How many times have you talked yourself into buying something less than perfect? You justified the purchase because it was the latest trend or you loved the fabric or color, but then it hangs forlornly in your closet waiting to be worn. Let’s face it; you are never going to wear it because it just doesn’t fit well. Oh, it might fit well in the butt, but be too big in the waist or it’s a great color, but it’s too tight.
Free yourself from the frustration by going to a tailor!
Want to combine your two favorite pastimes, shopping and traveling? Plan a trip to the Far East. Asia has long been known for a wide selection of tailors as well as stunning spas and resorts, so plan to combine both. Traditionally the bastions of fine tailoring have been located in Hong Kong and Thailand, but mainland China is starting to increase its share of the custom market. This makes sense as many of the people who do the actual sewing in Thai tailor shops are of Chinese origin. Due to the fact that many flights to Asian destinations pass through Bangkok, this is an easy way to delve into the world of custom tailoring.
You cannot walk down the street in Thailand without passing a tailor shop. The abundance of tailor shops makes finding a tailor seem like an easy task, but the sheer volume of choices can create difficulty.
So how do you find a good tailor?
It’s not a good idea to just walk into the first promising shop as once inside the storeowners are well versed in how to seduce a potential customer. Do your homework before landing. Research the Internet for customer reviews and search for articles in the finest travel magazines recommending certain shops. Avoid the shops that have signs plastered on them advertising 2 suits and 5 blouses all for some ridiculously low sum. The choice of fabrics will be poorer, the styles outdated and the quality will be low.
Also, never let a tuk tuk or taxi driver take you to a tailor, they are getting a good commission for doing so and don’t have your best interest at heart. Finding a tailor who can do women’s clothing well is the hardest part. You can visit some of the best known tailors in the city who can make a fabulous men’s suit for your husband or boyfriend yet be disappointed in the one they made for you. Most tailors in Bangkok are geared towards men’s clothes. A few of the most reputable ones will steer you away, but most will accept your business with less than satisfying results. Let’s face it; women’s bodies are vastly different than men’s. Our beautiful curves mean the tailor needs to be really practiced to get a great fit all the way through.
The first tailor I visited in Bangkok was proof of this. I had even brought two blouses I owned so all they had to do was make copies as opposed to taking my measurements and creating the shirts from scratch. Even with a blouse to work from, when I tried one of the shirts on it didn’t fit well even considering it was simply a copy of the original shirt. Fast-forward to three more visits each time sending the shirt back for more work. It just never fit right. To the tailors’ credit they only charged me for the two other blouses that were ok and even gave me the one that didn’t fit without charging me.
Therefore, I set out to investigate another shop where a website customer post mentioned they were great at women’s clothes. The shop is called Nickermann’s and it is located in the basement level of the Landmark hotel right at the Nana Sky Train station stop and convenient to all parts of the city. Despite the fact that there were male customers there it was clear that Dee, the owner, understands women. After being offered the ubiquitous beverage I sat on the sofa and browsed some of the latest catalogs from Joan and David, Escada etc. Dee is very honest about what styles would flatter and also knows a lot about fabrics. She will show you the difference in quality or explain why a dress style won’t work well with a certain type of fabric. The interaction creates a sense of luxury as much as the finished clothes do. Having someone completely focused on you for a period of time is similar to when women get married and it’s all about the bride during the wedding.
Frustrated by my previous inability to get a great fit from clothes off the rack I hadn’t invested in any nice clothes in years and I quickly became a Nickermann’s addict. Getting a piece of clothing custom made was as much of a therapeutic experience for me as getting a massage or my hair done. My closet is proof of that. So is my confidence that I look great in my clothes – I should as they were made just for me!
A few final tips: In order to get the perfect fit, you will need to make sure you have enough time in your vacation schedule for a first fitting and then some additional alterations as needed. A smart strategy would be to fly into Bangkok, visit the tailor and see the Grand Palace and other city sites, and have your first fitting. Then head off to a great resort town like Phuket or Samui visiting beautiful beaches and having spa treatments. Or you can even fly to one of Thailand’s neighbors such as Laos or Cambodia for a week. On your way back out of Bangkok you can pick up your new clothes or arrange someone to bring them to the airport if you are only transferring through. Another method is to bring a favorite item of clothing you own that already fits great and ask them to copy it, which will speed up the process a little.
The best thing of all is that they will keep your measurements on file. Once you get back home and everyone compliments you on your flattering clothes you can order more and have them shipped to you. Isn’t that a lot more luxurious than fighting for a parking space and standing under a harsh fluorescent light bulb while you tug at a piece of clothing that doesn’t fit?