If you have read my blog any length of time you will see no “care of” or paid review items. There are reasons for this. If I buy something myself I can give my 100% honest answer of what I think. And I feel I never end up with items I would never purchase myself because I did purchase everything myself. Since I have no intention of making this blog a career or monetizing it I have an easy route – I turn down everyone who approaches me unless it is something I am truly interested in.
As such I was contacted with the opportunity to review eShakti and I took it. I have been fascinated with them for a very long time now. Custom clothing, well made, at a decent price point? Too good to be true, surely (which is why I have never ordered from them actually.) And in some ways I was right. It’s custom in so much as you decide bits and pieces (hem length on some dresses, sleeve styles on others, necklines on some, removing pockets though who would do that to a dress?!) and it is sewn for your specific measurements (unless you go the pre-determined size route). But you are limited to what styles, colors/patterns and fabrics they have on hand as well as what choices for customization you are given for that item. It’s not a bad approach but it does mean, just like any online retail store, there might not be anything I am in love with and must have this very moment.
When deciding which item I wanted to review I wanted something with interesting construction, a color I love as well as a style that would flatter me. If it was machine washable that was a bonus. I picked out a couple of things but wanted to think about it for a bit, checked in the morning and by that night they were sold out of all of them and I had to start from scratch. Even now while some of the things I considered are still on the website their selection is almost completely different (season switch?). To say that this is frustrating is an understatement. I literally fell in love with several dresses I could not get. Though seeing new styles cycle through is actually rather spectacular. Don’t like something today, wait til tomorrow. Just don’t wait if you love something.
Of the ones still on the website I considered: the Pewter Rose Jacquard dress (I didn’t like the pattern at all though the cut and style are BEAUTIFUL!), the Violaceous Twill dress (this nearly won out, really, it was *THIS* close but I wanted something with more structure and construction), the Coal Miners Daughter dress in blue (though if the black version had been available I would have nabbed it in a heartbeat!), the Heliotrope Graphic Jacquard dress (dry clean…boo!). I ended up picking the Be A Sweetheart dress in red thinking that it will be great to have for the holidays as well as Valentine’s Day. Besides everyone should have a scandalous red dress in the closet!
I found myself in love with the website as it was so easy to use and provided exactly the information all retailers should when buying online. Each item lists how it must be cared for (handwash, machine wash, dry clean, etc), material, even what the fabric weight is. It was especially easy to use if you are doing custom measurements as they have visual guides to help make sure you are getting the right measurements. In my book it is everything an online retailer should be but almost no one is.
I received the dress 12 days after I submitted the order online and it arrived horribly wrinkled, just like any other item shoved in a plastic sleeve and shipped around the world (items are made in India). So I tried it on (for comparison sake) and decided to see if I could “ruin it” in the wash. I will freely admit I didn’t follow the care instructions exactly as the dryer in our apartment building sucks. 🙂 Instead I washed it like we do all of our clothes (not too different from the label just dried on high heat instead of low). And I washed it with a bunch of old white IKEA kitchen towels to see if would bleed. It did bled a very tiny bit, nothing major at all, which made me very happy. I have ruined a great many things due to my love of red clothing.
Now full disclosure before I get to the rest – I know how to sew clothing. I made the dress I wore at my first wedding and I have made a great many other items, I’m just lazy and prefer to buy instead of make myself. Now the construction is very nicely done, there is no puckering, no missed or crooked stitching and everything is nicely finished. However, there doesn’t appear to be more than one pass on some of the stitching, which is standard on commercial clothing I’m afraid. Regardless I do believe it will hold quite nicely for quite some time. Additionally the pockets are HUGE and double stitched throughout. The fabric of the dress is a beautiful twill and has a lovely feel to it. The zipper is metal, not plastic, and of decent quality. The lining is attached properly (on the bodice and waist, not the hem, exactly like it should be) and is a decent thin polyester. I am happy with the fit, measurements are right on the mark, especially for height! I’m 6’2′ and most commercial dresses are made for a standard size of 5’7″ or shorter so I avoid most knee-length (or in this case just below knee-length) dresses unless I am sure of their measurements. Nothing like buying a dress and discovering you actually bought a tunic! But they calculated the below the knee-length exactly perfect. In my opinion I do think I need a crinoline to bump out the skirt a bit (I don’t currently own one so maybe this is a good excuse).
Pearl in a cage necklace: gift (May 2012)
Christian Siriano nude peeptoe pumps: Payless (Feb 2011)
All and all I am very happy with the dress as well as the service and will willing buy my own next time. They make some truly beautiful pieces. Aside from the black Coal Miners Daughter dress (ooh I want that one so bad! I have nowhere to wear it but I don’t care!) I am also in love with the Twilight City dress, the Red Hot Colorblock dress, the Ship Shape Shirtdress (though I would replace the buttons, I hate brass buttons), and the Handkerchief Hem Sheath dress (my love affair with handkerchief hems is a sickness I tell you!).
Have you ordered from eShakti? What did you think?
eShakti provided a dress at no cost to me for a review of their products & service but all opinions, both good and bad especially my opinions on which items they sell that I may or may not like, are all my own.