Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Don't Throw Out That Top Yet!

I have to say, I'm always impressed with what my team of seamstresses and tailors can do here at Balsam. They come up with the most amazing ideas! 

A customer had brought in a faux leather bustier that she really loved but didn't fit her anymore because it was a bit too small and asked if there was anything we could do to help her fit into again. 

It's very rare that ready-made items have inseam left on the inside for letting out. Letting out whatever is available on the inside of your garment is most ideal but not always possible. In the case of this faux leather bustier, we had no choice but to add material to the backside to increase its size.

We took out the zipper (which we thought wasn't sturdy at all) entirely: It actually undid itself once the customer sat down! We decided to replace the zipper with a secure button and loop system on top of the black panel we were going to put in at the back.

Pictures of what the bustier looked like BEFORE alterations:

Pictures of the bustier AFTER the alterations:

Pretty neat right? :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

We Can Always Rely On Our Customers To Lift Our Spirits On Such Cold Rainy Days!

Mr.Le came in one day to inquire about a suit and shirt for his son's graduation. A very happy, funny and friendly man he is! After our brief little chat, Mr. Le smiled, nodded and said he'd bring his son in for a suit. 

Mr. Le indeed brought his son, Daniel, in and together they picked out a nice black cloth with a subtle sheen for the suit and a crisp stark white cloth for the shirt. I knew he'd be a perfect candidate for a slim fit suit with a nicely cinched jacket waist just by looking at his slim physique.

Take a look at Daniel's first custom-made suit and shirt:

We are very pleased with how it fits and drapes. I think Daniel agrees too judging by the smile in the picture below, or maybe he's just ecstatic that his dad is such a cool guy with a great sense of humour (A decade worth of jokes were told during our three short meetings--I had such a good laugh)! ;)

Mr. Le and Junior Le! Don't they look alike? Such great smiles!

Thanks Mr.Le and Daniel for being awesome people! It was certainly our pleasure to work with you. :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Men Can Have Wedding Stress Too (But Not Colin. He Seems Pretty Chill.)

Colin and his fiance came in for their fitting session last week. He had ordered an off-white shirt to go with a warm grey suit. It was for their upcoming wedding. Such a sweet couple, always joking around with each other.  I really enjoy meeting happy couples and learning about their stories--it always gives me the warm fuzzies. 

Getting a suit made for your special day involves choosing the right tailor and putting your trust into him/her. It can be a stressful process for the couple getting married because there's the anticipation that your custom clothes will and should come out the way you want them to come out. 

Working with Anda and I, you will get the close attention that you deserve. We supervise the construction of your garments from inception to the end. That should help take some weight off your shoulders when you've got a million other wedding-related tasks to tend to. 

Needless to say, we are extremely happy that Colin and his fiance picked us to help make their wedding story.

Check out Colin's suit paired with his high-top Converse. He had brought dress shoes but he mentioned that he'll be wearing new custom Converses at his wedding, so I figured why not get a little preview to see what the suit will look like with canvas shoes:

Thanks for modelling, Colin!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Feel The Difference.

This is Danny. And we're super grateful that he happily agreed to let us feature him on our blog wearing our custom shirts and pants. When he shops for ready-made clothes, his main issue is trying to find a shirt that fits in the waist.

Most guys with broad shoulders usually have this problem: Shirts that fit in the shoulders never fit properly at the waist. We know this to be true for Danny because he's brought in several store-bought shirts already to have the waist slimmed down.

Of course, we were delighted when he walked in one day to place an order for some shirts and pants. I've never dealt with any of Danny's pants and I haven't been told what sort of trouble he has when buying store-bought pants. 

But, here are some common reasons as to why guys (and some girls) would need custom pants:

REASON: They have a thick seat area naturally or due to weight-lifting or sprint-heavy sports that increases mass in the gluteal muscles. 

EFFECT: Ready-made pants aren't cut with a deep enough and wide enough U-crotch. Hence, these types of pants usually feel really tight and uncomfortable in the seat and crotch area for people who have big behinds. They give the feeling of what some people call, a "wedgie". 


REASON: They have thick upper legs. 

