Hoi An tailors are famous throughout Vietnam. But for anyone rushing here expecting to get a Savile Row experience, think again. Tailors in Hoi An are not Savile Row tailors but then again neither are the prices. So even though they don’t have the expertise of a highly trained London tailor, Hoi An tailors can still be pretty good – if you choose the right one.
But really, whether you end up with a men’s suit that bedazzles or a suit with flies so high it’s impossible to pee, what the heck? Getting clothes tailored in Hoi An is fun. It’s something we recommend. Where else in the world can you get a custom-made suit for 100 USD (2,500,000 VND)?
How Did Hoi An Become Famous for Tailors?
The Hoi An tailor industry has its origins in the Silk Road of the 16th and 17th centuries. Back then, Hoi An was a thriving river port. Considered one of the best destinations for trading in Southeast Asia, the town, a conduit between Europe and Asia attracted merchants from all over the world. One of the major commodities traded was silk. After time, many of these merchants settled in Hoi An. Silk was made into garments. Tailoring knowledge was passed down through the generations and the Hoi An tailor of today emerged.
How Do You Choose a Tailor in Hoi An?
Hoi An has over 760 tailors. So how to choose? What makes one Hoi An tailor worth recommending over another? Is it price, customer service, dressmaking expertise, choice of fabric or design advice? These are all good attributes but let’s be honest, most of them are subjective. Someone’s ‘great tailor’ can be someone else’s disaster.
And then you have Trip Advisor reviews. Sadly, this once wonderful site is no longer the king of recommendations it once was. Whether it be false reviews, coerced reviews or simply off their head reviews, nowadays, Trip Advisor’s online reviews don’t necessarily point you in the right direction.
So how do you choose? You can either stop in the middle of the street, close your eyes, turn around and point at the nearest shop (because it’s sure to be a tailor shop) or you can look for independent unbiased advice (hello, that’s us). But whichever method you choose, you should be knowledgeable about what’s out there.
Hoi An has three types of tailor shops, the expensive high-end ones like Yaly Couture Hoi An and Be Be Tailor. Next level down are the mid-range tailor shops like Bao An, Mr Xe and hundreds more (because these are the most prevalent). The cheapest tailors in Hoi An are the ones found in Hoi An’s Cloth Market.
High Priced Tailors
The higher priced tailor shops are your Yaly Couture, Be Be Tailor, Kimmy Tailor, A Dong Silk and Thu Thuy Silk. They are all big, beautiful and successful (each with several shops around town). Staff speak English, have knowledge of fabric and look ultra-chic in their traditional Ao Dai. These tailor shops with their high prices, sprawling premises onsite tailors and promise of a refund if things don’t work out, offer security, reliability and quality.
It’s a great marketing ploy. But, as a manager once confided, ‘the tailoring is all the same, we just look better; we often have to outsource our garments anyway because we get so much demand’.
So, should you bother going to one of these expensive tailors?
Yes. Absolutely! We love going to these shops. The overall experience beats any in town. If you like fabric you will be in heaven. Here, unlike in any other tailor shop in Hoi An, you will find fabric and colors that do not exist anywhere else.
Prices in the high-end tailor shops are fixed – mostly. You can barter but mostly, the price quoted is what you’ll pay. These tailor shops also have a lot of fittings that can eat into your holiday time, so make it clear if you are in a hurry.
Mid Range Tailoring Shops
Here is where you will often come across tailoring gems. Whilst their prices are not as cheap as those in the Hoi An Cloth Market, they are still pretty good. These tailor shops outnumber all the others and for that reason, competition is fierce and trip advisor reviews are king. This is good because the threat of a bad Trip Advisor review keeps many of them in check. But not always, be sure to read Hoi An Tailoring Scams.
Whilst their fabric choice isn’t on par with the expensive tailor shops, it can still be quite good and all will have thousands of fabric swatches to help you choose. Girls in these shops frequently speak fair to good English and you can barter – even if, at first, it seems you can’t. Prices are not set. These tailor shops usually bring you in for one fitting which is really all you need (from experience) – unless they’ve stuffed it up and if they’ve stuffed it up, you might as well forget it.
