June 23, 2017Posted by Bethany Larson Bloch
Tailors are as prolific as massage parlors in Bangkok, due mainly to the comparatively bargain prices (think US$500 for a bespoke cashmere suit) and amazingly speedy turnaround times: in these parts, customized shirts and trousers can be created in 48 hours with only one fitting. That said, you probably won’t want to visit just any clothier; workmanship and fabric quality vary wildly and if you pick a tailor without putting any effort into it, it’s likely the results will be more shoddy than not.
To make the search even harder, a good modiste here doesn’t have to advertise – their reputation precedes them in well-dressed circles around town. Luckily, The HUNT Bangkok writer, Joe Cummings, knows of a few spots to recommend, but before you go, you should note that to create a fine suit, reputable tailors will ask for two to five fittings and take two weeks to finish (though most do ship internationally). If you have the time, then try one of these on for size.
One of the city’s oldest continually running tailors for both men and women, Siam Emporium started at Siam Center in 1976 and now occupies its own orange corner building on Sukhumvit Road. It’s known for fair prices, detailed work (think button-downs with patterned inner lining on the cuffs and collar), a broad fabric selection and excellent customer service.
Run by a father and son, Rajawongse Clothier has cut suits for the likes of US presidents, scores of diplomats and state department officials. The narrow storefront isn’t showy, though; like most of its neighbors, it appears to be a nondescript hole-in-the-wall. But inside, the one-room shop is nearly bursting with bolts of Egyptian cotton, wool and wool-cashmere blends that are used to complete their made-to-measure creations, which range from shirts and trousers to full suits.
Famed for their impeccable cotton dress shirts, Lala Duly specializes in classic yet stylish looks for discerning gents. There are myriad customizations to make here, as the outfitters offers 22 collar designs, 10 cuff options and sharp details from buttonhole colors to yoke styles to dart angles. If you want an entire suit to go with your new shirt, they can accommodate you here.
Situated in a charming, spacious house at the end of Sukhumvit Soi 8, Tailor on Ten is the only clothier in the city under Western management – owners Alex and Nike founded the company in 2010 and create premium garments using the highest quality fabrics available from Italy, England and Ireland. Unlike many Bangkok-based tailors, the guys here produce all of the products on the premises with their team of in-house cutters, stitchers and quality control personnel, so you can rest easy knowing your fancy new duds were produced fairly.
Owned and operated by septuagenarian twin brothers Narong and Phonchai (and no one named Perry) and in business since the mid-1970s, Perry’s Tailor Shop uses top-notch cloths imported from European textile mills such as Ermenegildo Zegna and Dormeuil. Their reputation is legendary among dandies, and they boast an incredible array of high-society customers, including none other than the always dapper Duke of Edinburgh.
Another established couturier, Mr. Pinky of Pinky Tailor has been crafting clothing for men and women in Bangkok since 1980. While he’s happy to take measurements at your home, office or hotel room, it’s better to visit his workshop at Mahatun Plaza Arcade, which boasts three entire floors of fabrics. There, the possibilities really are endless.
About The HUNT Bangkok Writer: Though Joe Cummings was born in New Orleans and raised in California, France and Washington, D.C., an interest in Buddhism drew him to Thailand. He has contributed to several guidebooks on Southeast Asia, writing about subjects ranging from tattoos to dining to Muay Thai. He is currently editor-at-large for Bangkok 101, and also plays guitar and composes music for film and TV.
For more great insider recommendations in Bangkok, pick up the guide on gatehousepublishing.com.