Story Leather: What is Custom? With BALANI Custom Clothiers

Posted on April 21, 2014
By: Jonathan Ly

Custom clothes, accessories, furniture, etc. These are some of the few items people are customizing these days. Why is that though? Wouldn’t it be easier to order something and have it delivered right away instead of waiting for it to be made? For the most part it would be, but having something that is custom really speaks wonders. Every custom item tells a story whether we think it has one or not and every story is unique to the person that designed it.

That’s why we’re fortunate enough to speak to Elizabeth from BALANI Custom Clothiers about why custom items are so popular these days, but before we get to that I wanted to give a quick synopsis about BALANI and what makes them so unique.

Balani Clothiers is named “One of the Top 6 Tailors in World,” by JW Marriott Magazine, and “Best Custom Suit” by Chicago Magazine, Balani Custom Clothiers has been in the custom clothing business for over 50 years.

To read more about BALANI you can visit their website at

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Story Leather: What does “Custom” mean to you?

Elizabeth: Custom is an incredibly powerful concept in the clothing business, because it gives the consumer the ability to take complete control in an industry where they rarely have input or a voice. It allows our clients to create the “perfect” garment, while getting the exact fit and styling details that they want.

Story Leather: With fashion/style trends constantly coming and going how do you think custom items will hold up?”

Elizabeth: There’s a fine line that custom clothiers walk when it comes to style trends. There was a time when over-sized, 3-button suits, with pleats and cuffs were popular. Today, the trend leans toward very trim fit suits, with shorter jackets and little to no break in the slacks. Our goal is to help guide our clients and have them style their garments in a way that will stand the test of time. The best advice we can give is it to keep it simple and meet in the middle; Avoid fleeting trends and focus on what’s right for your body type.

Story Leather: I’ve heard that when buying a custom item it’s not really about the item it’s more about the story behind it. What are your thoughts on that?

Elizabeth: The beauty of custom is that every suit has a story, because every detail is intentional and carefully thought out. It’s these personal touches (i.e. colorful linings, functioning buttonholes, monogramming the suit jacket) that make a custom piece so special.

When others notice these details, it organically becomes a conversation starter. I’ve had dozens of clients who’ve come to me and said they closed a deal or attained new clients purely based on a compliment they’ve received on how they were dressed. That’s a wonderful gift to be able to give people.

Story Leather: Do you have a custom item that tells a unique story? If so would you care to tell us a little about it?

Elizabeth: BALANI carries thousands of fabrics from all over the world, but there’s one pinstripe suit that stands out from all the rest. Made from luxurious Super 180’s wool, this fabric is unique because the pinstripe is actually the client’s name hand-embroidered into the stripe. Costing over $10,000, the customizable pinstripe guarantees that your suit is an original and one of a kind. If that’s still not extravagant enough for you, you can opt to have the fabric mill embroider your suit with 14k gold thread.

Story Leather: Our last question is about BALANI. We know that you specialize in customize clothing, what are some of the special orders that you’ve seen go through BALANI?

Elizabeth: My favorite orders are the one’s which have the most sentiment behind them. Whether it’s a wedding tuxedo or a jacket specifically designed for the winner of a beer pong tournament, these garments mean more to our clients than just an ordinary suit. They want it to be special and we do our best to incorporate meaningful elements into each garment. Sometimes it’s as simple as embroidering the wedding date into a suit, and for others it’s adding a special crest or patch to the front of the jacket. It’s these personal details that change a suit from being simple and ordinary to extraordinary.

I wanted to thank Elizabeth and BALANI again for sharing some of their stories as well as their insight on how custom items represent such a powerful story, image, and memory. If you want to know more about BALANI their website is You can also follow them on TwitterFacebook, and Google+ for any updates they might have.

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Sonny BalaniStory Leather: What is Custom? With BALANI Custom Clothiers