there's been a few posts about tailoring in Phnom Penh but nothing decisive. So I decided to look into this and post a guide for other people needing tailored mens clothes in Phnom Penh. Before anyone starts, I am an English guy with no affiliation or connection with any of the tailors here. I just wanted some shirts.
So I looked at the posts here on expat, and a few other forums talking about tailoring here. Based on the posts I read I whittled it down to 3 tailors that had the most recommendations and kept coming up most often:
Mondiaux Tailor - 85 Sihanouk Blvd
Angkor Independent Tailor - 49 Sihanouk Blvd
Mon Tailleur - 138 Sihanouke Blvd
(Please note there is also a 'Khmer Independent Tailor' on Sihanouk, not to be confused).
I decided to get a shirt tailored at each place, to best assess the service and standard of tailoring, and report my findings.
At each shop I chose a good quality fabric. I had a few custom specifics in mind, like double cuffs for cufflinks, slim fitting, a button flap down the front, and higher collars than the current almost-flat Italian style.
PRESENTATION & ATTENTIVENESS
Mondiaux Tailor is a bit dark and dingy, and on entering the shop I was largely ignored. I think that is down to the guys there not speaking English and being a bit shy perhaps. Still, acknowledging my presence is usually a good first step to a good customer experience. After a while the guy did look up from the desk, and between him and an assistant girl, managed to communicate that I wanted a shirt. They showed me the fabric swatches, took measurements, took a deposit and said it would be ready in 10 days.
Mon Tailleur is a small shop but has a nice feel, with clearly a lot of tailoring work going on. The old boss guy there doesn't speak English either, but was immediately attentive and friendly, and it was very easy to indicate what I wanted. He took a LOT of measurements very skillfully, took sketches etc. I chose a nice fabric, and he said it would be ready in 7 days. (Note I later found out that the boss here has a son who is very polite and speaks excellent English fluently, if you were very worried about the language).
Angkor Independent has the most modern shop, with big windows and lots of staff working there, though most not speaking any English. What I imagine is the boss guy, spoke a bit of English. I chose the fabric - they measured me up very quickly, and said the shirt would be ready in 7 days.
Angkor Independent and Mon Tailleur charged $30 for a custom shirt with nice fabric.
Mondiaux also charges $30 for a shirt, apparently if you select crap fabric. For my shirt they charged $35, but really the fabric was no different from the fabric used at the other 2 tailors.
While I was at each shop I also got quotes for suits. Each shop pointed out that it depended on the details of the suit, but the quoted prices for a suit made from decent fabric were as follows:
Mon Tailleur - starting at $170
Mondiaux - starting at $200
Angkor Independent - starting at $250
Angkor Independent really comes out at the bottom here by a long chalk. I went back after the allotted 7 days to look at the shirt. It was unironed and a bit of a mess. I tried the shirt on, it was about 3 sizes too big. The sleeve tops hung way down my arms, and the chest / waist was about a foot too large. I pointed this out, they said they would redo the tailoring and to come back in a week's time (bringing the total tailoring time to 2 weeks). I returned to pick up the shirt - again all creased up, and tried it on again. They had pretty much chopped the original shirt around, now it didn't fit very well. Tight around the chest, but way too loose around the shoulders. The seams were kinda in the wrong place, and generally it wasn't a good fit. I took the shirt, but I probably won't ever wear it.
Mondiaux was a much better finished item - it was ironed nicely, and it fit well. They did however forget to add the button flap, and the collar was not quite as high as I had requested. So all in all, a decent shirt but not 100% perfect.
Mon Tailleur was without doubt the best. The shirt didn't fit well, it fit perfectly. I put this down to the tons of measurements the boss guy did, he is clearly a very skilled old tailor. It was impeccably ironed and presented, everything exactly as requested. It had additional details that the other 2 shirts did not have, such as collar bones and nice looking matching buttons. This thing slid on like a glove it 'could have been tailor made for me' But yeah, this was 100% an extremely well tailored shirt, and it looks the part. So good in fact I ordered another 2 shirts on the spot, with different fabrics.
I'm not saying there are not other / better / worse tailors in Phnom Penh, I only tried these 3. But in my experience, Mon Tailleur was the best overall experience. And the quality of the tailoring was ahead by quite a considerable margin. I will go get some suits made there next.
Should anyone point out 'that you can get a shirt off the peg for the same money' - well. That may be true, but if you want specific styles or details - or if you don't happen to be the same size and shape as the store mannequins, then there is no way that you are likely to walk into a shop a buy a shirt that looks as good as a tailored shirt, for thirty bucks. In UK you would pay more than that for a crap off the peg shirt from Top Shop or somewhere equally cheap.
I hope that is useful for any of you looking for good tailoring in Phnom Penh, have a nice water festival everyone