If you choose a mid-priced tailor located in Hoi An Old Town, you may find yourself paying a little bit more than at others further out. Rents in Hoi An Old Town are very high and high overheads of course inflate prices.
Cheap Hoi An Cloth Market Tailors
Many Hoi An expats swear by tailors in Hoi An Cloth Market. Not only do you have the numerous bolts of fabric at your disposal, you often have very experienced tailors who have been in the tailoring business for years. Indeed, many of the most successful and affluent tailors in Hoi An like Ms Quyen, owner of Yaly Couture, started out in the Hoi An Cloth Market.
The tailors in the cloth market are often full of personality as is evident when they tout for business. You can barter with them but watch out, they know how to barter and they know how to get a sale.
The Best Tailors in Hoi An
When someone says, ‘this is the best tailor in Hoi An’, be cautious. There is no such thing as a ‘best tailor’ in Hoi An. We know. For over six years and many garments later, we have chased ‘best tailor’ recommendations. We have never found a 100% reliable tailor – but we have found some very good ones.
So, from a wide range of tailors across all price points, below is our ‘Best’ Hoi An Tailor recommendations. They are a mix of high, mid-range and tailors in the Cloth Market. They are all good.
(We recommend, high-end tailors like Yaly Couture for elaborate tailoring such as wedding dresses, complicated patterns and formal wear. The Cloth Market for straightforward copies and the mid-range tailor shops for all the rest.)
The Tailory Hoi An (mid-range)
The Tailory’s high Trip Advisor rating is well deserved. Overall this tailor gets close to ticking all the boxes.
The owner, Thao, worked at A Dong Silk for many years before opening her own shop. Her understanding that good customer service is vitally important shows. Her staff are friendly but not pushy and go out of their way to make you feel at ease.
Fabric choice at the The Tailory is good. Their selection of cloth is vast and incorporates a lot of newer designs you won’t find in other mid-range tailor shops.
As for their tailoring, there is no difference between the tailoring done at The Tailory versus that at some of Hoi An’s most expensive tailor shops. There is however one big difference: the price.
Price Guide: men’s suits 120 – 300 USD (2,800,000 – 7,000,000 VND); shirt or skirt 30+ USD (700,000 VND); dresses 30+ USD (700,000 VND) (+ prices may be higher depending on fabric and design)
Bao An Tailor (mid-range)
The quality of tailoring at Bao An Tailor is exceptional. If it wasn’t for limited material choice, Bao An Tailor would be a strong contender for the Number 1 Best Tailor in Hoi An. (Whilst the in-shop material choice is limited, there is a wide selection of fabric swatches).
Bao An is a family business where the skills and traditions of tailoring have been passed down three generations. Hien, the owner who also worked for Kimmy Tailoring, one of Hoi An’s well-known high-end tailors, speaks excellent English and her years of experience dealing with foreigners shows.
Hien’s attention to detail is impressive and the quality of tailoring is so good, the copies we had made were better than the originals.
If you can’t find the fabric you are looking for, buy it elsewhere and come back for the A-Grade tailoring.
Price Guide: men’s suits 80 – 150+ USD (1,800,000 – 3,400,000VND); shirt or skirt 20 – 30+ USD (465,000 – 695,000 VND); dresses 20 – 50 USD (465,000 – 1,100,000 VND) (+ prices may be higher depending on fabric and design)
Note: Instead of paying hotels a commission to bring them customers, Bao An Tailor prefers to give you a discount instead. Mention ‘Hoi An Now’ to receive 15% off. Or, buy multiple items to receive up to 20% off.
Sewing Bee (Hoi An Cloth Market)
A favorite of several Hoi An expats, Sewing Bee is one of the many stalls nestled at the Cloth Market. Look for the happy bee sign with the number 11 in red.
Sewing Bee offers an easy, no-frills, tailoring experience for customers on a tighter budget. And whilst the material and pampering at the Cloth Market isn’t as fine as that in the higher priced shops, it’s definitely a lot more fun to get a garment custom-made for next to nothing.
So if you’re unsure about this entire tailoring business, this is probably where I’d head. The tailoring is sound if it’s a simpler garment or straightforward copies.
