BootsnAll Travel Network

made-to-order madness

nguyen phuoc cloth shop, hoi an

hoi an is a beautiful, historic little town known as THE place to come to get clothes tailor-made. since i had planned to stick around for a few days (it gets sooo tiring moving from town to town ever other day!), i decided to look into getting a few things made. it’s quite addicting once you get started, and really hard to avoid! even men get in on the action, as you can get a suit made for between $40-80 depending on the material! the town itself is very small, and is home to over 800 historic buildings, so the best way to get around to see the sights is on foot or bicycle. as you’re walking through the streets, it seems that 2 out of every 3 shops you pass is a tailor – all with fabulous coats, dresses, and suits displayed out front to entice you to stop in.

my first stop was a tailor that was recommended by my hotel. i decided that i didnt want to start off with too many things until i knew i liked a place, so i just asked about making a tailored pair of capris and a 3/4 sleeve dress shirt. i talked her down to $25 for the two, and after a couple of fittings i’m really happy with the shirt, but the pants are just “eh”. good thing i didn’t give her all my business, she was also not very attentive throughout the fittings, so it really pays to shop around.

you can also get shoes made here – anything from leather boots to basic sandals, and so i tried out two shops. i got a pair of black sandals at one and a pair of metallic grey ballerina flats at another – $10 each. its really cool, they measure each of your feet, the insole, the arch, the length of each, etc. and then they customize them for you – you pick the leather or canvas fabric, etc, and the heel and tell them if you want anything changed from the sample. the black sandals were pretty basic but i love the ballerina flats and they fit perfectly! 

after the first three shops, i decided that i wouldn’t get anything else unless i found a tailor that i really liked. i priced a few things at some of the shops along the way but i wasnt getting the service or the prices that i wanted.

THEN… after i gave up and was on my way to the market instead, i passed a shop and saw a really gorgeous cashmere coat out in front. the owner, lan, told me she had just opened the shop a few weeks ago and we got to talking, and when i asked about the price it was only $35 for this gorgeous coat! now, i know i dont really need winter clothes in hawaii, but you never know where i might end up living, and plus i’m going to need it for australia probably, and for sure new zealand – ive heard its going to be really cold there. so…. 

i went through all her catalogs and picked out a ton of stuff – my plan was to just act like i seriously planned to get all these things, but then to get her to price them individually and then take out the stuff i really didn’t want, so it would be like getting a quantity discount without the quantity. but it backfired on me! she came down on the price enough that i couldn’t pass it up (she’s a good salesman – better than me!), and i really liked her. she’s only 27 and has two children (her husband watches them while she runs the shop!) and she speaks perfect english so it was really easy to work with her. she was also really good at suggesting little changes that would fit my body type better and helping me pick out the best priced fabrics cause she knew i was on a budget.

so altogether i ended up spending $150 at her shop!!  yikes!! BUT… for $150 i got: a two button suit jacket w/ trousers (a lightweight wool blend w/ black pinstripes), a really cute little mauve-colored cotton dress with ruching and pockets, a printed silk boatneck top, a stretch cotton tank that i helped her design, another top with longer sleeves, AND the cashmere winter coat (a short one, in white cashmere with a removable hood and black toggle buttons).

it was so fun getting all the measurements taken and getting to pick out the fabrics and stuff! plus, she will keep my measurements on file so that if i ever want to order something else or another of something i already have, i can just email her. the shipping wasn’t too expensive either – ill kept a few of the things with me, but the rest i had her ship home for me via surface mail so it will take about 3 months but it cost just $30.

i figure it was a splurge, but when am i going to have my own professional tailor again? i especially think the pricing was worth it on the winter coat and the suit – they did a really nice job. plus, i’m glad to give these girls business – they were wonderful to work with. in hindsight, there are one or two of the things that i probably shouldn’t have gotten carried away with. but it was a fun (and totally unique) experience!

if anyone back home is interested, the shop is called nguyen phuoc cloth shop and lan can be reached by email at: you can email her to find out what measurements are needed and just send a picture of whatever you want made, and they can mail it home for you. tell her i recommended you, she’ll take care of you! =) and if you’re in hoi an, be sure to stop by: ngyuen phuoc @59 tran phu st in the old town (telephone – 84.510.911693)

my tailor in hoi an

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8 responses to “made-to-order madness”

  1. Mom says:

    What a fun experience?!!!! And such good prices too:)

  2. Todd says:

    Dog needs some warm winter clothes, could I send her his measurements?

  3. min says:

    malia! i want you to post yourself modeling the clothes! i like see!

  4. min says:

    oh… and i’m seriously loving that green jacket up above…

  5. christy says:

    ooh very fun. i always know what i’m looking for but can never find it when i go shopping. it would be so cool to go up to someone and have them create my perfect shirt/dress/etc.

  6. malia says:

    sorry min, this is the kind of time when having a traveling companion would have been handy! i had the seamstress at the first shop try to take my picture, but she kept shaking the camera and after asking her three times, i felt bad and gave up.

    for the nicer stuff at ngyuen phuoc, i totally would have had them take pictures but there were sooo many things to try on, the a/c was broken (it’s SO hot!) and it was just way to uncomfortable to pose for pictures in my brand new winter coat in these temperatures! lol.

    i knew you’d love that green one… i almost had that one made in white. =)

  7. jasmine says:

    ooh, this is so fun, malia! awe – wish i could see you modeling too! poor lady at the store…!

  8. […] – celebrated my birthday in two countries 7 – had clothes custom-tailored just for me in hoi an, vietnam 12 – slurped down some snake blood in hanoi, vietnam 14 – got […]

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