I was fortunate enough to visit Hoi An twice during my 3 months in Vietnam. The first was on the route down from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and the second was when my parents came out to visit on holiday.
The first time Adam and I were there we spent a rushed 3 days changing accommodation each morning due to over bookings. We got to explore the ancient town and spent a couple of hours at the beach but we left without having time to really think about one of the main attractions, getting something tailor made!
Also, you need to go in knowing what you want. I was pretty certain I wanted a new dress but wasn’t sure of the style. So after a couple of months living in Ho Chi Minh City I was ready to go back with something in mind.
~ Hoi An Ancient Town and Japanese covered bridge
Tailor made in Hoi An
It’s no surprise Hoi An is one of the most popular places to visit in Vietnam. In addition to its beautiful beaches and UNESCO world heritage Ancient Town, it offers visitors a perhaps rare chance to get suits, dresses, jackets, bags, shoes, you-name-it tailor made for bargain prices and if you choose the right place, excellent quality.
At one of the many tailors a full men’s suit may set you back $100-250 here and a dress somewhere between $30-$80. Think about how much that would cost in the west!
~ An Bang beach, Hoi An
As someone who’s always had a bust/waist struggle with clothes, the idea of getting something made to fit my body perfectly, and without breaking the bank, was awesome!
It’s best to do your research and shop around. I did most of mine on Trip Advisor and other blogs. Two Travelaholics’ Guide to Buying Couture Clothing in Hoi An is a great guide to finding a tailor and knowing what to look out for when buying custom-made in Hoi An.
~ Thu Bon River, Hoi An
Yaly Couture for suits and dresses
My dad had said he might be interested in a suit but I hadn’t taken him too seriously until we walked in to have a look at one tailor shop, Yaly Couture, and he was getting measured up within minutes! No point point wasting time if there’s a good deal to be had eh?
I wasn’t aware until Adam told me as we entered but Yaly was featured in the Top Gear Vietnam special. They’re one of the most well known tailors but I believe they’ve earned their reputation as one of the best in town for all the right reasons.
~ My dad getting measured for his suit in Yaly!
Whilst my dad was getting measured up I took a look at the sort of dresses they had on display and asked what they were quoting. Expecting them to be around $80, I was pleasantly surprised hearing $50. I had a different design in mind and knowing very little about the making of clothes, wondered if it would be too tricky and thus more expensive.
My dad had to go back for a fitting anyway so I thought it wouldn’t harm checking out some other places before committing to anything. His suit, including two pairs of trousers cost $185 and he had 3 fittings.
It turned out nothing else really took my fancy and I had been particularly drawn to Yaly’s professionalism, the quality of their clothes and the fact it was popular. People seemed to be very pleased with their orders.
~ Checking out some other options
What’s great about having something tailor made is that more often that not, you can just show them something and they’ll be able to replicate it. Obviously if it’s a picture from the internet it’s not going to be an exact copy. So a bit apprehensive about the one I was looking to get made, I showed them the picture and asked if it was possible.
Choosing the design
The dress I wanted was like one I’d tried on in Zalora‘s showroom in Ho Chi Minh City. Basically an Asian version of ASOS and being a tall-ish Westerner the sizes were just all wrong in every way. I was told “yes no problem we can do that, just $10 extra for the custom and please don’t expect exact, we can do very similar”. I was happy with that! As my dad had also got a suit this also included a $5 discount.
I’d tried to practice my best negotiation skills, as one should when buying tailor made, but Yaly Couture don’t really budge on the price. That being said their prices are very reasonable and you can be confident knowing you’re going to get good quality.
Choosing the fabric and getting fitted
After choosing the fabric, the process involved 2/3 fittings overall. My server, Vanessa, measured me up and asked me to email the pictures to her. I was then asked to come back the next day for the first fitting. When I arrived I couldn’t believe how well the dress had turned out already, after one day! I tried it on and Vanessa marked some alterations to be made but nothing too major and she told me that it should be ready to be picked up tomorrow.
~ My turn to get fitted
Unfortunately a mixture of the heat and coming down with a nasty cold I got the worst headache and couldn’t leave the hotel room when I supposed to be going to do the final try on and collect the dress. My parents were heading out so kindly picked the dress up for me. Vanessa had said she believed it would be fine but any problems I could come back.
Making sure everything was perfect
I was so excited to open the bag to find more than I could have hoped for! It was great and apart from the slight difference in fabric, so similar to the original design. I tried it on at the hotel and immediately spotted an issue. The skirt part of the dress kinda stuck out and curved back in weirdly from my hip.
As I’d already paid for it, I was freaking out a little that they wouldn’t be keen to make it right and was also wondering whether it was really that bad? Well, seeing as the whole point of getting something tailor made is having something that fits you perfectly, we went back to the shop.
After an hour or so of back and forth between trying it on, then Vanessa taking it back to the seamstress, then trying it on to find it was worse, then back to the seamstress again, they finally got it right. I came back out of the changing area to find my dad and Adam looking severely bored and wondering what the heck was going on.. sorry!
~ Happy with the end result!
Friendly bags for clutches, bags and device cases
Since getting my bag stolen, I was without a small, cross body bag for a while. Although I was getting used to carrying a few bits in my pockets (or underwear if need be) and feeling a lot safer this way, it was only a matter of time before I was back on the road and would be in need of one. I just couldn’t find one I liked anywhere so what better excuse for having a custom bag made up?!
My inspiration was a fringe/tassel suede and leather bag I spotted on ASOS. I was again told not to expect an exact copy and that it would be about 90%. As three of us were making purchases, we were able to negotiate and I got my bag for $60.
Adam chose a lovely, brown leather case for his new iPad and my mum, who’d excitedly jumped at the chance to get a custom bag made, went for a beautiful, tassel clutch bag.
Friendly Bags can have the bags ready for you in 24 hours but as we were around for a week, they didn’t have to rush and they were ready for us in 2 days. I was so pleased with the finished product. They’d made a more secure and thicker strap and the quality of the suede and leather was fantastic.