Clothes, Ho Chi Minh City
I travelled to Vietnam from Singapore for a holiday. Prior to arriving I researched and emailed a few tailors about making a traditional 3-piece morning suit, I spent a lot of time explaining the fabrics I wanted, the style and my stature to help with the quote. I was responded to by Kien from Cao Minh who quoted USD$500-1000. I explained to him that my budget was USD$500, he responded that it should be fine but I would need to go for a lower grade of wool and it might be slightly more that USD$500.
When I got to HCMC Kien arranged for me to see Khuyen at their Dong Khoi shop, she had me choose some fabrics. I chose and she quoted about USD$800 for 2-pieces. I explained my budget and she got out some cheap 50% man made fibre materials and quote USD$650 for 2-pieces.
I left furious. The Cao Minh tactic is obviously to say what you want to hear to get you through the doors then try and upsell hard. I went to Dung tailor that evening and found all the fabrics I wanted and was treated with respect.
Do not waste your time at Cao Minh, they are serious rip-off merchants and time-wasters!
H&D Tailor provides excellent quality with skilled tailor crew. The master tailor cum owner will give you advice about formal style with you can not make up your mind. The receptionists are really nice and warm. They have a wide range of fabrics from normal to luxurious, so that you can select your favorite easily.
H&D Tailor usually runs special promotion and if you are lucky, you can have a free tie on your purchase.
What to buy: Suit, shirt, blazer, tuxedo & tie for men.
Fabrics are imported from Europe with brand names such as Zegna, Holland & Sherry, Cerrutti, Reda, etc.
What to pay: about $70 USD/shirt including fabrics and labor cost.
Centrally located and accessible from both Dong Khoi and Nguyen Hue Streets, Lucky Plaza is a relatively modern mini-mall but is currently under renovation and they moved to a temporary area beside the Oscar Hotel in the same row at Nguyen Hue Boulevard. The three floors hold 24 shops and one restaurant. Here you will find everything from cheap toys,Counterfeit Shirts, candy, inexpensive watches and shoes to high quality jewelry and sportswear. Traditional Vietnamese gifts of lacquerware and purses can be bought in several of the shops. The Second floor also houses Russian products (hey russia was once communist too hence they was lots of russian and old soviet goods here!). The top floor consists of a medium range Chinese restaurant with excellent service and traditional ambiance.
It also houses the famous "Bar Underground Basement Lucky Plaza"
What to buy: Counterfeit jeans (polo, abercrombie, nautica, levis, ols navy, etc) for 75,000 to 100,000 VND, T-Shirts for 40,000 to 80,000 VND, Silk Bags starting from 80,000 to 200,000 VND, Lacquer ware starting at 15,000 VND, Paintings starting at 30,000 VND and a lot more!
Opens: 10am-10pm Mon-Thu; 10am-11pm Fri; 9am-11pm Sat & Sun.
What to pay: depends on what you buy, some items are even cheaper than in Benh Thanh or Bin Thay Markets!
They are a new shop, but giving a good and convenient service especially for tourist people in Saigon
To make the clothes with them, you can contact them by email before you arrive to Saigon to ask for a meeting. Then when you are here, they will come to your hotel for measurement and picking up the fabric.
They can do custom made in both men and women clothes: suit, shirt, dress, pants, coat, Ao Dai, blouse .....
All they need is a picture or a sample of the design which you want to make, they will arrange to deliver the products in the shortest time. Green Longan also provides a high quality sewing service for labels that are happy to provide their own raw materials.
If you don;t have the material yet, don;t worry. They also can bring the sample of the fabric for you to choose. If you still can not find anything you like, you can ask them to go to the fabric market with you to help you choose and bargan.
They can deliver the clothes in 1 - 4 days depends on your scheduel
The price is average, something like 120 usd for a men suit .....
You can contact them today for more information and discount at :
or email them at: [email protected]
Hotline: ( +84) 909 6101 85 Miss Anda
What to buy: Custom tailoring in Saigon with Green Longan
What to pay: In cash
This is a nice store near our hotel. Apparently, visiting foreign dignitaries buy their Aodais here.
What to buy: Aodai, the traditional Vietnamese dress. Silk is best.
What to pay: For the quality, the prices here are quite reasonable but higher than other shops in the area.
