Traveling Fashionista On A Budget

Most of you know that I love to travel to places where the USD stretches faaaaarrrr! You can’t blame me for wanting to get the most bang for my buck. It’s also no secret that I love fashion, so I take advantage of the strong dollar when expanding my wardrobe. Many people get custom clothes made in Asian countries where there are tailors on every corner. What is better than a bespoke suit that will cost you 1/3 of what you will pay in the States?!

My latest fashion score happened in Nairobi, Kenya. The Kenyan Shilling is about 100 : 1USD. Word of mouth led me to my tailor, Ally, at the Kenyatta Market. The search for stalls 18 and 30 were a bit rough but once we found him the mission to get the most fashion forward African attire was on! I was able to pick out material and haggle with Ally on the price for my group. The “we have a group of 100 people visiting Nairobi and I’ll be referring them all to you” line worked like magic! I picked out a few different patterns and showed the tailor photos of the pieces that I wanted him to recreate. Print out your ideas…trust me…this is the best way to go. Ally measured me and I paid in advance for my outfits. I ordered a skirt set, pencil skirt, jumpsuit, maxi skirt and dress for about $100. SCORE!

Here are a few tips to make sure you get the best out of your tailor:

  1. Haggle! Especially in Nairobi. No price is final.
  2. Print out pictures. Often we have issues relaying what’s in our heads effectively.
  3. Share materials. You have to buy a certain amount of material and may only want it for one piece. Share the leftover with friends/family.
  4. Give the tailor a deadline but also enough time to create perfect pieces.
  5. Ask for your scrap material. You may be able to get more use out of it.

Check out a couple of my Kenyan creations…

fabric me and ally kenya dress kenya dress 2


One Reply to “Traveling Fashionista On A Budget”

  1. Great read! NOTE FOR NEW TRAVELERS: One note that I feel I should share make sure they haggle or barter with the right seller. Some are making a killing and some are trying to feed their starving family. If you can’t tell them apart, imagine that a baby is on the verge of starvation. Bartering and haggling is very exciting, addictive, and an adrenaline rush, but also should be done respectfully of the other cultures and their people.

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