Top Five Things You Should Never Wear with a Custom Suit

While there are a lot of ways to add style and personality to your business attire, there are just some things a man should never wear with a suit. Below are the top five fashion faux pas when it comes to donning a stellar wardrobe. And be sure to post your own items that should never come near your suits on our Facebook page.

5.) Ski jacket. We cringe when a man takes great care to choose the fine fabric, thread color, silk jacket lining, and tie pattern, only to throw on his old coat over it to head into the wintery weather. Guys, the last thing you put on going out the door is the first thing people will notice, and you’re most likely to meet someone new when out and about. Don’t cover up your impeccable sense of style with a coat that doesn’t match what’s underneath

4.) Gym shoes. This should go without saying, but think again when throwing on a pair of sneakers with slacks and a sports coat. They’re made for exactly what their name implies: the gym. If you don’t want to scuff up your dress shoes during the commute, invest in weather-proofing techniques or a nice pair of stylish black boots. And if there’s still some confusion on proper shoe care, check out how to keep your shoes kickin’.

3.) Baseball cap. The go-to baseball cap may work for casual Sunday sports viewing, but leave it with your jeans and t-shirts when dressing for work or going anywhere other than a sports bar. If you crave something fashionable to compliment your suit, go with a more stylish hat like the fedora or invest in a nice pair of sunglasses.

2.) Casual jewelry. Men should tread lightly when it comes to wearing jewelry with a suit. Your best bet is to aim for elegant simplicity: a nice watch and stunning pair of cufflinks. Anything that involves wood, beads, hemp or plastic shouldn’t come anywhere near your suits. If you want to add a little color or character to a neutral suit, look to bold or patterned pocket squares, ties, shirts and vests.

1.) White socks with dress shoes. If your sock drawer contents haven’t changed since college, it’s time to do some shopping. While socks stay invisible much of the time, they can provide a wonderful compliment to the fabrics in your clothing. Flashing a little color or pattern when sitting down shows you’re serious about your style.



Sonny BalaniTop Five Things You Should Never Wear with a Custom Suit
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Top Six Things Women Love About Men’s Style

Guys, whether we like it or not, our style says a lot about us, and no one notices more than women. After painstaking research into the eternal question What do women want?, we’ve come up with the top six things women love about your style.

6. Dress Shoes
Watch any Sex and the City episode, and you’ll immediately notice the importance women put on a nice pair of shoes. Depending on your profession, dress shoes might not be part of your daily routine. However, that’s no excuse for not owning a few pairs of well-made, stylish dress shoes. Wear them with your best suit, or as a way to dress up slacks and a sport coat. And don’t forget proper shoe maintenance!

5. Style/Trend
While some men’s clothing has a classic, timeless look, styles tend to change over time. This doesn’t mean you must purchase a new wardrobe every month, but keep in mind current trends, as women love a man who’s up-to-date on fashion. For your quality pieces made to last a while, go with a classic look that won’t seem dated in a few years. But keep a trendy shirt or accessory around for a little extra pizzazz that shows you care about your look.

4. Fit
Shopping the most fashionable styles will do nothing for a man if it does not fit properly. If nothing suits you like a suit, make sure your investment goes towards something that fits you perfectly-ideally custom cut and fitted specifically for your shape and size.  Baggy, loose clothing is out and appears messy and disheveled. Shop smart for clothing that fits properly so you always look sharp.

3. Purpose
A man who dresses with purpose shows that he’s both attentive and fashionable. Before you head out the door, think about your destination. Is it a professional setting that requires a well-designed suit, or is it a dive bar where a blazer might look pretentious? But remember: It’s always better to be the best dressed man in the room than the worst dressed.

2. Subtlety
Almost an art form, subtlety is an often-overlooked style that women desire. While trendy, loud colors and designs will definitely get you noticed, it may not be the right kind of attention. But this doesn’t mean avoid the pink shirts- just don’t pair them with brightly colored pants or suits. Employ a “less is more” outlook when it comes to your wardrobe; women will stop and take notice of your chic, understated manner.

1. Self-confidence
There is no better compliment to your style than an air of confidence (note: not cockiness). Women can sense it from a mile away: A confident man who exudes certainty and poise in any situation. This transcends physical clothing and hits on posture, a firm handshake, and a self-assured smile. And although you can’t buy confidence, you can invest in chic, well-fitted clothing that bumps up your self-esteem a notch or two.