Saigon Square is about a street away between 2 other tourists' favourite shopping mall (Saigon Square and Ben Thanh Market). Right in front of the entrance is a motorcycle walkway park where the locals park their motorcycles and is managed "valet" for parking and retreival of their motorcycles. We had to manoeurve our ways through the motorcycles.
Once inside, there are shops after shops selling clothes, bags, shoes, etc. which you would be also be able to find in Ben Thanh Market.
Advice given by our local hotel people is that you need to bargain aggressively on the prices offered.
What to pay: Less then half the offered price
Saigon Center Mall is a higher price place selling all kinds of goods, clothes, furniture. When we were there on 24-Dec morning, there wasn't that much shoppers around. Branded goods are available here. From what we were briefed by our hotel reception, prices here are fixed.
It ended up we didn't purchase anything from this Mall but patronise the Terrace Cafe for food and drinks.
I found this shop on Dong Khoi st in Ho Chi Minh City recently, its the main old street in the city and this place is a gem. Its on the first floor so you have to go through a little alleyway and up some stairs but once you get there its beautiful. the owners have taken an old french building and refurbed it to be as if it were original back in the 20/30's. Its got everything in one space, a cafe serving good coffee and tea along with some super sandwiches etc, to the side of the cafe is an art gallery and then the space opens up into a big contemprary fashion store. It really is beautifully done and very original!
What to buy: there is all sorts from mens and ladies clothing to cool stuff for kids, and even fixed wheel bikes and cool accessories. I loved the brands they carried and the prices were great too. There is some real creative local designers too.
What to pay: these are imported brands but the prices are reasonable and in accordance with the western world. The cafe however is one of the cheapest western places i've visited you're talking about 40,000 VND - $2 USD for a good cafe latte!
Would NOT recommend Phi Phi Fashion, 268 Le Thanh Ton. It's near New World Hotel, District 1.
Got a suit and 2 shirts made there in April 2010 for £125. Despite it being 'made to measure', the first fitting was miles out.
The shirt collar was too loose and when the seamstress meassured it, it was an inch too large! Then she had the audacity to suggest repositing the collar button rather than resizing the collar! The sleaves were also too long.
The trousers were far too tight, and the jacket too loose.
After the second fitting, the fit still wasnt great but there wasnt time to readjust everything again. There were also rust stains on the shirts around the button holes and pocket - i was assured 'they would come out in the wash'.
The kicker came when i returned to the hotel and noticed that the jacket lining was too thin and you could see through it and see all the threadends and raw edges! All in all, once you take it away and get a closer look you start to notice all the flaws in workmanship and quality.
On the next leg of my trip to Hong Kong I went to a reputable tailor instead, paid a bit more (around £300) but got an amazing suit and shirts in one fitting. In summary, you get what you pay for!
What to buy: Nothing!
This shop and tailor has excellent value and quality for money. You can order any kind of clothes there. You can choose between many different designs and fabrics. The staff speaks english and is very friendly.
The shop is located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City easily reachable from the areas with many hotels and shopping opportunities.
What to buy: Especially suits there are high quality, and your suits (or other kinds of clothes) will be ready for fitting within one day, and completed within a few days.
What to pay: The price is very reasonable. The price for a for example a suit is 120-180 USD depending on the fabric.
Cao Minh is one of the biggest and the most well known tailor’s in Vietnam, specializes in hand-made all kinds of European styles for men and women. With a huge range of fabric choices, unique designs and over 60 years experience of workmanship will definitely meet all your needs and satisfaction.
A title “Standard Tourism Service”, issued by Ho Chi Minh Tourism Department guarantees a competitive price, high quality products and the best service. Most of Cao Minh’s customers are high rank of local people and travelers all over the world. Currently, Cao Minh is also providing pilot uniform for Vietnam Airlines.
What to buy: SUITS, SHIRTS, PANTS
What to pay: 250 USD - 500 USD
This space contains everything you could want in a life style store. The building was built in 1902 and once you get upstairs the owners have made it something really special. As you walk in there is a quaint little french style coffee shop serving the most delicious sandwiches. Go through and come into a gallery where they bring in new young artists from all over the world and that you can purchase for a reasonable price. Some of the local artists are really good. Then the shop blooms into over 250sqm of retail space. Its been designed as a 1930's french factory with what look like original antique machines and furniture its an awesome space that sells both international contemporary fashion and some cool local designers which are all very reasonably priced. I spent hours in there!
What to buy: All sorts from cool head phones, to classic styled mens and ladies garments. They house all sorts of brands from Cheap monday in the mens to Vena Cava for ladies. They also stock Lomo camera's and some super cool kids clothing.
