When we arrived in Hoi An my boyfriend knew he wanted to get a suit and shirt tailored; however I was insistent I didn’t need a dress I wouldn’t wear. When we left Hoi An four days later I had not one but two dresses tucked away in my rucksack. So how did this all happen? And what are my tips for you?
While we were in Hoi An we stayed at the Sunflower Hotel – as recommended by so many people; it’s a lovely hotel who when we questioned them about tailoring handed us a book. It contained all written pages of reviews from previous guests, rating and slating these companies. Having done plenty of research online I already knew a fair few to avoid – some of these were listed. The store listed with the most reviews was Peace; now I have no idea how much of that book was written by guests and how much by the hostel staff, but when we were told Peace was run by an ex-Yaley worker, we were interested. Yaley is the top place to go in Hoi An, they are the couture store of the town but with that follows a hefty price tag. We read all the great reviews on Peace from ‘previous guests’ but still I was very sceptical knowing the way commission works in Asia. We decided to check out the shop, get prices and look at some of the suit on mannequins. Being an ex-fashion student I had a fair idea of what to look out for.
We went in the shop open minded about the whole thing; the girls in the store were lovely and I watched on as fabrics, styles, colours and prices were discussed. I was relieved and surprised at being completely left alone by the staff after saying I didn’t want a dress. Taking it all in, I was impressed with their English and how thorough their measuring was. The clothing seemed good and the store seemed to have several happy customers picking up their tailor made garments. After an hour or so of measuring, style picking and fabric choosing, we set a time to return the next day for the first fitting. I had one happy boyfriend…
Well for a little while that is, until he decided I needed a dress. Now I’m not a hugely girly girl and it’s rare I wear a formal dress, so I really didn’t think I needed a dress I wouldn’t wear. I was thankful when after a lot of wandering he gave in to the fact I wasn’t getting a dress made.
A Turn of Events
When my boyfriend got his suit we did everything right: research, had an idea in mind, checked the reviews etc. I saw this dress on the mannequin as I peered in yet another store. Upon mentioning it to the boyfriend he said I should go look. So in we went to a shop I had done no research on, where I wasn’t even sure I wanted the dress, let alone what colour. I examined the stitching and the way it was sewn before deciding it was good enough and I wanted the dress. I got measured, picked a colour and paid a deposit. That was it – dress number one was purchased on a whim from a shop I had no idea about.
After putting money down for the first dress I figured that would be me, done… Instead, with less than 24 hours left in Hoi An the boy convinced me I needed one more dress, purely because he liked the first one so much. I figured no one would make a dress in less than 24 hours, but as we found ourselves in Peace sheltering from the storm when they asked if we wanted anything else, I found myself telling them about a dress I suddenly decided I wanted. Trawling through books again, choosing the style, colour and fabrics; it all seemed so easy compared with the first time we set foot in there for a suit. I was given a time to return tomorrow, giving them less than 16 hours to complete my dress – luckily it was a short and simple affair.
My first dress was a long, blue gown with a decorated top and simple, flowing bottom. It was from a store named Violet which was a 10 minute walk away from the hotel. I had alterations made on the first fitting as the top part was made too long, however by the second fitting it was perfect. It seems well sewn and fits well with length for me to add heels. I do feel very vulnerable with the gap around my boobs but I’m sure I will get used to that with a few wears.
Dress Two is a short red thing with a fitted top and full skirt sitting just above the knee. Again it had a few alterations on the first fitting to make it tighter but by the second fitting it was a perfect fit. This dress was from Peace and was made in less than 24 hours.
My boyfriend’s suit was brilliant – no alterations needed, just a mark removing from the shirt. They even chose him a tie which fitted perfectly. It was from Peace and took three days to be completed. It has since been worn every day for work now we are home and the only issue we’ve had is the buttons needed re-sewing and securing again.
The Cost (USD)
Red Dress = $45
Blue Dress = $35
Suit 2 piece, shirt & tie = $160
Overall we were very happy with our purchases and experience. Here are my tips for you…
- Do your research online/ask others.
- Ask if they provide more than one fitting and make sure you leave enough time for a 3rd and 4th – you never know how long it might take.
- Have an idea of the garment before you buy (even take a picture) – think style, colour and fabric type – or you could easily end up spending too much money on something you will never wear.
- Talk to the staff, explain what you want fully – they are there to help and most of them speak very good English.
- Allow extra time if you are there over a public holiday.
- Check the stitching/sewing quality – Double stitching? Is the hem over locked and then sewn over? When you pull at a seam is the stitching holding tight together? Are all the ends finished neatly? Does the material feel nice?
- Choose wisely – will you really wear a pink satin suit when you get home?
Have you been to Hoi An for tailored clothes? What was your experience like?