crisp white shirt, you’ve added visual interest and given the suit a sculpted feel.

Second only to a black suit and tuxedo in formality, navy’s strength lies in its ability to complement a variety of colors, patterns and textures. When it comes to adding accessories, start with either a gold or a red tie. These tie colors symbolize strength and dominance in the business world and are crucial elements of the quintessential power suit. To finish the look, add a white pocket square, leather oxford shoes and a set of silver cufflinks.

The Wedding Navy

When wedding season hits, choosing the right suit and tie combination can be considered an art form. Weddings are celebratory occasions and your outfit should reflect that. Liven up your navy suit by swapping out your standard white button down for a solid lavender shirt. Pastels work beautifully with navy, and the warmth of a lavender or soft pink will help bring out the rich blue tones in your suit.

When it comes to accessorizing your suit, add a complementary tie that incorporates the same color of your shirt. This will help completely blend your suit, shirt and tie together. For a pop of color, add a patterned pocket square.

The After Hours Navy

It’s 5 o’clock, and you’re headed downtown for happy hour. With all of your official business done for the day, now is the perfect time to ditch the tie; “The After Hours Navy” is all about ease, comfort and style.

The best way to achieve a casual look is to pair your navy suit with a bold-patterned shirt, such as a multi-colored check, bold gingham, or variegated stripe. Leave the collar button of your shirt undone, and put on a pair of loafers. When the weather is cooler, add a thin cashmere sweater over your shirt and ditch the jacket. This way, your look changes from business to bar scene with a few simple modifications.

Sonny BalaniHow to Wear a Navy Suit 3 Different Ways
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2 Button Suit vs. 3 Button Suit

When purchasing a suit, whether its custom or off-the-rack, its important to find a cut and style that is up-to-date and proportional for your body type. One of the most common questions men ask us, is whether they should purchase a two-button or three-button suit. There are two factors that come into play when making this decision: proportion and trend.

Ever wondered why you see football players in two-button suits, and basketball players in a three butt on or even four-button suit? Simple, it’s all about proportion.

Height is the most significant factor when deciding between a two-button versus a three-button suit. The biggest misconception of a three-button suit is that it gives the illusion of height; when in fact, it’s the exact opposite. A three-button suit looks best on men who are at least 6 feet or taller, because when the top button of the jacket is buttoned, it rests higher on the chest shortening the v-cut shape of the jacket.

While a three-button suit looks best on tall men, the two-button suit is much more versatile and looks great on men who are tall or short. This is largely due to the button placement of the jacket. On a two-button suit, the top button of the jacket should fall right above your navel, giving you a balanced look while visually elongating your torso.


Like skinny ties, pleated pants, and tassel loafers, three-button suits are considered a trend and like all trends, it will go in and out of style over the next 20 years. Currently, three-button suits are considered somewhat dated and are largely substituted for it’s two-button counterpart.

So, next time you’re in the market for a new custom suit, remember proportion and trend, and you’ll be set for making the perfect suit purchase.

Sonny Balani2 Button Suit vs. 3 Button Suit
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The 5 Men’s Clothing Essentials for Summer

The Blackhawks are toting around the Stanley Cup, the weather is hot and humid, and festivals are popping up in every neighborhood. This can only mean one thing – summer in Chicago has finally arrived.

Now that we have officially said goodbye to spring, it’s time to get your wardrobe ready for the onslaught of heat that will inevitably conquer our Windy City. These 5 summer essentials will help you combat the heat while guaranteeing you’ll be one of the most stylish guys in the city.

Khaki Suit

A staple for summer, the khaki suit should be considered the blank canvas of suiting. It is extremely versatile and its biggest strength lies in its ability to transform simply by what you pair it with. For a casual, daytime look, wear it with a polo shirt and brown loafers. If you have a wedding on the beach, pair it with a white button down and a knit tie (we’ll get to that in a minute).

Also, keep in mind your khaki suit works wonderfully as separates and can be worn as easily at night as it can during the day. How so? Before you head to happy hour, switch out your suit slacks for jeans and ditch the tie, ensuring you have two completely different looks for both day and night time.

Deconstructed Sport Coat

A deconstructed jacket is a great alternative to your everyday sport coat, because it removes a substantial amount of the jacket’s canvasing (skeleton of a jacket) and lining. By removing these two elements, you are able to have a lightweight feel with hardly any of the heat retaining properties of a regular sport coat. Reducing the canvas and lining also changes the way the jacket drapes; it will be far less structured and feel much more casual than a fully-lined jacket. This style is great when you are traveling to warm climates or have a less formal event to attend.

Linen Slacks

While linen slacks are too lightweight for spring, they are perfect for summer. The beauty of linen is that it breathes incredibly well, keeping you cool when the temperature rises and letting air circulate regardless of whether you’re at a rooftop bar or on a yacht on Lake Michigan. The major thing to keep in mind when it comes to linen is that it is extremely prone to wrinkling. With that being said, we would recommend lightly pressing them before each wear.