Sonny BalaniTop Six Things Women Love About Men’s Style
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Spring into a Warm Weather Wardrobe

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PHOTO: warm weather style
With another winter behind us (seemingly), we can finally start to embrace spring and all its accompaniments. From baseball games to yacht parties, it’s that time of year when we can put away that heavy wool coat and dare to bring out our lightweight jackets. Hallelujah!

So, how do you transition your winter wardrobe for spring? Simple. All you need to keep in mind are these three things: pattern, color, and fabric.

By incorporating pattern into your wardrobe, you can dramatically change the look and feel of any outfit. The easiest way to liven up a simple gray suit is to pair it with a bold shirt and tie. Colorful plaids and striking paisleys are a great pattern for spring because they come in various styles and colors. Keep in mind, the bolder the pattern; the more fitting it is for spring.

When adding color into your wardrobe, think of a box of Crayolas. You should have a variety of pastels, jewel tones, and neons to choose from. Nautical is this season’s hottest trend, so put away the chocolate browns and dark charcoals, and bring out your warm neutrals and vibrant blues.

Choosing seasonal fabric weights is the final step in modifying your wardrobe. Trade in your heavyweight wool slacks for some lightweight wools and fine cottons. These fabrics will keep you warm on a cool spring day and also breath well on warmer days.

So what do you wear to a summer cocktail party? Incorporate all three elements by wearing your gray sharkskin slacks with a light-blue gingham shirt. To dress up your look, add a hopsack navy blazer and optional bright silk tie.

Break out of the winter doldrums by keeping in mind the three elements—pattern, color and fabric—and your wardrobe will spring (pun intended) into the warmer seasons effortlessly.

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The Final Four: Best Dressed Coaches

Photo: Best Dressed Coaches

With March Madness upon us, we’ve all witnessed shocking upsets, unbelievable comebacks and tremendous efforts from teams trying to claim a coveted spot in the Final Four.  Keeping with the spirit of March Madness, we at Balani have dubbed our Final Four best dressed, basketball coaches in the NCAA.  What’d you expect?  We’re a custom clothier, not ESPN.

Coming in at number four, is U.N.C head coach, Roy Williams.  Frequently seen in a pinstripe suit, Carolina blue tie and white pocket square, Williams is rarely dressed in anything but his team’s colors.  Occasionally, you’ll even catch him wearing the famous Tar Heel pattern.  Fear the argyle, indeed.

Landing the number 3 spot on our list is Louisville coach, Rick Pitino.  If the Godfather gave up his life of crime and decided to coach college basketball, he would undoubtedly be Rick Pitino.  Having a fondness for bold pinstripe suits, red ties, white pocket squares and slicked back hair; Pitino’s suits are always tailored to perfection.   A little advice Pitino: leave the white suit.  Take the cannolis.

Upsetting Pitino for the number 2 spot is controversial Kentucky coach, John Calipari.  Despite his notoriously loud personality, Calipari has a conservative sense of style.  He is often seen wearing an expensive black suit, classic white shirt and Kentucky blue tie.  A firm believer in the phrase “dress for success,” Calipari criticized former Wildcat player, Dale Brown for wearing an electric blue suit, as a tribute to his former team.   Where’s the love, Calipari?  He must have left it in his other suit.

So who takes the number 1 spot?  Not that you had any doubt, but our winner is ever-modest (cough of sarcasm) Villanova coach, Jay Wright.  Don’t believe us?  Check out the article he wrote about himself: Jay Wright: Key to my Style: It’s gotta be the suit. A long time connoisseur of custom clothing, Wright has over 30 suits filling up two master closets.  His idea of dressing casual is wearing a three-piece suit instead of a tux.  A self-proclaimed fashion enthusiast, Wright believes in high-quality fabrics, impeccable fit and buttoning every button.

So the moral of the story is: It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, as long as you look good doing it.

Sonny BalaniThe Final Four: Best Dressed Coaches
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Dressed to Kill

Al Capone and Bugsy Moran Photo

It’s that time of year again. With February 14th quickly approaching, it only seems appropriate to discuss the one event on every guy’s mind. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, of course.

In an era dominated by bootlegging, gambling, and gangsters (not much has changed), two men emerged as leaders in Chicago’s notorious crime racket. Bugs Moran, leader of Chicago’s north side Irish gang, and Al Capone, head of Chicago’s south side Italian mob fought ruthlessly for control of the city. Forget Cubs versus Sox, these two were the epitome of rivals.

