Leos From My Thai Tailor

The rain comes on without notice in Bangkok, so we ducked out into the street to wave down one of the glitter-colored tuk-tuks weaving into a line nearby. Our mission, should our driver choose to accept the 200 baht we offered? Find a tailor, and order up some shirts.

I was new to bespoke business wear; I left my last experience with a seamstress in college in the days before a friend’s wedding. But the idea of shirts made just for me struck me as sound—and my friend agreed, after listening to me bitch about shirts I couldn’t leave untucked, but weren’t long enough to stay tucked.

Skeptically led to where the driver took us—a suspicious line of similar tuk-tuks outside—I allowed myself to say, “I’m just looking,” and, “I don’t have to buy,” under my breath as we were led inside the storefront and upstairs. A sitting area with a coffee table covered with look books had been excavated out of the tumbling bolts of cloth all around the floor.

One of the tailors, reading his neophyte mark with a practiced eye, appeared by my side with a can of beer, and set it in front of me on the table. “Here. You, relax.”

Okay. Fine. Next thing I know, I’m picking out bolts in pink, a white pinstripe, and the palest sky blue. Getting measured. Laughing. Taking a Leo for the road.

Were they worth the $20 apiece that I think I paid for them? Sure, why not? Even though the cuffs ended up being a scratch too tight…

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