Updated: 13th May, 2017

I’m a self confessed former shopaholic. I used to have bags full of new clothes lying around the house that hadn’t even been opened. I would go clothes shopping at least 2 or 3 times per week and had a ridiculous amount of stuff I didn’t need.

 

I stopped cold turkey when we started to save for travel and have only bought absolutely necessary things since then. However, when I started reading about the tailors of Hoi An and how you could have custom made clothes produced in 24 hours, I felt the twinge of shopping mania starting again.

 

I’m determined not to slip back into my old ways so I’ve not gone crazy (both the size of my bank balance and my backpack kind of dictate that anyway), just a few reasonably priced pieces that I actually needed. Er, aside from the winter coat!

I’m fairly embarrassed to admit that I have an entire wardrobe full of coats at home which really didn’t need adding to! We know if we ever come back to Hoi An it would be so easy to visit with an empty suitcase and leave with a whole new wardrobe.

It sounds amazing fun if you like shopping but the overwhelming choice of tailors and the very Asian approach to sales can be a bit stressful and after trawling around shops for a few days we realised a few things about shopping in Hoi An.

651 Cloth Shop Hoi An

Me with the the tailor at 651 Cloth Shop

What we bought

2 pairs of light weight hiking pants as mine fell apart and Paul’s hang off his skinny frame.

1 casual dress for travelling

1 formal dress for a friend’s wedding

3 silk ties because they were incredibly cheap

2 woollen winter coats purely because we wanted them, not our finest moment, but we both love coats

 

Total cost – £115.60 ($175.50)

 

winter coat selection Hoi An

A lovely winter coat selection

Tips for successful shopping

 

Recommendations/reviews

Do your research in advance, there are 500 tailors in Hoi An and if you can get a personal recommendation or choose one based on positive reviews then it takes out a lot of the stress.

 

However, don’t always listen to recommendations from your hotel as they may well be getting commission from tailors.

Having said all of that, we walked into one highly recommended place and just got a bad vibe that led us straight out the door. Which leads me on to…

 

Trust your gut

If you spot something nice in a shop don’t be afraid to wander in because you haven’t heard of it or had it recommended.

 

We bought a few things just from random shops because we felt comfortable with the tailor and trusted them to provide the service they offered.

 

There are some scammers and places that produce shoddy goods but you just need to have your wits about you.

Paul Deaton Hoi An

New hiking pants that don’t fall down!

Check fabric and pieces in the store

If you decide to buy something make sure to check the fabric thoroughly for quality before you place the order. There will be a ton of display items in the store so make sure to check the stitching detail and craftsmanship, one thing a lot of tailors do is single stitching which won’t last five minutes.

 

Make sure they are 100% clear on design

The easiest way to shop is to either choose one of their existing designs or take a piece of clothing that you want copied into the store. If you want something more custom designed or they are working off a photo, make sure they are 100% clear on what you require.

You could end up with something completely different if you’re not careful and for custom work you will have inevitably paid more.

 

Buy multiple items in one store

If you like a tailor’s work and are keen on a few of their designs you can use it to your advantage.

 

Most places will offer discounts if you buy 2 or more pieces and it means you only have to go to 1 shop for fittings.

 

I wouldn’t put all of my eggs in one basket and we ended up buying from 5 stores in total, but it’s a good cost saver.

Dresses Hoi An

The dresses just taunt you from the street!

Check the full price including tax

When they quote you a price make sure it is for everything – including any additional taxes. If you’ve agreed that they will post something home for you make sure the price is set in stone.

We’ve heard from some people that postage charges have tripled and additional taxes have appeared out of thin air.

 

Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate

Paul and I aren’t aggressive negotiators. I’m terrible at it and Paul tends to use a cheeky chappy approach that seems to be successful.

His technique in Hoi An was to tell the shop owners we’d consider the price and have a wander around town before making a decision. As soon as he said this the price would start dropping rapidly but it was still a very friendly negotiation.

 

Pay on completion

Never pay in full for something before receiving the goods.

 

At best you will pay the full price on completion, but more than likely you will have to pay a deposit for the work.

Both of which are fine but never leave without the goods after handing over the full cost of your item.

651 Cloth Shop Hoi An

Me with the the tailor at 651 Cloth Shop

 

Tailors we would recommend highly

Note: We visited Hoi An in 2013, tailors may have changed since.

 

Son Ca – 125 Tran Phu St, Hoi An

We had copies of Paul’s existing hiking pants made here and they are absolutely spot on.

They are completely identical to the originals and the fabric is incredibly light. Made within 24 hours and a perfect fit. The tailor was great at listening to exact specifications.

 

Blue Rose Design – 9 Tran Phu St, Hoi An

This wonderful tailor is moving locations soon so make sure to search for her new address. The girls in this shop have nailed how to deal with westerners, they aren’t pushy and are incredibly friendly and easy going.

I had a casual dress made here but could have bought the whole shop, they did a great job in beautiful fabric.

Tailor Hoi An

Where we had hiking pants made

651 Cloth Shop – 651 Hai Ba Trung, Hoi An

I had a beautiful formal dress made here for a wedding, the owner has the most wonderful collection of dresses and is incredibly friendly and accommodating.

She really helped me out with what style suited me and subtle adjustments she could make to suit my shape.

 

Nhung – 19 Tran Phu St, Hoi An

I randomly decided to add to my coat collection and fancied a tweed duffle. You can buy these at literally every single shop in Hoi An, but when I was checking on the quality of fabric and stitching none of them were a match for the British winter.

