Hanoi is filled with custom tailors. It’s something I had always wanted to do; and, if not now then when?
I stopped in a nice looking shop called Ngo Gia Bespoke Tailoring. A young man in the shop greeted me and proudly showed me his collection of business cards from American customers.
When I told him I was from Washington DC, he had some US government business cards!! Apparently a group of secret service staffers stopped by during the Obama visit.
He walked me through the process, selecting fabrics, suit style, taking measurements. Then there was a series of fittings over the next few days.
The fabrics were beautiful! All different levels of quality, different prints, different colors, and even a number of different linings to choose from!
I settled on a fabric and lining–which had a map of the world–and then turned to the style of lapels, vents, number of buttons, etc.
After that I had to pick the style of pants, pleats or flat front, tapered or wide leg, and then the shirts! I had to select the style of Collars, cuffs, and fit. It was very fun!
He took a series of measurements and told me to come back the next day, 24 hours later, and he would have a “rough draft” ready for me to try on.
when I arrived the next day, his sister and her children were in the shop. She promptly brought the kids upstairs where they live, while his brother helped with the fitting.
He handed me the dress shirt which still didn’t have a collar or cuffs on it. The pants, which didn’t have a zipper or buttons on them, and when I came out of the dressing room the jacket which only had one sleeve!
Then he went to work. While the brother wrote down measurements, he marked up the suit with a white chalk…everywhere! He was pulling here, lifting there, taking new measurements. He checked on basics like the length of the pants and the jacket sleeves; but he also took some things I’ve never even thought about, like overall width of the jacket sleeves, the measurement across the chest, and the measurement around the waist at the naval.
He told me to come back mid afternoon next day for the final fitting, and that I could then return three hours later to pick up the suit.
When I went back the next day, it was nearly perfect. There was one issue, and that is that the sleeves of the jacket were tight around my arm. It’s like I’d been doing some weightlifting in the 24 hours since I tried it on! He agreed and said come back this evening and I will have fixed this and it will be ready.
Sure enough I went back that evening to pick up the suit and it is beautiful! I got a custom tailored suit and two beautiful dress shirts for less than US$400, not to mention a fantastic experience!