How to Dress for Success with Hoi An Suits

On May 25, 2014 by Oren and Cassie

Maybe you’ve given up the 9 to 5 and don’t even want to think about wearing a business suit ever again. Even if you have, it’s never a bad thing to have one hanging up in your closet, just in case. So, why not have a hand-picked, custom-made, INEXPENSIVE business suit? That’s what you’re going to find in Hoi An. These tips will help you score perfect Hoi An suits.

Hoi An is a city that blends luxury resorts with Vietnamese tradition. Strolling down the streets of the old quarter, shop after shop boasts the BEST hand-made clothing in the city. Mannequins are modeling dresses of all shapes, sizes and colors. And then you’ll spot a Westerner walking down the street holding FIVE garment bags filled with custom-made clothing. That’s just it. Hoi An is famous for amazing suits at a fraction of the price.

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We got measured for our clothing, then strolled around Hoi An!

1. Choose your store carefully 

Sure, all of the stores say they’re the best shop around. But, the quality is not the same among all of the stores. If you’re thinking about getting one or more Hoi An suits, talk to other people who’ve had clothing made there and get their recommendation. We chose A Dong Silk. Our friend, Chris, had his wedding tuxedo made there a few years before. His wedding photos alone convinced us to go there to have our clothes made. Oren has lost a lot of weight recently (thanks, diabetes) so he was really excited to get a new suit that actually fits. I decided to have two custom dresses made.

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2. Don’t wait until the last minute

These shops turn out full suits very quickly, but they do need some time, especially to make any final tweaks after fittings. So, try and be available in Hoi An for at least 3 days. We arrived in the evening and went there immediately. This allowed us two more days for fittings and any final changes.

hoi-an-suits-oren-fitting3. Come prepared

Know what you want. The first thing the staff at the shop will do is put you on an iPad to look at different suit or dress styles. Do your own research before hand. Look at dress websites. Identify styles you like and features you don’t. Bring those photos with you and it will save you a lot of time at the shop. If you don’t have any visuals, I guarantee it will get very frustrating because Vietnamese styles and Western styles are very different. The staff will revert to what they “think” you want if you’re not clear.

4. Don’t afraid to be firm, but flexible

This is more of tip for ladies. As a woman, you know what you look good in. Tell the staff exactly what you want. I know how to sew. So, I had a good idea of different ways to make a dress look more flattering. At my first fitting, I showed them how I wanted a gather in the dress and they were amazed at how much better the dress looked with that slight change. That being said, this is not Project Runway. There are limitations. The staff is great to work with! They will communicate to you whether or not certain changes are feasible and give you options. One of my dresses took three fittings to be finished. But, I LOVE it!

5. Payment and delivery

We said before that this custom-made clothing is inexpensive. hoi-an-suits-oren-fittingBut, it does add up. Oren’s suit cost $180. My two dresses cost $150 each. Compared to Western prices, this is a complete steal! For budget travelers, it’s a HUGE hole in your wallet. Luckily, we had budgeted and planned for this expense. So, our recommendation is just to discuss how much you’re able to spend before you go and stick to that price. Most places will tell you cost up front and allow you to pay with credit card. Make sure you have enough room in your suitcase to bring the garments back home! We only have backpacks and five more months of travel, so we chose to ship our Hoi An suits back to the US. Shipping it will set you back $50 or $60.

The good news for men? The shop will save your measurements. So, if you return home and need any more custom Hoi An suits made, you can contact the shop, have the additional suits made and shipped right to your home address.

-C.K.

Editor’ Note: We had some great photos for this blog post, including dresses I tried on and the fabrics choices available. Oren accidentally deleted all of those pictures. I know, amateur-hour.

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