What Does Your Tie Color Mean?

Get the job.

Close the deal.

Get the girl.

What do these three things have in common?  The right image.

We all know that first impressions can be influenced by what you wear.  Whether conscious or not, people make grandiose assumptions based upon your everyday appearance.

A tie is one of the most influential tools at your disposal.  That’s why you always reach for your lucky tie when you are about to close a deal or why the girl at happy hour playfully touches your tie to show she’s interested.  Your tie makes a powerful statement and its important to know what image you are projecting.


It’s called the power tie for a reason, and by wearing a red tie you are implying that you mean business.  Just like Tiger Woods wears a red shirt to convey dominance, the red tie is a reaffirmation of strength, authority and dominance within the professional world.  For a less aggressive approach, switch out your vibrant red for a softer shade of burgundy.


Yellow is the approachable cousin of the power tie.  While still conveying authority, intelligence and positivity, yellow is the subtle version of a red power tie.  This is the perfect tie to wear for a first interview, because it shows you are confident and not afraid of a challenge.


Conveying trust, stability and confidence a blue tie is perfect for client facing or public speaking.  That being said, it’s no coincidence that politicians and salesmen are frequently seen in blue ties.  The lighter blue shade is softer and appears more approachable.  A darker shade of blue represents seriousness and matter-of-factness.


This color symbolizes practicality, reliability and implies being down-to-earth. Brighter shades of green will imply that you are balanced, fresh and energetic. For a conventional look, darker shades of green are more appropriate and will imply that you are stable and serious.


Orange is the wild card of tie colors.  A bright orange tie will imply that you are enthusiastic, open-minded and adventurous.  It is the perfect tie for making a memorable first impression and creating a sense of excitement within the workplace.

Sonny BalaniWhat Does Your Tie Color Mean?
Read More

The 5 Men’s Clothing Essentials for Spring

With the weather slowly warming up, now is the perfect time to transition your dull, winter wardrobe into something a little brighter.  Put away the dark colors and heavyweight fabrics and reintroduce a little color into your day-to-day attire. Here are 5 wardrobe essentials we recommend for spring.

The Navy Blazer

A navy blazer is one of the most fundamental pieces in your wardrobe because it is by far the most versatile. Whether you are going to the office, out to dinner, or cruising in your yacht the navy blazer is a great option for just about any occasion. Lighten up a midnight-navy blazer by opting for a brighter British blue fabric instead.  The lighter blue is a great way to introduce vibrant colors into your spring wardrobe.

Buttons will also help transform the look of your blazer. For a modern look, replace the traditional brass buttons for a darker mother of pearl button.  This will transform the style of your blazer from traditional and preppy to fresh and contemporary.

Light Gray Suit

Just as a dark charcoal suit compliments winter, the light gray suit is synonymous with spring. The light gray works perfectly with soft pastels and bold patterned shirts, giving you unlimited versatility within your wardrobe. To finish the look, wear it with chili-colored shoes and a camel colored belt.

The Sport Coat

A patterned sport coat is the easiest way to incorporate color into your wardrobe.  Often made in bold prints, the sport coat blends a myriad of colors in one single jacket.  For those who like a little pop of color, change the lapel buttonhole stitching to match one of the colors in your jacket.  If you’re going for the casual look, pair your sport coat with a patterned button down shirt that ties in one or more of the colors in your jacket.

Cotton Patterned Socks

It’s time to retire your boring wool socks and incorporate a little life into your footwear routine.  The latest trend in menswear is a trim cut slack that (when sitting) highlights your patterned socks.  Now that the weather is warm, add some pep in your step by picking up a pair of V.K. Nagrani’s colorful, cotton socks.

Pastels and Prints (Shirts)

Spring is the perfect time of year to sport your plaids, striped, and checked pattern shirts. When it comes to spring patterns, the bolder the better.  Color, pattern, and texture should all play a part in foundation of your spring wardrobe. So trade out a basic white shirt for a lavender gingham plaid and embrace the brighter side of spring.


Sonny BalaniThe 5 Men’s Clothing Essentials for Spring
Read More

How to Protect Your Custom Clothes in Chicago’s Rainy Season

As we settle upon the last few weeks of winter and await the warmer months of spring, we will undoubtedly combat snow, rain, slush and everything in between. The real challenge comes when you’re forced to try and protect your wardrobe from mother nature’s wrath. Listed below are a few items that will help safeguard your wardrobe from head to toe.

