Top 3 Custom Suits to Own First

Navy Suit with red tieImagine this, you land an incredible new job that requires you to wear a suit twice a week. Your previous job was business casual, so your suit game is outdated, ill fitting and essentially nonexistent.
So where do you start? You’ve already decided to purchase tailor made suits, but what colors should you buy first? What are the most versatile suit colors? Should you buy a pinstripe suit? Or is a solid suit fabric best?

Luckily, we’re here to help answer all your suit questions. Here’s our recommendation for the top 3 custom suits you should own.

1.) Charcoal Suit (Solid)

A charcoal suit is the most valuable suit in your entire wardrobe. Why? For its incredible versatility, elegance, and ability to conform in every situation. Commonly associated with loyalty and trustworthiness, charcoal is a customary choice for men who work face-to-face with clients.

One of the major advantages of a charcoal suit is its compatibility with the majority of shirt colors. Ranging from basic white, to jewel tones, pastels, and earth tones, charcoal has a chameleon like ability to work seamlessly with all colors.

Secondly, charcoal works beautifully with brown, black, chestnut, and merlot colored accessories (belts and shoes.) When you’re looking to lighten up a charcoal suit for spring, wear it with a chestnut shoe and pastel shirt. For a more conservative approach, wear it with black shoes, a crisp white shirt, and white pocket square.

2.) Navy Suit (Solid)

When starting a new job, a solid navy suit is absolutely essential. The rich navy color conveys confidence, power, trust, and stability. Like a charcoal suit, navy is appropriate for any business occasion. For that reason, it’s the perfect suit to wear when attending a meeting with your superiors, or when making a presentation in front of clients.

It is also extremely versatile in regards to shirt and tie combinations. For an important meeting, opt for a white button down shirt and a red tie. For a less demanding occasion, swap in a checked shirt and light blue tie. You’ll achieve two entirely different looks, all while wearing the same suit.

3.) Medium Grey Texture (Sharkskin, Herringbone, Glen Plaid, Nails Head, Birdseye)

Now that you have your two basic suits, your third custom suit should have a little more personality. A great way to achieve this is by going with a textured fabric, over a pattern.

The advantage of a textured fabric is that it provides visual interest, while offering the same versatility as a solid color. While pinstripe suits and windowpane suits are classic patterns, they are bold and much more difficult to match with shirts and tie combinations. Textures on the other hand, are much more subtle and give the wearer the ability treat the suit as a solid while capitalizing on the visual depth of the texture.

Elizabeth FasulaTop 3 Custom Suits to Own First
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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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How to Know Your Tailor is a Good Fit

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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
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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.

Sonny BalaniSpring into a Warm Weather Wardrobe
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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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Suit Color Theory

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Suit Colors
In the professional world, the phrase dress for success is commonly utilized to signify the importance of suitable attire in the work place. It is common knowledge that what you wear speaks volumes about what kind of person you are and the level of success you have attained. What many fail to realize is that the color of your suit is as significant as brand, style, or cut.

Colorology, the science of color, explains how each color has a different energy and how those energies resonate with us in particular ways. For example, a vibrant red tie conveys power, wealth and strength. The same color principle applies to suits.

Typically, the darker the suit, the more authoritative and successful the person is perceived. Conveying a similar effect, bold stripes and patterns are associated with power and dominance.

With a variety of different hues and shades, a navy suit represents confidence, power, stability and trust. It is for this reason that bankers, politicians, and lawyers often gravitate toward this color. Navy is also a perfect color for a first interview.

Commonly associated with a sense of security and loyalty, charcoal is a customary choice for men who work with clients face-to-face. Representing authority without being overpowering, a medium charcoal suit is both strong and classic.

Brown or Earth tone suits portray a person as practical, smart, reliable and down-to-earth. Considered a less dominant color, brown suits are appropriate for small business meetings with co-workers or clients.

Regardless of what color suit you prefer, make sure you know which shade work best for you and the setting you are in.

Sonny BalaniSuit Color Theory
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Trendsetter: The Duke of Windsor

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”I was in fact produced as a leader of fashion, with the clothiers as my showmen and the world as my audience.”  – Duke of Windsor

Throughout history, notable players have infiltrated the world of men’s fashion and established groundbreaking trends that left an undeniable presence in our culture.  These godfather’s of fashion, although few and far between, brought us fitted suits, bold patterns, and even new tie knots.

The Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII of England, was one of the world’s greatest fashion icons.  Most commonly known for donning the Windsor knot, the Duke of Windsor’s dynamic sense of style influenced fashion across the world.

Standing at 5 feet 5 inches, the Duke vehemently enjoyed breaking the rules of fashion.  In an era dominated by structure and formality, the Duke was considered an innovator.   Gravitating towards comfort and mobility, the Duke referred to his style as “dress soft.”

A fan of bold fabric patterns, the Duke tweaked many of his measurements to give the impression of being tall.  He achieved this by having all of his jacket waists cut higher to elongate his silhouette.  No stranger to perfectionism, the Duke wore girdles underneath his suits and even had the pockets on the left side of his trousers cut wider to provide him with more room for his cigarette case.

With expectations of longevity, the Duke had no qualms about investing in the world’s finest fabrics.  With help from his tailor, Scholte of Savile Row, and his unchanging waistline, the Duke’s wardrobe managed to span over 60 years.

Even today, the Duke is considered as one of the most influential people in fashion history.  His innovative approach to design and style has truly made him a godfather of fashion.

Sonny BalaniTrendsetter: The Duke of Windsor
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