Groomsmen Gifts For A Chicago Wedding

Your wedding is a few months away, you haven’t picked out what to wear, you don’t have gifts for your groomsmen, and you have no idea where to start. Don’t worry; BALANI is well equipped to handle such a situation.

When it comes to your wedding, you want to make sure that you are the best-dressed man in the room. You are the groom, after all. So why would you spend the time and money on renting an ill-fitting tuxedo for one night, when you can have a custom suit or tuxedo made and you’ll be able to use it for years to come? Not only will your suit/tuxedo fit perfectly, you’ll also have the ability to add all those special wedding details, guaranteeing you’ll be in a one-of-a-kind ensemble on your wedding day.

While the usual groomsmen gifts of a tie and cufflinks are “ok,” a custom suit or shirt is certainly more memorable. Be original and give your groomsmen the gift and experience of custom. A BALANI gift card is a great choice, because it allows your groomsmen to invest in a garment that they are guaranteed to wear more than once. Come in as a group, have a glass of scotch, and let us take care of the rest.

Worried that you can’t afford it? Don’t be! BALANI works with wedding parties everyday to help insure they get an incredible gift at a reasonable price.

Sonny BalaniGroomsmen Gifts For A Chicago Wedding
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The 5 Men’s Clothing Essentials for Spring: Vol. 2

Chicago spring is around the corner, bringing warmer weather, brighter colors and the opportunity to ditch those heavyweight flannels for some lightweight wools and cottons. This season is all about color, so swap out your black and dark navy clothes for some warmer grays and brighter blues.

Here are 5 essential items that are must-haves for this spring.

The New Navy

Goodbye to the days where navy equaled ‘almost black’ and hello to the newer, brighter and more enticing navy. While a classic navy suit  is a wardrobe staple, it’s important to add some variety to your basics. A British blue suit is the perfect addition because it’s a brighter blue without being overly bold. Wear it with a crisp white shirt, chestnut brown shoes, and a camel color belt and you’re guaranteed to be one of the most dapper gentlemen in the Loop.

The Statement Sport Coat

One of best ways to punch up your look is by incorporating a statement sport coat to your wardrobe. Typically a bold pattern or vibrant color, a statement sport coat makes a major impact with minimal effort. Bear in mind that this sport coat is meant to do all the heavy lifting in regards to bringing an outfit to life; so make sure to keep your slacks and shirt simple and muted.

Lightweight Wool Slacks

Color: Ash Gray

Being one of the lightest grays in the spectrum, ash gray can be treated as a neutral making it extremely versatile and an undeniably valuable pair of slacks for every man’s wardrobe. Occasionally referred to as tropical wool, lightweight fabric are usually between 7 and 8.5 ounces. The biggest advantage of lightweight wool is its ability to breath. This will help keep you cool on a warmer spring day.

The Everyday Trench Coat

Color: Earth tones

Now is the perfect time to bench your winter overcoat and bring out your starting line of trenches.  Originally designed as a lightweight option for the French and British military during the Boer and First World War, a trench coat  serves as one of the most transitional pieces in your wardrobe. Usually double breasted and made out of cotton or poplin, a trench coat repels water and also keeps the wearer warm and ventilated simultaneously.

Cotton Slacks

Color: Basics and Bolds

This spring, the bolder the cotton the more fashionable it is. Whether you opt for a bold red or a classic khaki, cotton slacks are a great way to incorporate color into your everyday wardrobe. Not only are they comfortable, but because cotton is both lightweight and extremely breathable, they make a great alternative to wool slacks on a hot day. For a casual look, design your cotton slacks like a pair of jeans and have them made with 5 pockets and welt stitching along the side.

Sonny BalaniThe 5 Men’s Clothing Essentials for Spring: Vol. 2
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Charcoal Suit vs. Navy Suit

When it comes to purchasing your first custom suit, the important thing to consider is versatility. Being that it will be the only custom suit in your wardrobe, it is likely that you’ll be wearing it for a variety of events.  Whether you’re going to a job interview, a business meeting or a wedding, this suit must transition effortlessly into each scenario.

