With over 500 tailor shops all within walking distance, Hoi An in Central Vietnam is the tailoring capital of the world. Many of the 5 million people who visit Hoi An annually get custom-made clothes.
When my partner and I visited Hoi An, we got three dresses and a suit custom-made at two tailor shops with the pricey, highly-rated Tuong Tailor being one of them. Here, I share practical tips on prices and the tailoring process in Hoi An.
- 5 Key Tips for Getting Tailored Clothes in Hoi An
- How Much Do Tailored Clothes Cost in Hoi An?
- Budget vs. High-End Tailor Shops in Hoi An
- The Tailoring Process in Hoi An and My Experience
- Is Getting Tailored Clothes Worth It in Hoi An?
5 Key Tips for Getting Tailored Clothes in Hoi An
Before getting into the tailoring process, here are five key tips when visiting Hoi An for custom-made clothes:
- Tip #1: You need at least two full days, but ideally three or more days to get tailored clothes in Hoi An. The tailor shops will do their best to work with your schedule because of the highly competitive landscape, but two days is generally tight and allows for only one fitting. Three or more days and two fitting sessions will give you better results and is more ethical for the tailor shops.
- Tip #2: Before entering a tailor shop, have an idea of what you want, including design and general colors and patterns. Bring visuals if you can. Otherwise, the tailoring process can be overwhelming. Tuong Tailor had three floors worth of fabrics so it can take hours to look through everything without a starting point. I also worked with five different tailors and found that some tailors are more helpful and opinionated than others, so having an initial idea of what you want is important.
- Tip #3: Hoi An tailor prices scale with skillset and customer service. With over 500 tailor shops in Hoi An, you’ll find shops that range from budget to high-end. Most shops can do casual clothes, but you’ll want to reserve nicer dress clothes for the higher-end shops. I got a dress at a smaller shop and two at a bigger, more expensive shop, Tuong Tailor, and compared them below.
- Tip #4: Fitting appointments can be quick or take up to 45 minutes. The time it takes to get a fitting done depends on how busy the shop is, how many pieces you need to try on and how many adjustments you want or need, so be flexible on budgeting your time for these visits.
- Tip #5: The Hoi An tailor shops I visited took credit card or cash, but there’s a 3% credit card fee. If you’re getting multiple pieces of clothes made, it can easily cost over $100 so the 3% fee can add up. You may want to take out some cash for this reason. You may also be given the opportunity to pay in full or a deposit on your first visit.
How Much Do Tailored Clothes Cost in Hoi An?
The price of tailored clothes in Hoi An depends on several factors:
- The tailor shop. Most tailor shops in Hoi An are low to medium budget shops while some shops are high-end. You can get an idea of what kind of shop they are by looking at Google and Tripadvisor reviews, or just by looking at how big or nice the shop is in person. The price can range from $20 to $100 for a long dress at a budget and high-end shop, respectively. See my budget vs. high-end shop comparison below.
- Complexity and amount of material needed. The more complex and the more material you need, the pricier your tailored clothes will be. For example, a small shop quoted $20 for a short dress and $35 for a long dress that uses the same fabric. At a bigger shop, the short dress I wanted was $80 while the long dress was $100+. At the latter, I looked at a short dress that used 2 different fabrics and that bumped the cost to $95+.
- Fabric quality. Some shops will offer different fabric quality and let you know the approximate price difference. At a bigger shop, a short dress with regular fabric started at $70 and if I used a nicer fabric with no change to the dress’s design, the price increased to $100 or even $150.
- Number of pieces you purchase. Many tailor shops in Hoi An will be willing to give you a higher discount the more pieces you purchase from that shop. If they don’t offer this proactively, you can try negotiating.
What We Got and How Much We Paid: 3 Dresses and a Suit
For reference, here are the clothing pieces we got tailored in Hoi An:
- 2 short dresses for $80 and $90 at Tuong Tailor, a big, highly-rated and popular shop.
- 1 long dress for $35 at a small shop that has no Google reviews.
- 1 suit, vest, dress shirt and 2 ties for $370 at Tuong Tailor.
