May 14, 2014
Tailored Clothing in Taiwan
When one thinks of fine tailored clothing, the idea of luxury, extravagance, splendor and deep pockets might come to mind. In fact, in my opinion, getting clothing made is very positive and extremely cost effective. With tailor-made clothing, the clothing you get really fits “you” accurately, and you can proudly say that the item is one of a kind.
If this is the first time you’ve had clothing made, you should plan on spending around an hour going through the entire process. Most tailors will keep your measurements so repeat orders are faster, although some of us may find it necessary to get re-measured more than we’d like (see the Taiwan food posts).
First off, you need to find a tailor, which in Taiwan is pretty easy. However, finding a tailor you like and feel comfortable working with is another thing. There are clusters of stores around Linshen North Road, the main train station, or alternatively check out Taipei’s Ximen (西門) district for tailors that cater to the student or recent graduate. You can also ask your hotel for assistance.
There are a variety of options to choose from, but typically items include shirts, slacks, blazers, skirts, dresses and suits. In order to get an accurate fit, the tailor will take about 10 to 15 minutes to take a lot of different body measurements. It might not be the most enjoyable experience, but after you’re done your new clothing will fit like a glove.
At this stage you’re ready to start making some critical decisions regarding your new clothing. For me, this is the fun part as you get to make material and style choices as to the type of cloth, design or pattern of the tailored item. The tailor will have many material samples for you to choose from. Before you head over to the store, just have a sense of what colors you like and want, as this will make the decision process easier and quicker. If you have no idea what you want or find the process too daunting, skim fashion magazines to find things you like. Better yet, take the magazine with you and show it to your tailor. If you have a current piece of clothing you really like, just bring it along and the tailor will understand what you are looking for.
If you’re just getting shirts or slacks, the tailoring processing is quick and straightforward. Two to five days later you just return to the store to pick up your new garments. With a blazer or suit, you will need to return to the store once or twice for fittings. During each of the visits, you will need to try on the garment and the tailor will review the progress and make changes where necessary. At the same time, this is also your review opportunity, so make changes if you don’t like the way the jacket fits on you as it will be difficult to make changes after it is finished.
Shirts typically take two to five days to make, and suits five to seven days, and you should check with your chosen tailor before starting the process to make sure you can get the clothes before you leave (some shops will ship the order back to your home country for an extra cost).
Prices range from NTD$1000 for a shirt to NT$18000 for a suit, although of course this depends on the tailor, material, and sometimes quantity of the items. Of course there are other tailors in Taiwan that are cheaper (and especially more expensive), but for the quality and service I feel these prices are acceptable.
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