There is nothing quite like having a high quality suit or dress tailor made and Thailand presents the best value bespoke tailors of the major destinations in the world with the quality to match Saville Row even. But tourists need to take care, there are myriad options, in Bangkok especially, such that booking a tailor tour will save a huge amount of time, stress and money while ensuring the best quality threads.
Prices are low due to the relatively cheap cost of labour in Thailand, while material costs are measurably cheaper here, too. Another important factor affecting price for Thai bespoke tailors is the intense competition. The key is in figuring who has the best skill and is using the best quality materials – going with recommendations or gut instinct is fraught with potential red flags in this part of the world.
By going with a knowledgeable fashion-orientated local, visitors get to forego all the messing about and are able to ensure they get the required number of fittings and ultimately the best place to go, which is the biggest headache as Bangkok is filled with bespoke ‘tailors’.
Unless you’ve lived here and know the city inside out, it’s impossible to decipher the good tailors without help. Getting taken to a tailor by a tuk-tuk is asking for trouble, since the tailor in question will be paying the taxi driver a commission to get the passengers through the door. Quality bespoke tailors do not want, or need, custom in such a fashion.
Although cheap, anything under around US$250 for a fitted suit should put up a flag. For a really good quality suit, visitors should be prepared to pay $400 and up. There are much cheaper options, but the quality cannot be guaranteed. The old adage, ‘you get what you pay for’ is no truer when shopping for bespoke tailored suits.
In addition, suits made within 12 hours are just not going to cut it no matter what the prospective shop says, and at least two fittings for the jacket, trousers and shirts are needed for a perfect result.
While there are high quality bespoke tailors in other areas of Thailand, notably Chiang Mai and Phuket, Bangkok is the king of the suits. The best suppliers are generally along Sukhumvit Road, between sois 3 and 13. Typically, a tour will reveal highly skilled tailors offering a great range of quality fabrics and the option to have garments delivered post-haste to the purchaser’s hotel.