The turnover of fitting to garment pick up at Sewing Bee is around 5 hours. If you can’t find the material you’re looking for, tell them. They’ll know a stall holder in the Cloth Market who does. In the Cloth Market, sharing is the name of the game. They borrow from each other all the time, so don’t be shy.
Price Guide: men’s suits 90 – 160 USD (2,000,000 – 3,700,000 VND); shirts & skirts 17 – 25 USD (390,000 – 580,000 VND); dresses 18+ USD (415,000 VND) (+ prices may be higher depending on fabric and design)
Yaly Couture (Higher end)
For a full-on pomp and pampering experience head to Yaly Couture. With its magnificent showrooms, wall to wall fabric and elegantly dressed sales staff, Yaly Couture allows you to experience the world of the rich and famous at an ordinary man’s price (relatively speaking).
We have had many outfits custom-made at Yaly Couture. Not all of them were successful but many exceeded our expectations and on the whole, they have been consistently good.
One of the first English speaking tailors in Hoi An catering to tourists, ‘Yaly’ is renowned for their ability to master elaborate tailoring such as complex embroidery, beadwork and other intricate sewing work. They were the only tailor that could copy the complex stitching required for a pair of cargo pants we wanted tailored.
As for their material choice: if you have a fabric fetish, take a drool bowl. They stock fabulous high-quality patterned, flecked and plain linens, cotton and silk in all colors of the rainbow that you won’t find anywhere else in Hoi An.
They also offer 3D body imaging. This allows them to collect your body measurements so you can use their online tailoring service once you return home (don’t put on weight!).
Yaly Couture is our Number 1 Tailor for difficult patterns, formal wear and special occasion outfits. This is where to get your ballgowns, fancy evening wear and once in a life-time wedding dresses tailor made (maybe get two wedding dresses because, let’s face it, relationships can be complex these days so it’s good to have a wedding dress – or two – up your sleeve!)
Price Guide: men’s suits 115 – 700 USD (2,600,000 – 16,200,000 VND); shirts & skirts 19 – 115 USD (440,000 – 2,600,000 VND); dresses 30 – 250 USD (695,000 – 5,700,000 VND) (depending on fabric and design)
Mr Xe (Mid-Range)
Considered by several expats to be one of the best tailors in Hoi An, Mr Xe’s tailoring is on par with any of the large operators in Hoi An. The difference? Price. His are a fraction of theirs without any compromise in quality.
Whilst he isn’t on site all the time, try and catch Mr Xe for your initial consultation and measurements. Mr Xe is a tailor. Speaking directly to the ‘source’ rather than a sales assistant, ensures a far better outcome and probably a reduced need for alterations. If that isn’t possible, make sure he is at the fitting. But it’s not just because of his tailoring skills that we urge you to encounter Mr Xe. He is one of life’s colourful characters. His infectious jovial nature and flamboyant personality fills the room. Mr Xe is an unforgettable joy to meet.
Whilst Mr Xe Tailor stocks a good range of suit and shirt fabric, his linen range is limited. However, cotton-wise, the choice is far wider but only for Bengal stripe, patterned and checks.
Hoi An Now staff use Mr Xe often. His attention to detail is impressive. Shirts are always tailored to perfection with excellent stitching and finishing.
We recommend Mr Xe for men’s suits and shirts and women’s business suits.
Price Guide: men’s suits 130 – 150 USD (3,000,000 – 3,400,000 VND); shirts & skirts 25 – 35 USD (580,000 – 800,000 VND); dresses 45 – 80 USD (1,000,000 – 1,800,000 VND) (+ prices may be higher depending on fabric and design)
Ta Ta (Hoi An Cloth Market)
The Cloth Market in Hoi An’s Central Market is a maze of tailors and material choice. It can also be somewhat overwhelming. Upon entry, vendors from all directions call out vying for your trade. So, who to choose? Who can you be assured to provide the tailoring service you need?
We’ve tried many and Ta Ta Tailors is one we recommend. Ta Ta Tailor is not only reasonably priced but consistently good. We haven’t had made-to-measure garments made at Ta Ta Tailor but each of the copied garments were tailored exactly. With other tailors the collar may be bigger or the length slightly out, however this has never been our experience with Ta Ta Tailors. Their stitching and English has also been excellent.
