Pinterest completely changed my life. I now have recipes for a million decadent desserts I’m never going to make, design ideas for houses I’m never going to be able to afford, and at-home workouts I’m never going to find the motivation to try.
I also have a few hundred images pinned to ‘My Style’ board that I’m never going to wear. Pictures of beautiful people wearing equally beautiful dresses and blazers and boots, clothes that I would love to actually call my style if I had the money to buy them, a closet to store them, and a reason to wear them.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m grateful that our travels have resulted in a minimalistic lifestyle. Currently we have no need or desire for so much stuff, and it is completely liberating. But I’m still a gal who loves dresses. I’d wear them everyday if I could and I’m convinced there’s always room for one more in my backpack.
I knew I was going to have to exercise restraint when we went to Hoi An. This charming UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its tailor shops (over 400 of them), where you can get custom-made clothes to fit any shape and style. This is a dangerously fantastic thing, especially given that the Hoi An tailors are excellent copiers. Show them nearly any image of an outfit you’ve been dreaming about and the tailors will reproduce it for you at a fraction of the cost.
Remember that Pinterest style board I mentioned? Well here was my chance to finally own something on it. With the majority of our clothes floating on a boat somewhere over the Pacific and two upcoming weddings to attend, we had all the excuses we needed for a Hoi An shopping spree.
Here’s a look at what we purchased. I feel a little awkward doing a modeling shoot, so please forgive the goofy poses. *If you could care less about what we bought, skip to the end for some Hoi An shopping tips. If you’re equally disinterested in wasting your travel fund on new clothes, then be sure to stop back next week when we share our Hoi An for non-shoppers guide.
The Pinterest Photo: Anthropologie Adelaide Dress
I opted for less of a pure white and a bit extra length, but other then that I think they look quite similar. With the actual Anthropologie dress costing $498, any minor differences don’t bother me at all. ;)
The Pinterest Photo
I adored that big bow on the back of the dress, and the tailors had no problem replicating it for me.
The Pinterest Photo
Unfortunately I couldn’t find any chevron fabric in Hoi An, the reason why I was crazy about this dress in the first place. I’m still pleased with the style though and it’s quite comfortable. Added bonus: it’s wrinkle-free.
The Pinterest Photo
I’ll probably get the most use out of this dress. In hindsight I wish the sleeves were a bit longer, but the tailors did a pretty good job replicating the image I showed them.
And here is Dan modeling his new suit. He used one of the magazines in the shop to find the style he was looking for.
Overall, we’re quite satisfied with our purchases. Shopping in Hoi An can definitely be an overwhelming process; with so many options to choose from, we were glad we came in with a strict budget and idea of what we wanted. All our purchases were made from Ha Na. It’s a family-run tailor shop, and the owners are just fabulous. Detail oriented, friendly and accommodating, the sisters who run the store went above and beyond our expectations. They even brought us a homemade lunch one day! We can’t recommend them enough. I do think their prices are a bit higher then some of the other lesser-known tailor shops, but we were willing to pay a few more dollars for guaranteed quality.
Most tailor shops can finish an order in 24 hours, but keep in mind that you will need more time for alterations. There are very few limits to what the tailors can do; dresses, shirts, suits, jackets, pants, bathing suits… you get the idea. Apart from the cloth shops, leather is also a hot commodity. Custom-made leather bags and shoes are a worthwhile investment.
Unfortunately it can be a bit more difficult to bargain at the tailor shops. Definitely try a bit of friendly haggling to see if you can get the prices down, but don’t expect the same success you might have at a market. Regardless of style or design, most dresses range in price from $18-$45 (depending upon the popularity of the tailor you choose). Full suits (for both men and women) are easily found for under $150. For additional shopping tips, check out this article I wrote for Go! Girl Guides.
The only downside to our Hoi An shopping spree? Having to tote our new belongings on our already over-weighted bicycles!
Have you been to Hoi An? What did you purchase? How was your experience?