The Trench Coat

A great way to protect your custom, wool suit from rain and snow is to invest in a quality trench coat.  From Humphrey Bogart to Dick Tracy, the trench coat has been a quintessential staple in men’s fashion for over 100 years. Origins of the trench coat began during the Boer War for the British military.  The goal was to design a coat that not only repelled water, but also kept the wearer warm and ventilated simultaneously.  Today, the trench serves the same function and for this reason it is one of the most versatile forms of outerwear.  A good tip, is to have your trench coats scotch guarded 1-2 times a year.  This will force any water that comes into contact with your coat to bead off rather than soak in and ruin your suit.


Also known as slicks or rubbers, these shoe protectors are worn over your dress shoes and are a great way to salvage your shoes from a treacherous walk in the snow.  Sure, we all know that you’re supposed to wear galoshes when its dropping buckets of snow, but what most men don’t realize is that it is more important to wear them on the day the snow has melted.  Despite the absence of snow, the streets leave behind a substantial amount of salt exposing your shoes to a higher risk of cracking and becoming dried out.


Like any other accessory your umbrella should be an extension of your own personal style.  Aside from keeping you dry, it should be sophisticated and considered a completion of your wardrobe.  Invest in a high quality umbrella that has superb functionality and a signature style.  Davek (yes, we carry them) is known for making top of the line umbrellas that are built to last a lifetime.

Simply by incorporating these weather repellent tools, you’re suits and shoes are guaranteed to last and keep you looking great.  Not to mention they will help transition your wardrobe from season to season.

Sonny BalaniHow to Protect Your Custom Clothes in Chicago’s Rainy Season
Read More

How to Take Care of Your Custom Suit

So Fresh and So Clean, Clean

One of the most common questions we are asked at BALANI is how to properly care for a suit.  Your suits from BALANI are an investment, and for this particular investment, longevity is key.  Sure, wear and tear is inevitable, but there are things you can do to help prevent your one-year old suit from looking like it was purchased during the Clinton administration.

First, only dry-clean your suit between 2-4 times a year. Yes, you read that correctly. The chemicals used in dry cleaning can substantially damage your suit as well as shorten its normal lifespan. Instead, have your suits machine steam-pressed regularly by your dry cleaner; which is a 500 degree blast of steam killing all bacteria, removing all odors and releasing all wrinkles. If you’re prone to spilling, have your dry-cleaner spot clean rather than have them dry-clean the entire suit.

Next, hang your suits on a proper suit hanger and scatter cedar blocks throughout your closet to prevent moths from getting into your clothes. Moths eat through fabrics, leaving large holes in your suits. Fortunately, the oil found in cedar is a natural repellent, and will kill off those pesky moths with destructive motives.

Lastly, for the gentlemen who are very particular, invest in a quality made suit brush.  Why bother?  Simply put, brushing your suit after each wear can extend its lifespan by a decade. Made from either synthetic fibers or natural animal hair, brushing removes built-up dust and food particles that can get lodged in your suit causing the wool to break down.

Simply by dry-cleaning less, brushing your suit more, and incorporating cedar blocks into your closet, you will drastically increase the lifespan of your wardrobe. Because let’s face it, no one wants to see their investment go up in flames or get eaten by moths. So be sure to protect your BALANI suits in order to get the maximum return: a lifetime of looking good.

Sonny BalaniHow to Take Care of Your Custom Suit
Read More

How to Get the Perfect Shave

Now that Movember is finally over, say goodbye to the creepy Zach Galifianakis facial hair and say hello to a razor and shaving cream. Before you groan in protest, keep in mind that a survey conducted by Schick concluded that 76% of women prefer their man to have a clean-shaven face.
Getting the perfect shave requires the right tools, preparation, and technique. To avoid the classic shaving pitfalls, i.e., razor burn and those pesky ingrown hairs, simply, incorporate the following steps into your daily routine.

Step 1: Shaving Tools and Products

Using a quality razor blade is fundamental for getting a close, clean shave. Whether you prefer 3 blades or 6, make sure that you replace your razor with a fresh one every 2-3 weeks.

Shaving cream is as essential as the razor you use. Make sure your shaving cream has a glycerin base, e.g., Truefiit & Hill 1805 Tub. The glycerin base will help trap moisture and hydrate your skin as you shave.

Step 2: Preparation

Preparation is key. In order to open the pores on your face and soften the hair follicles, always shave after a shower or apply a hot, damp towel to your skin prior to shaving. To avoid nicks and cuts, apply a dime size amount of pre-shaving oil to your face and massage thoroughly into your facial hair.

After you have applied the pre-shaving oil, use a stiff badger-hair brush to apply the shaving cream to your face in a circular motion. This helps retain water and preps the beard by raising the hairs on your face.

Step 3: Shaving Techniques

A razor should always be drawn in the same direction as stubble growth. This is referred to as shaving with the grain of the hair. By doing so, you help prevent ingrown hairs and skin irritation. It is also important that you keep the razor well rinsed, so that the blade doesn’t get clogged.