In one particular case, we had the same shirt copied at Ta Ta Tailors and a high-end tailor to see if there was a difference in the tailoring.
There was a difference but not in the tailoring. The quality of linen was better at Ta Ta Tailor. The price was also different. Much cheaper.
If you don’t find the material you are looking for let them take you around to other stall holders. You’re sure to access the exact fabric you are looking for.
Ta Ta Tailors is also have a quick turnaround from order to pick up. The same day or the next day. One fitting is usually suffice. This means you pick up your clothing the day after ordering (unless in the case of made-to-measure garments there is a need for alterations).
It’s the tailoring equivalent to fast food. This doesn’t mean you get sub-standard clothing.
For the price, attention to detail, fabric choice along with customer service and consistency, Ta Ta Tailor is highly recommended.
Price Guide: men’s suits 70 – 140 USD (1,600,000 – 3,200,000 VND); shirts & skirts 15 – 25 USD (350,000 – 580,000 VND); dresses 15 – 35 USD (350,000 – 800,000 VND) (depending on fabric and design)
Tailoring Tips – a Must Read Guide!
1. There Isn’t a Perfect Tailor in Hoi An
Whilst some tailors in Hoi An are very good, few shops tick all the boxes (fabric quality, fabric choice (colors and prints), garments, customer service and pricing). Manage those expectations, let go of the small things, and just enjoy the process. You probably don’t regularly get bespoke suits and clothing tailored so have fun with it!
2. Beware of Salespeople in Search of Higher Commission
Name recognition isn’t everything – we’ve had our fair share of mediocre experiences at a number of biggest tailor shops in town.
At one we had to speak with five different staff members before receiving some help. Not one smiled until we unknowingly picked out the most expensive fabric. In search of a higher commission we were then lied to shamelessly about other fabric options (see Hoi An Tailoring Scams).
3. Only Get Tailoring Done at a High-End Tailor Shop if You Absolutely Love the Material
We fell in love with the silk at one high-end tailor. Priced at 180 USD (4,000,000 VND), the Ao Dai would be for special occasions. The material was the best quality we’d seen. Original prints (no flowers, yay!).
In the end the tailoring was merely comparable with work done at a mid-priced Hoi An tailor so don’t expect greatness in this regard. Invariably, you’re really paying for the fabric at these nicer establishments. But go for it if you find it.
4. Choose the Right Material For Your Garment
Material choice is one of the main reasons for a tailoring catastrophe, so, do your research beforehand, physically see and feel the quality of materials that are available and ask the tailor’s advice before you choose. This applies to buttons, liners, leather options, and any other items.
But be careful: at one Cloth Market tailor (not Sewing Bee) we went with a linen mix to cut costs, instead of the 100% linen. On first washing the garment started to pill and at home in the sunlight we saw light yellow stains all over the linings and on the actual linen. 30 minutes’ scrubbing got rid of the satins, but of course, more pills started to form.
We recommend you opt for better material if the price difference is still within your budget. (See Hoi An Tailoring Scams) Be sure to bring the fabric outside in the sun, especially at the dimly-lit Cloth Market. Always check your finished garment carefully before departing the shop.
5. Don’t Assume Your Vietnamese Sales Assistant Understands
Think Chinese whispers. You are communicating a message to a Vietnamese sales assistant who then communicates that message to a tailor. Think how awry Chinese whispers becomes when passing on a simple message – in the same language. Throw in language translation and you get the idea how confused your instructions might become.
In addition, many sales staff may look like they’ve understood. In Vietnam it is common for someone to nod understanding when they actually do not have a clue. Do not ‘assume’ they’ve understood. Bring pictures if you have something specific in mind. Use check questions and ask for drawings if relevant.
6. Hoi An Tailors Aren’t Always Consistent
Quality can vary greatly at the same venue from one day to the next. Don’t become complacent anywhere.