So, what color suit should you buy first?  For most people, it’s a toss up between a solid charcoal and a solid navy suit. While a strong argument can be made for each suit, our personal preference is to start with a charcoal suit and add a navy suit second.

Our reasoning for this is simple. Not only is charcoal incredibly versatile, it also conveys the appearance of confidence, loyalty and strength making it a fundamental piece of your professional wardrobe. What makes charcoal so versatile is its ability to be dressed up or down with almost any color or pattern. Also charcoal matches beautifully with black, brown, burgundy, and chestnut shoes.

When it’s time to decide upon a particular fabric, our recommendation is to go with a classic sharkskin. The Sharkskin pattern is achieved by basket weaving darker threads with white thread thereby, giving it the impression of having a subtle two-toned appearance. Sharkskin is considered a solid, but its intricate weave gives the fabric more texture and dimension and ultimately makes it more interesting to the eye.

When you’re looking to dress the suit up for an important event, simply add a crisp white button down, a bold tie, and a black belt. For a more casual look, switch out the white shirt for a bold check and pair it with a canvas belt and open collar. Whether you are wearing a bold pattern, a heavy texture, or a basic solid, a charcoal suit will keep you looking dapper every step of the way.

Sonny BalaniCharcoal Suit vs. Navy Suit
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Custom Tailored Tuxedo vs. Custom Tailored Suit for a Wedding

Wedding season is around the corner, and inevitably your mailbox is flooding with save the dates and elaborate wedding invitations. Whether you’re a guest or maybe even the groom, one of the biggest questions that you’ll face is whether it’s appropriate to wear a tuxedo or a suit to the wedding.

To start, it’s important to know the difference between a tuxedo and a suit. Satin lapels and a satin stripe down the side of the slacks are the distinguishing characteristics of a tuxedo.  Typically, traditional tuxedos are black, white, or even midnight navy. Suits offer more of a variety in color and pattern.

When trying to figure out which option is best, consider these three things: Time, venue and the bride’s gown.


The general rule of thumb for weddings is the later the ceremony, the more formal the event and ultimately the attire.  A wedding is considered to be formal when the ceremony is conducted at 6:00pm or later.  Tuxedos are the most appropriate attire for this kind of event.

A wedding is considered to be semi-formal when the ceremony is conducted during the day (before 6:00PM.)  For this type of ceremony, it is more common for the groom and the attending guests to wear a suit rather than a tuxedo.


Whether you’re getting married in downtown Chicago or have a destination wedding in the Caribbean, its important to consider whether a suit or tuxedo is most appropriate.

Typically, a suit is the best bet for an outdoor wedding.  The more casual the location is, (i.e. beach, park) the more casual the attire.  Don’t be afraid to wear bright colors and bold patterns.

Indoor (i.e. church, ballroom) weddings are generally considered to be more formal and tuxedos are more likely to be appropriate.  If the venue is formal but the ceremony is earlier in the day, a suit is most likely the better choice.  Stick with a darker color and more traditional suit for this type of event.

 Bride’s gown (For Grooms Only)

The length of the bride’s gown is the easiest way to tell whether you should wear a tuxedo or a suit. If she is planning on wearing a short wedding dress, then a tuxedo is much too formal and a suit is the better option.  If she is wearing a long gown, then refer to the two categories above to make your decision.

Sonny BalaniCustom Tailored Tuxedo vs. Custom Tailored Suit for a Wedding
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How to Upgrade Your Wardrobe for 2013

It’s officially the start of 2013, and the best part about the New Year, is the opportunity for a fresh start. It is the reason why we take it upon ourselves to make a new year’s resolution, or add new workout regimes to our weekly routine, or try to hit new goals at work. It’s the reason we ditch the tired clothes of our past and indulge with fresh looks for the New Year.

