Tim and I went from ‘We definitely don’t need any clothes’ to ‘Okay, maybe just one thing each’ to ‘ Tim could use a suit’ to ‘Yeah, we’ll just take a whole new wardrobe thanks’. This is the effect that having clothes tailored in Hoi An has on you.
I’m exaggerating a lot when I say we got a new wardrobe (in my wildest dreams), but we did walk away with: For Tim – 1 x suit, 1 x trousers, 3 x pair of shorts, 2 x shirts & new soles for his shoes, for me – 2 x dresses, 1 x trousers and 1 x maxi dress. Now, I know what you’re thinking – how did Tim manage to end up with more clothes than me? It’s something I’ve been asking myself ever since and I may be saving it up to use later when I want something, you know – ‘But remember, you got way more clothes than me in Hoi An!’
To make ourselves feel better about spending up in Hoi An, we said it was ‘a wedding present’ to ourselves. We have said this enough that we actually do believe it. So yeah, happy wedding to us!
Now, for the tailoring.
Hoi An is widely known as ‘the place’ in Vietnam to have clothes tailored and for good reason – there are 624 tailors in Hoi An! You can’t walk around the old town without being approached to have some clothes made. There are so many tailors that the choice can be a bit overwhelming and like anything, some will be better than others. I had read up on the first place we visited, but after awful service we walked out and went elsewhere. We ended up at B’Lan after we were recommended by a girl we met in our Guest House and they were amazing.
As soon as we walked in we were welcomed with smiles and cold bottles of water. At this stage we weren’t 100% sure what it was we wanted, but that was okay. You can browse through folders, have a look at all the material they have or even jump on their computer to use your old friend Google. The women are so helpful and before you know it, you are choosing your material and indicating how long you would like your dress. It takes about 10 -15 minutes to be measured up and these are all recorded in a book. We asked a few times during the process what the cost would be and were just met with giggles and ‘I’ll give you a good price, don’t worry’ We probably should have been pushy and found out at the start what price we were looking at – but we were happy with what we got in the end.
We were asked to return the next afternoon for the preliminary fittings and we arrived excited to see what had been done. We were blown away with the quality and likeness to what we wanted. My dresses were (nearly) perfect (just needed to be brought up a bit) and Tim’s suit was lovely (just needed to be taken in a little). This was no problem and the women were happy to talk through what they thought would look best (it’s a good idea to listen to what they say, they know their shit). One woman just couldn’t believe that they needed 4xm of material for ONE of my dresses. Welcome to the world of being a 6″1 woman.
We returned again the next morning and everything was good to go. The great thing for us was that B’Lan arranged the shipping of our clothes back to Australia. We definitely didn’t have enough room to fit our new clothes in (sniff, sniff), but we know they will be in Aus waiting for us when we return. Obviously, this adds to the overall cost, but it was worth it for us. They charge per kilo and you can either chose whether to ship by Airmail (most expensive, takes 3-4 weeks) or by sea (cheaper, takes 3 months). Also, the great thing about B’Lan is they keep your measurements and give you their email address so you can order from them when you get home. Um, what? So good.
So, you’re wondering what we paid hey? In total (including all clothes, new soles & postage) we paid US$339, GBP£260, AU$446, around US$60 of this was shipping, so clothes total was $US279, GBP£214, AU$367. Not bad when you consider that a suit in the UK or Aus can set you back that whole amount.
If you’re looking to get anything tailored in Hoi An, I can’t recommend B’Lan enough – they were fantastic.