I've mentioned my love affair with dresses - and how difficult it has been for me to find a cute dress with sleeves. When I stumbled across eShakti, an online retailer that sells beautiful dresses you can customize (for a ridiculously good price), it seemed too good to be true. I immediately Googled reviews and was disappointed to hear that so many people - including bloggers who had been provided a dress for free - had issues with fit and size.
I put off ordering for many months because of these bad reviews, but ultimately I couldn't resist ordering a dress when eShakti offered $30 off their already great prices to new customers! I couldn't find anything I liked locally, so I was getting desperate. I took the plunge! Happily, I was thrilled with the dress I bought and promptly ordered another. For anyone else who has been curious about eShakti, here are my thoughts on the process - including some tips for getting a great fit!
Here's a look at the first dress I ordered (I've taken a good long look but I'm hoping no one spots any goose poop in this photos - DON'T look for any, those are all leaves I swear!):
Below is a screenshot of what the dress looked like originally. The inventory changes really quickly so this exact dress is no longer available, but if you search "Emma Dress" on the eShakti website, you'll see the same cut in a different print. After my $30 coupon (plus adding $10 for shipping to the US), this dress was so affordable!
When you shop for a dress on eShakti, you'll see the different options available, which usually include at least half a dozen sleeve options, neckline options, length options (cut to your height), and even other details like removing pockets (who the heck wouldn't want pockets?). You can even skip standard sizing altogether and just send in your custom measurements for a dress that's tailor made.
I was worried that with customization options like this, and price so low, that the quality would be poor. Nope! My dress is cotton, fully lined, with a nice fit and flare style. It's sewn so expertly and there are thoughtful little details like pockets and straps to keep my bra strap in place. I have zero complaints about the quality and after numerous washes and wears, it has held up perfectly. Deeply suspicious, I looked at the company's manufacturing before ordering and, apparently, although the clothes are made in India, the wages paid exceed the minimum wage by 70% and the factory is clean and safe. Of course, I'm only basing this information on the eShakti website, but I'm confident that this isn't a brutal sweatshop situation.
Those are all of the photos you get of this dress! If I stay still for too long, someone thinks I could be doing something more productive, like doling out treats or offering two hour long puppy massages. Clearly I'm not busy.
I find this size 6 to be ever-so-slightly tighter, but it still fits me as expected. Once again, the sewing is excellent, the fabric is a nice weight (doesn't feel cheap at all) and the little details continue to amaze me. Plus I get a ton of compliments on both dresses!
I am not one who usually shops online for clothes because I can walk into a store, try on fifty things and emerge empty handed and famished from the exertion, so the odds of me finding something online that fits well are usually slim to none! But I seem to have struck gold with eShakti, keeping these things in mind:
1. Shop a sale! There seems to always be a sale or deal so try to wait for one if you can. With shipping my first dress was only $35. eShakti literally emails me daily now, so I always know about sales - but those emails are so darn tempting! I am currently eyeing up another dress and a top.
2. Pick a style you've worn before and tend to gravitate toward. I know that fit and flare dresses usually fit so that's what I went with, even though I've been finding that a lot of wiggle dresses work for my body now too. I went with old faithful and was not disappointed because fit and flare is forgiving. I recommend trying a style you know works, just to get a feel for fit and size before trying something really different.
3. Allow time for ordering. Dresses can take a couple of weeks (although mine arrived much faster), so if you're planning for a trip or event (or even just a season), order in advance to accommodate the manufacturing and shipping times. I wish I'd ordered earlier because I would have liked a third summer dress, but by the time I got my second one it seemed too late to order one.
4. Read measurements carefully. The sizing seems very true to size to me, but make sure to carefully take your measurements to double check. If you try the fully custom option, let me know! I'm still a little nervous about that. If you're at all worried the dress will be too tight, opt for a stretch cotton or knit cotton which will offer a little bit of extra wiggle room. The two dresses I ordered have no stretch whatsoever, making an exact fit more crucial.
5. Don't dawdle! Dresses sell out quickly - I missed out on the cutest retro black and white buffalo check. Argh, I still think about it. But I waited too long and - poof! - it was gone.
6. Watch for duties! I had my dress shipped to the US, but I've heard of Canadians getting slammed with duties and taxes, which isn't eShakti's fault. I had no issues getting the dress shipped to the US, but ask their customer service questions about importing to other countries.
7. Don't stress! eShakti customer service is top notch and they accept returns so try not to stress too much. They seem to really want to keep our business and make return customers out of us so if anything isn't to your liking, I'm sure you'll have no troubles. Plus, because it's so inexpensive, once it arrives you can always take it to a tailor for minor alterations and still end up with a good deal!
If you have ever ordered from eShakti - or have tips for shopping for clothes online - I'd love to hear your advice and experiences! I'm still trying to replace an entire wardrobe, piece by piece, and am struggling to find things I like, so I wanted to share this happy online shopping experience. Plus, as an avid DIY-er, I guess I'm just thrilled by the customization available. Now, I really should stop being so lazy and make myself some new clothes...