In June, I read about eShakti.com on the C.Jane blog, and as she was offering a discount code, I decided to check it out. I was definitely in the market for new work clothes, as I have not purchased anything besides a sweater and one short-sleeved blouse for work in the past twelve months, and some of my favorite items are literally (and I mean LITERALLY) falling apart.
My issue with dresses is that they are ALWAYS too short, and they never seem to have sleeves. Seriously! When is the last time you saw a Banana Republic dress with a sleeve of any kind?? I am not about to wear a sleeveless dress to work, and can rarely find a dress that is a decent length for me. Because my height all seems to come from my femurs and my waist-area, pants aren’t an issue, but dresses really are. They might be just barely long enough if I’m standing still and not moving, but walking or sitting hikes them up to totally inappropriate levels. (Mind you, my idea of “inappropriate” is pretty conservative, but leave me be!)
Before placing my order at eShakti, I read about thirty million reviews on the internet, so in my little review here, I’ll address my experience and some of the things I read about from others. My internet-searching also revealed to me that eShakti apparently went on a huge blog campaign, and sent free dresses to basically every girl on the internet who talks about clothes. I (obviously) missed the boat on that one because, well, this ain’t that kind of blog. Plus the only time I make mention of “fashion” it is to post a photo of myself looking ridiculous (what DID happen to my hair?) and wearing a puffy vest:
Because I think that is funny.
But the truth is, I dress up for work. There are dry-cleaner pressed shirts, heels, slacks, and blouses involved, people. So, back to eShakti.
eShakti is based in India, and offers dresses (and shirts and skirts, too) that you can customize in a variety of ways. First, you enter your height for whichever dress you are choosing so that it is hemmed to the appropriate length. From there, you can customize sleeve, neckline, and dress length depending on the dress style. You can also enter your own custom measurements and have the dress built exactly to suit you. This, friends, is genius.
It was actually the screen shot above that sold me. SLEEVES!!!
I up and ordered two dresses immediately:
I ordered the blue one as-is, and the green one with elbow-length sleeves. Even though you enter your height, I was still worried about shortening the dresses from the standard “below the knee” to “knee length.” Paranoia led me to leave the dresses at “below the knee” and experiment with the height option: I ordered one dress as 5’8″, and the other as 5’10″ (I’m 5’9″ in real life).
I took my measurements, and according to their chart, should have ordered a size 6. However, I wear a size 4 in dresses and the last time I used measurements to order a dress, I ended up with a bridesmaid dress that had to be taken in about a yard, all the while being scolded by the seamstress who just kept telling me: “This dress is too big for you!” The eShakti website notes that the dress fits “true to size,” so I went with a 4 and crossed my fingers.
One (small) thing that is annoying about the website is that you can’t click on items in your shopping cart. As I was browsing, I saved several things to my shopping cart, but when it came time to make the final decision, I had to open a separate browser window and search for each dress in order to get the full view and description of it. Totally minor issue, and I bet something that would be easy for them to change. (I’m planning to give them my feedback, as well).
I ordered both dresses right before I went to North Carolina, and was so excited about dresses with sleeves, that I spent half of my vacation talking to Megan about it.
Oh, also, on your first order, they give you $20 off and free customizations. (Later, customizations are $7.50, I think.) You sign up for an account, and then they email you a code for $20 off. I somehow misunderstood this, and ordered without my code. I realized I had missed my $20 deal, so I emailed to ask if they could credit me. Right away I got a response and a credit they changed my order total immediately. Super nice! (edit: I actually just checked my credit card statement to verify the charge…. oopsies- while my eShakti account states that they DID take off the $20, credit card says they did not. I’ll contact them again to see what happens….)
As soon as I came home from North Carolina, the blue dress arrived! It took about a week and a half from the day I ordered it. I liked that they separated my shipment to send the dresses as they were available rather than waiting for my customized dress to be finished before shipping both.
