bangkok fashion challenge, solved with nerdiness

If one had to name the top fashion complaint of female expats in Thailand, I’m sure #1 would be the difficulty of finding flattering clothes in Western sizes. (#2 would surely be the difficulty of finding a hairdresser that can cut curly/wavy hair).

I’m 5’5, which means that every top made for a Thai woman barely goes past my navel. I’m not particularly big, but I seriously missed my calling as a booty model for rap videos. In a country where most women barely top 5’2 in heels and are as flat in front as in the back, the clothes are designed to give volume and curves to silhouettes with none. If I wear that shit, I look like a giant balloon.

What is a girl to do?

Unless you want to wear export jeans from MBK for every occasion, the solution is Pratunam. Now I shop around for a dress that I find flattering at Pratunam, Bangkok’s wholesale clothes market, and buy it in EVERY SINGLE COLOR, at wholesale prices. Dresses are the best thing to wear for nerdy girls, because one dress in an entire outfit, not as hot as wearing pants, and somehow they make people think you put in some special effort, even though you took all of 1 minute to get dressed.

What are your Bangkok fashion tips?

4 Responses to “bangkok fashion challenge, solved with nerdiness”


  1. 1 Allison December 5, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    I’ve found the same is true of dresses here.

  2. 3 torilineberry December 10, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Just came across your blog, good to know I’m not alone. I’m 5’8′ and trying to fit into Thai clothes is a joke. My tips so far have been: don’t shop. Sigh.

    • 4 julielavoie December 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm

      I know! So ridiculous. For Western size clothes, you can get jeans at MBK about 700B-900B/pair. Mark and Spencers at Central also has Western sizes (especially bras), but the styles are kind of matronly, I guess ok for work clothes, but nothing fun or young.

      One little gem for casual wear is export stores (there’s one at central ladprao) which seems to be stuff that fell off the back of the sweatshop truck on the way to the West: Western brands for super cheap. They’ll have real Western sizes (hallelujah for fitting into a size small again!), they have the gap, jones, stuff like that.

      But yeah, 5’8, I feel for you! At 5’5, I already feel like everything is made for dwarves, shirts fit up to my navel, skirts for Thais make me look like a hooker, coming up to my a**, underwear for grown women that was my size before puberty when I was 9.

      But seriously, dresses at Pratunam, some good finds there! Good luck! 🙂


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