Things came to a head when seven of Moran’s men were famously killed on February 14th 1929, by Capone’s henchmen. Known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Capone was hoping to kill Moran and take control of the city by sending him a very special “valentine.” Unfortunately for Capone, Moran sniffed out Capone’s attack like bad lasagna (like there is such a thing) and managed to get out of Dodge, just in time.

Aside from their fondness for Tommy guns, there’s one thing that these archenemies had in common, and that was their undying passion for bespoke. Although both were well known for their impeccable style, Moran and Capone differed substantially when it came to their sense of fashion.

A devote Catholic (for a mobster, anyway), Moran was extremely conservative and took his wardrobe very seriously. It’s rumored that after he assaulted his tailor for “gouging prices” (don’t get any ideas), Moran earned the nickname “Bugs” because of his “buggy” behavior.

With slicked back hair, Moran wore fitted three-piece suits in dark, subtle colors. Pairing his high-waisted slacks with a white shirt, narrow collar, and small tie knot, Moran had a reserved sense of style.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Al Capone’s ostentatious style was a direct reflection of his grandiose personality. Frequently dressed in bold pinstripes, and wide lapels, Capone wore his three-piece suit with an Italian silk shirt, raccoon topcoat, and a matching silk tie and handkerchief. Rarely seen without a cigar, borsalino wide-brimmed hat, and his $50,000 11.5-carat, blinged-out diamond ring, Capone was clearly a supporter of accessorizing.

Whether you reside on the north or south side of Chicago, the key take away here is to always out-dress the competition. Looks can kill, after all.

Sonny BalaniDressed to Kill
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Keep Your Shoes Kicking

It is often said, “you can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear.”

Albeit true, it is actually far more revealing to see how well a person takes care of their shoes. Whether you are dressed in sneakers or have diamonds on the soles of your shoes, nothing is worse than your shoes giving the impression spending time in a back alley dumpster.

For this reason, preserving your shoes is as important as the kind of shoes you purchase. One of the biggest mistakes men make, is investing money in a quality pair of shoes and then failing to invest the time it takes to protect them.  Sorry guys, it takes a lot more than the occasional shoeshine to keep your kicks in decent condition.

Snow, salt, slush, and sweat are some of shoes most notorious enemies.  Each day, these literal arch nemeses lay the smack down on your shoes, American Gladiator style.

Fortunately, there’s an assortment of steps you can take to combat these damaging elements. Larry the shoeshine guy at Chicago’s Altman Shoes, has been in the shoe business for over 40 years, and says the most important step to shoe maintenance is having your shoes shined before the first wear.  This provides armor for your shoes and will help prevent damage from the heavily salted sidewalks.

Next, its very important give you shoes time to breathe.  That being said, never wear them 2 days in a row.  It is best to alternate your shoes throughout the week giving enough time for the moisture to dry out.

Lastly, be sure to use cedar shoetrees anytime you are not wearing your shoes.  This will help maintain the structure of your shoes and also help prevent lasting wrinkles from forming in the toes.

All together, these steps will help keep your shoes kicking for longer.

Sonny BalaniKeep Your Shoes Kicking
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What to Wear on New Years Eve?

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New Years Eve; it sneaks up on us every year, and every year you fight the ongoing internal battle of what to wear.  Questioning why style matters at all? (Let’s face it, New Year’s Eve is basically a typical Saturday night on steroids)

Whether you’re attending a black tie event or spending the night sprawled out on the sofa watching sports, (Suitjamas, anyone?) proper attire is as essential to yielding a successful New Year’s Eve as deciding where to go.

Say you are going to a local watering hole with friends.  Despite the casual environment, it’s still New Years Eve and you should dress accordingly.  Amp-up your everyday attire by adding a casual sport coat to your favorite pair of dark jeans.

Going to a catered party at a friend’s place?  Dress down a bold suit by going tieless.  This allows you to be comfortable without being underdressed.

Attending a black tie gala?  A tuxedo is a must.  Whether you rock a traditional solid black or a modern midnight blue, your tux should be paired with a vest, French cuff shirt and sleek shoes.  Leave the cummerbund in the closet where it belongs.

