If you take a stroll through Hoi An Ancient Town, almost every other shop is a tailor shop. Getting custom made clothing is a huge draw for tourists! My boyfriend wanted to get a leather duffel and I was thinking of getting bridesmaids dresses. However, we ended up getting neither as we realized tailoring in Hoi An is not all that it’s hyped to be. Here are some reasons why I did not get any tailoring in Hoi An.
Depending on how many days you visit Hoi An, you might not even have enough time! Your first task when you arrive in Hoi An will have to be selecting and visiting a tailor shop. Then you’ll have to go back twice to complete the fitting and tailoring. There are so many things to do in Hoi An (read my travel guide to get started), we didn’t want our time taken up by visits.
#2 Too Much Selection
You have your big names in Hoi An: Bebe, Yaly, Kimmy. But there are over 300 listings on Tripadvisor (not to mention there’s for sure lots of fake reviews)! There were just too many shops and it was very difficult to decide which vendor to go with even after doing lots of research online. For me, I always like knowing I picked the best choice. Since there was no way to research all the tailors, I felt apprehensive about picking a shop off the streets.
If you are looking to get a 3 piece Men’s suit, I would say it might still be worthwhile to get it done in Hoi An. However for women, only very corporate office require a full suit so most ladies will choose to get casual clothing made. A suit should fit you exactly and that’s why it’s so important to have it tailored. But most casual clothing have lots of give. I can usually find lots of cotton dresses I like off the rack in retail stores at home. Therefore, I didn’t really have a particular style that required a casual dress to be custom made and tailored.
You can bring whatever design you want, but based on the mannequins, the styles that they can do look pretty simple. Most of the dresses are made with only one print in a cotton or chiffon material.
The cost of tailoring in Hoi An is a lot higher than I thought. A basic bridesmaids dress is quoted around $120 USD which is kind of in line with what I’d pay online. If I’m just getting a long maxi dress, that cost would be much more expensive than how much I normally pay for clothing. For a leather duffle, my boyfriend was quoted about $200 USD. Again, you can definitely find similar priced items online.
#5 Cost per Wear
It’s likely that you are getting a special occasion piece made, in which case the cost per wear might be very high. I was thinking of getting bridesmaids dresses or other wedding wear from the tailor shops. But it would only be worn once! So if you are getting a fancy dress made, you should think about how many times you’ll wear it. The cotton sun dress designs are just not things I would wear a lot so I knew that wouldn’t get a good cost per wear either.
#6 Variety for Tourists
Right now when you walk through Hoi An Ancient Town, there’s tailors lining every street! I think if tailoring was a less popular “tourist attraction”, a better variety of shops can open and share what Vietnamese artists are making. I went shopping in Ho Chi Minh and there were so many cute boutiques! I bet they would also do really well in Hoi An as well if there was the retail space. Or I would have loved to try more restaurants and cafes!
Thoughts on Tailoring in Hoi An
I think the idea of getting custom made clothes for cheap is very alluring. My boyfriend was definitely so stoked about it! But I’d recommend you to think through the decision before paying for tailoring in Hoi An. It just didn’t make economical sense to me and I also wasn’t in love with any particular fabric or dress design. I would have rather spent the money to buy a souvenir from a local boutique like Sunday in Hoi An!
If you liked this slightly controversial piece, make sure to read my Santorini regrets. It may be the most beautiful island but it is certainly not my favorite Greek island.