Tips for finding the best tailors in Hoi An, Vietnam
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Exotic is somewhere else... But what if you live on the edge of one of your country's greatest tourist attractions? It's hard to appreciate what you take for granted.
Despite its world heritage listing, unique food and river front location the town of Hoi An in Vietnam is best known for its army of tailors. The town’s 19th and early 20th century shop fronts are crowded with little else. However finding a decent tailor amongst all of this competition can be a challenge. Below are 5 tips for finding a good tailor in Hoi An and getting the most out of your tailored clothing experience.
Before you leave home:
1. Get a recommendation
Word of mouth is the best form of advertising. If you have friends who have been to Hoi An before ask them who they would recommend. However if you don’t know anyone personally who has been to Hoi An before don’t let this stop you from getting advice. Travel forums are a great place to post questions or search for questions that have already been asked. Frequenting travel forums also means that you are more likely to get up to date information as well as a variety of opinions.
2. Know what you want
Go through magazines before you leave and cut out pictures of items that you like before you leave. Or search for items on the internet and print out pictures. When doing this keep in mind what clothing suits your body shape and what has worked for you in the past.
However the best way to make sure that you get clothing made that suits your style and body shape is to take along some old favourites from your wardrobe. If you have dresses, jackets or pants that are flattering pack them in your suitcase and get copies made in another colour. By far the best items to pack are ones that have been worn out by repeated wearing. You know that the item will get worn. Get a copy made then throw away the old, piece to save valuable space in your luggage.
Once you get to Hoi An :
3. Order one piece as a trial
If time permits get one thing made, check its quality, then if you are happy with it order more. Even with the best of endorsements this is a sure fire way to be sure that you know what you are getting.
4. Remember that good tailoring takes time
The lovely sales lady isn’t really lying to you. You can get a suit made in 24 hours. What you can’t get is a suit that fits made in 24 hours. Expect and plan to go back to the store at least 3 times for fittings. Keep in mind at these fitting that unless you also live in a hot humid place, your clothing is likely to feel a little tight when you try it on.
5. Don’t go overboard
Nothing spoils a good shopping trip more than buyer’s remorse. Know what you can buy at home cheaply anyway. It is pointless to buy these items overseas and carry them around for the rest of your holiday. Also remember that excess luggage payments can quickly eat away at any savings you have made.
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While getting clothing made to order is a unique experience that you probably would never do at home remember that the town of Hoi An has more to offer than cheap suits. It is a well preserved example of a 15th to 19thcentury south east Asian trading port town which exhibits the influences of both local and foreign cultures that frequented the area due to trade. Hoi An wasn’t granted world heritage listing for nothing. Get out there and see it.