Review: Buying a Tailored Suit in Thailand

Just thought I’d put together some tips and advice for anyone who is looking into picking up a tailored suit in Thailand.

There are 4 elements to consider when it comes to suits in Thailand:

  1. Cut – how slim, or loose the suit fits
  2. Style – the creative design of the suit
  3. Colour – self explanatory
  4. Quality – as above

You’ll be glad to know that Cut, Colour, Quality are not an issue with the suits you get made in Thailand. The Cut is exceptional in most cases (from my experience, and other users on the web). There will be infinite Colour you can pick from as they have rolls of textiles for you waiting. The Quality of the sew is also very good. One thing I will note is that they tend to ignore the felt on the back of the collar of suits. This is generally used to make the collar sit better.

The issue is namely with the Style. When you go into these suit places (there is literally one on every corner), they will get you to flick through magazines to pick the Style you want. However, all you’re really doing is picking the colour, and the Cut. They will not be able to copy the Style of the suit from the magazine itself. In essence, they can only make one Style of suit, and you’re only picking the Colour and Cut from the magazine.

There is some flexibility, but it is limited to:

  • 2 or 3 button suit
  • Trousers – one or two rear pockets
  • Inner lining colours
  • Single, double, or no slit on coat

The reason for the limitation is that the store does not actually produce the suit themself. They get your measurements and send it off to a sweat shop to be made. How can I be sure of all the above? Observe the notes they jot down which will be sent to the sweat shop when they are measuring you up for suit. They jot your dimensions down, and note your preference of colour. Notice how there are no notes about the Style of the suit you picked out from the magazine!

This is from my experience, but maybe there are other people out there with different experiences. I have been told that they may be able to copy a suit if you already have the suit. But if this was the case, you probably wouldn’t be going to them for a suit, unless you really wanted a larger choice of suit colours to wear.

It should be noted that the Style of the suit would vary slightly from store to store, and that’s because they send it off to different sweat shops. Little things such as the angle of the suitcoat pockets will vary, but just remember each sweat shop can only produce one Style.

If all of the above sits ok with you, then Thailand is a great place to get a magnificent priced tailored suit. I paid 7600 baht for 2 suitcoats, and 2 pants (ie. 2 sets of suits). This equated to about AU$280. Normally I would spend AU$100 just to alter the cut and length of an existing suit, let alone have one made from scratch.

My suit came from a store in Patong, but I will withhold the location of the store until I am happy (or unhappy) with the longevity of the suit. I don’t want to jump the gun in recommending the place or vice versa til I am sure about the Quality.

The procedure for purchasing one of these suits is pretty standard:

  • Walk in, decide on cut and colours (make sure you decide on an inner lining colour or you will get the norm) and your initial measurement is taken. Deposit paid, usually 50% but get away with as least as possible.
  • 2 hours later, come back for preliminary fitting. The suit looks like an art smock at this point.
  • Next day, come in for final fitting with the finished product. Final alterations can be made including trouser length.
  • 2 hours later, suit ready for pickup with final payment.

In closing, you get what you pay for. There is also a massive post on Lonely Planet about tailoring in Thailand. I found this page most interesting (post 334) – http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=1207953&start=330

Day 15 – Phuket, Thailand

Today was the day we started on our tours. This one involved Phi Phi Island and required us to leave our hotel at 7am…

The tour itself involved a cruise to Phi Phi Island, where we would snorkel in a coral reef before having lunch, and cruising back to Phuket. I have to admit that the hype with Phi Phi is just not worth it. Apart from the snorkelling, I would rather have spent most of the day doing something else (like relaxing!).

Snorkelling is always fun, and I’m a huge addict. Must get myself a proper underwater camera before my next snorkelling adventure (the Fuji FinePIX J15 just does not cut the cake – infact, I’ll summarise the woes with it in another blog).

Not much to say about Phi Phi Island really, so I’ll end it here with this entry…

Note: Pictures below are of islands around Phi Phi.

Day 14 – Phuket, Thailand

Spent most of the day relaxing before heading to our night show FantaSea! It’s good to have some time to just do nothing, especially when you’re staying at a 5 star resort. Makes the holiday actually feel like a holiday, and not just rushing around trying to tee end-to-end tours.

FantaSea is theme park, but the theme park is pretty ordinary. The two best elements are the zoo (for giggles) and the show itself. I’d recommend seeing the show once if you come to Thailand. It’s one of those things you’d have to tick off your to-do list.

The show itself is quite interesting. Storyline is a bit hard to follow, but from the middle to the end the actions speak for itself. The fireworks and effects on stage is really spectacular. Who would’ve thought you could launch fireworks in a confined space! The security there is quite strict, and you will undergo multiple bag checks. The most amusing is the final check before the show where they will get you to deposit any type of recording device (mobile phones, cameras etc) to protect the copyright of the show.

Day 9 – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Had a day off from tours today to relax and check out Chiang Mai itself. Spent most of the day in Central Airport Plaza, which is the largest shopping centre in Chiang Mai. Not a bad place, and the food court in the basement was awesome. Plenty of food to pick at and enjoy.

The quality of the goods at the small stalls were also better than those you pay out in the Night and Sunday Markets. The price is a little more expensive, but you get what you pay for.

Spent the rest of the day at the Night Market and got myself a fish massage and thai massage. Relaxing day overall (apart from a Tuk Tuk driver that got lost and made a 5min trip turn into 45mins).