How to Upgrade Your Wardrobe for 2013

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It’s officially the start of 2013, and the best part about the New Year, is the opportunity for a fresh start. It is the reason why we take it upon ourselves to make a new year’s resolution, or add new workout regimes to our weekly routine, or try to hit new goals at work. It’s the reason we ditch the tired clothes of our past and indulge with fresh looks for the New Year.

One thing we all learned from the movies, is that the ‘nerd’ can become ‘the cool guy’ simply by cutting his hair, taking off his glasses and putting on some new clothes. It’s why we feel an increase of sense confidence when we put on a new suit. It’s why we reach for our favorite shirt, or lucky tie when we get dressed for a big meeting or hot date.  There’s an undeniable sense of confidence when we wear something new and let’s face it, there’s something to be said for kicking off the New Year in style.

Here are the three things your should add to your custom wardrobe this year.

1.) ‘A-Game’ Suit

What’s an A-Game suit you’re wondering? It’s the one suit you reach for when you know you want to look and feel like a badass. It may not be appropriate for every occasion, but that’s not the point.  This particular suit is great when you need to leave a lasting impression or make a statement, because when you feel like you look good, others take notice and think you look good too.

2.) Custom Dress Shirts

Add a little life to your wardrobe by incorporating new colors and patterns to your basic solids.  Sure, the basics are good for work, but you have a life outside of work and your wardrobe should reflect that.  Pick out new fabrics that are better suited to your lifestyle. Do you wear a button down dress shirt and sport coat with jeans when you go out? Then pair your basic sport coat with a bold checked pattern or dark gingham plaid.  Don’t be afraid to step out of your white and blue comfort zone.

3.) Custom Sport Coat (Patterned)

While the classic navy blazer is a wonderful staple for your wardrobe, sometimes your lifestyle requires a little something extra. Find a pattern that is bold but also complimentary to a variety of pant options. Whether you are wearing slacks or jeans, the sport coat should be the statement piece of your outfit. When pairing your bold sport coat with a shirt, opt for a subtle pattern and be sure to keep in mind the scale of the pattern.

Sonny BalaniHow to Upgrade Your Wardrobe for 2013
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Flat Front vs. Pleated Pants

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Flat Front vs. Pleated Slacks

Whether you’re purchasing your first custom suit or a pair of custom slacks, it can be somewhat difficult to decide on whether you should opt for a flat front or pleated look.  There are a few things to consider when making this judgment call.

1.) What kind of fit do you want your suit to have?

When designing a custom suit, it is important to keep all of the proportions balanced. If you prefer a trim cut jacket, think early 60’s, or Mad Men-like, then your slacks should match accordingly. Flat front slacks are the best option for a trim cut suit. When going with a flat front, your custom tailor is able to cut your slacks trimmer in the thigh and knees.

If you prefer a more traditional fit, with a little more room to spare, then pleats are a much better option.

2.) What do you prefer comfort or fashion?

Currently, flat front pants are “in style.” They give the wearer a trimmer look and elongate the legs by removing any excess fabric throughout the thighs and knees. Most modern designers (aka, Hugo Boss, Marc Jacobs, Prada) make very trim cut suits with flat front slacks.

If you prefer comfort to fashion, then pleats are definitely the route you should go. Pleated pants are cut much wider throughout the leg and have a much more spacious feel than flat front pants. In order for pleated slacks to drape cleanly and for the pleats not to pop open, the thigh must have enough fabric to prevent pulling. This extra fabric will often be more comfortable for men when they are moving around and sitting at a desk.

3.) Do you like cuffs?

The rule of thumb says that if you have flat front pants, you should not have cuffs. Most fashion experts feel that cuffs only belong on pleated pants, because flat front pants are considered to be a continental European tradition and cuffs are of Anglo-American origin, therefore mixing these two styles is considered improper.

Despite these rules, our opinion is that if you know the rules, then its ok to bend them. The beneifit of having your slacks custom made, is that you have the ability to style them however you like. If you are a fan of cuffs and not pleats – then by all means, go for it.

Sonny BalaniFlat Front vs. Pleated Pants
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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.

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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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