Girlies. I’ve found tall girl paradise.
*Warning: this blog post contains of pictures of me without makeup which some viewers may find distressing.*
Vietnam needs to be on your bucket list. Venture to the capital Hanoi and you’ll be greeted with the mouth-watering aromas of sizzling street food and the hoots of five-millions scooters. Take a traditional Vietnamese junk boat to the serene Halong Bay (above) and gawp at its 3000 limestone islands. Visit the southern metropolis of Saigon, and discover a resilient nation rising from the shadows of a very bloody war.
And head to the lantern-lit coastal town of Hoi An, where talented tailors will make you beautiful clothes that actually fit.
I went NUTS. My adorable husband honestly said the highlight of his holiday was the look of absolute kid-in-a-sweet-shop delight on my face when I realised that everything in these lovely little shops would fit me. And I certainly made the most of the opportunity; seven dresses, three skirts, six pairs of shoes, (culminating in a slightly ridiculous 27.5 kilos of luggage) came back with me on my return flight.
Wouldn’t you? They measure every single part of your body so that none of your clothes have a wasitline on your boobs or a hemline floating above your ankles. Absolute bliss.
This chiffon gown with contrast ribbon detail was less than £40. It’s lined with silk and obviously has acres of fabric. (And should look lovely when the sunburn goes…)
I also had a simple blue racer-back jersey maxi dress made up in the clothes market hall (where they have every fabric you could possibly want — silks/ leathers/animal-print…) for around £25…
…and a couple of printed sundresses for a tenner (one worn below with my custom-made wedges) that will work equally well with tights and boots come winter time…
Tim got two slim-fit 3-piece suits made up in cashmere fabric for £75 each, and ten shirts custom-made for £80.
The shoes were just as fab. I had some go-with-everything brown leather studded boots made to my own measurements and design for less than £30, and they were so on-the-money that I ended up getting them made in black as well.
I also got some gold sandals fitted to go with my evening gowns, and some suede black leather ones with a bit more of a boho feel.
So… two evening gowns, 1 maxi dress, 2 sun-dresses, 1 50s style dress, 1 wedding guest dress, 1 maxi skirt, 2 short circle skirts, 2 pairs of boots, 1 pair of courts, 1 pair of wedges, 2 pairs of sandals all custom-made and less than £300 spent. (No, they’re not all in this post, but they’ll be cropping up in some outfit pics over the coming weeks).
My shopping tips for buying clothes in Asia:
- Leave your suitcase half full on the way out. Seriously.
- Allow yourself some time. If you’re having a suit made, you ideally need 3 days for fittings. Evening gowns may require 2 days, with a quicker turnaround on dresses and skirts. Some tailors will provide an express service, but usually more.
- Dream big. I thought I’d have to go for simple styles, but most tailors are capable of adding all the studs, embellishment and sequins that you’re after. Go wild!
- Take some photos or drawings of designs that you like. Most tailor shops have ipads and catalogues of clothing and shoe pics for you to choose from. I think the legal requirement when copying a design is that you need to change three aspects of it to prevent breach of copyright. (This rule is — unsurprisingly — overlooked in Vietnam, so on your head be it).
- Take shoes or clothes that you love and want in different prints/ colours, because working from the real thing makes it a great deal easier. And anything that bugs you about the original (i.e. the neckline is too low/ the hem-line is too short…) can be easily rectified.
- Haggle. Most tailors will demand more money because you’re tall or have big feet, but don’t accept the first price you’re given.
- Check whether tailors deliver to your country once you’re back home. Most keep your measurements on file, so if you want something made again, you can email them a picture and have it shipped out to you for around a tenner. Clothing problems sorted forever? Quite possibly…
We got Tim’s suit from Yaly (the most renowned tailor in Hoi An and considered to be a little pricier than others, but worth it for the quality), and my evening gowns/ boots came from a family-run shop called Hoang Kim. Both come highly recommended.
And if you’re planning an Indochinese adventure of your own, we flew Vietnam airlines (plead for extra legroom at the airport… the economy seats aren’t actually too bad but we got fire exit seats both ways thanks to some serious eyelid batting and whinging about our tall-ness). Our private tour from north to south was booked through the brilliant Bamboo Travel.
Missing it lots but glad to be back blogging again How’ve you all been?
Anyone else had experience of getting clothes tailored in Asia? Or planning a trip out there soon? Can you take me in your suitcase please…?
Lots of leggy love,