Charming in Hoi An Ancient Town

Nga Do
It’s not everyday you can go into a store and have the dress of your dreams custom made, tailored exactly to your body, for less than what you would pay at a department store. But in Hoi An, Vietnam, you can do just that.
A large part of Hoi An’s irresistible charm are the dozens and dozens of boutiques that line its pedestrian-friendly Ancient Town. Hoi An’s name is synonymous with tailoring and not many people leave here without getting some sort of outfit made. But how do you know which tailor shops to trust when there are so many of the m? Maybe this will help you decide.

The skillful tailors of Hoi An are well-known throughout the world. Many of them can trace the trade through several generations of their family, and it’s not only women who are pulling a needle and thread. With deft fingers and a keen eye, they’re known by many as master craftsmen, able to copy any design they see. If you show them a picture of a coat, suit or dress, you can expect a nearly exact replica to be produced within 24-48 hours. The best tailor shops in Hoi An are well-known, and they are the reason that Vietnamese from all parts of the country will encourage you to visit this central city. 

1. Shop Like A Pro

Many tourists come to Hoi An and leave empty-handed, not because they lacked the means to make any purchases but because the entire shopping process was too overwhelming. Keep the following tips handy to ensure you snag some sweet deals—and keep your sanity while you’re at it.1. Come Prepared

Hoi An is the perfect place to get great bargains on quality wardrobe essentials. Rather than window-shopping, know what you want and need before arrival; otherwise you’ll quickly find yourself drowning in a sea of silk. More importantly, determine your budget and stick to it. Shopaholic or not, it’s easy to get excited with all the fashion possibilities. I consider myself to be quite the thrifty backpacker, but without my budget in place I might have put myself quite stylishly out on the streets.

2. Shop Around

With over 400 shops to choose from, chances are that one-of-a-kind dress is available down the road. Before making any purchases, ask about prices at multiple venues. Some stores will be more expensive than others; keep in mind that generally you get what you pay for in Vietnam. While prices are not fixed, you’ll find that many of the tailors are unwilling to budge on their costs. Try to bargain politely, but don’t expect the same success you might have at a market.

3. Be Assertive

The shopkeepers are extremely good salespeople. Don’t be afraid to say no when they unapologetically manipulate you to buy just one more dress. Additionally, remember that you are entitled to multiple alterations and fittings. If you notice something about your new purchases that you aren’t thrilled with, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion and ask the tailors to accommodate your wishes. It took me three fittings before my dresses hung just the way I wanted, and the tailors were more than happy to work with me. Most tailors will not expect more than a small deposit on the order you place - don’t pay the final balance until you’re confidently pleased with the final product.

4. Schedule Your Time

The majority of tailor shops can finish your order in under 24 hours. However, if you plan on making any alterations, you will want to allow more time in Hoi An.  Luckily the lovely city offers fantastic dining, a lantern-lit river, and a nearby white sandy beach to keep you occupied should you find your alterations adding up.

Getting custom made clothes in Hoi An, Vietnam is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Travel to the ancient town of Hoi An do not miss the opportunity to experience this wonderful thing. Keep these tips in mind and it is sure to be an enjoyable one, too!

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