Hoi An, the Town of Tailors

This is a typical tailor's shop. I like the t-shirts this lady made for me.
This is a typical tailor’s shop. I like the t-shirts this lady made for me.

Imagine a town where shop after shop is filled with tailors waiting to make you a suit like James Bond’s. That is Hoi An near Danang, Vietnam. Some of the shops (like the one which did James Bond’s suit) are fancy inside as is the other leading shop called Ao Baba. I did not shop at either of these stores. My advice is that if you try several shops, take a photo of the shop so that you’ll remember where you shopped. Also, go to this town in December or January. I went when it was already humid and 93 F at 8 in the morning. This meant that I was too sweaty to try on clothes. Most shops are open from 8 am-9 pm. Most shops can mail you clothes later ($30/kilo) if you email them what you want copied (they will keep your measurements). Some places will let you select material and design online. The pants cost about $25/pair. Shirts cost $20-30. Suits run $140. The shops have lots of material and “samples” for you to get copied (or say that you want that collar with those sleeves etc.) plus many shops have more cloth elsewhere. Just ask. Almost anything can be made. I had sweatpants and a sweatshirt made. There are also shops which sell material including stretch and spandex (something that cannot be bought in Bangladesh). Clothes take about a day to be made but if you have a few days, then you can get a perfect fit at leisure.

A pair of handmade shoes cost $30.
A pair of handmade shoes cost $30.

The town also has shops which will make handmade shoes. Any shoe you can imagine can be copied in your size. They cost $30/pair and take about a day to make.

I also suggest that one stay in Hoi An because the town is a world heritage site (hotels run about $24/night and up) if you are there for the clothes. If you are into the beach, then stay closer to it. The beach is a few miles away from the town of Hoi An. You can also take the bus to the other major sites in Vietnam from Hoi An as the town is geared for tourists.

Again, I would go back. Beautiful town, cheap hotel, 50 cent banh mi sandwiches, strong sweet coffee, and great clothes shopping. But I’d go in January. The humidity made me not care about anything except AC and water. It is not conducive to shopping. The changing room is basically a shower curtain pulled to one side… which led to some comical experiences (standing in a hallway with the shower curtain blowing open while granny, holding baby in arm, tried to yank clothes onto my sweaty back…).

The business cards of the two tailors and show shop that I used.
The business cards of the two tailors and shoe shop that I used.

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