This is what you have to do in Hoi An, Vietnam — getting the tailor made clothes. There are more than 400 tailor shops around the town for everything: dress, skirts, shirts, bikinis, shoes, accessories and even jewelries. You can custom made whatever you want. I decided to explore the tailor made dress experience. And coincidently, I have a wedding to attend this summer. What a perfect occasion! So I shopped around the town and now I’m a proud owner of two perfectly fit beautiful dresses. Here are some of the shopping tips from my experience.
Shop around: out of the main market street
I know, it’s not easy. If you are not a shopper, it can be an agony. I, myself is not really a shopper. I do enjoy shopping but just for little accessories or occasional clothing shopping would be all. When I heard about Hoi An, the wonderful world of custom-made-everything, I thought I couldn’t resist myself to buy everything. First I checked out the place my friend suggested that is located on the main market street, Tran Phu Street.
“How much is this?” I found a cute blue dress.
“45 US dollars.”
“Forty five dollars? Can you give me any discount if I buy two? How about two for 45$?”
“Where are you from? Where you from dress is really cheap? But not here. I make this.”
Probably true. Maybe her work is worth to spend 45$ but I couldn’t’ believe one simple dress cost that much in Vietnam, where you can eat a bowl of noodle soup for 1.5$. So I walked away. Even if she’s right, I didn’t like the fact she was attacking me about the price haggling.
Don’t give up; there will be the same design
I was looking for the same designed dress in other shops but it was quite hard. I was keep thinking ‘Damn, that dress was cute. But I hate to crawl back to that lady!’
However, I found a even better one in Tran Hung Dao street, little out of the way from the main market. Not the same design, but only 20$ for the dress I really liked. Of course I asked for some discounts. He carefully measured my size and made sure that it will fit me well. After all, that’s the beauty of tailor made dress.
When I was about to finish my shopping in the market, I saw the cute blue dress in other shop. So, don’t give up; there will be the same dress in other shops.
Haggle, but not too much
Most of the places I went to give me an honest price. At least I thought they did. The main street is noticeably bad; they sell a t-shirts for 180,000 dong (9$) but you can find 40,000 dong (2$) easy enough just out of the main centre.
However, it’s always depending on how much you are willing to pay. For me, I didn’t think that the dress is 45$ worthwhile. When I found the other dress, I haggled down to 22$ from 25$. It was a reasonable price, but didn’t hurt to try it little harder if they agreed me, and they did. However, remember; this is a tailor made cloths. Meaning it is natural to cost more than what you can buy off from the night market. So if you found the right one, try to cut down the price a little, but not too much. If you think that’s an honest price and you liked the tailor, it would be worthwhile to pay the little extra money.
Make sure to pick up the cloth with enough time
Even they measure you properly; there are always the possibilities to fix it here and there. I had two dresses at different shops; I requested to fix a small part in the shoulder and the tailor insisted to fix the seams for me at the other place. They wanted their product to be perfect.
So I suggest letting them know when you have to leave the town and checking with them at least few hours before you have to go. It’s always a good idea to double check. If the mending is minor, it would only take few minutes or an hour.
Have you been to Hoi An and made the dress? How was it?