Escaping the cold for a stellar New Year’s Eve in South Beach?  First off all, we are all jealous.  Secondly, be sure to capture the vibe by rocking a white linen suit with a brightly colored button-down shirt and pineapple mojito.

No matter where you decide to ring in the New Year, be sure to dress for the occasion.  After all, New Year’s Eve only comes around once a year.

Sonny BalaniWhat to Wear on New Years Eve?
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The Gekko Moment

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There is a pivotal moment in a man’s life, when the culmination of every test he’s taken and every late night he’s spent working, are suddenly validated by a 60-second bout of fleeting elitism.

True, we all have the occasional moment when we think, “I’m so money,” and lets face it, occasionally, you are.  Referring to a more particular state of awareness, this is the moment when you realize that all your hard work has paid off and you have finally “arrived.” For some, purchasing a fine timepiece or a killer new ride embodies this moment.

Let’s refer to this as a “Gekko Moment,” shall we?  In the landmark 1987 movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko is the infamously successful character known for coining the phrase “Greed is good.” For Gekko, style of dress and personal power have a direct correlation. Known for his opulence and affection for custom clothing, Gekko views his wardrobe as a reflection of his accomplishments.

In fact, upon meeting protagonist Bud Fox for the first time, Gekko promptly instructs him to “Buy a decent suit.  You can’t come in here looking like this.”

Regardless of whether you’re a Wall St. rock star or the office rainmaker, Gekko encourages you to dress the part.  So go on, embrace your “Gekko Moment” and be the powerhouse that we all know you are.

Sonny BalaniThe Gekko Moment
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The Go-To Suit

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It’s the one suit every man has in his wardrobe. No, I’m not talking about your “birthday suit.” What I am referring to is more refined and perhaps a lot less hairy. The fit is impeccable; easily making it the one suit you can’t live without.  It’s your “go-to” suit, and you feel great anywhere you sport it.

Like the mighty chameleon, the “go-to” suit effortlessly blends into all environments, thereby instilling you with the confidence to wear it for any occasion. Whether attending a fall wedding or spending a night out on the town, this suit seamlessly transitions from one event to the other.

So, what separates this suit from all the rest?  For one, the “go-to” suit is single-handedly the most versatile piece of clothing in your closet. Day or night, spring or fall, this suit is easily transformed through basic accessory modifications.
More specifically, this includes your shirt, tie, shoes, pocket-square, and accessories.

A distinguishing feature of the “go-to” suit is its ability to transition seamlessly into various scenarios. The simpler the pattern and color, the better it is. A medium grade charcoal is the most versatile color of all, because it can be paired with black, brown and chile colored shoes. Whether a sharkskin or gabardine, the “go-to” suit is understated enough to allow the elements accompanying  it to speak for the entire ensemble.

For example, let’s say you have a business meeting in the afternoon and then dinner with the wife at night? No problem.  Swap out your classic white button down for an open collar gingham plaid with French cuffs, and suddenly, you are rocking a whole new look.

Versatility is the key to keeping your “go-to” suit feeling fresh each time you wear it. Rock it with confidence, because with this suit, anything goes.

Sonny BalaniThe Go-To Suit
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Performance Fabric

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Last month was all about wrinkles and what to do when you get them.  While Botox and special creams didn’t enter the conversation, a little known trick called steam pressing was offered.  Now let’s consider a more preventative approach. And no, it has nothing to do with SPF.

One of the best ways to avoid wrinkles is to, well…not wear the garment.  If that’s too much hassle, then the first step is to consider the fabric itself. Certain fabrics resist wrinkles better than others. For instance, a worsted wool will resist wrinkles better than just a plain old wool.

What is worsted wool? It refers to how the fibers are processed.  In short, the longest wool fibers are twisted together tightly to make the yarn.  This creates a more durable fiber, and because the fibers are longer and laying parallel, they’re more difficult to bend (ie wrinkle). Still want to raise the bar?

Then get introduced to the mother of all performance fabrics: Holland & Sherry’s Super 150 Dragonfly.  This exceptional range is finished with a proprietary treatment that creates a molecular barrier that resists particles down to a billionth of a molecule. It’s a mouthful to describe, and creates a surface that’s about a million times smaller than a blood cell.

While it’s cool to talk about, it provides some serious function.  This treatment is water and stain repellent, static resistant, and is by and far more durable.  This is all done without compromising the breathability and softness of the fiber.

Sonny BalaniPerformance Fabric
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