Two days ago, I went to a high end tailor for the first time in my life, Dung Tailor in Saigon, Vietnam. I got measured and ordered a shirt and a pair of pants. Cost: 1,020,000 VND, or a little more than $50 USD total.
This reminds me of when I was in Chengdu, China five years ago. In Chengdu, I bought a beautiful red leather suitcase for $100 USD, and got shirts and shoes for about $5 each.
So, would it be cheaper for you to fly to another country to buy your items? Here's the calculator I'd use:
1. Figure out what you're going to pay on clothing, shirts, shoes, and hand-crafted gifts in the next year.
2. Assume you can get that at between 40% and 70% off in Vietnam, China, or a relevant part of South America if you live in a Western country.
3. Go to kayak.com - check the cost of flights to your desired country.
4. If the cost of flights is less than or close to half of what you intend to spend on the next year on clothing, luggage, and gifts, you can get a free or almost-free vacation out of the deal. For instance, if someone was going to buy three high-end suits in the USA, it'd probably be break to fly to Vietnam, get them made here over the course of a week, and fly home. This doesn't apply or matter for someone who is a student or whatever, but if you just got a position or promotion where you need to be dressed up, why not celebrate a little effectively for free before going to work?
Here's the contact details from Dung Tailor (pronounced "Yoong"):
221 Le Thanh Ton Street
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Telephone: 38 29 67 78 or 38 24 56 76
Fax: 38 23 68 08
Mobile: 0903 954 546
Note: This probably applies in reverse on electronics - for whatever reason, third world countries love to put a huge import tax on electronics, so computers, smartphones, that sort of thing often cost 50% to 100% higher than in Western countries. I don't know as much about where to buy quality electronics cheaply, if anyone knows, please feel welcome to let us know in the comments.
For suits, luggage, etc. - definitely go international. I've given this advice to anyone who travels and buys these sorts of things, and only one guy followed up with me and told me he did - bought a year's worth of items in China, paid less than half of what he'd have paid in America, and basically got two weeks in China at no more cost than he was going to pay in the USA. I try to gear up in countries where it's cheap, and go cheap in countries where it's expensive.
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