One thing we all learned from the movies, is that the ‘nerd’ can become ‘the cool guy’ simply by cutting his hair, taking off his glasses and putting on some new clothes. It’s why we feel an increase of sense confidence when we put on a new suit. It’s why we reach for our favorite shirt, or lucky tie when we get dressed for a big meeting or hot date.  There’s an undeniable sense of confidence when we wear something new and let’s face it, there’s something to be said for kicking off the New Year in style.

Here are the three things your should add to your custom wardrobe this year.

1.) ‘A-Game’ Suit

What’s an A-Game suit you’re wondering? It’s the one suit you reach for when you know you want to look and feel like a badass. It may not be appropriate for every occasion, but that’s not the point.  This particular suit is great when you need to leave a lasting impression or make a statement, because when you feel like you look good, others take notice and think you look good too.

2.) Custom Dress Shirts

Add a little life to your wardrobe by incorporating new colors and patterns to your basic solids.  Sure, the basics are good for work, but you have a life outside of work and your wardrobe should reflect that.  Pick out new fabrics that are better suited to your lifestyle. Do you wear a button down dress shirt and sport coat with jeans when you go out? Then pair your basic sport coat with a bold checked pattern or dark gingham plaid.  Don’t be afraid to step out of your white and blue comfort zone.

3.) Custom Sport Coat (Patterned)

While the classic navy blazer is a wonderful staple for your wardrobe, sometimes your lifestyle requires a little something extra. Find a pattern that is bold but also complimentary to a variety of pant options. Whether you are wearing slacks or jeans, the sport coat should be the statement piece of your outfit. When pairing your bold sport coat with a shirt, opt for a subtle pattern and be sure to keep in mind the scale of the pattern.

Sonny BalaniHow to Upgrade Your Wardrobe for 2013
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Flat Front vs. Pleated Pants

Flat Front vs. Pleated Slacks

Whether you’re purchasing your first custom suit or a pair of custom slacks, it can be somewhat difficult to decide on whether you should opt for a flat front or pleated look.  There are a few things to consider when making this judgment call.

1.) What kind of fit do you want your suit to have?

When designing a custom suit, it is important to keep all of the proportions balanced. If you prefer a trim cut jacket, think early 60’s, or Mad Men-like, then your slacks should match accordingly. Flat front slacks are the best option for a trim cut suit. When going with a flat front, your custom tailor is able to cut your slacks trimmer in the thigh and knees.

If you prefer a more traditional fit, with a little more room to spare, then pleats are a much better option.

2.) What do you prefer comfort or fashion?

Currently, flat front pants are “in style.” They give the wearer a trimmer look and elongate the legs by removing any excess fabric throughout the thighs and knees. Most modern designers (aka, Hugo Boss, Marc Jacobs, Prada) make very trim cut suits with flat front slacks.

If you prefer comfort to fashion, then pleats are definitely the route you should go. Pleated pants are cut much wider throughout the leg and have a much more spacious feel than flat front pants. In order for pleated slacks to drape cleanly and for the pleats not to pop open, the thigh must have enough fabric to prevent pulling. This extra fabric will often be more comfortable for men when they are moving around and sitting at a desk.

3.) Do you like cuffs?

The rule of thumb says that if you have flat front pants, you should not have cuffs. Most fashion experts feel that cuffs only belong on pleated pants, because flat front pants are considered to be a continental European tradition and cuffs are of Anglo-American origin, therefore mixing these two styles is considered improper.

Despite these rules, our opinion is that if you know the rules, then its ok to bend them. The beneifit of having your slacks custom made, is that you have the ability to style them however you like. If you are a fan of cuffs and not pleats – then by all means, go for it.

Sonny BalaniFlat Front vs. Pleated Pants
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Mille Stripes

mille stripesMille Stripes
Stripes formed by individual threads that alternate in color. Unless you look at the fabric up close, you may mistake this for a solid. The mille stripe is a nice alternative to a basic solid custom shirt.

Sonny BalaniMille Stripes
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