Going to Bangkok Thailand for a long while. Tailor, restaurant, shop recs? Proxy?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by SeaGriffin, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. Halifax

    Halifax Senior member

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    So here are some opinions...

    Siam Leather Goods:
    Kiwiman (member) is a local Thai and a leather fiend who has recommended these guys to me before.

    July Tailor:
    His notoriety stems from the fact that he has dresses several members of the Thai royal family. I have never visited his store, nor spoken with anyone who has. All I know is that he has been around for a while and has a reputation for making quality clothes. I have no idea whether he offers hand details, fully floating canvas jacket construction or non-fused shirt interlining.
    He probably deserves to be ranked in the top tier but assuming his quality is there, the two burning questions are: does he provide his best work to your average Joe, and is he an expensive as he looks?

    I doubt he accepts CMT.

    If you do end up checking him out, let us know how it goes (prices, level of his tailoring, etc)

    Another tier one tailor shop is WorldGroup attached to the Oriental hotel. I believe shirts made from TM silverline start around 5,000THB. Again, I've never tried them but they have been mentioned to me. Apparently they offer CMT, floating canvas construction for 15,000THB.

    Two other well established tailors that no one I know of has any current experience with is Art's (on Thaniya) and Broadway tailors. They may well be worth a look, just to ask about construction, hand detailing and prices. Based upon reputation (like July), they would sit in the tier one category.

    The Tanika-Narin Debate:
    It is well documented that Narin of Narin Couture is very difficult to deal with. His 2,950THB shirts are inferior to Tanika's 2,500THB shirts (Thick MoP buttons, hand details, house fabric source from Italy, but probably milled somewhere else, but fused collar and cuffs). Narin does offer non-fused collars and cuffs and I don't know if Tanika does - perhaps if you ask. Tanika's customer service is top notch - you will deal with Yuwadee Lim (the matriarch of Tanika) who is the mother of the two sister tailors, Tanika and Tanisara. As it has been mentioned before, Yuwadee is also Narin's mother. Tanika shirts made of TM bespoke start from 8,500THB. The craftsmanship Tanika puts into their shirts is the same, regardless of price (ie you are only paying for better fabrics).

    Narin's ace is that he offers CMT and has been rumoured to go as low as 12,000THB (and as high as 20,000THB... for farang) for a fully floating canvas construction two-piece suit with hand details (the exact details were not disclosed). Given that you can pick quite nice Italian milled suiting for 1,500THB/mt. (including shipping but not tax), you are looking at 17,250THB (18,000THB with pattern matching). Otherwise he will charge from 25,000THB if you use his house fabric (100% wool) but I'm not sure about construction.

    Tanika's entry level two-piece suit, fused construction without hand detailing and made from house fabric (100% wool) starts at 16,000THB. Adding hand details and using 140s VBC pushes the price up to around 28,000THB. Tanika's floating canvas suit prices: 48,000+THB (Reda), 55,000+THB (Zenga), 65,000+THB (Dormeuil Amadeus 365), 75,000+THB (LP). Tanika does not offer CMT.

    In terms of fit, Narin has a more modern/slimmer fit for his shirts that most people prefer. Tanika's house fit for shirts is more conservative and there is a well documented problem with their cuffs (they make them a bit too tight - making your jacket sleeves look too long).

    However, the standard fit of Tanika's trouser and jackets have been spot on for myself and several people that I have spoken with.


    Tier Two Tailors:
    Perhaps a stricter definition of tier two should be made since it seems to be getting referenced. In regards to ToT and Pinky's, the reason they are better than your typical rip off tailor is twofold: i) they offer reputable fabrics (shirting from the Albini groups and suiting from VBC, Dormeuil), and ii) they are honest about construction and are reasonably priced.

    Milan is on a knife-edge with this definition. He does not offer reputable fabrics but he does offer CMT which is well priced.

    I don't think Moonriver should be in the second tier

    I would put James Fashion and Crown Tailor in the tier three (tourist business model) tailors category.
    Despite being well established with a decent reputation, it is rumoured that Perry's in Silom has also adopted the tourist business model at the cost of quality.


    Jewellery:
    Bangkok is a good place to pick up some coloured precious gems for a reasonable price. I've used SJ Jewelers before and have been quite happy. There is also a number of places around the JTC in Silom.

