Hoi An Tailor Story

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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Seamingly Wonderful!

Hoi An, Vietnam

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli  

They're everywhere.  Celebrated for their tailoring shops, you cannot walk a block in Hoi An where there isnít at least one. Usually, many are grouped together.

Mannequins are outside dressed in various styles of clothing for both men and women; different colors, and weights of fabric. Although there may be a bit of a language barrier, things are easily worked out. Pointing to the mannequin, and style of fabric that appeals to you, they get the idea. Itís easy. Inside every store are the latest New York or Paris fashion books with large color photographs where you can pick out any of the latest in clothing trends.



Walls are lined from floor to ceiling with Italian and English cashmere wool, linen, gabardine, and silk from Thailand, Japan, and Vietnam, plus cotton, and corduroy, all weights, and colors. Itís a virtual candy store for a clotheshorse.





Upon arriving in town, we had the name of a tailor and went walking around to find this shop. At the time, we were the first to arrive and asked about suits, shirts, and blouses. Prices were quite reasonable, and a fraction of what items cost, right off the rack in the States. Here, there was the promise of having custom tailored items to fit our bumpy and custom made bodies! Then, within 10 minutes, the place filled up. People were everywhere, looking at fabric, fashion books, having measurements taken, and putting on jackets and pants that they had specially made. Everything was an excellent fit, and the idea of having something designed just for us became even more appealing.

We were considering several items, but wanted to know about the materials first. In questioning whether a certain piece was silk or polyester, Haa took us to her kitchen which was right behind the shop, and burned some threads from the fabric, thus passing the silk burn test.

Pondering our choices so as to settle on what we wanted to have made, we attempted to excuse ourselves politely, and have dinner. Haa, our tailoring waitperson, told us it was no problem, if we were hungry, she would make us dinner right then and there, so long as we didnít leave!



This was a splendid idea, and was very accommodating. However, we were tired, and wanted to think about things away from the commotion of the now full shop.



The next day, filled with the experience of the previous night, we went out shopping for tailors. One after another, lined up on the streets of Hoi An, there was shop after shop; more than 400 to choose from! Some made clothes; suits, dresses, pants and blouses. Others made only silk ties, or silk handbags. There was a lot to sort out, and prices seemed to vary from place to place. So did the choice of colors and types of fabric.

We chose three separate shops, mostly because of the textiles available, and of course, price was a factor. Many options were a matter of discussion;  the same color of thread as the fabric used or plain white?  Double seamed?  Fabric lining where necessary?



After choosing tailors, colors and types of fabric, there was measuring to be done. Necks, across the back, arm lengths, inside seams, waist (or what was left of any), and any conceivable combination thereof was appraised and the numbers written down. We wanted to be comfortable. Not too tight, not too loose. We were assured. Between these figures and pointing to a picture or to a mannequin, our item would arrive exactly as specified! ďNot too tie, not too looĒ.

Simple items like silk pajamas were done in 24 hours or less. More complex pieces like suits would take a little longer. In the silk purse store, it was a matter of choosing styles of handbags, colors of silk, and deciding from the selections of embroidery patterns and flowers. The options were endless, and it was a hey day. Now, we were to relax, sit back, and pick up our purchases a few hours later! This was service, and it was intoxicating.





The final pickup was thrilling. A suit of cashmere wool, some shirts, ties, blouses, silk pajamas, and handbags, were all made to specifications. Any simple adjustments were noted and had been done on a short check-in visit the day before.

If you have never had this experience, it is one highly recommended.  It is fun, easy and you are sure to find a tailor to suit your needs.  If you are a "special size" or shape, we urge you all the more.  The prices are reasonable, and the options, extensive.  Happy shopping!

Note:  Fabric choices are largest in Saigon, with the prices the best in Hanoi.  In Vietnam, seemingly, everyone's father, sister, mother or brother was a tailor.  They are not hard to find.  Hoi An is the "famous" tailor town, but you can have clothes made virtually anywhere in the country for splendid prices.


For more stories and photos of Vietnam, click here

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

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