Start shaving by your sideburns and then work down toward your chin and neck. Make sure your free hand is holding the skin taut while you shave. For the more prominent parts of your face, i.e., chin and jawbone, be sure to use the middle part of the blade.

Once you finish shaving, apply cold water to your skin to close the pores. Finish by lightly patting on an alcohol-free aftershave, e.g., Truefitt & Hill 1805 After Shave splash, to sooth the skin.

By completing these 3 simple steps, you will be sure to get the best and cleanest shave possible. Step up your shaving game, and come to BALANI for Truefitt & Hill’s collection of shaving products and accessories!

Sonny BalaniHow to Get the Perfect Shave
Read More

Top Five Things to Look for in Your Custom Tailor

We break down the top five things that every custom tailor should have.

5. Custom experience. Your individual experience at a tailor shop is just as unique as the garment itself. The appointment should be relaxed and stress-free, with everything at your fingertips: fabric swatches, design examples, full-length mirrors and an expert tailor to guide you through the process.

4. Tradition of excellence. A great tailor should have a long-standing reputation of quality and craftsmanship, with a rich history in custom tailoring. Creating a hand-made custom suit requires a great deal of skill and client service that spans generations.

3. Awards and recognition. An excellent review from a publication or online review from a current client is one of the best testaments to a tailor shop’s expertise.

2. Outstanding client relationships. A custom tailor must understand your personal and professional goals, and then help you craft your style to achieve them. The best-dressed men in the world (e.g. Cary Grant, Sean Connery and George Clooney) always had a tailor close by who kept them looking sharp.

1. The finest quality. Nothing else matters unless you walk away wearing your new favorite suit. The best part about going custom is knowing that every detail of your wardrobe is perfectly hand-tailored—from the lining pattern to the thread color—for you and you alone.

Sonny BalaniTop Five Things to Look for in Your Custom Tailor
Read More

How to Sport a Transitional Wardrobe

PHOTO: transitional wardrobe

Summer is not over, at least we keep saying this, fully ignoring the fact that Labor Day is right around the corner. But as we make our way into September (arguably one of the nicest months for weather in Chicago) and the temperature transitions from scorching hot to slightly cool, our wardrobe also transitions. This requires a few tweaks and additions to stay comfortable, fashionable and professional. The fundamental pieces to making this transition are the sport coat and blazer.

Many office environments become more casual in the summer, so once September hits, getting back to business professional is key.  When you’re not quite ready to put away the light-colored slacks and vibrant, summery blues, simply adding a sport coat is an easy way to transition into the new season. Plus, a classic navy blazer or plaid sport coat can sharpen and polish a casual shirt and slacks. If you are heading out for a night on the town after work, adding a sport coat provides a little bit of warmth in addition to dressing up your evening.

So when deciding between the sport coat and blazer for a night out, you may ask: What are the main distinctions between the two?

The blazer, traditionally sewn with patch pockets and gold buttons, is normally a solid color (navy blue being the most popular). The sport coat is oftentimes made of heavier, patterned material that originally paired well with men’s sporting events, like a fox hunt. Both are acceptable for dressing up casual slacks, jeans or khakis.

Eventually, we’ll need to pull out those wool suits for winter (and we should be planning for them now!). But until then, get the most out of your warm-weather wardrobe by using the sport coat and blazer like a pro.

Sonny BalaniHow to Sport a Transitional Wardrobe
Read More

How to Travel in Style: 5 Tips on Packing for a Trip

Photo: traveling in style
One of the most frequent questions we’re asked at BALANI is: “What should I pack when I travel for work?”

Clearly it’s important to pack smart—with minimal luggage (unless you have your own private jet) and versatile clothing options—but what many men fail to realize is the invaluable opportunities of traveling in style.  Before we discuss the practical side to packing, let’s consider why men’s travel clothes are so important.

One of the greatest advantages of traveling is the opportunity to network and meet new people.  Striking up a conversation with the person sitting next to you on the plane is an easy way to meet a potential client or gain a referral, and how you’re dressed gives them an immediate impression of your character.

With that said, take a minute to consider how you present yourself when traveling. Are you in jeans and sneakers or a blazer and loafers?

One thing we always recommend is “dressing the part”:  Not only will you be treated better, but airlines and hotels are also more inclined to upgrade you when you are dressed well.  Regardless of your profession, putting your best-dressed foot forward is an effortless way of gaining respect from others.  And you never know who you’ll meet by chance—a new client, a potential job lead, even a future spouse.

