Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Joy of going to the Tailor

Before coming to Senegal, I had never know the joy of having clothes made, compared to this buying off the rack is so boring I don't know why I ever did it. Usually how it goes down here is that you go to the market and pick out some awesomely gaudy and colorful fabric called wax. Wax comes in designs that include lil baby chicks with hens, the Yankees symbol, the Pope, pretty much anything. After you have your fabric you go to the tailor, you can choose from hundreds at the market or sometimes a friend of yours is an aspiring tailor - don't go to the friend unless you want to hand over cash for something that doesn't fit, looks terrible and everyone will laugh at you for wearing. After finding a tailor you give them the fabric, tell them what you want and come back the next day to collect your boubou/have any adjustments made.

If you find a real gem of a tailor he will be able to make western style clothes as well, usually by copying or looking at a photo is best. A voluteer recently had the great idea to bring catalogues back from the states so I was able to have some J Crew stuff made here for about one 50th the price. Pants and a dress set me back about $15 total. The days between dropping off the fabric and the catalogue, I was positively giddy, waiting impatiently for what I was sure was going to be the perfect dress and pants. I went back the next day, and as I should've expected, the pants fit ok, and the dress needed to be altered. In the end nothing fit as perfectly as I'd hoped but it was still fun.

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