What to pay: its not too bad in anything its cheaper than overseas, some of the ladies fashion stuff was well under $100 USD with a good sandwich and some french Tea running at about $10 for the lot.
It is in a quiet area so you might have to look for it. One of my Vietnamese friends recommended this shop. The first time I visited it was New Year 2008 so I could not have anything made specially for me. But the red silk top and black silk skirt and a blue sundress taken off the dummies were perfect after quick alteration while I waited. I got a lot compliments wearing those outfits in the U.S. They are simple and elegant. People know right away that the outfits are tailored. I came back today to have a couple sundresses made and a suit. I cannot wait to try them out this time. She has plenty of beautiful and colorful outfits through out the store but I am of those few who prefer solid light color clothes. Of course she has men tailor suits and everything else but I am no expert in that. She speaks adequate English and I speak adequate Vietnamese so we got along just fine. She is courteous and professional yet very kind. It is no wonder because she used to be a teacher. If she cannot make the clothes in time, she will refuse the order. Not a fly by night shop. I recommend her without reservation.
What to buy: I come back to VN at least every other year the last 15 years so except for clothes, not much else. Used to buy lots of blue and white and Bat Trang ceramic. They are hand made and so delicate and beautiful.
What to pay: Nov 2009. 400,000 dong for a dress (about $23). She might reduce by 10,000 dong just a goodwill gesture. Asians love to bargain. I paid close to $120 in labor for 3 fancy dresses, 1 pant suit, 2 short skirts all lined!!!! and she does not usually alter your store bought clothes, she also altered 2 lined pairs of pants, one blue Jeans and one unlined pair of pants. What a steal.
Ao dai is the traditional Vietnamese tunic. Thuan Viet is the famous Vietnamese designer who has designed ao dai for numerous beauty pagent. His shop was recommended by the concierge at Park Hyatt. I went to the shop on Dong Khoi after looking at other shops on the same street. The dresses on display as well as the fabric were better than other shops so although they were more than double the prices of other places, I decided to purchase from them. I had high expectation but was thoroughly disappointed. Thuan Viet's ao dai can be very expensive depending on what fabric you choose as well as whether you have any embroidery. Dresses with embroidery can run upwards of US$500 + depending on the intricacies of the patterns. I picked my fabric and had my measurements taken. The next day I went back for my fitting and found that the dress was tight and the position of the darts was the chests were not right. Basically, the seams needed to altered to make the size bigger. The length was also too long as it covered the pants completely. I had to go back for a second fitting the next day. When I went back I was really disappointed to find that they had altered the length of the dress but not the lining. What made me even more upset was when they tried to cover up their mistakes and tell me that that's how it should be. I insisted that the lining be altered to the same length as the dress. They wanted me back for a third fitting the next day but I just didn't have time and asked that the dress be delivered to the hotel. When I finally wore the ao dai, I found that the stitchings were shabby and some of the seams were not tacted down properly as it should be done with a proper tailor and there were oil stains on the pants! For a famous tailor, they certainly did not do a good job and probably subcontracted the business out as they knew I was a tourist. Be very wary if you plan to go to this shop and don't believe them when they promise that things can be done in one day. You'll probably need to go for at least 2 - 3 fittings.
What to pay: Minimum US$120 plus and no discount what so ever.
During my first day in Saigon, i immediately went to Ben thanh Market to go shopping. I really liked those shirts which had "Good Morning Vietnam" or "Saigon" or "Ho Chi Minh" or the vietnamese flag printed on them, i wanted to give them to my guy friends back home. Anyway, one of the stores in Ben Thanh offered me 1 shirt for 160,000 Dong and i immediately declined. So she gave it to me for 50,000 Dong, then I finally bought alot...i thought i got a bargain but not really...
If you want to buy those similar shirts that i bought, you can find them in the side entrance of Ben Thanh market (where all the night market and food places will be located during the evening). It's not a stall similar to those inside of Ben Thanh, instead they have these concrete, white painted walls and white floors as walkways...it's the only place with a flourescent light and with sales ladies that are in uniform...You can buy the shirts at a fixed price of 27,000 Dong... i think that's the lowest price you can get for a quality souveneir shirt that doesnt fade or easily rips :)
Other stuff such as plates, lacquerqare, fans, etc. can also be found here with their fixed price. Lower than those sold on the stalls.