Beth wears her favorite clothing long after most people would have retired the garments. One pair of treasured black silk pants were worn till the hems were frayed and tiny holes appeared near the seams. A seemingly endless search over years for its replacement proved futile – until Hoi An!
We had already planned to spend time in quaint Hoi An before we discovered that it is famous for its tailors – over 400 shops at last count. Having discovered its fame for made-to-measure clothing, Beth had packed her frayed and tattered silk pants in hopes of finding a Hoi An tailor who could recreate them.
You should know we’re not crazy about shopping and hate pushy salespeople. We spent our first days strolling in Hoi An. We enjoyed rambling by the many tailoring and clothes shops lining the streets. We were not yet ready to make the leap to custom made clothing.
Another day or two passed, and finally we decided it was now or never. The next morning, tattered pants in our bag, we went straight to Hoang Kim cloth shop. We decided our best approach was to first see if they had the material we wanted. If they did, then we’d talk about the pants.
We looked at over 20 bolts of silk and silk blends, before making the final selection. Beth’s replacement pants were ordered. Meanwhile Joe looked at light cotton, wishing he’d saved his favorite travel shirt to get a duplicate made. Sadly, he recycled it before the trip.
He found a lightweight, blue, cotton fabric that he liked, and we discussed shirt details with the tailor: Loose or fitted? Length? Button tab for rolling up sleeves? Pockets? Measurements were taken. We put down a deposit and were told to come back the next morning. We walked away feeling relieved. Tailor-made wasn’t as difficult as we’d imagined.
Beth still needed a tan-colored blouse for our walking safari in Tanzania. She tried on a few in various shops, and, while the prices looked good, the blouses didn’t. Then walking back to our hotel, a pink blouse caught Beth’s eye. It hung in a window of Minh Loan, a shop near our hotel. “Did it come in beige?” we asked. “No, but I can make one for you.” Well, as long as she was making it to order, we made a few changes to the design. Again, we left a deposit and were asked to return the next day.
That night Beth lay awake worrying. Were we crazy? Had we made a mistake?
The answer came the next day. For a grand total of $62 US, Joe has a new blue shirt and Beth has new silk pants and a new tan blouse. All made to order just for us and fit just right. We were quite happy.