I’d read online that the dresses come in tiny, flat boxes via DHL: true. I’d also read that they can be very, very wrinkly upon arrival. I wouldn’t say that it was particularly wrinkly: though it certainly did need a bit of ironing, it wasn’t crumpled up or anything. Also, it ironed out easily and perfectly, and I am the world’s worst ironer, so I appreciated that.
Here is blue dress. Photos were taken before work with ye olde iPhone, so they are what they are:
I love that dress. LOVE. The fit is great, it has an elastickey part in the back of the waist to keep it fitted but also allow movement, the length is perfect, and it has POCKETS! Good pockets! I have to carry keys and a cell phone with me at all times at work, so pockets are key.
The day I wore it, my boss and I were doing interviews all day with our HR person. Those poor dudes. About fifty times (between interviews, of course) I had to tell them another great thing about my dress. How comfortable! Long enough when I’m sitting down! I did not stop talking about it all day. I was so convinced of the awesomeness, I ordered three more that afternoon. For reals.
Earlier this week, the green dress arrived. It took just over a month from the day I ordered it. The website notes that dresses (even custom!) arrive in about ten days, but honestly, since it was a custom dress, I felt like a month was still a very reasonable time to wait.
I also decided that it would be better to have the dress shipped to work, so I emailed eShakti again and asked if I could change the shipping address. No problem, they said, and the dress arrived at work.
I ripped into it upon arrival, and of course could not wait to try it on. This was the dress that I had ordered a bit longer, and it was definitely, well, long. I asked my boss and another coworker for their opinion: “Is this length too ‘Little House on the Prairie?’” Both guys have been well trained by their wives to be on the alert for any question that asks “… is this too (fill in something negative)?” and immediately answer “NO!” So they assured me the length was fine. Bless their hearts.
I tried it on at home and realized that it was just too much green with the long sleeves and long length, so I actually hemmed it up about four inches, and now I love, love, love it (first photo is pre-hem):
The back is a little bit low for my work preferences, but will be fine.
(Seriously, have you ever seen a back with more freckles, or a mirror with more spots?)
I flippin’ love eShakti.
The dress selection is great, and you can customize pretty much every bit of it. They continually update the site with new styles. Dresses are VERY reasonably priced, around sixty bucks, and there seems to always be some kind of discount code available. Plus, with the free shipping (over $100) and no sales tax, you get a great deal. They aren’t the absolute highest quality dresses in the entire world (on my green dress, the striped seaming around the middle is a tiny bit wonky on one part of the back), but they’re a solid quality. The fabric is lovely, and the fit of the dresses for me was perfecto. Customer service was also excellent. I had to email them twice with somewhat ridiculous requests, and got super prompt and helpful responses. They also sent emails to update about shipping and tracking and such.
What would I change? Minor things, mostly relating to searchability on the website:
-I wish they showed a few dresses with different sleeve options. The only time I’ve seen sleeve add-ons is on the screenshot of the red dresses above. On each dress’ page, they just have drop down menus with drawings of sleeve types, but none shown on that actual dress. I understand that they wouldn’t make every dress combination possible, but a few would be helpful.
-I also wish you could sort dresses by sleeve type available. Each dress has its own customizability, and not all of them are available with the 3/4 or elbow length sleeves. Since that is what I want, I would love to be able to search just the dresses with that modification available.
-”Shopping Cart”– I already mentioned that you can’t click on the items in your cart to bring up their pages.
-Another incredibly minor point- there is a sale section with dresses that are only available in limited sizes. It would be great if that was searchable by size.
Overall, though? I am SOLD. And when I am sold on something, I feel like I need to tell the world how awesome it is (see: steam mop). So if you are looking for dresses, and you have any type of body there is, get yourself to eshakti.com, like, right now. And then google around for a discount code, and order yerself up some dresses.
I’ll give an additional report when my next batch of dresses arrives!
And now, I just need to run 43 more miles so that I can buy some boots to go with these babies.