Getting a dress made in Bangkok – Tailors for Women

For a while I have been eying up a dress in the window of a shop near Asoke. Given that one of the things on ‘my to do before I am 30 list’ is to have a dress made, I decided this was reason enough to explore my options.

Let me tell you shopping has never been more fun. Getting a dress made in Bangkok means you can chose the colours, the fabric, and the best thing is that they take the measurements in Thai and despite learning numbers in last weeks lessons I didn’t catch a word, so I have no idea how fat I am!

I went to Atelier Azzurro (http://www.azzurrotailor.com/), and they were fantastic. The best thing is that instead of being run by men who have no idea about women’s fashion, I was greeted by a young woman who had been trained in Milan and had designed some of the dresses in the window.

I picked a navy dress with a silver sash, that she had designed based on some of the clothes she saw on the TV show Mad Men. The fact that she watches Mad Men was exciting enough!

I had barely been measured for my first dress when I was planning my next dress, a slightly modified version from the Louis Vuitton AW10 campaign…

After a week I went back for my first fitting. They tend to make things slightly too big and then pin you in on the first fitting. I took a picture in the changing room, which doesn’t look that impressive, I just wanted a before pic:

I went back a week later for my final  fitting and it fitted perfectly. Now I need to plan afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental and cocktails at the Sky Bar to show it off. And save my pennies for dress number two!!!

I loved the extra detailing: little poppers under the top to keep your bra straps in place, and the face you can order more coloured sashes to

 

This week, I also purchased a slightly cheaper dress from an amazing stall near the underground. The stall owner seems to hunt down the best vintage dresses from around Bangkok and I always want to stop and have a look first thing before all the good things go (which would make me late for work). On my way home the other night I found an amazing spotty dress, a bargain at roughly £7. And it fits! However it was long enough for two of me, so I decided to try out my local sewing machine lady.

This is not MY sewing machine lady!

Dotted all over the city are ladies and their Singer sewing machines. On Sukhumvit Soi 18 we have a double act who work in the shade of a large tree near the Rembrandt Hotel: the sewing lady and the shoe repair man. I dropped my dress off (communicating mainly with nods and sign language) and then 24 hours later I picked it up. She had done a great job of taking it up and it only cost £2.

When I moved here I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to fit into anything, and my experience with the XXL sport shorts only made it worse. But on my last trip to the weekend market (JJ) I found some cool t shirts and interesting clothes stalls run by independent Thai designers (no Chang t shirt for me!) and now with the dress making and the vintage shop I have found my new shopping heaven!

Hamblepie Rucksacks and Bags at Chatuchak Weekend Market

Rucksack Bangkok This weekend I had the unenviable task of exploring Chatuchak Weekend Market. When I first moved to Bangkok I loved the shopping heaven locals refer to as JJ, but I have since realised that most shops that sell goods here also have other branches in town, usually in air-conditioned spaces.

Hamblepie is sadly not one of these! Their only other stall is at the railway market, but even with its new location it’s about as handy as Chatuchak Weekend Market (they are pretty much neighbours).

Anyway I was there to research an article for work, but with 15,000 stalls it’s impossible not to get tempted by something. After trying on a beautiful lace top that didn’t make me look as delicate and girly as I had imagined I stumbled upon Hamplepie’s Chatuchak stall.

They sell a range of beautiful handmade rucksacks and messenger bags in colourful canvas and fabrics: stripes, spots, anchor patterns and vintage florals.

Useful, cute and an unbelievable bargain.

Chatuchak Stall I’ve been looking for a new bag that fits everything I need on a day to day basis, camera, notebook, sometimes another camera,  and plenty of rubbish I take everywhere but never use… I spotted the one below, and the fabric reminded me a little of Provence in the south of France, so I was sold. It was also a bargain at 650 baht (13 pounds and 50 pence).

If you want to check out the bag shop in Chatuchak Weekend Market you will find it in Section 23, soi 2, shop number 31831. The numbers are displayed all over the place, and you can pick up a vaguely helpful map at the main entrances to the market.

They also have a Facebook Page here, so you can check out their other bags.