EFFECT: Ready-made pants are usually cut by manufacturers to fit people with average-size legs. Basically, the general populace. Manufacturers don't make pants with thick-legged individuals in mind. Especially, in this day and age, when slim fit pants are the trend. The problem people with big legs encounter are usually a tight pulling across the front of the pants. One of the biggest visual indications of too-tight pant thighs are: Wide gaping pant pockets when standing still.


REASON: They fill out the seat area but not the waist of the pants. This problem arises when individuals have a thick behind and a narrow waist. This is the most common problem with athletic people.

EFFECT: When people with small waists and thick behinds put on pants, they will notice a gap in the back of their pant waist.

If you have any of the above issues with your pants, you might want to consider custom-made pants. This option will eliminate any discomfort and unsightly problems that store-bought pants may give you.

I love this picture (above). Very candid. Also happened at the spur of the moment. I almost missed this shot. Danny decided to switch his stance and I caught him at the right time!

Thanks for modelling, Danny! :)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Brown Is A Great Colour. Just Sayin'

Summer's gone and Autumn has fallen upon us. Our wardrobe is most often inspired by the seasons' colours. You look around and you see trees everywhere turn orange, red, brown and yellow.  Now is a good time to bring out your earth-tone garments/accessories and wrap yourself up in mother nature's warm cozy palette.

Let me introduce to you the brown suit. Brown is often overlooked as a suit colour and it doesn't seem to be as desirable as its navy, grey or black counterpart. There seems to be a stigma behind the brown suit: It looks dated and is only for mature people.

Okay, brown is sort of an old-person colour. I'm guilty of thinking like that. I personally don't wear a lot of browns because it makes me look more mature than my real age.  I just don't wear the hue well.

BUT, if you happen to be the kind of person who loves brown and wears it well, consider yourself lucky because you've got one more colour than all the rest of us to wear! Take my brother-in-law for example. I think he wears a brown suit REALLY well (um, yah, I indirectly called him old but he looks good, so it's all good!):

He wears his rich brown suit (made with love by Balsam Tailors!) with an airy baby blue shirt that has a white collar and finishes the ensemble off with a light grey tie. I imagine a good analogy for that is having a cup of rich authentic Belgium hot chocolate and adding a dollop of whipped airy fresh cream to it . Mmm... Cold-weather cravings. ;)

Here's another way to wear the same suit pants. I made him put on a royal blue Mandarin collar shirt that really compliments the brown pants and cognac boots. Yes, I MADE him do it. And I also MADE him put on my really cool tribal pattern scarf with tons of bright fall colours in it to complete the Fall look.

Not only did I MAKE him put on the clothes I wanted him to put on, but I also MADE him pose for me like this:

In the end, he MADE me leave his house. Haha.. 

Jokes! He's truly an awesome man for letting me dress him up and photograph him. :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tuxedos Aren't Just For Fancy Galas And Weddings

A lot of people often think a tuxedo is reserved for very special occasions. That used to be the case. A very long time ago. 

Nowadays, people are more at liberty to express themselves in however they want to dress. Also-- getting multiple uses out of their high-quality garments is a preferred choice for many young folks out there, especially with all the fast-food clothing stores that sell cheaply made tops and pants that exhibit poor construction and fabric quality that fall apart quickly, which in turn ends up costing the buyers more money in the long run if they need to replace those items.

Take this blue tuxedo for example:  
If the jacket and pants are worn together, it's pretty clear that this IS a formal tuxedo.

But if you take the jacket and pair it up with a casual pant, the overall feel of the outfit becomes a hip street-wearable ensemble.

If you want to wear the tuxedo pant (pictured above are the same pants in the first picture) on its own, that's perfectly fine too. It just looks like a pair of regular dress pants. Here's a tip: If you want to be able to wear the tuxedo pants as a pair of normal dress pants, make sure to order a pair without the satin trim down the sides of your legs. 

So as you can see here, our model pictured above, Sam, is sporting a pair of tuxedo pants that doesn't really look like tuxedo pants anymore. How versatile is that? :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Need A First Custom Suit? Come On In. Matthew Did!

