It doesn’t take a genius to work out that I’m not the type of person who dresses up much. I’m much more comfortable barefoot in boardies than in a shirt and trousers!
However when I visited Vietnam I couldn’t help but get a suit tailored when I visited Hoi An – it’s something that had been on my travel bucket list for years and after being hassled on an almost daily basis whilst travelling in South East Asia I thought I might as well bite the bullet!
Hoi An – The Tailoring Capital
So why get a suit tailored in Hoi An?
Well it’s pretty much the tailoring capital of not just Vietnam, but South East Asia in general.
In fact every other store in Hoi An was dedicated to tailoring suits, dresses, t-shirt, shoes….you name it, in Hoi An you can get it bespoke, customised and tailored – there are literally hundreds of shops to choose from.
I’d also bene told by heaps of travel buddies (both within Vietnam and throughout Asia) that this was the best spot to indulge in some shopping – so I put my trust in my fellow backpackers, put some money aside in my travel budget and decided to get it done!
Which Tailor To Pick In Hoi An?!
Now with so many tailors to choose from in Hoi An the first hurdle was picking which shop to spend my money in…and of course how much money I’d be spending on a suit as well!
Armed with a few recommendations from my buddies and some ball park figures of costs me and fellow travel blogger Stephen from A Backpackers Tale (along with Erin and her buddy Mandi) headed out into the maze of tailor shops to suit up.
Now the first few tips I can give you relate to pretty much any shopping experience in South East Asia.
- Shop around – don’t just go with the first shop you walk into
- ALWAYS haggle on price, never pay the first figure you’re told
- Have an idea of your budget BEFORE you go in!
- Shop in bulk, the more items you buy the bigger the discount (and if you’re shopping as a group it gets even better
With all those in mind we started bouncing around a few places, checking out fabrics, haggling prices and playing each shop off against each other to get a good balance of price and quality. In the end we used two main tailors – Phong Cach Thoi Trang and Fai Foo both of which are onTan Hung Dao Street, just up from the Hoi An Hotel.
The Suit Tailoring Experience
I’m not quite sure what I was expecting from the who tailoring experience but it was actually pretty quick and easy once you’d picked a tailor!
As a bonus tip I’d also suggest lying about your departure date and say that you’re leaving sooner than you are. This will then give you plenty of time for last minute adjustments and alterations without stressing that it wont be ready in time.
If you’re pushed for time they can get a full suit measured and tailored within 24 hours!
For The Ladies
And of course it wasn’t just me and Stephen shopping, the girls were too. Erin being Erin went a little bit crazy when she discovered the costs and ended up ordering quite a few items over the week we stayed in Hoi An! With that in mind here’s Erins take on the whole experience;
If you’re looking for a relaxed, peaceful, and breathtaking views kind of place then Hoi An is the place for you.
The city is filled with colorful lanterns and pretty much two-hundreded tailor shops, and if you’re looking to buy cheap and stylist clothes made to fit your perfectly.
I ran into three different shops and purchased quite a few dresses and also some shoes too, I went slightly OTT much to Chris’ dismay! I showed them a few patterns from on line, picked out my fabrics (there are literally hundreds of rolls of colours, pattens and materials to choose from!) and were made the very next day.
You can even get the full treatment and have the little old woman grab your boobs, smile, and then tell you’re beautiful.
Made my confidence go up a tad bit!
So How Much Does A Tailored Suit Cost?
The of course comes the big thing most people have been making me about – the cost!
I ended up spending $100USD (roughly £75) on a two piece suit, which seems like the average amount most people I’ve met in Vietnam ended up paying.
Stephen on the other hand went all out and got the suit, a waistcoat and a shirt all for $140USD.
He also got the following;
- 2 pairs of jeans – $15 each
- Sweater vest – $15
- Cardigan – $20
- Tote bag (with embroiled ABT logo!) – $25
- Jacket – $40
And Erin? Well she went a bit mental on the shopping front (standard!) and walked away with pretty much a new wardrobe from a multitude of shops…she’s still yet to tell me how much she actually bought and what the total price was!haha!
One of the added bonuses to getting a tailored suit in Hoi An is the fact they can easily arrange shipping to your home country, so you don’t need to lug everything around whilst you bounce around the rest of Asia.
This didn’t cost heaps either, Erin sent about 5kg back to San Francisco for roughly $60 and postage back to the UK for a single suit was around $15 – you can do it for about half the price too if you’d rather use seamail…although this takes up to 3 months!