Fashion / Style File

Making Suits That Fit Like a Glove

This River Oaks Custom Clothier Knows Every Detail Matters

BY // 04.06.16
photography Jenny Antill Clifton

It takes me but a few minutes to realize that Christian Boehm knows exactly what he is doing. I am standing before him, arms held straight out at my side. He had already asked me a number of exacting questions (How thick is the watch you most often wear? What type of T-shirt do you usually wear?) and was now taking one of 30 measurements of my physique — which, if Boehm’s attire was a fair indicator, would result in a dinner jacket that fit me like, well, like a bespoke glove, a jacket that was “me” to the final detail.

And the details matter: I customized my jacket by selecting the lining, buttonholes, pockets, lapels and stitching. I also chose from among the finest Italian and British fabrics, including Scabal, Holland & Sherry and Loro Piana. It would be a one-of-a-kind piece. Boehm, president of Balani Custom Clothiers — which also, of course, creates trousers, dress shirts, tuxedos and outerwear — holds court at the company’s showroom in Houston’s River Oaks neighborhood, which opened last summer.

Boehm is fond of quoting da Vinci, especially “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” and that maxim is reflected in the company’s approach to more than 50 years of tailoring (Balani was founded in 1961 in Chicago). Not long ago a gentleman friend of mine of a certain age told me that he had been a Balani customer since 1979. He’s a banker, and he’s always effortlessly dressed in understated suits that speak of quiet and assured elegance. That’s Russ.

Now that I’ve visited the Balani showroom a few times, I understand why he has remained loyal to the brand for nearly 40 years. Balani Custom Clothiers, 3601 W. Alabama, 713.360.7455

Christian Boehm, left, and James Brock discuss fabric and details.

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