The Tailors of Hoi An, Vietnam

It doesn’t take long in Asia for the average westerner to feel enormous. The average Asian body shape is simply more slender than the ever-growing western shape. If clothes shopping, you quickly learn that cries of “This good size for you” are not to be trusted and you need the largest size of trousers. So, what should you do if you are in desperate need of some new threads while in Asia? Definitely head to Hoi An and get yourself to a tailor! The streets of the small centre of Hoi An are lined with tailors offering to create just about any outfit imaginable. Mannequins stand in shop fronts wearing tops, trousers, dresses, menswear, coats and jackets; we even saw one sporting a seriously snazzy gold sequinned catsuit!

Tailor shop, Hoi An, Vietnam

To decide which tailor to visit you can stroll looking for outfits you like (they all have examples of their work in and around the shops) and request they make the same in your size. This is perhaps the safer option as it keeps communication to a minimum (since miscommunications with tailors can be disastrous!) and you don’t risk a particularly complicated design going wrong. Or you can do a bit of research on Tripadvisor before arriving and see which tailors have good write-ups in the weeks before you go. This is how we decided on a tailor.

Fabrics at a tailor shop in Hoi An, Vietnam

We went prepared with some photos of the clothing we wanted. The very friendly tailor examined them and measured us. We then selected the fabrics we wanted and were told to return the next day for a fitting. On our next trip to the store we were amazed how much work had been completed overnight. Incredibly, 12 men’s work shirts, two dresses, five tops and a skirt had been created. We tried them on and the tailor noted necessary adjustments. We revisited again the next day and were very happy with the results. The tailor was very particular about the finish of the items however and wouldn’t let us take them with us. She insisted they check every detail of the work first and deliver the clothing to our hotel later that day.

We made sure we visited a tailor on the first day of our stay in Hoi An, as we expected it may take a few days to make the clothes. As it turned out it was really the tweaking of the clothes that took the time. In total we made three trips to our tailor over three days. So, if you want to get some clothes made while you are in Vietnam, make sure you are prepared to make a few visits to the tailor and allow them time to change things.

Fabric samples at a tailor shop in Hoi An, Vietnam

Two tops were made so small we could not close the zip, which must be an error in the reading of the measurements (because the size was so clearly wrong), and this was quickly remedied. Otherwise the garments were all made beautifully and precisely to our sizes. We went to Wall Street Tailors at 667 Hai Ba Trung and would happily use them again. They made a silk dress for me that I have worn a lot. This was my first experience of having clothes made specifically for me by a tailor and I wasn’t disappointed. The dresses and tops I had made are fantastic quality, fit me perfectly and the total price was less than half the price I would have paid for similar items in Europe or Australia.

What would you like to get made at the tailors in Hoi An?

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