|Red club! BTW Kat’s shirt is an outline of Wisconsin with “curdlandia” written across it. LOVE IT.|
In January I had what might be my most successful traveling stint of all time, with my sister and her best friend. Finding good travelin’ buds be hard, amirite??
We were in sync in almost all things. Foods (all), bedtimes (early), fruit juices (again, all), music (OMG THIS ST. VINCENT ALBUM HOLY SMOKES), opinions regarding gazelles (majestic, obviously). It was a not really a surprise, though, that I was not really into the “let’s make me new clothes!” thing, as we approached Hoi An – a city known globally as a custom clothier paradise. I’m not a clothes shopper on the best of days, and presented with unlimited choice? Well, that’s just downright intimidating.
All it took was one carefully dropped hint from my sister, and I was off to the races, too (although I managed to spend several hundred USD less on dresses and blazers).
Click through to see the fantastic clothes we got, custom made by Ha Na Tailor!
|Best Hoi An tailors? For our money, YES. ABSOLUTELY.|
Walking in, you’re greeted by a member of the family, and they ask you what you’re looking for today. As a group, we didn’t have much of an idea beyond “ooooooooo pretty,” which means it’s time to explore. Except for Kat and her desire to make a tuxedo dress, and Lex’s desire for a recreated brand name dress, we were largely ignorant about what came after the part where you enter the shop. You can flip through these catalogues and they can make anything you see, custom-built for you, or you can check out anything on display, and they can alter it for you. It is thoroughly overwhelming.
Lex describes the beginning stages:
The one dress I knew I wanted was a dress I tried on [in America] but couldn’t afford (rookie mistake; in my defense, there was no price tag. In my prosecution, I knew I couldn’t even afford the brand). I showed the sisters a picture of the dress and they said they could do something similar. They took a picture of my picture, and started pulling fabric samples they thought would look good. As they pulled fabric samples, I started casually going through some of their (many) books of patterns and pictures…ooof. There was a lot of work to be done. I found my next dress in a pattern book, and seriously fell in love, as I have an undeniable weakness for anything with a bow (the coral dress). Then I found the blazer I liked. I had planned on stopping there…but Katie was still shopping, and I started walking around the shop, and found these linen pants I really loved. I have never had the pleasure of putting on a pair of pants direct from the store that fit perfectly; I thought it would be novel. It was.
We went back that night for our first fitting. I was able to try on all my pieces except for the blazer, because in all the excitement I had failed to pick a lining. So I picked that out and tried on the other dresses and pants. Honestly, everything fit nearly perfect. BUT the sisters didn’t stop there, and I love them for it. I put on the coral dress and thought it looked awesome–it fit like a glove, I loved the color. But within seconds one of the sisters had pointed out that the bow on the back was too high, and with my long hair, it would be covered; so she moved it down a few inches. They had such great attention to detail like this; they really wanted the piece to be perfect, not just to get you in and out of the door. The pants needed to be taken in a little bit, and I wanted the hem on the blue dress brought up a little.
I feel comfortable saying that the family at Ha Na Tailor boasts an extreme attention to detail and a fundamental understanding about what people want out of their personal fashion, and it shows in the final products, as well as in every step along the way.
But they don’t stop here! Lex had one more request… and they came through for her in a big way.
Then as Katie was going through the same process, I mentioned a dress I had seen earlier that day that I really loved; it was just stuck in my head. But I had seen it at a different shop and hadn’t seen anything like it from the sisters (although I knew they had a similar fabric.) Get this: while one sister worked with katie, another sat down with me and sketched out the bird dress of my bird dreams! She’d sketch something and I’d say “yes to this but this isn’t quite right”…we probably did about 5-6 versions of the sketch before she had exactly what I was looking for. she added it to my list even though we were picking up our clothes the next morning at 11am!!
Service at Ha Na extends beyond a fantastic clothes-designing/buying experience. The family is warm and friendly, and greeted us the next morning with hugs and personal inquiries about our time in Hoi An. Everything was packaged up and ready to go except the blazers – they required one more fitting to ensure they were perfect. (Spoiler Alert: they were.)
The whole experience was SO much fun. I had been looking forward to this portion of the trip for a long time, but it surpassed my expectations. They were such a joy to work with, and being able to walk in and design just about anything is like being 7 years old at Build-A-Bear. Or Legoland, your choice. The freedom to be creative and build things to fit your own body… so, so special!
As for me? I got two shirts and a coat (it was COLD in Ha Long Bay, our next destination!) and the process was even more streamlined – I simply chose a few things off the mannequins and they only needed minor alterations. It’s the most comfortable coat I’ve ever had, and I’m looking forward to a trip to a region where I’d actually need a coat again.
Do you swear by a tailor in Vietnam? Please, leave details in the comments!