7. Spend Your Time Wisely
High-end tailors often have you return for more fittings than necessary. Three fittings over the course of five days is common and the third fitting is usually superfluous unless there was a problem. It’s likely a show of thoroughness to justify the cost.
Tourists are often time-poor so make it very clear to them if you’re on a strict timeline. The mid-range and Cloth Market stalls will get you in and out faster.
8. Bring enough for a deposit (40-50% of the final price). Smaller Hoi An tailors may ask for one
Depending on the salesperson, you may be able to proceed without a deposit but often a deposit is required.
9. Agreed on a Price? Paid Your deposit? Great. Now, get it all in writing and bring your receipt when picking up the garments
Before any tailoring takes place, make sure you have the agreed price and deposit paid in writing. See Tailoring Scams.
10. Check Buttons, Stitching and Seams
In the excitement of getting a bespoke suit or your custom-made dream outfit, many people overlook the smaller things. Make sure you are not one of them. No matter the price of the tailor, check: buttons are sewn on properly, stitching is finished not lose, seams are straight and hems have binding. And if your outfit needs buttons, save yourself some tailoring grief: choose them before the garment is made up. If not, you may end up with a beautiful silk shirt set off by the ugliest, cheapest plastic buttons the tailor could find. What could be worse? A plane to catch and no time to fix it.
Lastly and above all, check stitching has been secured by backstitch. Otherwise you may bend over, hear a rip and find your backside is unleashed to the rest of the world. Yes, that’s right. This comes from red-faced experience!
The Tailoring Process
- The Garment to Be Tailored: Go over ideas with your salesperson and decide on a garment.
- Choose Material: Pick a fabric (or multiple, if you’re getting a suit) and settle on a price.
- Measurements: Get measured and set a time to return for your first fitting.
- Return for the Fitting: Get fitted and decide if alterations are needed. If they are required, plan to return for another fitting. Tailors typically do not place a limit on the number of fittings you can have.
- Final Fitting: All happy? Perfect! Pay and go on your merry way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tailor prices vary depending on the type of tailor and fabric you choose. You’ll find some of the lowest prices in the Hoi An Cloth Market and the most expensive in the Be Be Tailor, Kimmy’s and Yaly Couture types of tailor shops. All prices are dependent on fabric choice and which tailor you choose but as a rough gauge you can expect to pay the following prices: Men’s suits 70 – 800 USD (1.6 million – 18.5 million VND); Men’s shirts 15 – 110 USD (350,000 – 2.5 million VND); Women’s shirts 20 – 110 USD (460,000 – 2.5 million VND); Women’s dresses 25 – 65 USD (580,000 – 1.5 million VND); Men’s trousers 15 – 175 USD (350,000 – 4 million VND)
Tailored suits and dresses, shirts and trousers and fancy-dress outfits for that matter, anything – can be made in a day though if you’ve got more than a day it is advisable to let them know and take more time. You may get a better end result.
In Hoi An you don’t need to wait weeks to have your beautifully stitched tailored suit made. The fastest a suit can be made in Hoi An is one or two days. The more expensive the service, the longer it takes to get a suit made. Expensive tailor shops in Hoi An often insist on copious (and sometimes unnecessary) fittings so you may be looking at three days or more. The cheaper tailor shops can turn a suit around in 24 hours with one or two fittings.
Hoi An Tailors do suits well and another great option for tailored suits is Mr Xe. A tailor himself, with years of experience, Mr Xe’s tailoring is renowned in Hoi An. Not only are his prices reasonable and his attention to detail exemplary, he goes out of his way to ensure you’re happy with the end result.
Tailored suit prices vary depending on what tailor and type of fabric used. For an approximate idea, we are presenting prices from all three types of Hoi An tailor shops: Cloth Market 70 – 130 USD (1.6 – 3 million VND); Mid-Range Tailor 80 – 150 USD (1.8 – 3.4 million VND); High-End Tailor 125 – 854 USD (2.8 – 19.7 million VND)
Perhaps this question should be ‘what can’t tailors do with dresses?’ The answer is nothing. Tailors can do anything with dresses. They can work off photographs, from a dress you bring in or they can tailor a dress based on your personal design. If you choose to do the latter, make sure your salesgirl understands your concept clearly. Draw it, write down instructions and get her to repeat them. Do not have unrealistic expectations. Even copied garments have turned out bombs for us (in all types of tailor shops from low to highest priced).
