Getting a Tailored Suit in Thailand – How Do They Measure Up?

April 18, 2013 by


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As an individual I can say that I’m generally good with my money. I’m careful with how much energy I consume in my household, save money from my wages each month and put cash into long-term investments whilst refraining from immoderate spending on luxury goods. Having said all of this, I have a particular love for fashion; more specifically, expensive suits. This sometimes borders on an unreasonable and insatiable need for said suits. Needless to say, my girlfriend thinks I’m an idiot (about the need for suits, not just in general… well maybe slightly in general as well). Bearing in mind that a considerable percentage of my salary is spent on fashion I thought it would be a great idea, both economically and ludicrously, to visit one of the famous tailors in Thailand during my stay here.

Getting Scammed – The Strangely Helpful Way

Chiang Mai, a beautiful Northern city in Thailand, is becoming increasingly recognised as one of the cheapest and best locations to get any form of tailoring done within South-East Asia (if not in the world). Luckily for me, my girlfriend (Laura) and I had dedicated a week of our travels to this old city and wanted to explore the vast numbers of temples and national parks before getting me measured up for some custom clothing. With this in mind we set off from our hotel down to the Old City, which was built some 700 years ago. At one time it was completely barricaded with a giant wall and surrounding moat, however whilst the moat still patrols the outskirts of the city, the once grandiose wall is now simply a rubbled memory of what it used to be.

Once inside, we meandered aimlessly around, Lonely Planet guide in-hand, looking as much like naive tourists as we could have! We got talking to a very pleasant man who claimed that he was a Bangkok resident holidaying in Chiang Mai. I asked where the best temples were and any points of interest that we should really be taking a look at. After this he gave me and Laura a whole host of great places to visit and even drew them down on the map for me. He was also very insistent that we visit ‘Viengping Collection‘ to take a look at the best tailors in Chaing Mai. At this point I was thinking ‘great!’. Not only this but he spoke to a tuk tuk driver and told him to take us to all the locations that he had pointed out on the map (about 5/6 places) and wait for us at each location before taking us to the next. All of this for a mere 40 Baht (£1/$1.35)! That’s nearly a quart of what we paid for a 10 minute journey into the centre and the route that he had now planned would last around 3/4 hours. Needless to say, we hopped in and started enjoying all of the sights.

Laura Outside the Silver Chaing Mai TempleLaura Outside the Silver Chaing Mai Temple

On the second stop we visited Wat Sri Suphan, which was a temple made completely from silver. It was a real sight to behold and I certainly haven’t seen anything like it before in my life. The strange thing here though was that when we were walking around the grounds of the temple, we came across another very helpful and friendly man who claimed to also be here on vacation. The story here was that his wife is a fashion designer in Australia and they both come down to Chiang Mai to get a hold of the very best materials that the world has to offer. Guess where? Viengping Collection. Now it may seem really obvious now whilst you read this, and in retrospect I can clearly see that both of the men that we met were in fact working for Viengping Collection, especially after you read this story from a tourist that visited Chiang Mai in 2011 as well as this story from a completely different person in 2010.

Getting Measured Up

Truth or lie, we didn’t really care because we had just had a day trip around the entire of Chiang Mai’s Old City for less than the price of a loaf of bread! When we finally did get to Viengping Collection I started speaking with the owner, who I must add was a very pleasant and reserved guy, about what I was looking for and just a bit of advice more than anything. Although I love to spend my money on good-looking clothes, I couldn’t tell cashmere from cotton! With this in mind I opted to take a more reserved approach and see what kind of quality I could expect by getting a shirt instead of a whole suit. At first I was worried that they wouldn’t understand the kind of style that I wanted but I was pleasantly surprised by the range of different styles that I was shown. Once I had settled on the fabric that I liked the feel of (80% cotton and 20% polyester), the style of the collar and the colour of the shirt, it was time to get measured up.

My Thailand Tailored ShirtReally happy with the final product..

For any of you that know me personally then you will know how ridiculously picky I am with my clothes. If something is slightly too baggy in one area or if it is too long at the bottom, for example, then I will end up never wearing it so I felt a lot more reassured when he was measuring me up that he was asking exactly how tight I wanted it and how it would be cut in each place, etc. The whole process only took around 10 minutes to be honest and then after paying a 700 Baht (£23/$23.50) deposit – the shirt cost 1,200 Baht (£38/$40) in total – he told me to come back in 5 hours and it would be complete and ready for me to pick up. Crazy!

