Hoi An, Vietnam is home to the most picturesque ancient oriental streets and hundreds of clothing shops. Because the town is located next to the silk village and the central region is known for its textiles, Hoi An adapted an identity for hand-made clothing. With an overwhelming amount of shops to choose from, how can you narrow down the perfect tailors to make that snazzy suit or flashy dress you’ve always dreamed of? We’ve got a bit of advice on how to weed out the worst and zero in on the best tailors in a town of custom made clothing.
Why Get Your Suit Made in Hoi An?
Because it’s affordable, quick, custom, and a fun experience. Tom and I aren’t exactly fashion icons, but when you can get clothing custom made in a country that rarely carries your sizes, it’s silly not to have things made. Shops make everything from three-piece-suits to bathing suits, peacoats, and ball gowns. If you can find it on Pinterest, Hoi An can make it—fitting precisely to your body. Having things made in Hoi An is ridiculously fast with their turn around times for most items being 24 hours for the first fitting and finished products within two days. Overall you can’t beat the cost of custom-made clothing in Hoi An. With suits being upwards of $300 in the US, Hoi An shaves off a few hundred dollars for a good quality product. If you get the chance to travel through Hoi An, it’s worth your time and money to get something made.
What You Should Know Before You Visit A Tailor Shop
It’s ok not knowing what you want to be made. Each tailor has a multitude of books full of different clothing styles and ideas.
Having a picture either from Pinterest or of a Mahican makes the process of production quicker and easier.
Have an idea of your budget and figure out your maximum price for an item before you shop.
Prices won’t be discussed until you explain roughly what you want made and what material you chose. The material and different details affect the price.
The more you buy, the more they will discount. If you’re traveling in a group, having things made collectively can be cheaper.
It’s common to pay a deposit of half the total amount on the initial day, and paying the remaining amount when the clothing is finished and you are satisfied.
You need at least 2 days in Hoi An for them to make your clothing and the proper fittings.
Tailor shops can be pushy because of competition, so ensure that you’ve done a bit of research to find the right shop and you can skip all the “cat-calling” of the different shops.
Don’t buy clothing off the Mahican unless you’ve checked that it’s not sun-bleached, faded, or dirty.
You don’t have to visit a shop in the heart of the ancient town (touristy, i.e. expensive area) to get good quality products made. Shops outside of the walking streets can make the same products that the “fancy” shops can.
How To Find the Best Shop
This is the ultimate question. Our advice for finding the best tailor is simple—do your research. With so much competition all delivering relatively the same product, you have to rely on what others say either on Trip Advisor or through word-of-mouth. Speak with other backpackers. Seek out the tourists in the banana shirts and ask if they’re happy with their tailor. Talk to locals and check out different online recommendations.
You can also survey the products already made and displayed outside of the shops. Check the seams and stitching to see if it’s sloppy. You have to rely on the recommendations and how the staff at the shop treats you.
Where Do We Shop
Tom and I were in Japan when we heard about our tailor, Cloth Shop Su. We read reviews and saw photos, so we gave them a try and loved the products we received.
We’re going to recommend them here in this post with no back deal incentive to promote them other than we’ve had things made and we’re satisfied with their work. You’ll find other blogs recommending other shops which is great, Cloth Shop Su happens to be our preferred shop. Why? Because they’re professional, personable, reliable, and good quality. They made Tom’s suit for our wedding plus the suits for his groomsmen. We’ve had a cocktail dress made, button-up shirts, and even an evening dress made for my mom. Each time it’s an awesome experience.
What’s it Going to Cost
Each shop has the ability to set their prices differently, but the materials are the same. You’re paying different prices for quality sewing, care, and prestige. Shops in the ancient town will be more expensive and undoubtedly deliver high-quality products. However, it’s not necessary to go to a shop where the staff is in suits and Áo dài.
From the two shops we’ve worked with, the prices for things we’ve had made fall in the following price range.
Three piece suit with tie and handkerchief $80 - $100
Strapless cocktail dress with lining and sewn in bra $40-$50
Evening dress $40 - $50
Collared button-up shirt $15- $20
Linen pants $20 - $30
Linen long sleeve shirt $20 - $30
Knee length summer dress without lining $15 - $20 (lining $5)
Two-piece swimsuit $15 - $20
(These prices are not set in stone and have been collected based on clothing we’ve bought in the past. Each shop will have their costs, and you can work with them to find a happy medium.)
Tips For Saving Money At The Tailors
Shop their already made racks because they can tailor these items to your body on-site. They usually charge less for already made items, but check that the quality is good, not sun-bleached or torn.
If you have things made in bulk (even just more than one item) will allow you to haggle on the price more.
It cost extra for lining on dresses. Forgo the lining and pick good material to save a bit of money.
Ask your tailor for the different prices of material. They’ll start by selling you on the best, top quality material, but you can ask about different material to chose the most comfortable and affordable material.