Camera Bag Bangkok

 
Chatuchak Weekend Market or JJ is open all day Saturday and Sunday. To get there take the BTS to Mo Chit or the MRT to Chatuchak Park. 

The Magic of Coconut Oil – Saving Face

Coconut Oil Bangkok

The weather in Bangkok has changed recently, with more rain and plenty of hot steamy days which means I mainly hide out in air-conditioning. All these crazy fluctuations in temperature have confused my skin: my forehead is all dry and if I try and layer the cream on I just get tons of spots.

I was about to invest in yet another pot of expensive cream (I’m careering towards my 30th birthday so I needed some heavy duty stuff) when I remembered a good friend telling me about the wonders of coconut oil, so I popped a bottle of it in my basket instead. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper, at 250 baht (around 5 GBP) and at the rate I am currently using it, will probably last quite a long time.

There are many uses for coconut oil. On your face as a moisturiser (although only a little or you look like a grease bomb), mixed up with sugar as a scrub, instead of a shaving gel, and even as an intensive hair conditioner. Some folk even eat it, and although my bottle is 100% virgin oil it looks a little too bathroom-esque for me to take into the kitchen.

Pretty much all the writing on this bottle was in Thai, and seeing as even if I could remember the three letters I had learnt last year I probably still couldn’t understand the actual words, I asked Google. It had a lot of answers and many advices, including the fact that coconut oil is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti something else… Pretty cool for a tropical fruit.

I’ve been using  virgin coconut oil  on my face both in the morning and before bed and my skin feels so soft. I don’t have any more scales and I smell like a biscuit. Some people online say it makes them look like a teenager again. I am not sure this is quite the effect I am after though…

Given all the chemicals that are already in the air and water in Bangkok, it’s nice to use something without additives or preservatives and I am a complete convert to coconut oil – there is nothing better than a great value, Bounty chocolate bar smelling product that makes your skin feel fabulous.

Closure of Rod Fai Market – Bangkok Train Market

Night Market Bangkok

Update August 2013: Talat Rot Fai is now located in Srinakarin Soi 51, behind Seacon Square. No close transport links – probably best to take a taxi – or a sky train to Punnawithi station then a cab. Most taxis drivers will recognise the name Seacon Square.

Late one night this week, JCBs rolled into Bangkok Train Market (Rod Fai) and started demolishing the structures there. Although the developers and stall owners had been in discussions for a while about the market’s future, no-one who works at one of Bangkok’s most popular night markets was expecting things to take such a dramatic turn. Nothing stands in the way of Thailand’s relentless march for development.

Rod Fai Market was easily one of my favourite late night shopping spots. It opened Friday to Sunday evening and sold a quirky, crazy mix of vintage clothing, Batman statues and cheap, hot, tasty food. Located near Chatuchak Weekend Market, it had become extremely popular for those looking for somewhere alternative to shop.

The extension of the the new Sky Train line is going to go straight through the market’s site, and despite promises to give them six months to find a new home, the Train Market in Bangkok now looks like a pile of rubble. 

For now, Rod Fair is moving to a short-term home behind Insquare Mall JJ before they make a more permanent night market on Srinakarin Road Soi 15. Let’s hope that their new abode retains the charm and romance of the old one.

Where were you Iron Man?

Duck T Shirts – The Best gift for Everyone

When you are contemplating gifts to take home to friends and family, I have a recommendation. Don’t take the usual Bangkok souvenirs back (Tuk Tuk made from a Coca Cola can, incense that doesn’t smell of anything, Chang vest to name a few), head to Terminal 21 and check out A Pick Me Up, where you can pick up (ha!) some amazing t-shirts decorated in rubber ducks.

Okay, they don’t exactly scream “I’ve been to Thailand” but they are certainly original, and although I can’t think of any logical reason why I love them so much and I haven’t actually got round to purchasing one of my own, every time I walk around Terminal 21 I can’t help but pop in to flick through the rails of duck t shirts.