True to his word, I turned up 5 hours later and my shirt, custom tailored to my body was sitting there waiting for me. I tried it on and it fit like a dream. I was so impressed by it that I asked him to make me another, which I subsequently picked up the next day. All in all, I was extremely happy with what I got and, considering that I pay more than double the price in the UK for shirts, have saved myself a load of cash.

Regardless of the people trying so so-called ‘scam’ us into going to Viengping Collection, they were actually very helpful and the quality of the tailors in the store speaks for itself. If I had to recommend somewhere to get a suit/shirt/dress made then this is the place for you.

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About Matthew Barby

There are few things that Matt loves more than to be sitting on a sunny beach with a cold beer, listening to a bit of Joy Division. Alongside this he's a big food-lover and a seasoned pescetarian, a complete Twitter-whore and spends far too long in front of the mirror in the morning. Get in touch with Matt through Twitter, Google+ or on either his pescetarian food blog or his digital marketing blog.

  • As the owner of 5 suits… I know how you feel :) Truly the better results of a scam – though what if locals would be able to get the same custom tailored shirts for 1/2 of what you got? Not sure if it’s true there, but I’ve had an experience like that in Shanghai.

    If you don’t speak the tongue/bring a local friend with you, the odds are you’ll be contributing to their economy.

    • Yeh, I think I got pretty lucky here. I’m pretty sure I could have probably got a better deal on the shirts if I tried but I almost felt guilty in haggling them any lower when, in reality, the money means a lot less to me than it does to them.

      Overall though, couldn’t be happier with the shirts. Was sporting one of them yesterday and walked down the street thinking I was an Armarni model haha!

  • Wizard

    Not sure if it is the way you are wearing it, but that collar looks crooked

    • Yeh, it’s the way I’m standing. It’s a cutaway collar so should really have a tie on to get the best effect. I’ve wore the shirt loads since buying it and it looks great :)

  • Sorry, but by buying from them you help perpetuate the liars and tuk tuk misdirections and make Chiang Mai worse for the traveler. For every happy customer there are hundreds of annoyed tourists. Think about it.

  • Peter

    So you were taken by a scam to get you into the shop, and yet you would still recommend the shop to travelers… I find that a bit incredulous. Firstly, that shop takes advantage of unwary tourists as you proved yourself to be, and there are other shops that offer good service and and more honest behavior.

    After ll the comments about what a picky person you are, you are wearing a shirt that seems to fit poorly at the shoulders (but could be the photo) and has cheap looking low quality buttons.

    So I would say that people new to Chiang Mai should take your recommendation as a warning to stay away from this shop.

    Not insult intended but this article really makes no one look good.

  • David

    You realize you got scammed, right? Like, you didn’t get a deal at all. You paid 1,200 baht for a shirt that’d have cost you 6-700 at a respectable shop. Every single person in this chain of events was in on the scam. The ” very pleasant Bangkok man”, the taxi driver, and the couple at Wat Sri Suphan. All of them were in on it and they got you for a sucker. That great deal you got on the “taxi” was paid back to the same people when you paid double for a shirt of dubious quality. Just by looking at that picture you can tell the buttons are of a low quality and the stitching job around the shoulders is atrocious. Not to mention the loose fit, but I digress. That you are promoting these people as a place to go and only helps to spread these scams and sucker more people into their con.

    To future readers: do NOT listen to this guy’s advice.

  • I think it fits great compared to what Peter said. However, I’m still in to Hong Kong tailored suits compared to Thailand made. Me and my husband frequently visits Hong Kong due to business, and everytime we’re in Hong Kong, my husband always gets himself a whole suit or a pair of shirts which he use for his business trips.

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  • Sterling

    When we were in Thailand 5 years ago I got a suit made by this company and it is amazing. In fact, I’m trying to find their contact information to get another one made and sent to the United States. The suit’s held up incredibly well and fits better than anything I’ve purchased and tailored in the US. Everyone keeps saying it’s a scam but I think it’s just their way of advertising. We wouldn’t have known where to go if it hadn’t been for a Thai guy that pointed us that direction and told us we really had to go there.

  • I purchased two tailor made suits and three shirts. My suits were ready in 24 hours. The pants needed to be adjusted. The suits were delivered to my hotel later that night, and the fit was wonderful. I highly recommend this shop!
    Ambassador Fashions

    189/6 Chang Klan road Near art in pradise
    more information http://www.ambassadorsuits.com

  • Christine Bravo

    Thailand is one of the country where we can find a best bespoken suit. It will surely fit you well and also they have a standard quality of tailoring there.

  • CustomTailorThailnd

    Lived in Thailand for few years and know few good Tailors. If you need help then I can suggest some.

    There is a new website coming with list of tailors http://www.customtailorthailand.com