Thursday, January 30, 2014

Shopping For Spring Because I'm Tired of Snow - Enter eShakti

First, an explanation for my long absence...

Nope - I can't even fully explain it. I guess, too much, so many big things I could have written about that happened, but they felt too personal to trivialize with a blog post. I guess I could have written about fashion or makeup or something - I mean, I have a billion product reviews waiting in the wings (just wait! I joined Ipsy and have been binging on lip products) - but writing about those things seemed stupid when I had these huge life milestones that were going on.

So, life has calmed down somewhat. While my life has slowed, the weather has become crazier than it's ever been.

Well, that's hyperbole, actually. But damn! It's cold, for reals. Here in MI, wind chills have been in the negative double-digits, and the snow is piled higher than my dog's head (which is why, my neighbors, I'm cool with her peeing on the sidewalk). This winter has been so nasty, it's convinced my husband that this will be his last one in Michigan, even if he has to walk south.

I'm totally over the stupid cold weather. I've never begun longing for spring so early in the year in my life! I mean, I love spring so much, but I know it's just a harbinger of horribledisgustingsweaty summer. But here I am, planning my summer wardrobe already.

And this is where my product review comes in (like how I did that?). I've been perusing my typical plus-size options: Roamans, SimplyBe, Lane Bryant, Avenue, and Torrid. I just haven't been impressed. Roamans and Avenue have reverted back to old lady clothes (mostly - though Roamans tights are still awesome!), Lane Bryant and Torrid speak to the big girls who wish they could shop at Forever 21 or Aeropostale.

I've heard of eShakti for a few years. eShakti is an online retailer based in India that offers admittedly retro styles in sizes 0 - 36. They allow you to customize your order to some extent (change the sleeves, neckline, length, etc.), as well as making your clothing to your specific measurements for just an additional $7.50.

However, the reviews online were extremely mixed - great product, bad customer service, scary billing practices, not meeting deadlines. Also, their options were a little limited.

I'm not sure if my tastes are simply leaning more toward the Zooey Deschanel or eShakti is offering more options (little from column A, little from column B?), but I was starting to dig some of their dresses. Plus, they have nearly constant sales and offer a $30 gift coupon for your first order.

A couple of weeks ago, I placed my order. I chose to customize the sleeves and necklines of the two dresses I purchased, but went by straight sizes after using my measurements to determine the right one.

They told me to expect my dresses by 2/4/14.

This morning, DHL left the package outside my door - about five days early!

The dresses are flawless. They are very well-made, with touches of hand-stitching. It's a perfect fit - like, seriously! No pinching or bunching or anything. Perfect length (they ask for your height), and there's side-zippers to ensure it's form-fitting. And the fabric weight is sort of heavy but breathable. It will be perfect for spring into summer, and even be wearable in the winter with tights and a cardigan.
The dresses are average price for the plus-size consumer, though someone who is used to buying from normal retailers might see it as high. However, you're looking at high-quality, customizable, made-to-fit garments. No matter what size I wore, I'd find it a good value.
One thing to note: I ordered knit material, but most of their dresses are a structured poplin or cotton. If I order a non-knit in the future, I'll be sending in my measurements to ensure proper fit.
Oh - and I'll definitely be ordering from them again. This has been the most positive clothing experience of my life.

Edited to Add:
eShakti sent me a $25 gift card (that's right - after the $30 gift card for being a new customer!) after my item arrived. They are really working on their customer relations, and I'm completely overjoyed!

Also, I tried my dresses on for Jon when he got home from work and he thought they were the cutest things ever! Total win.