Matthew walked in with a kind of smiley shyness to him, asking for a custom suit that he'd be wearing to his sister's wedding. I don't blame him. It's his first custom suit. Many people are unsure what to expect when they walk into our store. They feel a little intimidated or even overwhelmed by the whole suit-making process. 

It's really quite simple: Think of us as your friend and we're just here to help by giving you professional and stylish advice! There's no right or wrong. Style is a very personal thing. If you feel a little lost, we're happy to offer some suggestions. And if you know what you want, we'll help make your ideas into reality.

Together, Matthew and I, picked a dark grey wool suit that could easily be worn again for other occasions or even to work. A dark grey solid suit is a great base to build upon. You can start off with a more conservative look by pairing it with a shirt that has a subdued colour or pattern. If you choose to take it up a notch, you can finish the suit off with brighter colours and wilder patterns, topping everything off with lavish male accessories like tie-clips and cuff links! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Custom Suits For Every Body Shape

This is Dora's first custom suit ever. She has a petite frame overall but still has broad shoulders and wide hips for her height (she does kung-fu and dragon dancing, maybe that's why!) and then a tiny waist. She opted for an indigo suit that she'll be wearing to her friend's wedding. This is what we made for her:

Open-jacket look. Very casual.

Closed-jacket look. Very posh.

 We're glad you love your suit, Dora!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Medium Grey Suit

Summer has been upon us and we've been getting many requests for suits in various shades of grey (last summer it was navy). One of the most popular is the medium grey which makes for an excellent year-round suit. Because it's a neutral colour, you can't go wrong pairing it up with ANY colour. Wear soft pastel colours with it in the Spring, pops of vibrant colours in the Summer, earth tones in the Fall and deep rich shades in the Winter. How great is that?

Below are pictures of Clive modeling a slim fit medium grey suit. He's one of the four groomsmen at his friend's upcoming wedding. We made them suits out of the same material and colour. I didn't get a chance to photograph the rest of them but I hope we'll get a submission of professional photographs taken on the wedding day so we can see how these guys look all decked out in Balsam suits. I'm very curious to see what the bride's gown looks like too because you know, I'm a girl and girls like girlie things! :D

Thanks for modelling,Clive!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Canadian Fans in Sochi, Russia

Here's a look at a couple of suits that Balsam Custom Tailors made for two brothers, Greg and James, in collaboration with clothing designer, Ash Turner of Organic Mechanic:

Click here are more pictures from photographer, Mariska Richters.

Thanks for sending in the pictures, Ash! :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Handcrafted Natural Wood Cufflinks

Several weeks ago, I stumbled upon the work of a Slovene woodwork artist by the name of Darko G. Skufca. He makes beautiful jewellery pieces out of natural exotic or common woods.  

I love trees. Residing in British Columbia's coastal rainforest, how can one not love trees? We have the highest biomass per hectare of any ecosystem in the world. We have trees that are more than 1000 years old!

I love trees so much that when I saw these wood cufflinks and tie-clips, I knew immediately that I had to order them for our store!

Below are several pictures of the work done by Darko himself and sent here to Vancouver from Slovenia. Each piece is unique in pattern and you won't find the same pair of cufflinks or tie-clip anywhere else!

Come check out these little gems and more at Balsam Custom Tailors. They make great gifts and look amazing on.

Marblewood Cufflinks

Thorn Wood Cufflinks

Hazelnut Wood Cufflinks

Kingswood Cufflinks

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hot Climate Wedding Attire For Men

Peter is getting married in Mexico and his brother (who's had alterations done with us previously) brought him into our store for a custom made vest and pant combo. Peter already had a specific colour and style in mind, so all we had to do was find the right colour cloth in a light-weight wool suitable for Mexico's sizzling hot temperatures. 

There is a misconception that wool suiting would be too hot for hot climate places. It is not true. In fact, wool moderates body temperature. It insulates when you're cold and pulls moisture off your body when you're hot and sweaty. 

Less expensive and cooler alternatives could be linen or cotton.

Congratulations, Peter and fiance on your wedding!

We gave him a lustrous satin back to create a more elegant finish. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lace Shift Dress

This is one of our latest creations made out of pink lace:

It was modelled after this but with a different lace, colour and sleeve length:

Photo Source