Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hoi An: The Town That Tailors To You

The first thing you notice in Hoi An is the shops advertising custom made clothing. To be honest, I didn't give much thought to getting anything tailor-made for me. I'm a backpacker with no expendable income! I'm already carrying far too many things. What am I going to do with fancy dresses and thick wool coats as I travel through the rest of Asia?!?
Just a couple of the many tailoring shops in Hoi An
I blame Matt for the outcome.

Matt spotted a jacket he really liked and went in to try it on. I admit, he looked pretty good in the coat. He decided to get one custom made for him. Matt had his measurements taken and fabric picked out. It would be ready the next afternoon.

Matt getting fitted for his coat
The whole process was a bit fascinating to me and what girl doesn't want new, pretty things in her closet...even if her current closet consisted of a backpack filled with dirty clothes most of the time?

The next day, a brand new custom made jacket was in Matt's possession. The quality of the coat was fantastic and fit Matt very nicely. Matt was happy and I? Well, I was quite jealous.

Matt's new coat
Armed with photographs of dress designs from the internet that I liked, Matt and I went into store after store, trying to find a good tailor. Every store had more or less the same designs, fabrics and pricing. And frustratingly, every store also had very pushy and aggressive salespeople.

I was about ready to give up. I couldn't deal with another saleslady following me around the shops, trying to get me to try on every single piece, telling me that whatever I was trying on looked perfect on me.

We walked into the nearest shop, a small and unassuming place, and it was absolutely perfect!

Me and my tailor, Huyen, in front of Shop 45
Huyen, the owner of Shop 45 was friendly and laid-back. She put no pressure on us from the moment we stepped in. I asked her if she could produce the dresses I had in mind and she offered advice on type of fabric, color and fit, all without being pushy, aggressive or desperate. I knew right away that I had found my tailor!

It was so much fun to pick out my fabric and colors, deciding which would look best for each different design. Huyen took my measurements and I left the shop feeling quite happy to have found such a tailor I was comfortable and confident in.

Huyen takes my measurements
The next day I went in for my first fitting. I was absolutely astounded by the work the seamstresses at Shop 45 had done! The dresses were exactly as pictured, but tailored with all my little specifications. I made some suggestions and left feeling really good, not to mention excited to see the outcome of my dresses and coat!

The following day, I had three completed dresses and one amazing coat in my possession. They were all gorgeous, better than what I had expected and I was a very happy girl with new pretty things to put in my closet!

My yellow hooded jersey dress (with pockets!) for casual days

A gorgeous blue and I love the low back
Looking peachy keen in ruffles, lots of them!
Long fitted wool coat with flared bustle back, LOVE it!
* To find Huyen and Shop 45 in Hoi An, follow the river north, past the market. Shop 45 is located on 45 Hoang Dieu Street. If you go, please tell the ladies that Connie and Matt say hello! 

So, what do you think of our purchases? 

© Connie Hum 2010


  1. Looks like you had a great experience. When I was there a few years ago, I caught up in the excitement of it and wasn't as discerning as I should have been. Ended up buying two suits and shipping them home. When I got home I wasn't as happy with them and regretted the purchase. Kudos to you for being patient! They look great!

  2. @Brooks, I've heard many of those types of experiences as well, which is why I was a bit hesitant and cautious. My biggest fear is that I'm going to gain weight once I stop traveling and none of my new purchases will fit! Maybe it's incentive to stay slim?

    What was the problem you had with the suits? Maybe you can still get them altered?

  3. Wow, I absolutely love all of the outfits you got! What a cool thing, it sounds perfect for me seeing as I can never seem to find anything that A. I like 100% and B. fits my body type 100%. Very cute! (and Matt looks good too!)

  4. @AnnieHi Annie! Thanks so much, you've fueled the flames to Matt's ego. He says he appreciates having a new "fan." HAHA! No seriously, getting clothes made for you is SO MUCH fun! And at these low prices, I'm a bit surprised I was able to exercise control and only walk away with one coat and 3 dresses!

  5. Ummm, beyond beyond beyond gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!! I had a bunch of stuff made in Thailand that I never wore once and just resold on Ebay LOL. I'm so glad you did this. You will treasure these pieces forever. Lots of love. :)

  6. they're so beautiful!!! LOVE the dresses!! i had the same experience as the first comment. I had a suit made for me (but in Bangkok) and now I'm not very happy with it...but I think if I get it altered, it might work again!

  7. You picked out such adorable designs! Plus they all look great on you. So jealous!

  8. Thanks! I hope that once the novelty of getting them custom-made wears off, I'll still be very happy with them, but I'm pretty sure I will be! =)

  9. I loved Hoi An and it's tailors, I think I paid over the odds for mine, but I was so tempted to get more and more! Your dresses look fantastic :)

  10. Love the dresses Connie!! Is the blue one from (well not from, but inspired by)? I love that dress! Whenever I make it to Hoi An I am definitely getting some tailored made dresses and coats. The bustle coats are in... even I have one ;-)

  11. @My-Tien

    I have a friend who got her tailor to make a blouse from a VS's catalog and it's turned out beautiful. I love your blue dress!

  12. Connie I LOVE those dresses!! I would be down there like a shot if it wasn't for umm... "Logistic" problems!

  13. love em! especially the wool coat! i came to hoi an with the same intention of avoiding these tailor shops, but ended up having a pair of heels custom-made ;) sent them home to mom, but am so tempted to go back for more! LOVE hoi an!!! happy travels :)

  14. love them all...and matt's jacket looks great! if i make it to ho an - which i hope to do in the the near future - i will definitely be looking for shop 45.

    can i ask approximately how much it cost to get one dress made? including fabric.

  15. @kay*(from india.with love) The pricing really depends on the design of the clothes (the more intricate the design, the more it will cost) as well as the type of fabric you choose so it will really depend on what you have in mind. And of course, if you order multiple items, you're likely to get a nice discount as well. Hope that helps! =)

  16. Amazing place to be.

  17. If you really love to wear amazing clothes. That is the best place for you to visit. It is like a town where all tailors are around just like what is stated in this post.

  18. Hi - do you have the email address of Shop 45 by any chance?

    If so please let me know at Cheers

  19. haha, sound like you had great time there. I haven't gone to Hoi An but my friend suggested that once comin' to Hoi An, you'd better prepare a new wardrobe :).

  20. @Anonymous Sorry, but Shop 45 doesn't have an email address. At least when I was there...

    @anhhh It's true! When I arrived into Hoi An, I kept saying how I was NOT going to get anything made. Suddenly, I had four extra pieces of clothing and a heavier bag to carry. =)

  21. Hi Connie, I came across your blog while doing research about getting some things custom tailored while in Hoi An. Just thought I'd let you (and your readers) know that I think shop 45 might be under different ownership, and my experience there was sadly not a good one. Shop 45 on Hoang Dieu now says "Cloth Shop 45" rather than "Ngoc Huyen," and though I asked for Huyen (and one girl had the gall to say "yes! Thats me!" I can see now by looking at your photos that she is entirely different). Just wish I had double-checked before getting a dress made, but hope I can help others not make the same mistake :). Really hope your girl Huyen has moved to another storefront!

    1. @MT Oh no, that sounds horrible. I really don't know anything about the current status of the shop. I'm sorry to hear that you didn't have a good experience there!


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