Why? Because They’re Pros At Making You Look Good.
Ask Men Chicago – askmen.com

What were you doing in 1961? Well, Balani Custom Clothiers was making impeccably stylish suits, and they’re actually still doing it today. The garment-customizing pros at Balani have applied a contemporary filter to its styles through the ages, and continue to impress customers with top-notch clothing that fits as well as a spacesuit glove. Whether you’re looking for a slim or traditional-fit suit, these guys have you covered, and can even hook up pants that sport grip guards so that shirts resist becoming untucked. They say that clothes make the man. if that’s the case, a stop here would make you a self-made man, wouldn’t it?

Read more: https://www.askmen.com/chicago/balani-clothiers.html#ixzz2TZAAW4hf


Elizabeth FasulaWhy BALANI?
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J.W. Marriott Magazine

One of the Top 6 Custom Clothiers in the World

by Carlos Rubin – J.W. Marriott Magazine

Tailored to Perfection

Off the rack?  No thanks. Made to measure? Only if you’re in a hurry. For the truly perfect men’s shirt, connoisseurs know that bespoke – a 100 percent personalized product- is the only way to go. Here’s six top tailors in six top cities.


The Man to Know: Sonny Balani at Balani Custom Clothiers

Credentials: This family-owned business-Sonny’s father Peter trained in London and Milan- has kept the men of Chicago looking sharp for fifty years.

Cost: Suits from $895, Slacks from $275, Blazers from $675, Shirts from $125.

The Edge: Service included cocktails from a fully-stocked bar on premises.

INFO: balanicustom.com

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Sonny BalaniJ.W. Marriott Magazine
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Men’s Book

Chicago Bear Israel Idonije suits up with a sharp new look from Balani Custom Clothiers.

By Matt Lee, Photography by Anthony Tahlier

When you meet him, two things quickly become apparent about Chicago Bears defensive end Israel Idonije.  He’s a very nice man, and he has arms and legs the size of your torso.  To craft the perfect gameday suit for Idonije, we visited the Loop’s Balani Custom Clothiers….
Sonny BalaniMen’s Book
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Time Out Chicago

Chicago father-and-son custom clothing company, Balani, celebrates 50 years in business.
On the next generation of Balani
Sonny Balani, owner: I got involved [with the business] eight years ago. I have an investment banking/trading background. I grew up around the business and had no intention in going into this at all. I think my dad asked me once when I was 16, and I just said “No way.” And he just kind of dropped it. And then around 2003, I came around and saw a potential here. But I really wanted to make it a place where I would want to shop. I wanted to bring a little more hospitality into it. A lot of times people think about custom clothing, and they think of it as stodgy and stuffy. We’re the opposite of that.

On the Balani customer
Sonny Balani, owner: Most of our clients are type-A-ish. They dress well and put a pretty high value on their appearance. Everything from the banker guy to a younger guy who likes a slimmer fit. We have full bars [in each room], so you can kick back and have a Scotch after work…Once we made a custom Halloween suit for a guy who wanted an exact replica of the Joker suit. We also do a lot of weddings and a lot of engagements. A lot of brides are buying the experience for grooms.

On added touches
Ricardo Bucio, manager: The inside of our jackets is really cool. Most tailors won’t offer you a lot of choices in linings, but we do. And there aren’t any extra fees for the additional perks. That way, you don’t have to keep calculating what the cost is going to be, and you can really enjoy the experience. On the pants—most people love this part—is a grip guard, so your shirt doesn’t become untucked. Over the years, Mr. [Peter] Balani (pictured, far left) has added different details to make the clothing more durable. The front of the shop also offers ties, cuff links and socks to complete the look.

