The real thing in clothes
Trip Start Dec 04, 2006
63Trip End Aug 05, 2007
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At first it was overwhelming but we were able to quickly classify the shops into four tiers. We avoided the bottom two tiers (e.g., shops by the market and the ones that just looked cheap) before finding an affordable shop for simple tops for Tara and $6 dollar dress shirts for me - all made to measure.
We then lucked out and found an amazing cloth shop with a substantial array of Thai silks and wools from England. I decided to have a suit jacket made to confirm the quality. It exceeded our expectations. This is where things went a bit nuts! Needless to say, we're well kitted out for work when we get back. The prices were incredible and the quality impeccable. We fell in love with these two very small Vietnamese women (Bebe and Tung) and their shop and spent a fair amount getting beautiful wool suits made to measure and some nice silk tops. There is nothing like having things made just for you, sigh. It will be hard to go back to buying off the rack.
Travellers: Don't waste your time, these two women are the real thing. Go straight to Bebe's shop (not BiBi or Bi - these are different shops). They are affordable (but not cheap quality), professional, and do the most beautiful work. The clothing they made for us does not even compare to the cheaper clothing we had made in the other shop. They are located at 50 Tran Hung Dao St. on the main road in town and just the absolute best deal around. I was in heaven and could have spent the entire budget of our trip in their shop, sigh. I did not, (much to Nathan's relief), and now we are off to Saigon, lighter in the wallet but happier for our purchases and our new friends.
Interestingly, I got my first ride on a motor bike in Asia from Bebe herself when she took me to her house to see the many silks she had. I have to admit, it was pretty fun riding behind a 65 lb. Vietnamese woman through the crazy streets of Hoi An. Really, see the photo in the previous entry, I look like a giant (and note: I am not wearing any of my new clothes in the photo. They were already packed away for the journey to Canada).