Does anyone have any advice about getting custom-tailored suits in Thailand or Vietnam? I'm currently in Cambodia and am thinking of taking a trip for a few days to have a few suits made. Any advice appreciated!
Posted on Aug 03, 2011
Hoi An, Vietnam, is traditionally the place to go for custom-made clothes, although there might be more options now. I had a wool coat made there, and it turned out pretty nicely. They have big books of magazine pages that show the many styles you can choose from.
Posted Aug 04, 2011Add a comment
I once had two or three suits made in Bangkok (it was a long time ago, 25 years or so, but I don't imagine the process has changed a whole lot.) First problem is to find a tailor, hopefully based on at least one real person's considered recommendation. The choosing/ordering process is simple, though there may be pitfalls. Choose your material, and choose your style. (The style part is hard, they likely won't have the same styles that Macy's carries, ever.) Take a little piece of the material you choose back to your hotel with you to make sure that's what you actually get later (this is not really a problem so much as not being able to judge for yourself what really constitutes worthwhile cloth and the pitfalls of this one over that one. You'll have to wait one, two, to several days (better than letting them do you a rush job, which they WILL offer) where quality may very well suffer.
Finally, yes, the workmanship. This is the most important. Try to know what you're doing really, or practice faking it. Japanese (e.g.) will go in with a magnifying glass and examine a seam, count the stiches, etc. Sorry I can't tell you how many stiches per inch in good quality work, but you'll know it if you put it next to the cheap stuff. Check the lining all the way around, top, bottom, sleeves; check where the lining meets the material on the inside. You don't need three pieces! (or do you?) I paid about $80-$100 US per (3 pc) suit in about 1987. When I'd got them home and worn them several times I realized that the material choice I'd made wasn't the best, and after a year or two, the poor workmanship also began to show at the seams. They weren't that bad; I got a lot of good use out of them. And I feel if I did it a second time I'd do a better job, of course.
You might have to pay more for quality work, but paying more (as usual) won't guarantee quality. Also, of course, realize that the more down market and less skilled tailors may not be perfect at duplicating a style you've chosen, or fitting you either. I've had shirts made all over SE Asia, and you have to be (stay) on guard because the local tailors will make you shirts with the long sleeves you asked for but otherwise they will look just like the shirts everybody around them is wearing, super long shirt tails, (and sleeves too long, too) for example. You have to specify how you want every element. They probably won't ask you. As for duplicating styles, depending on . . . , and relatively speaking, they are bound to be less sophisticated than you might like.
Last, the big international hotels will have reputable tailor shops perhaps in the same building or block. Ask your maitre'd if you trust him/her (yes, he will send you to his brother-in-law, if you let him. The shops catering to the intenational set will be more expensive perhaps, but also more reliable as they are used to dealing with tourists and foreign business people. They'll be aware of the pitfalls even if they don't make you aware of them. Again, very important not to wait until the last minute. If you order something and don't like it when you see the finished product, it's a lot harder then to come out with all of (what are actual) your solid demands. Have them understand at the outset, that you want this and only this. And won't accept/ make purchase unless the garment meets your expectations.
Posted Aug 05, 2011Add a comment