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Sonny BalaniTime Out Chicago
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Crain’s New in Chicago

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Crain’s Chicago Business
Crain's Chicago BusinessExcerpt: This family-owned business, which sells custom-tailored menswear at 10 S. LaSalle St., will open a second location at 55 W. Monroe St. on Wednesday (Sept. 15). Owner Sonny Balani says business is booming. “Overall, we’re up 80% over last year,” he says. “There was a lot of pent-up demand.” Customers who had put off clothing purchases during the recession are spending more money now as they dress up, he explains. The company is doubling its workforce and tripling its capacity in 2010. Mr. Balani runs the company with his father, Peter, who started it in 1961. Sonny Balani says the company prides itself on old-fashioned customer service, but the stores have a sleek, contemporary look. The Balanis worked with Apple Inc.’s business-development unit to create “learning kiosks” where customers can see how their custom suits will look — on the screen of an iPad. Flat-screen TVs display recent examples of menswear created by the store’s tailors.

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Sonny BalaniCrain’s New in Chicago
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Chicago Magazine’s “Best of Chicago”

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Chicago Magazine
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Excerpt: It may seem counterintuitive, but Balani Custom Clothiers is having a record-breaking year. By demystifying the custom process and forgoing the usual stodginess of the suit biz, Balani has successfully hooked newbies. Clients begin with a one-on-one appointment that includes having 30 measurements taken and making selections at the fabric bar. The next step is a fitting with on-site tailors, and the finished product is usually available in six weeks. The shop offers suites, shirts, sport coats, slacks, overcoats, raincoats, and casualwear, such as funky shirts with contrasting button holes or collar types.

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Sonny BalaniChicago Magazine’s “Best of Chicago”
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Michigan Avenue

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The city’s best custom clothiers take fashion off the rack.
by Lisa Skolnik

The Goods:
Anything stitched for men, but they’re especially noted for made-from-scratch suits.

Known for:
An exceptional selection of styles and fabrics, and new-school service that walks you through every part of the process, explaining fabrication and tailoring options over cocktails.

Everyone from sports stars to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

Prices start at $105 for shirts, $795 for suits, and $595 for sports coats.

Favorite Piece:
They love to do tuxedos.

What We Didn’t Know:
Custom, full-service coddling doesn’t have to be inimidating or unaffordable.

Men who take pride in the way they look.

Sonny BalaniMichigan Avenue
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Chicago Magazine

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In a takeover that’s anything but hostile, a son reconceives his father’s business and introduces the iPod generation to the custom details of Balani bespoke suits.
By Stacy Wallace Albert

WHO Sonny Balani, 32, grew up around perfectly fitted suits that his father made and sold at trunk shows. After working as a trader, he decided to take a bricks-and-mortar approach to his father’s business.
WHAT A custom suit and shirt shop ideal for 25- to 40-year-old men
WHERE 10 S. LaSalle St., second floor; 312-345-1535, www.balaniclothiers.com

“I can make you look perfect, and compensate for anything,” says Balani, who helps customers decide on fabrics, lapels, and whether to pleat or not to pleat. “Big guys who sit at a desk all day need pleats,” he insists.

The shop uses a variety of high-end cottons for shirts, which can be specified as to collar and cuff style (starting at $105). For suits, wool is imported from mills in Great Britain or Italy. Balani takes up to 30 different measurements, from inseam to shoulder width. Customers choose the cut, venting, and number of buttons on flap and sleeves-all working, and the sign of a great suit.

Suit prices start at $795 and can go up to $10,000 for a custom pinstripe with a customer’s name subtly woven into the wool. Expected wait time: six weeks

Sonny BalaniChicago Magazine
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Chicago Tribune

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A custom suit for gunslingers and guys who just want to look good
by Chris McNamara

A handgun will tear through a silk-lined inside breast pocket on most suits, so tailors at Montopoli Custom Clothiers are sure to use durable fabrics inside the jacket for customers who pack heat. Tailors at Balani Custom Clothiers will sew hidden money belts into the waistband of pants for customers who carry large sums of cash in dangerous locales.

James Bond would be lucky to have Chicago’s custom tailors working for him. “We’ve had guys request replicas of the tuxedo James Bond wore in ‘Casino Royale,’ ” says shop owner Sonny Balani. Do you have to be licensed to kill to order a custom-made suit? Of course not. But you must be willing to spend. Bells and whistles and pistol-proof pockets don’t come cheap in the world of high-end suits.