100% Cotton Dress Shirts

Similar to linen, cotton breathes extremely well and is great for the warmer months of summer. While many people like the ease of a custom, “wrinkle-free” dress shirt, we typically advise against it for summer, because it’s usually a blend of polyester and cotton.  The downside to polyester, a synthetic material, is that it retains heat more than a 100% cotton dress shirt; when its 95° outside, you’ll appreciate anything that keeps you cooler.

Knit Tie

Switching out your run-of-the-mill tie for a knit tie is a simple and cost effective way to give your summer wardrobe a pop of color and texture. Whether paired with a pinstripe suit or a patterned sport coat, a knit tie looks best when tied in a four-in-hand knot due to the thickness of the tie itself. Complete the look by adding a silver tie bar and a cotton pocket square.

With these 5 essentials, you’ll have no problem beating the heat while still looking dapper all summer long.

Sonny BalaniThe 5 Men’s Clothing Essentials for Summer
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How To Wear A Khaki Suit 3 Different Ways

A staple for summer, the khaki, suit is extremely versatile and lends itself to a variety of looks. Consider it a blank canvas, capable of being transformed simply by what you pair it with.

The Casual Khaki

The easiest way to get a casual look without looking like you’re on an African Safari is to wear your khaki suit with a knit shirt, or to break it up and wear it as separates.

Whether you go with a nautical stripe or simple pastel, a polo shirt will give your khaki suit that casual appearance you can’t achieve with a button down. To complete the look, add a canvas belt and brown loafers.

Sometimes break ups are a good thing, and in this case, breaking up your khaki suit as using it as separates is a great thing. If you don’t want to wear the same outfit to happy hour that you wore to work, simply ditch the tie and suit pants, and wear your jacket with jeans or a pair of cotton slacks instead. This way you’re guaranteed to have a completely different look from day to night.

The Bold Khaki

Want your suit to stand out? Then go for bold patterns and bright colors. When pumping up a neutral khaki suit, don’t be afraid to get adventurous with your shirt patterns. A bold gingham, colorful plaid or Bengal stripe works beautifully with the simplicity of the khaki. When it comes to color, pastels are best for getting a light, summery feel. For a darker look, pair your suit with shades like navy, chocolate brown and charcoal. To finish off the look, add a pocket square and patterned tie for a pop of color.

The Classic Khaki

When it comes to the classic khaki suit, think to the effortless style of Daniel Craig in Casino Royal or the elegance of Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby. The classic khaki suit is generally monochromatic and employs a subtle color scheme. Whether you opt for a single-breasted or double-breasted jacket, tie or no tie, one thing is certain, nothing looks better than a crisp white shirt and white cotton pocket square with a khaki suit.

Sonny BalaniHow To Wear A Khaki Suit 3 Different Ways
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Is There An ROI On A Professional Wardrobe

While many of us are used to determining ROI for work purposes, we often forget to apply that same concept to our day-to-day expenses. Your professional wardrobe is a perfect example. It’s important to realize that your professional attire is an asset and should be treated as an investment rather than an expense.

Knowing how your wardrobe impacts the way people perceive you is incredibly valuable and can singlehandedly help you establish credibility and trustworthiness in the professional world.

People develop judgments based upon your appearance in less than a half a second. Meaning that your coworkers, your clients, and anyone professionally senior to you, will subconsciously make a snap judgment on your worth, success, and capabilities simply by what you have on.

So, how does this apply to you? Well, it’s important to realize that your professional wardrobe is extremely influential and when applied in the right way, can help you garner greater personal and professional success. Let’s face it, when you’re dressed well, you not only feel confident, you act confident. You exude strength and success.

An article in the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management revealed, “In a controlled experiment we explored whether a minor manipulation of a man’s clothing (the cut of the suit) would influence judgments and found that the bespoke suit consistently produced more positive impressions than a similar off-the-rack suit.

The old idea that a suit is just a suit, is not only flawed, it’s scientifically disproven. A bespoke suit is capable of conveying qualities such as character, sociability, competence and intelligence without the wearer ever having to say a word. Not to mention, it can be the sole factor in closing your next big deal.

Based upon this information, its fair to assume that your professional wardrobe can help you land and close one big deal per year, at minimum.  When taking this into account, you can determine the ROI of your professional wardrobe simply by subtracting the cost of your wardrobe from the profits earned from the deal.

 Profits Earned From One Additional Deal – Investment in Custom Wardrobe

= Effective Net Cost of a Professional Wardrobe

To invest in a professional custom wardrobe is not only smart- it pays.