    Feel free to ask me any questions.

    Cheers,
    HPH
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014


  2. Halifax

    Halifax Senior member

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    Definitely get shirts. In fact, there is also the local RTW/MTM brand LalaDuly which is worth checking out. If your into a bit more trending clothing, JBB* has also been recommended to me.

    Something that some of the members might be keen to know is if you can source Eurpoean fabrics from any of the textile merchants in Bangkok. I'm 99% sure you can't, but you can never be certain.

    Unfortunately I cannot answer that for you [​IMG]
     


  3. curzon

    curzon Senior member

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    [COLOR=FF00AA][/COLOR]
    It's in anticipation of all the photos of Thai birds you'll be posting in the Asian girls appreciation thread. Don't let us down, m8.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014


  4. ter1413

    ter1413 Senior member

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    Halifax, I don't get it. You are reviewing tailors that you have never been to or know anyone who has event been to? How does that work? I mean to say, how does that help?

    Also, the recommendation that Bangkok is a good place to buy gems, for a first-timer(OP) is just crazy! Unless he knows what he is doing, stick to clothing.

    OP, I would stick to getting some shirts made and maybe 1 suit to start. IMO, you CAN'T get shirts made unless you are:
    A) Also purchase a suit/sports-coat, or
    B) Already have a proper fitting suit/sports-coat with you.

    You MUST try the shirts with a jacket on. I see many men walk into the tailor and ask for shirts and have no way to tell if the sleeves are long/short w/o having on a jacket.

    Know what you want BEFORE you walk into any tailor shop anywhere in the world.

    If you are going to be there for a year, relax. Don't rush out to buy a suit/shirts(especially if your job doesn't require it.)

    Soak in the city/culture/food/atmosphere. Settle in. Then visit some of the places mentioned and ask questions. Don;t get lured in by, "3 suits, 6 shirts, 3 ties in 24 hr" deals that many Bk tailors offer.

    A year is a long time.
     


  5. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Senior member

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    Some extra restuarants: http://www.misstamchiak.com/10-must-try-food-places-in-bangkok/

    I've been to Bangkok a couple of times, sometimes as a backpacker and sometimes a little more upscale. Both are different experiences and equally fun, so I urge you to try as many food stalls, but don't forget the more high end restaurants either. I second all of ter1413 suggestions, and I don't think you'd ever wear a suit in Bangkok unless you have to, it's simply too hot, humid and dirty. Do get lots of linen MTM shirts and trousers. You'll still look good, but you'll be much more comfortable. Don't get white trousers, as they'll get dirty instantly.

    When it comes to restaurants, here are a couple I remember. I especially like Somtam, close to all the shopping malls at Siam Square. I went there a couple of times, and their fried chicken is some of the best I've ever had. The fish is supposed to be very good as well. You'll have to wait a bit during the peak hours, but it's worth it. Right across from it is a little desert place, that sells great mango sticky rice, which you'll have to try as well.

    Le Normandie at the Mandarin is pretty good too if you're looking for something a bit more sophisticated and western, but Bo Lan, Sukhumvit Soi 26, was probably my favourite restaurant. The food was absolutely amazing, and the setting was very nice too. Try the tasting menu if they still have that, and bring DEET spray against the mosquitos if you're sitting outside.

    You have to go to a couple of rooftop bars, even though they're very touristy. Vertigo at the Banyan Tree was probably my favourite for the view, but Long Table is best to enjoy the sunset, as the food there is pretty good too. The sky bar at the Lebua was not my favourite, as the little round bar is way too small. But seeing as you're there for a whole year you'll have plenty of time to explore.

    Oh, if you want to shop for groceries, the are some upscale ones in the malls that have a very nice selection of food, asian and western. The malls are nice places to hang out in if you want to get away from the city for a while, and the movie theatres at some of them are amazing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014


  6. ter1413

    ter1413 Senior member

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    ^^

    All good suggestions.

    This is what i would also do...stop into an Asia Books bookstore and pick up some fiction re SE Asia. I find it so interesting to read about the place that I visit.

    Some suggestions:

    Dean Barrett-Skytrain to Murder
    Stephen Leather-Bangkok Bob
    Jo Nesbo-Cockroaches

    Also, you need to start looking into getting internet and cell phone service sorted(unless your job is setting this up.)