Duck T Shirts

The ducks emblazoned on these shirts and not your usual yellow rubber ducky. Oh no, A Pick Me Up have taken their designs to new heights. This quacker comes in different shapes and sizes. If you’re that keen on finding something that prolongs your memory of Thailand then there is a funky tee of a Duck on a Tuk Tuk. I can already see the keen faces of my siblings as I hand this gem of a gift over!

Whether you are into classic movies, video games, the ukulele or even just rubber ducks themselves, you are guaranteed to find something at A Pick Me Up. If you are looking for a more subtle design, then they have embroidered polo shirts for men and women with a tiny duck on the breast pocket.

Pick Me Up Duck T ShirtsLocation: Direct access from MRT at Sukhumvit and BTS at Asoke. A Pick Me Up is on the London Floor
Open: 10:00 – 22:00 Daily

Sleeping Pills Siam Square

Sleeping Pills Siam Square

Sleeping Pills is a great little boutique in Siam Square that sells plenty of fun fashionable clothing. In fact the brand has become so popular that they now have an outlet at Zen in CentralWorld shopping mall. It’s something I really love about being here, discovering a brand and then following their success, all the while knowing I got their first!

The brand limits the number of each item that they make, and it’s really affordable, with dresses starting at 2,500 baht, tops at 1,500 baht and trousers at 1,600 baht.  In London it would be impossible to buy a limited edition piece at these prices!

The designers at Sleeping Pills take the current trends and give them a girly twist, with plenty of fabulous summer pastels and florals in the latest collection. Don’t worry though, it’s not too cutesy. Some items also have a 60s vibe, I love this black and white harlequin dress that retails at 2,690 baht. Sizes go up to a large, and as a westerner with hips and tits this is usually the size I need to go for. But who cares about the label inside when you look good!?

You can either find Sleeping Pills on the 3rd floor of Zen in CentralWorld or at their original Siam Square Branch, down the alley to the left had side of the Lido theatre, only a few minutes from BTS Siam. 

Taken from Sleeping Pills Facebook

Sister Margaritta at Terminal 21 Shopping Mall

Sister MargarittaI was excited to see one of my favourite Siam Square shops has opened a boutique in Terminal 21 Shopping Mall near Asoke. Sister Margaritta sells cool individual clothing, ranging from classic preppy styles to glitter disco shoes. They also import some pretty funky bags and accessories from Korea. The cool stripy tees below start at 690 baht and the amazing 70s flower patterned cropped trousers cost just over 1200 baht. The shop in Terminal 21 is only a pop-up so who knows how long it will be around. For now I’ll make the most of not having to battle through the sweaty alleyways of Siam to visit Sister Margaritta.Sister Margaritta

Again and Again Vintage Clothing Bangkok

There is something extremely romantic about vintage clothing. I am not sure if it is the history behind the item, or the idea of wearing something that you won’t see someone else in, but I love checking out all of the vintage shops Bangkok has to offer. One of my favourite is just around the corner from my house: Again and Again, on Thong Lor soi 4.

The founder of this store used to be a stylist for Marie Claire, so of course has impeccable taste. With pieces sourced from around the world and an impressive collection of bags, accessories and the occasional tennis racket, it’s hard to walk away empty handed. Again and Again also have an amazing Facebook page where you can check out pictures of the latest items as they come in.

Again and Again Bangkok Again and Again Bangkok Again and Again Bangkok

Address: Room B1a Market Place Thonglor Soi 4
Telephone: 089 486 5359
BTS: Thong Lor
 
 

Le Petid Pied T Shirts – Asiatique

Le Petid Pied

Le Petid Pied sells some of the coolest t-shirts around and I love their boutique at Asiatique. Recently I made the decision that I should no longer wear t-shirts emblazoned with birds or Winnie-the-Pooh on them and stick to grown-up tees with the occasional stripe. Then I come here and I don’t care if I look like a big kid again. I want that super adorable t-shirt with Tintin and Milou (Snowy) drinking orangeade on it! All-time favourite has to be my 2011 secret santa gift which came from this store, with the vintage Siam travel poster on it.

T shirts are available for both women and men and are made from organic cotton. You’ll find Le Petid Pied in Warehouse 4.

Asiatique Ferris Wheel