Looking for a suit in Bangkok? Yes? Congratulations, you’ve come to the right place. No? This will be a pointless five minutes, but it’s your own time and I’m not here to judge.
Bangkok is both a mecca and a minefield for suits. There are tailors dotted all over the place, many offering unbelievable prices for a handmade garment. By all means go for the dirt cheap option if that floats your boat.
If you want something that won’t spontaneously combust or fall to ribbons halfway through a key event however, you need to expect to pay a little more – it will be worth it.
Where to go
Pinky. You should go to Pinky. Sorry if you were after a range of options but this is, after all, an idiot’s guide so let’s keep it simple. I’ve bought 100% of my (two) suits from there and they are both beautifully made, durable and high quality.
More important than my opinion: Pinky came recommended to me by two separate people who have actual style and know about suits.
Also gaining bonus points: the second suit I bought was 4 years after the first. Not only did they still have my details and the details of the last suit I ordered, right down to the swatches – they also offered to re-size my old trousers for free as I am now somewhat more svelte than I was in 2014. I like that kind of service.
Pinky (they are better at suits than websites) is based in Ploenchit (here), which is beautifully central in Bangkok. It has been there since 1980 and looks every bit of those years from the outside, and also the inside, which is a rabbit warren of fabrics and assistants milling about.
The shop is split into 3 floors which correspond to the prices and quality of the wool. They have 3 tiers of price but are very open about what you get for your money. The cheapest tier won’t set you back much, but you might only get a few wears out of it. The mid tier is for unbranded but high quality material – my go to. There is a tier above this for the super fancy but to be honest the mid tier is more than sufficient.
How to order
The staff at Pinky are more than used to having clueless, non-Thai speaking men stumble, blinking, into their shop and shuffle around aimlessly until they are rescued and given a cold can of coke. Don’t worry if you hyperventilate a little. It’s normal to be scared.
If you mumble the word ‘suit’ enough times then somebody will come along to help you, and the tailors speak excellent English. The main tailors seem to be Pinky himself – a man who speaks very little and ages even less but knows his way around an inside leg, and a younger guy who seems permanently deluged with work but is very helpful.
You can tell them what sort of thing you’re after – 2 piece, 3 piece, whether you want shirts as well etc, and they will help you pick material. If you are starting from scratch, they will try to get an idea and then run you through a menu of options down to collar shape, button types and all the nitty gritty.
A top tip if you do know what you’re after is to take a picture of a suit you like for them to work from. The first suit I had made was based on one I saw in London and a grainy image through a shop window was plenty for them to work with.
Once you’ve chosen your colour, fabric and most importantly lining, you’ll be whisked off to a booth to be measured.
Be aware that if they talk about slim cut they will definitely mean it. Thai suits as standard are particularly slim – so be sure to ask for it not too slim if you want something more classically European.
If you are really pressed for time, that can be that. The first suit I ordered was delivered to my hotel less than 48 hours later – enough to time to grab a coffee and head to the jungle.
If you have a little more time on your hands, they will suggest a second fitting the next day so that you can try on the suit and they can make fine adjustments before delivery.
In terms of price, from what I remember it’s exactly the same price as in 2014, which is a bit more in GBP now than it was – thanks Brexit (shoehorn alert!).
A 3 piece suit from the mid tier will cost 17,000 baht or a shade over £400 as of today’s hilariously poor exchange rate. A tailored shirt is an extra 2,000 baht. It’s not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but it will get you a fantastic, bespoke tailored suit that will last for many years at a fraction of the cost of London or elsewhere.
The end product
Here are both of the end results in action (with Frankie stealing the show in both photos obviously):
And some closeups of the lining – clearly the best bit:
So next time you’re looking for a suit in Bangkok, you know where to head.