My cheongsam from Hoi An

My Chinese New Year cheongsam
My Chinese New Year cheongsam. I’m sure there was something in my eyes.

During the Chinese New Year, I finally got to wear the cheongsam I got tailor-made in Hoi An. It had been in my wardrobe ever since I flew it back with me from the Vietnamese town.

Hoi An, Vietnam, is famous for its tailors. You literally (yes, in the literal way) cannot walk down a street without passing at least 2 tailors. (Well, not too literally if you’re passing paddy fields.)

Not a tailor in sight
Not a tailor in sight

Nguyen, you know her from my KL trip, also raved about tailors in Hoi An during one of our Facebook chat sessions. She said I must get at least an outfit done when I am there.

Frankly, I’m not a shopper of clothes. Clothes store make me yawn maybe because I rarely find things my size which I find flattering.

But I thought about getting a qipao (aka cheongsam) made–especially after I saw what Steph from 20-Something Travel got for herself–although I was not sure when I would actually wear it.

Allure of the cheongsam

Impressions of qipao; handsome man used for illustration purposes

The perfect image of a lady in cheongsam features a tight fitting dress and curves in the right places.

The not-perfect image of a lady in cheongsam features a loose-fitting dress with curves that suggest pregnancy. That, my friends, was what my dress turned out to be.

My tailor

Future, Hoi An
Future, Hoi An

I got my cheongsam made at Future. It’s at the street junction of Cua Dai road and Tran Hung Dao. (photo below)

When we were picking out the cloth, the shop owner suggested a black cloth. I explained that I might wear it for a wedding. After looking around, we both agreed on the cloth with blue background with green shiney embroidery.

The lady got my measurements and told me the dress would be ready the next day. I believe it was US$35 for the dress but I have a really bad memory (should have jotted it down!)

I picked up the dress the next day. When fitting, I realized that there were places which were slightly loose. Suddenly I became paranoid that she thought I was making it for my wedding and mistook my bloated stomach from the night before as a growing baby. (It was probably my overactive imagination though).

I felt too embarrassed to tell her that I wanted some parts of the dress to be tighter. I reasoned that I would probably grow into the loose spaces if I keep on eating with my healthy appetite.

I’m not complaining that the dressmaker wasn’t good. I’m saying that as a customer, I wasn’t even sure of what I want so that was the main problem.

At least I can still wear it when preggers
At least I can still wear it when preggers

If you are heading to Hoi An, remember to get something tailor made! Just make sure that you know how the end result should be and not be like me.

Shopping for vintage clothing in Kota Kinabalu

If you are planning a trip to Kota Kinabalu (or KK–pronounced “keh keh” locally instead of “kay kay” the non-local way–for short), you probably would have sun, sea, mountain in mind instead of vintage clothing.

OK OK, I’m stretching it a lot when I say vintage, it should be second hand clothing.

Continue reading “Shopping for vintage clothing in Kota Kinabalu”