How to Buy a Suit in Bangkok
Bangkok can be a great place for business travelers, both men and women, to buy ready-made suits or get them made to order. You’ll pay a fraction of the price you’d pay in Europe or North America, and Bangkok tailors are known to be some of the best in the world. That said, Bangkok is a huge city with seemingly unending options for shopping. How and where can you buy a suit?
For women, one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get a great suit is to visit a Thai uniform shop. If you’re in Bangkok for more than fifteen minutes, you’ll notice that Thai women are quite stylish, and many professionals wear pantsuits or skirt suits to work. Thai school girls also wear uniforms, which usually consist of a white button down blouse and a dark colored skirt. Sometimes a suit jacket is also worn. At a uniform shop, you’ll see every variety of skirt in every size a Thai girl might be (so if you’re a US size 8 or up you might have trouble). You can get pencil skirts, A-line skirts, mini-skirts, pleated skirts, tea-length skirts, etc. all in the standard black or navy blue. Some shops also have dark brown, dark gray or pinstripe patterns for sale.
At the uniform shop in MBK (third floor, back of market area), you can get a skirt, jacket and blouse for just 2000 baht ($57). They have four colors: black, navy, dark gray and dark brown. All blouses at these shops are white, but you can easily buy more stylish blouses at different shops.
Many of Bangkok’s malls have tailors. A made to order suit will be ready within a week, but it may cost you more than a ready-made suit. At Iberis tailors on the ground floor of MBK, a made to order suit, shirt not included, goes for 4000 baht ($114). Look for sales of items from the last season to save money, as I was able to get a black suit for 2700 baht ($77) and a navy pinstripe suit for 3250 baht ($92). The navy suit was more expensive because the jacket was ready-made and the trousers needed to be stitched. Sizes available are generally small to medium. If you need larger sizes you’ll have to get them made to order.
Business and Tourist Districts
Wherever business travelers frequent Bangkok, tailors seem to have sprung up. Quality of tailoring is generally high as there is stiff competition. On Charoen Krung Road, between Soi 42 and 30, there are dozens of tailors. This area is very close to piers #1 through #3 on the Chao Phraya River Express Boat. It’s conveniently located near many of Bangkok’s luxurious riverfront hotels and conference centers.
Most stores have signs outside boasting deals like 2 suits, 2 shirts, and 2 ties for $179! These signs are designed to get you inside. Once you’re in, make sure you ask about what types of material are covered under the deal. Many times, in order to get good quality, you’ll end up paying more than the advertised price. Nevertheless, these shops can still be a really good deal and you’ll get suits cheaper than you can elsewhere.
Tailors have lots of fabrics you can choose from, and sometimes the turn around for a made to order suit is only 24 hours. Some shops boast getting it done in 6 hours, although I’d be wary of having tailoring done so quickly.
Siam Square, located right off the Siam BTS Station, has hundreds of hip and trendy stores. If you’re looking for less traditional suits in different colors and styles, this is a great place to check out. You can get funky women’s suits made of Thai silk in all colors of the rainbow, and there are many different designer shops you can go in. This area is better for women’s suits, as you’re not likely to find traditional dark colored suits here.
You should easily be able to get a suit at any of these locations, aside from the designers at Siam Square, for less than $100. Think about what you want before stepping into a shop, otherwise you might be convinced to order the most expensive thing they have. Know what kind of weather you want the suit for, and what colors you want. For women, you’ll have to decide whether you want suits with skirts or with pants, and what cut of skirt you want. Usually there are samples at the tailors, but changing rooms can be small so it’s best to have an idea before you go. Most tailors have staff that speak English well, so next time you’re in Bangkok nothing should stop you from getting that new suit!