A suit or a car? Montopoli
First you’re buzzed into the building, then Jeff Landis escorts you in an elevator up to his shop, Montopoli (714 S. Dearborn St., 312-987-0987, montopolichicago .com), where the hardwood floor shines enough to reflect the bolts of fine fabrics hanging from the ceiling. In 1992 Landis bought out three established Chicago tailor shops, acquiring their expert tailors (“a dying breed”) and high-end client lists. “People aren’t interested in developing artistry in their product today,” says Landis, 49, not a tailor but a businessman. “My master tailors started young.” Take Frank Perri, 75, whose parents back in Italy tied the middle finger of his sewing hand up against the palm in order to train it to stay out of the way of the needle. Perri can craft a suit for as little as $3,500, but most of the upscale clientele at Montopoli spend upward of $15,000 on a set of threads. Nobody has yet bought the $30,000 suit made of a super-premium material called Vanquish, but Landis has the samples at the ready, buttery to the touch and subtly shiny in a way that telegraphs wealth. So what costs so much? The fabrics, first of all, which adhere to the credo that you get what you pay for. Second, Perri and the other Montopoli tailors spend about 35 manhours per suit, adding special pockets, weird cuts and funky linings that shock the eyes when the jacket is unbuttoned. And is a premium suit worth the cost of a Camry? “Yes,” says Landis, adjusting the crisp cuff on his shirt. “Fine suits have a softness, a lighter, finer feel. And then the overall fit and the way it holds its shape. It will last longer.”

A new clientele: Balani
Getting a custom suit does not require you to forfeit your children’s education. Just ask Sonny Balani, 33, who heads Balani Custom Clothiers (10 S. LaSalle St., Suite 210, 312-345-1535, balaniclothiers.com). His father opened the shop some 40 years ago. Today it caters to a younger clientele by appointment only, with plasma screens on the walls and sleek, modern furniture on the floor. Here suits start at $795; they average around $1,300. And the beauty of the customization is that you can get whatever you’d like. Want a zebra-striped lining? You got it. How about thief-proof zippered inside pockets? Done. Care for your name imprinted in the pinstripes? How do you spell it? Follow-up customer service is part of what makes the purchase worth it. (Like Landis, Balani offers free alterations for life, so a moderately fluctuating waistline isn’t a problem.) “If a suit is going to help you close a billion-dollar deal, then the cost is nothing, no matter what it is,” Balani says. “What’s important is that you’re wearing something that fits properly and makes you feel confident.”

Sonny BalaniChicago Tribune
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Chicago Scene

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For men who are fed up with the chaotic atmosphere and redundancy of formal wear retailers, Sonny Balani has the answer.

Taking custom clothing to a whole new level, the one-of-a kind, 1,300-square-foot showroom, BALANI (10 S. LaSalle, 312.345.1535) bridges the gap between a retail store and custom clothing shop. “We’re changing the way men look at clothes by adding modern style and sophistication to an antiquated art form known as custom clothing,” explains Balani. “Our showroom is a first in the industry: an exclusive, personal space where you can build your wardrobe at your leisure. We’re breaking through the stereotypes – the showroom cluttered with fabric samples, the stodgy intimidating atmosphere – to be today’s modern clothier.” The room is indeed sleek, sparse and luxuriously relaxing. The days of choosing your suit from behind an old English desk are gone, replaced by the Fabric Bar, where clients can select their fabrics while sipping on a complimentary beverage. Due to the racks of completed clothing, you might actually think you’re in a retailer when you stroll in. “We want people to envision what a style looks like with a particular fabric,” explains Balani. “Bu showing our finished work, clients get a feel for what’s possible, and can also find their own spark of creativity. Sometimes a finished piece gives them ideas they never would have had on their own. “Maintaining the high standards of personalized service, BALANI is open by appointment only, serving one customer at a time. “Serving one customer at a time gives us the opportunity to truly understand their needs,” says Balani. And you can take your tailor with you; after your first sizing, your measurements are kept in the database so you can order over the phone or net whenever you like. Take that, Men’s Warehouse!

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Sonny BalaniChicago Scene
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