Brucini started seriously travelling after attempting to move to Queenstown, New Zealand, in 1996.Inspired by drunkenly meeting a world of travelers on a Kiwi Experience bus, he changed his plans and roamed the world for a year. ...Find out more!
Phuket is well and truly a destination for the shopping opportunist, as well as the beach-loving tourist. There seem to be equal numbers of shops selling eyeglasses, dental and cosmetic treatments, as there are those selling suits in Phuket. It's hard to resist buying something you might otherwise have never considered when faced with the ubiquity of all of the above the shops. Having just returned from Phuket after buying two made-to-order suits and two fitted shirts (not to mention two pairs of eyeglasses), here is some beginner’s guide advice that would apply to buying a suit anywhere overseas.
If you think you could resist buying a suit, perhaps consider how price creates the demand. Just like the budget airlines who have created international travellers out of a populace who might have stayed in a caravan park a few years ago, so too travellers wanting to buy suits. The tailors in Phuket know they will generally not be undercut on price compared to what is available in most travellers’ home country. A fitted, made-to-order suit in Phuket with a 80/20 wool/cashmere blend material costs THB9750/AUD300/USD309 depending on the store you visit. A fitted made-to-order shirt will cost THB1250/AUD38/USD39. You'll be able to get much cheaper than those prices if you reduce the quality of the materials, to approximately AUD190 for a suit.
How to make buying a suit overseas easier:
• Do your research in your home town into prices and differences of cut and material quality.
• Know what style you want before you arrive at the suit shop ie. Lapel type, length, number of buttons.
• Know what material you want. This includes any pattern on the material as well as what the material is made of ie. Pinstripe, charcoal/black/navy; polyester/wool mix or wool/cashmere mix.
• Get a recommendation or look online for other travellers experiences. My suits were purchased at Niphon’s Rich Collection, Kata Beach, Phuket.
Armed with this information you are able to easily explain to any tailor what you want. You need to control the process by being very clear about you want before you enter the shop. You will therefore get what you want. Otherwise you may become confused and unnecessarily stressed looking at pictures of suits in the shop and deciding on the spot, which is never easy.
The only variables will be the tailor's skill at measuring you (but this is what they do every day) and the actual work of the machinist putting the suit together. It's not too hard to see other work by them before deciding to commit to being measured up. What's also true of tailors' the world over is they trade off their reputation. They can't afford to create shoddy work if they are in interested in being in business for the long term. It might therefore be of interest to ask how long they have been in business or see their order book (many will show you to prove their credibility in any case).
The after-sales of customers requesting further suits or shirts made based off their measurements is an important revenue stream for most shops. Once measured, it’s easy to save in the future by ordering more shirts, for example. You will effectively be buying – and saving – direct from the manufacturer forever after for as many clothes as you need made. That will make your holiday time spent in a suit shop more than money well spent.