Both a rite of passage and a well-loved pastime for business travellers to Bangkok, acquiring a custom-made suit is amongst the many premium experiences you can enjoy during your stay. While the city’s detail-oriented tailors have hand-stitched and sewed their way to legend status around the world, there are still a few guidelines first-time shoppers should keep in mind.
Planning to take home one-of-a-kind clothing on your next stopover? Follow our exclusive guide to discover where to go, what to spend and who to trust when navigating Thailand’s made-to-order suit market.
Look for a bargain, but be willing to spend
While there is no question that Thailand’s tailors deliver unparalleled fit and style for a fraction of what you might expect to pay at home, a good tailored suit in Bangkok still comes at a cost. The best rule of thumb when selecting your suit maker is expecting to get what you pay for. Though plenty of storefronts claim to produce high-quality suits for around THB3500 (USD100), you may find what you save financially becomes evident in the quality, durability and fit of the finished product.
Stick with suggested tailors
If you are not an expert when it comes to custom tailoring services, tackling Bangkok’s fiercely competitive business-wear market can be an intimidating feat. If in doubt, do your research before arriving in the city to determine which tailor fits your needs, or speak to the friendly concierge at Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Bangkok on arrival to find a tried and tested tailor nearby.
Know exactly what you are looking for
Even if you strike a deal with one of the most reputable tailors in town, no amount of luxurious fabric and fine hand-stitching can fix a suit that is not in line with your original vision. Safeguard against miscommunications and come prepared with every last specification in mind, from the number of buttons, pleats and pockets to the feel of the material and the size of the lapels. For the utmost clarity, have photos of similar suit styles at the ready so you can ensure you and your tailor of choice have the same final product in mind.
Leave plenty of time
While Bangkok’s talented tailors are well-known for their speed, even the best suit makers cannot produce a custom-made garment in a matter of hours. If you are only passing through town with a day or two on your side, it may be wise to leave your tailoring for a future trip of four days or more. Regardless of your trip length, however, always plan to visit the tailor on your first day in town to leave ample time for fittings and final alterations.
Know the ins and outs of bartering etiquette
Although haggling is commonplace in many of Bangkok’s bespoke suit shops, not all of the city’s tailors are willing to negotiate on price. While you may be able to have a back-and-forth with one of the low-to-mid-range tailors in Khao San, the upmarket storefronts in Sukhumvit are known to stand by their rates. Since the cost of time spent is generally the same across the board, a more expensive suit usually equates to better quality, better fit and an all-round better garment.
Be prepared to walk away
Like any overseas experience, the best practice is to trust your gut feel if a situation does not seem right. If a tailor’s aggressive sales tactics have you on your guard or you are unsure if the shopfront’s materials meet your standards, simply walk away. There are plenty of reliable tailors in Thailand’s capital who can provide you with the calibre of suit you are looking for in an environment where you feel comfortable and confident to buy.
Have you ever had a custom suit made? Tell us your tips in the comments below.