I liked a unique design in Nhung and the owner’s craftsmanship was better than anything I’d seen.

Paul Deaton

New winter coat – we asked the tailor to leave a little space for Paul to grow into it when we get back

Anh – 52 Tran Hung Dao St, Hoi An

Obviously since I now had a coat Paul decided he needed one! There were tons of options everywhere but none that stood out.

We stumbled across Anh and she had a gorgeous military jacket on display in not a very nice fabric. We haggled for a woollen version and a beautiful coat was born!

 

If this post has made you want to go on a shopping rampage let us know by leaving a comment.

Don’t forget to pin me!

Tips for Shopping in Hoi An

26 Responses

    • Maddie

      Isn’t is gorgeous, I think he looks so handsome in it 🙂 The original was in a nasty shiny fabric, having 3 massive fabric swatches to choose from was great fun. If you need any hiking gear replicated then Hoi An is the place to do it, we were really impressed with the quality.

      Reply
    • Maddie

      You will have no problems finding a MOH dress, I kept saying to Paul that it was like bridal heaven with all the options available. The dress I had made for a wedding was only $30 and obviously fits like a glove.

      Reply
  1. Laura

    I an so green with envy about your fab fitting dress… having dress dilemas with gappy-ness and strange boobness!! Coast has a lot to answer for, sure no one is really that shape!!

    Reply
    • Maddie

      I tried to explain the trauma of dress shopping to Paul but I don’t think he got it. You have no idea how weird it is to have a dress that fits me everywhere!

      Reply
  2. Laura

    ps hope you have some kinda shrug thing for the wedding… think you may be disappointed with our ‘warm’ summer – 22 degrees!! Heat wave!

    Reply
    • Maddie

      I need to go hunting in the storage unit but will hopefully find a shrug or pash to keep me warm!!

      Reply
    • Maddie

      It was great fun Charlie, you can certainly spend a few quid on dresses while your boyfriend is having some suits made 😉 Enjoy!

      Reply
  3. Sarah Somewhere

    Love everything! Your dresses are gorgeous, and yes, Paul does look very handsome in his coat! For those prices, consider it an investment 😉
    Sarah Somewhere recently posted..This DressMy Profile

    Reply
    • Maddie

      Definitely an investment, I would have spent that much on a coat at home. We may be heading back there some day with completely empty suitcases to buy a whole new wardrobe!

      Reply
  4. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    It’s funny because back when we were planning our trip, both Tony & I flagged Hoi An as one of our must-visit places in VN, simply because we wanted to have bespoke items made. And then we got there and we had both been SO out of the shopping game for so long and shifted into the “only buy things when they are needed” mindset that this, plus the overwhelming number of tailors meant that we left the city without buying a single thing! The closest I came was trying on some shoes (my real addiction) and I really toyed with the idea of getting some custom made shoes (how often does that happen?!?) but my practical sign won out and I walked away empty handed. I partly talked myself out of buying any dresses or clothing because I just liked everything on the mannequins so much and didn’t want to have to try to pick out fabric or anything like that… clearly I needed to read this post before we visited! 😀
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..The Nighttime is the Right Time in TaipeiMy Profile

    Reply
    • Maddie

      On our first day in Hoi An I really thought I’d just be overwhelmed by choice and not get anything but we actually had a list of stuff we needed to get so we braved the first shop, once we’d done that it was a piece of cake. For me buying tailor made dresses was a revelation, as someone who has a top half that doesn’t match her bottom half it feels amazing to have something that fits everywhere!!

      Reply
  5. Casey @ A Cruising Couple

    So so glad that I found this! We are currently cycling through Vietnam, and if all goes accordingly we’ll arrive in Hoi An in a week or so. I’m so excited about the shopping, even knowing I’m gong to have to carry all my purchases on my bike. I figure going home for two weddings in the fall gives me an excuse to get some new dresses. Thanks for the recommendations! Should make the whole process much more relaxing 🙂
    Casey @ A Cruising Couple recently posted..Halong Bay, Vietnam: Is It Worth It?My Profile

    Reply
    • Maddie

      Yay! Glad you’ve found it useful and how amazing that you’re cycling through Vietnam. It is such an amazing country, Paul and I fell head over heels for it and hope you are too. If you’re going to a couple of weddings then you definitely have an excuse 😉 Also, it’s really not that expensive to post things home…

      Reply
  6. Jenia from HTL

    Hi there! Thank you for the wonderful recommendations on the shops in Hoi An. We will be heading there in May! Just wondering how your pieces have held up — particularly the winter coats (I am so dreaming of mine!)
    Jenia from HTL recently posted..Month 8 RoundupMy Profile

    Reply
    • Maddie

      Have a wonderful time Jenia 🙂 Bizarrely I’m actually wearing one of my Vietnamese dresses right now! Everything has held up really well so far. My husband had a winter coat made and it did really well it the freezing British winter. Enjoy the shopping

      Reply
  7. Julie

    Just thought I’d let others know of my experience – I went to Son Ca after reading about it here and I had a pair of hiking pants made that also turned out ok. Another person in our party had a dress made at this shop, but it wasn’t a good fit when it was finished and they took quite a few fittings to actually make the changes that had been requested. Wouldn’t recommend Son Ca for ladies clothes. They also required 100% payment right at the start (which we didn’t do).

    Reply
  8. Phu Quoc

    I am in Hoi An now and the clothes just do not look good nor stylish. The rise in the US dollar has made shopping here ridiculous.

    It’s better to just buy something from zara and get it altered

    Reply

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