While Bangkok abounds with haberdashers flogging custom made-to-measure tailored suits, it can sometimes be difficult finding those that are truly a “cut above”
Tailor shops are as prolific as massage parlours in Bangkok, and in both industries service ranges from shoddy to excellent. A good tailor pairs a wide variety of quality fabrics with precise, on-time, in-fashion cutting skills. It’s not easy to pick one, since a good modiste doesn’t have to advertise—their reputation precedes them in well-dressed circles around town.
Shirts and trousers can be turned around in two to three days with only one fitting. A jacket or a suit—jacket and trousers—takes two or three sittings to get the best results. A bespoke suit in Bangkok costs from B10,000 for synthetics or natural/synthetic blends, to B18,000 for 100 percent wool or cashmere. Tailor-made silk shirts and blouses should cost B1,000 to B2,000.
Be warned that most of the “cotton” offered by Bangkok tailors is actually a blend of cotton and a synthetic, and honest tailors will mention this up front. Bring your own fabric if you want to be assured of 100 percent cotton. If you like the feel, Thai and Chinese silks are a popular, reasonably priced choice of fabric. Special deals advertising four shirts, two suits, a kimono, and a safari suit all in one package almost always turn out to be of inferior materials and workmanship
With the preliminaries out of the way, here are a few spots I recommend based on either personal experience or the experiences of people I trust. If you decide to ignore this carefully curated list and strike out on your own, avoid any shop that employs street solicitation, whether it’s someone standing in front of the shop saying “Hello sir, how about a new suit?” or taxi and tuk-tuk drivers promising big discounts and a fare-free ride. Other red flags include hard-to-believe prices and 12-hour turnaround times.
One of the city’s oldest continually running tailor shops in the city, Siam Emporium started up at Siam Center in 1976, and now owns its own corner building on Sukhumvit. Fair prices for detailed work, broad fabric selection, and excellent customer service draws a loyal repeat clientele. I always deal with a kindly Sikh named Jit. Women as well as men are well served here.
170 Sukhumvit Rd (corner of Sukhumvit Soi 8)
Tel: 02 253 3421
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 neighbours, it appears to be a nondescript hole-in-the-wall. But inside, the one-room shop is nearly bursting with the 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.
130 Sukhumvit Rd (near the Landmark Hotel)
Tel 02 255 3714
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 outfitter offers 22 collar designs, 10 cuff options, and sharp details from buttonhole colours to yoke styles to dart angles. If you want an entire suit to go with your new shirt, they can also accommodate you here. On the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 49 and 49/3, 800 metres from Sukhumvit Road.
Tel: 02 662 6647
TAILOR ON TEN: Situated in a charming, spacious house at the end of Sukhumvit Soi 8, Tailor on Ten is one of only two clothiers in the city under Western management—owners Alex (Canadian) and Nike (German) 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. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s on Sukhumvit Soi 10; it’s on Soi 8.
93, Sukhumvit Soi 8
Tel: 084 877 1543
Perry’s Tailor Shop
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. On Silom Road next to Sala Daeng BTS station, opposite Silom Complex.
Tel: 02 233 9236
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. I have a few friends who swear by Pinky.
888/40 Ploenchit Rd (Mahatun Plaza Arcade)
Tel: 02 253 6328
Embassy Suit Gallery
I originally turned up at Embassy Suit Gallery on Soi Lang Suan last year because I needed a linen suit for a friend’s wedding with only a few days’ notice, and I’d heard they offered quality work with quick fittings and delivery. They helped me choose a sturdy yet light linen that I’ve been very happy with, and the cut was super—better than what I was used to at my regular tailor across town. And I took delivery of the suit in three days, coming for fittings on Friday and Sunday and picking up the suit on Monday. I’ve since had two pairs of slacks made here and am very happy with their skills, pricing, and speedy turnaround time. One of the managers is a very knowledgeable American named Howard.
29/1 Piya Place, Soi Lang Suan
Tel: 086 030 3789
By Joe Cummings/CPA Media