Vietnam is one of the most colourful and vibrant countries in the world and part of this stunning colour comes from the clothes. The woman are especially elegant in the traditional Ao Dai, a long tunic over pantaloons, made of Vietnamese silk which is simply stunning with its rich colours and patterns. If there is anywhere that you should get clothes tailored it is Vietnam!
The quaint town of Hoi An is the best place to go for all your tailoring needs. Walking through the streets you will see shop after shop offering tailored clothes in every style, colour and fabric imaginable. The tailors are incredible and can take a sketch, photograph or even just a description of what you want and create the most beautiful outfit or shoes imaginable. One of the best places to go is Yaly’s, the name may be familiar as when Top Gear went to Vietnam, it was the team at Yaly’s who created the (interesting!) suits for the presenters.
My advice would be that before you go to Hoi An think about what you might want to have made. It can be a little overwhelming when you first arrive and are faced with so many choices as the shops all have numerous catalogues and clothes already made up. This being said, I am not the best shopper in the world, so I find too much choice very daunting, for some people it is their idea of heaven to get settled in the shop and sit and flick through catalogues choosing several different outfits!
I like to have an idea in my head before I go into shop so if you have some ideas either sketch them, or find similar images online or in catalogues so that when you visit the shops you can give as much detail about what you want as possible. The more information you can give the tailors the better as they will do their best to create exactly what you describe. Remember also that the girls in the shops are all Vietnamese so although their English is excellent, it is much easier to show them pictures if you are struggling to clearly describe a certain style or pattern that you want.
The girls in the shops are also very good at assisting in which styles may or may not be suitable and they will make suggestions of small changes to enhance the outfits, whether it is a red dragon silk lining on a waistcoat or embroidery on a coat. Most men get suits made in Hoi An and can have anything from traditional work suits to very formal wedding suits and dress shirts. The ladies go for anything and everything- bridesmaids dresses, evening dresses, work suits, trousers, shorts, skirts- the list is endless!
So they way the process works is you will go into the shop of your choosing and will be assigned someone who will assist you throughout the whole process. You will talk through what you are looking for and get the style agreed. The girls will give an idea of what the price will be but will only fully confirm it once you have chosen your fabric. So once you have the style agreed you will look at the fabric choices. The material is everything from Vietnamese silk to basic cotton to chiffon and lace in several colours. There is some fabric that is patterned but the most stunning by far is the silk with its flowers, dragons, houses and traditional symbols.
When your fabric is selected you will be given the final price and as long as you agree to this, you will then be measured for the outfit. This is done very quickly in private changing rooms. Once all this is finished you are free to go out and keep exploring Hoi An! Usually if you get into the shops in the afternoon your first fitting will be around 10 or 11 the following day but your assistant will tell you when you need to come back.
When you return for your fitting they will finalise all the small details- trouser leg or hem length and make any changes required to ensure you are happy with the final outfit. One of the reasons that I would recommend Yaly’s is that no money is taken until you are 100% satisfied with your clothes and they will work on the clothes to make any changes until you are happy. Their service is exceptional.
Once all the adjustments are made there will be one more fitting and once you are happy then payment is taken- either in cash or by credit card. if you are using a smaller shop do check before you order that they will accept credit cards, and then you are done. It is a very easy process and you come away with beautiful, made to measure outfits that are completely unique.