You can’t say I don’t provide you with options! Here’s my latest brainstorm for how to shop for shirts:

1. Buy a $1400 round trip ticket to Vietnam, which will cause you to accumulate almost enough miles for a domestic flight upon your return to the United States. (We used frequent flier miles for our trip.)

2. Go to Hoi An, which is famous for its tailors.

3. Find a tailor you like and spend a week having clothes made in between trips to tourist attractions, the nearby beach, or just lounging around your hotel’s garden or pool.

4. Place further orders from the States with the tailor in Hoi An who now has your measurements and the swatches of fabric that you’ve picked out for future orders.

We only had three nights in Hoi An, so I had to find and visit a tailor as soon as we got there. I walk you through Part One of my process after the jump.

This is Genia at Yaly Couture. She was efficient, attentive and straightforward. Yaly is a big outfit with good online reviews that locals warned me was more expensive. However, I didn’t have time to risk finding out if a smaller shop was just as good, and cheaper isn’t better if you don’t get what you want. I brought my own fabric (all the samples I’d considered for my Red Violet shirts and decided not to use), so each shirt cost $10 to make. I ordered five. If I hadn’t had my own fabric, the shirts in woven stretch cotton would have cost $25 each.

I sketched out pictures of what I wanted and also brought along my mother’s netbook and a flash drive to show her two shirts that I wanted copied. I took pictures of these shirts in a department store dressing room in 2007!

She took all my measurements and took front, side and back pictures of me.

She uploaded the pictures I’d brought with me.

It was almost 7:00 pm by the time we finished. Genia told me to come for my first fitting at 10:00 the next morning. I’ll write about that in my next post!