Sonny BalaniIs There An ROI On A Professional Wardrobe
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Men’s Style: Downtown Chicago

Just like deep dish pizza, the ivy at Wrigley Field, and Chicago style hotdogs, the Windy City has its own signature style when it comes to men’s fashion. Chicago has never lacked character, and just like our city, our fashion is equally as distinctive.

Despite the sea of black North Face jackets walking around, Chicago’s style can be both sophisticated and playful. In regards to fashion, we’re considered to be the less flamboyant, more laid back, little brother of New York. This is the Midwest after all.

Unlike LA or New York, Chicago’s fashion largely revolves around the need of practicality. Overcoats, seasonal suit fabrics, and bold sport coats are must-haves due to the ever-changing weather conditions.

When it comes to suits, the simpler the better. Chicago men gravitate toward classic charcoals and rich navies, while New Yorker’s are known for their bold, banker-inspired, pinstripe suits. It is this simplicity that makes our city less trend heavy and more traditional.

While suit colors and patterns are simpler and more subdued, the fabric weights and compositions vary quite substantially. From heavy weight flannels and cashmeres to lightweight tropical wools and cottons, having the appropriate fabric for the appropriate season is essential. Chicago’s weather regularly transforms from bright and sunny to down right cold and snowy in a matter of days, so having a variety of seasonal suit fabrics is the best way to be prepared for any unwanted weather surprises.

Also, sport coats are extremely valuable, because they are the perfect transitional piece. Since Chicago’s weather is so unpredictable, a sport coat is a great solution for the cooler months of spring and fall. Not only will it keep you warm, but it also gives your outfit life by adding bold patterns and vibrant colors to an ordinary slack and shirt combination.

Sonny BalaniMen’s Style: Downtown Chicago
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The 3 Best Fabrics For Spring

As the weather slowly warms up in Chicago, so should the fabrics in your wardrobe. It is spring, after all!

Sure it’s been exasperatingly rainy and a high of 45° for the last couple weeks, but Chicago’s weather is notoriously fickle, and is bound to warm up in a matter of days. That being said, now is the perfect time to update your wardrobe with these spring fabrics.

While an onslaught of flannel suits and heavyweight slacks are great for the cold winter months, they are horrible for a hot, spring day in Chicago. Adding fabrics like tropical wool, cotton and linen will help your wardrobe evolve for the warmer months ahead.

The easiest way to transition your work wardrobe for spring is by adding a tropical wool suit to your rotation. Tropical wool is one of the best fabrics for a summer suit because of its breathability, delicate hand, and ability to wick away moisture. Typically between 7 and 8 ounces in weight, tropical wools are ideal for the office, summer weddings or an outdoor event.

Cotton slacks are one of the hottest trends this spring. So much so, that we even featured them as one of our “5 Essentials of Spring” last month. Cotton is a wonderful lightweight alternative to tropical wool and it gives you a clean and casual look for spring. From seersucker slacks to boldly patterned sport coats, cotton is great for casual Friday’s at the office, hitting the links on the weekends, or even brunch on Sunday.

Made from the fibers of a flax plant, linen is one of the lightest weight fabrics available. Linen has a signature wrinkled look due the fact it has poor elasticity. The fabric doesn’t bounce back the same way tropical wool does; however, when linen is properly prepared, it has the ability to absorb and lose water rapidly. It can gain up to 20% moisture without feeling damp.  This makes it an ideal fabric for suits, shirts and slacks. Think about that the next time you travel to a place with 100% humidity.



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Sport Coat vs. Suit in River North

It’s 6:00pm on Saturday night, and you and your friends have plans to get dinner and drinks in River North. While jeans and a T-shirt might be your typical outfit of choice, it’s important to remember, that it’s always better to be overdressed rather than underdressed.  So the question remains, what should you wear?

The answer is simple, when in doubt, add a sport coat. A suit is great for a special occasion, but a sport coat is the best choice for a regular night out.  Sport coats automatically dress up your outfit; giving you an edge over everyone else who’s simply wearing jeans and a button down shirt.

The key to successfully pulling off a sport coat is to find a pattern that is bold but also complimentary to a variety of shirt and slacks options. Whether you are wearing jeans or slacks, the sport coat should be the statement piece of your outfit and should always look intentional. When pairing a bold sport coat with a shirt, opt for a subtle pattern and be sure to keep in mind the scale of the pattern. If you choose a subtle sport coat with minimal pattern or a simple texture, pair it with a bold shirt.

Do – Find a sport coat that has vibrant colors or bold patterns. It’s important to find a fabric that “speaks to you.”

Don’t – Take you pinstripe or glen plaid suit jacket and toss it over your outfit. People will be able to tell.

Lastly, don’t forget about your feet. Put down the sneakers and put on a pair of leather boots or loafers. Trust me, women will notice the difference.

Sonny BalaniSport Coat vs. Suit in River North
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