In a perfect world where everything I bought fit beautifully and every style was a dream on my figure, I would channel the breezy nonchalance of a J. Crew model and the edgy “I wear what I want” vibe of Kate Moss. Maybe I’d have a few minimalistic 60s mod pieces like shift dresses and miniskirts thrown into the mix too. My daily uniform would consist of effortlessly chic basics, layered together in the most casually cool way with an undercurrent of edge accenting each outfit. In the real world, I hate shopping, never feel effortlessly cool, and always channel Joan from Mad Men because that woman knows how to dress her body. The simple truth for a lot of curvy women is far too many clothes are not designed for our figures, and those that could be flattering often do not fit our measurements. As a result, when I heard about e-retailer EShakti, I was thrilled. For those not familiar with the brand, EShakti sells a variety of clothing all of which can be customized to fit your body for an additional $8 to $16 fee. Holly of the Full Figured Chest experienced wonderful results and wrote lovely reviews of their products which left me ready to dive in and test the process.
On my fashion “Wish List” among other impossible-to-find entries like slim fitted trousers that stop at the ankle and a silky shift dress has always been a basic, denim shirt dress. With NC’s mild weather, the dress would transition throughout the seasons—wedge sandals and bare legs in summer or layered with a turtleneck and boots for fall but always accompanied by a trusty belt. The downside of any item involving buttons on the front is with my 42″ bust and 29″ waist, it’s pretty hard to find one that actually fits off-the-rack. So when I saw this one, I knew what I wanted to buy.
Before I discuss the fit of the dress, I want to complement EShakti on their fast turnaround and shipping time. From order to receipt, the process was roughly three weeks, and the retailer emailed constantly with updates. Tracking my order was easy, and I felt confident dealing with their company. Sadly, the dress itself . . . well, let’s just say I could have omitted a text review entirely, and you’d still get the idea.
To customize the dress, EShakti requires multiple measurements, and while I gave most accurately, I did give lower measurements for some of them. Once my medication and illness were sorted, I started to see progress on the weight loss front, and I opted to use my normal measurements (which I am nearly back to again) with the anticipation the dress would fit with weight loss. Imagine my surprise when it arrived several sizes too big.
For my bust, I entered 43″ because my Comexim and Anna Pardal bras do add about a 1/2″ to my bust and I wanted the buttons to close properly, and for my waist I used 29″ (was 31″) and 41″ hips (was 41.5″). My educated guess from looking at the fit of the dress is EShakti saw a 43″ bust and ignored the other measurements. While I expected a little space in the bust—hoped actually to prevent button gap, I was floored by how roomy everything was. I think the dress would roughly equate to an average, non-tailored size 14/16. Given I wanted to belt the dress anyway, I was not opposed to a relaxed fit, but what I received was just too big everywhere.
It’s also hopelessly long. When I selected the desired length, I chose the model with the hem ending at the top of the knee. Since I also included my height as 5’6″, I figured that wouldn’t be a problem. The dress I received comes down past mid-calf.
Quality-wise, I love the dark wash of the dress, but the fabric itself feels more like a linen than a chambray or denim and as such wrinkles very easily. The stitching is superb though, and the shoulders seem reinforced to prevent wear and tear from moving the arms. I also love the use of wooden buttons and the built-in option for rolling the sleeves. Furthermore, at no extra cost, I had them remove the boob pockets which only made me love the dress more.
Sadly, the build-up of excitement made the disappointment sharper. The boxy shape and general largeness remind me of a painter’s smock, and since EShakti does not refund shipping or alterations charges means returning this item will cost around $20. Because I hate the idea of spending $20 to try on a dress three sizes too big, I approached the amazing Melanie of Silver Threads and Golden Needles and asked her opinion about alterations. Due to the large size difference, Melanie informed me the dress would need to be reworked entirely which was $40 minimum. So, the $20 I’ll chock up to a learning experience and move forward.
To be fair to Eshakti, I have not emailed or discussed the issue with them, and I wavered about exactly what to do. Do I contact the company and see if they will fix the error before posting a review, or do I publish the review honestly for my readers? I ultimately decided on the latter because I want there to be a testament to what kind of product I received using the custom alterations, and I want readers to be aware that they have the potential to have the same experience. Every person is different, and as I mentioned, Holly has never had issues with them. For me though, I was extremely disappointed by the tailoring and fit of this piece, and I am angered to think either through negligence or apathy someone saw my measurements and sent me this dress. Have any of you ordered from EShakti before? If so, what were your experiences?