Destination: Thailand: Bangkok
Bangkok may not be as known for its tailors as Hong Kong, but you can also get exquisite things made here. One of the city’s best is the Cotton House, a prim and proper little shop in O.P. Place, near the Mandarin Oriental. The walls are lined with rolls of colorful materials, including beautiful silks (of course). It’s best if you bring in items you would like copied, or at least an image of them. On a recent trip, I had three pieces copied and one skirt made without a sample (because I loved the fabric), and the latter doesn’t fit nearly as well as the others. It’s a good idea to seek out the tailor early in your trip, as you will have to return for at least one fitting (the whole thing takes about a week). At the Cotton House, ask for Mrs. Reed or Pim, both no-nonsense Thai ladies who offer expert advice. Finished items can be sent to your hotel for an extra charge. If you have questions, you can send an email to email@example.com.
It’s Happened to Be a Closet
No longer the secret it once was, It’s Happened to Be a Closet remains charming, and not just because of its melodic, grammatically faulty name. The two floors of the tiny sliver of a boutique, on Soi 3 in Siam Village, are stuffed from floor to ceiling with fashion and accessories. Designed by Siriwan Tharananithikul, the clothes are vintage-inspired and come in myriad textures, materials, colors and styles. Browsing among the immense collection (most of it literally piled on the floor and on shelves) can be exhausting: luckily the store also hosts a teeny Italian café upstairs and a small “spa,” i.e., foot-massage corner, on the ground floor. The original branch was such a hit that there’s now a second Closet on Khao San Road.
Siam Center, third floor
The Siam Center is the younger, smaller and somewhat dated version of upscale, massive Siam Paragon and packed with teenagers and twentysomethings, especially on the weekend. Most of the floors are cluttered with inexpensive Western brands, but the third floor offers a slew of boutiques specializing in Thai designers, and it’s a great place to get a feel for local fashion. Don’t miss Tango, Baking Soda and Theatre. TIP: To avoid disappointment, it’s good to be prepared for Thai-petite sizes.
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