Now (as we step off the proverbial soap box…)—onto the tips! Here are the BALANI tips for packing for a trip:

1. Use your suitcase for casual clothes, and be sure to travel in a suit. Not only will you look great, but you’ll also prevent unwanted wrinkles from afflicting your suit.  Plus, you’re covered if the airline accidentally loses your luggage.  Not like that ever happens…

2. Pack lightly and bring a variety of versatile clothing options. For a short, 2- to 3-day business trip, bring two suits, four shirts, and two pairs of shoes.

3. When determining which suits to pack, the best options are a solid charcoal and a dark navy with a subtle pattern. Not only are they are the most versatile colors, they are also appropriate for almost any situation.

4. For each suit you bring, be sure to pack two shirts that match it. Leave the bold patterns and bright colors at home, and bring clothes with subtle patterns and soft colors.  A classic, white shirt is a must.  This way, no one will notice if you wear the same white shirt more than once.

5. Lastly, be sure to pack one brown pair of shoes and one black pair—leave the lace-ups at home and only pack slip-ons. This way, you can avoid holding up the security line at the airport.

When traveling for business a few key things to remember are: Always travel in a suit and pack clothes that are versatile in color and pattern.  Employing these easy tips will help guarantee you’re trip is stress-free and stylish. After all, you never know whom you’ll meet.  It could be the one client that leads to your private jet.

What are you must-haves and tips for traveling?  Let us know on our Facebook page!

Sonny BalaniHow to Travel in Style: 5 Tips on Packing for a Trip
Read More

How To Plan Your Wardrobe

Planning your wardrobe for the future
Summer’s here, and with your winter gear pleasantly tucked away in the back of your closet, it’s the perfect time to plan your wardrobe for the fall.

What, too soon?  In reality, it’s not.  Planning your wardrobe a season ahead of time is essential for building your wardrobe and keeping up to date with the latest fashion trends.  Custom clothiers employ this practice perfectly.

This idea isn’t novel.  Think about it: fashion designers put out their spring collection in winter and their winter collection in spring.  This lets the industry (and the rest of us) know what’s “in” and what’s “out.”  It also gives us the opportunity to see if some of the clothes we haven’t worn in a while are back in style (sorry, ripped jeans are still not OK).

Once you do a little research as to what’s “in” for the season, then it’s time to find what inspires you.  Snap a photo of a jacket you like in a window display, or tear out a picture of a suit in a magazine that caught your eye.  Email these pictures to your tailors, and they can keep it on file for you. This will enable you and your tailor to design the perfect garment when the time comes to place an order.

Our recommendation for approaching pre-season shopping is to ask one question: What will I wear two or three months from now?  Start by consolidating what you currently own, then place an order for the missing pieces eight weeks before you plan on wearing the garment.  This means that you should purchase an overcoat in September to wear in December and a summer suit in March to wear in June.

Planning your wardrobe a season ahead of time will help keep your clothes feeling fresh and up-to-date.  Find upcoming styles you like, and rely on your tailor to incorporate them into your look.  After all, that’s what we’re here for.

Sonny BalaniHow To Plan Your Wardrobe
Read More

How to Know Your Tailor is a Good Fit

No comments

Choosing a tailor is an important step in a man’s life, as it marks the beginning of a lifelong relationship. Just like finding a doctor or a lawyer, you want someone who you trust and enjoy working with, who’s with you throughout the different stages in your life. Here are the Balani tips for finding the right tailor.

Find out what kind of experience the tailor has. More years (or decades) of experience are normally a direct relationship to the degree of fine-tuned skills a tailor has. A tailor doesn’t need to share your exact style, but he should understand what you want to accomplish. Find a shop with a rich history in custom tailoring, as creating a hand-made custom suit requires a great deal of experience and expertise.

Know the difference between “made to measure” and “custom”. Made to measure means that the suit is pretty much completed, and the tailor simply makes adjustments to suit your frame. A custom suit, on the other hand, starts completely from scratch, where the tailor helps you choose everything from the fabric to the thread to the style. He then cuts the suit to perfectly fit your frame and preferences.

Research their work. Talk to friends who work with custom tailors and check out online reviews from sources like Yelp. Examine a tailor’s custom clothing and review the quality, looking for details like hand stitching. Oftentimes, tailors will be happy to share their techniques and show examples of their work (Peter Balani, founder of Balani Custom, has even offered to cut open a suit to showcase the detailed work).

Make sure the tailor works from a physical, brick and mortar shop. When you visit a tailor, everything should be at your fingertips: fabric swatches, suit style examples, full-length mirrors and space to stretch out and enjoy the experience. After all, it’s not just about the clothing, it’s about building the relationship. A physical location is crucial to proper service: If they don’t have a shop, they’re not getting it.

Sonny BalaniHow to Know Your Tailor is a Good Fit
Read More