- Suit: $230
- Vest: $80
- Dress shirt: $40
- Ties: $10/each
We didn’t negotiate, so these were the initial prices we were quoted and how much we ended up paying. Note that negotiating is expected and the norm.
Vietnam is one of the cheapest countries to visit, so custom clothes easily became one of my biggest expenses. This Vietnam cost breakdown details all my expenses.
Budget vs. High-End Tailor Shops in Hoi An
Is paying for a high-end tailor shop in Hoi An worth it? The answer to that varies by person, but for some initial guidance, below are some of the differences I experienced between the small shop that had no Google reviews and Tuong Tailor, the bigger, highly-rated shop:
- Price. The small shop charged $35 for a long dress and Tuong Tailor charged $80+ each of the short dresses I got. The latter told me that a long dress would have likely been $100+. A ~$65+ price difference for a long dress is non-trivial, so it may not be worth it to you for more casual clothes, but it may be for nicer ones.
- Skillset and willingness to adjust. The two shops differed significantly on skillset and the level of guidance they provided. During my fitting, the small shop primarily asked me what I wanted changed and seemed resistant to some of the changes I wanted, while Tuong Tailor proactively identified adjustments, regardless of the complexity, and also asked for my opinion. The small shop did one fitting while the big shop did two fittings for each piece in the same span of time, and the latter executed on the adjustments much more professionally and with better outcomes.
- Fabric options. Since the small shop was…small, they had a smaller selection of fabrics, while Tuong Tailor had three floors worth of fabric and each floor was bigger than the entirety of the smaller shop. If you find a fabric you really like at a small shop, then a wider fabric selection won’t matter. But keep in mind that a bigger shop will also more likely have a range of fabric quality (e.g., Tuong Tailor would point out to me the section of fabric that cost more due to the higher quality).
- Facility. The small shop didn’t have a changing facility (i.e., getting fitted meant going to the back room without a door and changing). Tuong Tailor had a separate section with individual changing rooms and giant mirrors. The facilities don’t necessarily impact the quality of your clothes, but it does changes your experience if that’s something you care about.
- Number of workers. The small shop had one person while Tuong Tailor had at least 10 employees. Although I mostly worked with one person at Tuong Tailor, there was always someone available to help me during all visits if my primary contact was busy. In the small shop, I had to sometimes wait for the one person to finish taking care of other customers first.
I am not paid by Tuong Tailor for my review. All opinions expressed here are my own and reflect my personal experience.
Overall, I was happy with my two dresses from Tuong Tailor. I wasn’t satisfied with the dress from the small shop because it wasn’t quite what I asked for and didn’t fit me that well in the end.
The small shop was very nice and on time, and had better fabric designs available in my opinion. It’s not that I wouldn’t buy from them again; I would just do casual clothes with them next time.
Lesson learned: Stick to casual clothes for the smaller shops and more complex, nicer pieces for the bigger shops.
The Tailoring Process in Hoi An and My Experience
All the Hoi An tailor shops typically follow the same process as outlined below. I will specifically use my experience with Tuong Tailor for examples, but the small shop followed a similar process, with less guidance and one round of fitting instead of two.
Step 1: Research before entering a tailor shop
What to do: The general wisdom is to get an idea of what you want made and to do some research on potential tailor shops in advance. I did very little of this and now agree that you should at least come in with some visuals and an idea of what you want made.
- Design research: I knew I wanted two short dresses for weddings/date nights and had an idea of general designs (i.e., one asymmetrical, one halter top). I didn’t have a color or fabric in mind.
- Tailor shop research: I did light research and saved two tailor shops that seemed well-reviewed on Google (i.e., 4.0+ stars with 100+ reviews). I ended up not using them; I just walked around Hoi Ai and went to stores that caught my eye or seemed to offer what I wanted.
Having an idea of what you want made seems more important than doing advanced research on tailor shops. Unless you know you want a high-end tailor shop, walking around Hoi An and looking up reviews on-the-go was more helpful and accurate than doing advanced tailor shop research.
Step 2: Visit a shop and agree on what you want made
What to expect: Select a tailor shop and work with them to describe what you want made. This includes selecting a design and then a fabric. Afterwards, you’ll get measured and agree on a price. Pay a deposit and set a time to get fitted, which is usually sometime the next day.