    When are you headed over?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014


  7. Halifax

    Halifax Senior member

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    My post was a bit of a ramble, I apologise. I was trying to answer some of the questions raised whilst adding comments along the way and I can see how it is a bit confusing.

    To clarify, I have done business with Tanika and Rajawongse (only once). I have visited and spoken with Narin, Tailor on Ten, and Pinky. In addition, I have second hand information about Narin, Tanika, ToT, WorldGroup, Perry's.

    The other comments are a more of a matter of opinion and should be considered as such.

    In terms of jewelry, I agree that shopping in Thailand requires a certain level of preparation. However, I don't see a problem buying set stones from one of the more reputable stores. I wasn't suggesting purchasing a 5.0ct natural ruby as an investment - more a likely a heat treated 50pt stone for someone special at home. If you are truly concerned about quality, or plan to purchase a stone larger than half a carat, then you can always request a GIA lab report as you have plenty of time in Bangkok.

    Of course, if jewelry is not your thing nor do you have a reason to buy any then don't feel pressured. Jewelry purchases are just like custom clothes purchases - the outcome typically reflects your understanding/interest in the product.

    Tying on a jacket is especially important if you try Tanika - I had some issues with the shirt cuffs being too tight which made the shirt sleeves look too short.

    Cheers,
    HPH
     


  8. ter1413

    ter1413 Senior member

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    Cool!
     


  9. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

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    what what
     


  10. SeaGriffin

    SeaGriffin Senior member

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    Curzon, if I can figure out a way to take pictures of beautiful women I will, though I assume I may end up in the picture, which may ruin things.

    Regarding WW Chan, thanks. I just tried to verify the confusing posts that said they had a Bangkok office....their website says they don't. So, I will update that first page post.

    Everybody else, thanks for the other suggestions. I will try to visit as many as possible. If I get bored, maybe I will take pictures of the places suggested and share from there.

    I leave in September.

    Halifax, thanks, I will update the list to reflect your comments. I may even stop by July and get a shirt made. Maybe I can use that for a comparison to Tanika. Given the prices, I am beginning to wonder if it is still cheaper to get a really good shirt made over there?

    I enjoy minerals, but I claim no knowledge of gems. And I read there are quite a lot of scams with regards to Jewelry, so I am gun shy.
     


  11. dappertimes

    dappertimes Well-Known Member

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    I second that.. Tailors are known to target specifically tourists.
     


  12. SeaGriffin

    SeaGriffin Senior member

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    Videos for your comments, will update first page post later. I haven't really examined them beyond a quick view.

    Sam Hober


    July Tailor (thai)

    Interview with the tailor, I think, until about 22:53. Shop for the next couple of minutes. Back to shop at 35:25 for three minutes. In between is media/star junk I think. Around 46 mins they go back to content that might be useful if I could understand it. You can tell it is a fashion show because they show very little that helps judge the place. Perhaps best to judge the tailor's suit since he likely made it.

    Narin...too much shoulder?


    Raja's


    Siam Leather...shoe not my cup of tea but shows their process for at least that
     


  13. Halifax

    Halifax Senior member

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    That was the original intention of my (very) rough ranking. By definition, I consider tier three tailors to explicitly use this business model. It is important not to label all Thai tailors under this umbrella - there are honest and skilled ones out there, which is why there is a discussion about it.

    Something else I remembered: whilst at Muse Hotel, I remember there was a speak easy sky bar in alignment with the hotel's 1920's vibe. You take the elevator up to the top bar, then walk passed the restrooms and there is a staircase which takes you up to the speak easy. It was a nice spot.

    Cheers,
    HPH
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014


  14. SeaGriffin

    SeaGriffin Senior member

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    Thanks, I'm probably looking for a good coffee house/shop more than a bar, but I will go everywhere rather than nowhere. I will also look up those books. I've heard that is a good bookstore to find English language books.

    Regarding my comments about shirts, I was weighing what it would cost for me to have a MTM shirt ordered here to be made in Hong Kong vs what it would cost, I gather, at Tanika or something. I may not be comparing fabric quality correctly, however.
     


  15. ter1413

    ter1413 Senior member

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