No matter if you use an expensive or cheap tailor shop, you should always ask the tailor to do the silk test. If the tailor does not know what this is walk straight out. Any experienced tailor or salesperson knows this test. It involves burning a piece of the silk with a lighter. If it melts it is not silk, it is synthetic. If it doesn’t burn and smells like paper??, it is silk. Hoi An’s Silk Village has the best range of silks in town.
There are basically three ways that tailors in Hoi An learn the tailoring trade. They study tailoring at a training school in places like Ho Chin Minh, Hanoi or Da Nang. This is the most expensive way to learn the tailoring trade as the course is short (6 months) but the training is very in-depth and highly regarded. They train through a vocational school. This requires study of up to 1½ years and whilst this type of training is far longer than the city training schools, students do not get the exposure to equipment that those in the city training schools do. They learn the tailoring trade through their families.
Tailors in Hoi An make around 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 VND per month (218 – 261 USD), depending on their experience and skills. Those who are more skilled (professional tailors) earn good money by Vietnamese standards i.e. 10 – 12,000,000 VND (435 – 522 USD) per month. You’ll find tailors working in the Cloth Market, in tailor shops like Yaly Couture and Be Be Tailor as well as in workshops.
Hoi An Tailoring Scams
Recommendations from Hotels/Homestays
Not all – but most – homestays and hotels get commission for tailor referrals. Whilst you don’t necessarily pay more, you are certainly not getting a recommendation for the ‘best tailor in Hoi An’. Rather you are getting a recommendation for a tailor who lines the hotel/homestays pockets. Sometimes the tailor recommended could be a good Hoi An tailor, you need to research. We’ve had cases where the tailor recommends a tailor to a hotel patron. The guest believes they are getting a superior deal but infact they end up being charged far more by that tailor than someone who walks off the street. So lesson: do not say to a tailor a particular hotel recommended you.
Make Sure the Price is Right! Write it All Down
Write down the final price. Write down the process … Write down any assurances that you will get your money back if you are unhappy. Get this ‘agreement’ signed.
Most tailors are really honest. Some of this is also due to the power of Hoi An Tailor Trip Advisor reviews. But this scam has happened to us more than once. The price at the end was disputed, we were told we didn’t understand. We understood but unfortunately – in this case – with a substantial deposit down, it was either walk away and lose your money or pay the extra amount. Now it could also be a genuine misunderstanding. Whilst your Vietnamese sales assistant or tailor seems to speak very good English, let us assure you that it is often nowhere near as good as you think. So – write it all down.
Glowing Hoi An Tailor Trip Advisor Reviews
Everyone uses Trip Advisor, it’s a fabulous resource but more and more Trip Advisor reviews can’t be trusted. Trip Advisor are doing their best to prevent fake reviews but as with everything to do with internet control, it is not easy. Organizations will coerce clients in to writing reviews, they will use family members and friends to write reviews and they will even take out fake Facebook accounts to write a glowing review of their own organization. Be wary of overly glowing reviews. You need to read the bad reviews but be careful of these too. We have known of rival businesses posting negative Trip Advisor reviews just to pull the high Trip Advisor Ranking down.
Ask to See their Expensive Fabric
Tailors, more particularly those in the Cloth Market will show you a cheaper linen or silk to keep prices down and get a sale. Once you get a price on fabric ask if they have a better, more expensive selection. You will usually be better off for paying a little bit more.
Ask to See all their Fabric Range
Sales staff, often work on a commission basis (particularly in the expensive tailor shops). Therefore, the urge to get the customer to pay more (for more commission) can sometimes overtake a sales person’s integrity. We have found ourselves only being shown high-priced fabric racks when there were many other cheaper options. Whilst we have experienced this, we stress it is not a general situation. And it is certainly not condoned by management. If you suspect this is occurring, be polite and ask to see cheaper options.
It’s Not the Material You Chose
After choosing your material, ask for a sample of it. In several instances, we are sure that material we chose was not the material used.