The first visit to a tailor shop is usually the longest (45-60+ minutes), depending on how set you are on your design (if you’re unsure on the design and fabric, it’ll take longer to discuss and select one), how complex it is and how many pieces you’re getting made.
- Describing the dress style: I showed my tailor two photos and verbally communicated things I wanted different (e.g., no ruffles on the asymmetrical dress, short hem and no slit on the halter top). She took a photo of my visuals and asked clarifying questions.
If you don’t come in prepared with visuals of what you want, they’ll give you a somewhat limited “look book” for inspiration, asked you to point at dresses you like around the shop, and/or ask you to Google some visuals to show them.
- Picking a fabric: This is where I got overwhelmed with the choices because I didn’t come in with even a dress color in mind. Tuong Tailor had over three floors worth of fabric. I spent over an hour looking through all the color options and patterns before picking one. The tailor was very patient with me.
- Getting measured: This was straightforward and took about a minute.
- Getting the quote, paying and agreeing on the next appointment time: The tailor gave me a price and I agreed to it without negotiating. I paid half the deposit using a credit card. I confirmed I could come back at 1pm the next day, about 20 hours later, for my first fitting.
Step 3: Get fitted and make adjustments
What to expect: During your first fitting, your piece will be 80-90% done. You’ll put it on and discuss any adjustments with your tailor. Then, you’ll agree on a time for your next fitting, which is usually less than 24 hours later.
Getting fitted can take 15-45 minutes, depending on how many other customers are at the shop, how many adjustments you have to make and how many pieces you’re trying on.
- Getting fitted: After I put on my dress, the tailor would look at it and proactively identify adjustments that needed to be made and would confirm with me that I agreed with the adjustments. They also asked if I wanted to make other modifications.
Two pro tips I learned while getting fitted:
1. Wear the bra that you think you would wear with the dress for the most accurate fit. I didn’t do this and now my dress is a tad tighter around the bust area with a different bra.
2. Ask for shoulder hanging straps to be included. Mine didn’t come with any and that made them harder to hang when I brought them home.
- Adjustments: I had 3-4 adjustments made per dress, and they included:
- Loosening/tightening the bust area
- Shortening the hem line
- Tightening the waist area
- Making the neck collar skinnier (for the halter top)
Step 4: Do the final fitting and pick up clothes
What to expect: Get fitted again and make other adjustments, if needed. Pay the full amount and pick up your clothes.
- Getting fitted: This part was the same as step 3, but with smaller adjustments.
- Picking up clothes: Once I was satisfied, I paid and they packaged the clothes in a plastic bag to give to me.
Is Getting Tailored Clothes Worth It in Hoi An?
My recommendation is to get a clothing piece designed and tailored specifically for you in Hoi An for any of these reasons:
- With due diligence, in Hoi An, you’ll get a good quality piece for a very affordable price, especially if you negotiate. It’s difficult to find the quality-to-price ratio offered by tailors in Hoi An; there’s a reason why it’s known as the tailoring capital of the world.
- If you get along with your tailor shop, it’s a fun and unique experience. Make sure you feel comfortable working with your tailor as they are the ones you will negotiate adjustments with during fitting. I asked to switch my primary point of contact during my first session and had better chemistry with the second person.
- Dresses and suits are the most valuable to get tailored, but even if you don’t generally need nicer clothes, getting more casual clothes that require a better fit can be worth it (e.g., jumpsuits, rompers, a matching couples outfit).
- If you have no space to carry your clothes back, some shops will offer to ship your clothes. This option is likely worth considering if you’re getting multiple nicer pieces.
When Should You Not Get Tailored Clothes in Hoi An?
If you don’t have at least 2 days in Hoi An, consider skipping the tailoring process. Due to the high competition, a lot of tailor shops will work odd hours to meet customers’ schedule demands. Requiring a shop, especially a small one, to turn your clothes around in 1-2 days can be unethical and you risk getting a worse result.
If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
Getting tailored clothes is one of the top things to do in Hoi An. This Hoi An travel guide highlights 9 other great things to do there.
If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
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