However, there is nothing like the Western department store chains that sell the same lines of products throughout the country and where one can find specific items. As of recent, a wider variety of clothing can be found in Iranian shops than was the case earlier, but finding the item in the size you need is either a challenge or an opportunity to shop until you drop, depending on your outlook.
This potential difficulty is compensated for by the fact that it is relatively easy to find a skilled tailor. Many Iranian women shop for dress fabrics themselves, choose a design from a fashion magazine at the tailor’s shop, and have an outfit made by her. I say her because tailors for women’s formal clothing, which requires precise measuring, are usually female, although I do know a male tailor whose female assistant takes measurements before he makes the outfits.
Most tailors are highly skilled and experienced, and they can make up a pattern in the correct size just by looking at a photograph and measuring the customer. Some can sew a new garment using an old one as a guide without taking any measurements. Some tailors specialize in engagement and wedding gowns, and they can sew anything featured in a wedding fashion magazine without having a pattern. And the best thing of all is that, by Western standards, tailor-made clothes are quite affordable. Tailors’ fees may vary according to location and difficulty of the work, but as a guide, the tailor’s fee for a simple blouse with buttons along the front may be about $20 (£13), while for a man’s suit it can be $100 (£63) or more, at October 2009 exchange prices.