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I am going to Vietnam in December - are there any must buy things I should keep a look out for? Have any of you had any experience of tailoring there - is it any good or not? Am thinking particularly of getting a couple of silk or cotton shirts made up.
If you have any items in your current wardrobe that you love and fit really well it's definitely worth taking those along to have replicated in other materials/colours. My experience with most tailoring in SEA is that while it's high quality (though you have to be really discerning about the fabrics, especially the weight of them) the patterns they use don't always work for western body shapes or they can feel a bit dated. It's a lot more foolproof if you get the local styles of clothing but I find you don't end up wearing those much beyond special occasions.
It's about 10 years since I was there, but I got some lovely stuff made in Hoi An. I got it all shipped home as I was travelling for a while after and didn't want to carry it. Got a lovely dress and matching jacket made that I wore to a wedding, and a couple of pairs of pyjamas with matching dressing gowns. Bought some nice shoes there too, though not tailor made.
If there's anything specific you want made, take photos with you. There are loads of tailors so best to ask around for recommendations.
Are used to live permanently in central Vietnam, so I'm very familiar with the tailors in Hoi An. I still spend A lot of time a year in Vietnam, so no it very very well. Look around as some Taylor's are better than others, and also the prices differ as well.
If you are in HCM City there are some good shopping centers around, and you can buy a lot of things that were meant to be sold internationally but because of some small defect or what ever reason they are sold locally. I have found very nice clothes intended for Zara and other places in shopping center . I am a UK size 4 to 6 though so can find a lot of things.
The cost really depends on where you buy and the quality of the material, and the tailor. I have my suits made, but I have known the Taylor for a long time. The last time I had one made it was around 250 USD for a suit jacket and skirt and trousers. I think she charged me $80 for the formal dress I had made as well. These were made at a very reputable Taylor in Hoi An.But I had my neighbor to make two sets of pajamas for me and I paid 200,000 dong for the material and the work, so about $10. This was in Quang Tri province though, so not touristy and a very local area.