Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review of eShakti and their dresses

A couple weeks ago I wrote about placing my first order with eShakti for the two dresses above; now that I have received my order, I wanted to provide a thorough review.

I apologize for the blurry photos below. I wasn't feeling well and couldn't figure out how to get the flash on my camera turned on until about halfway through the photos.

The dresses came in two separate packages as they shipped from different locations. I placed my eShakti order April 6th (a Friday), and delivery was attempted at my place for the first dress April 15th, and the second dress on April 17th. The dresses were listed as "ship in 7 business days" (remember, they are custom length dresses) and "transit time between 7 to 10 business days," so, I got my delivery a lot sooner than the 14-17 business days stated.

The delivery was done by DHL, and since I had never had a DHL delivery before, I was surprised that the first delivery was attempted at 9:03 am; where I live, UPS and FedEx deliveries are always late afternoon to early evening. Since I was not expecting such an early delivery, I missed the first attempt. As I had no experience with DHL, I was unsure if the second delivery attempt the next day would be around the same time (UPS and FedEx seems to be pretty consistent as to what time they are in my area of the city every day). The second delivery attempt of the first dress was at 11:11 am the next day. The delivery of my second dress was made at 9:21 am the day after that.

I was impressed with the packaging enough to actually write about it, so, I think that says something. Each dress arrived in their own box (I am not sure if that was solely because they shipped from different locations); the boxes were short and wide which I feel helped keep the dresses from moving around in the boxes. The dresses were folded nicely with tissue paper, and then wrapped in plastic; one of the dresses had plastic "clips" of some sort to make sure the dress stayed neatly folded. The second package came with a vinyl measuring tape enclosed (the kind of measuring tape you use to take your body measurements); I later read that eShakti does that with all their first orders.

Quality of the dresses
I noticed the quality of the dresses more so when I received the second dress; all the pleats on the Color Processor dress were sewed down about four inches from the top. To be fair, I don't own many pleated items of clothing, so, I don't know how common this actually is in cheap versus expensive pleated garments. What is nice about the pleats being sewed down a couple inches is that it keeps the pleats from puffing out awkwardly at the hips. The sewing on both of the dresses seemed even and there was no dangling threads.

Fit of the dresses
"Amelia" dress

The "Amelia" dress fit perfect in the waist and slightly large in the bust. The major problem is that the underbust area is way too large. Since my measurements match the size chart exactly for the size I ordered, I had high hopes for the fit of the dress. I found the fit of this dress a bit perplexing since most women are slightly smaller in their underbust area. In retrospect, if you are going to go with a dress with a shape as tailored as this one, you might as well pay the extra $7.50 for customization so you can get the underbust measurement, length of torso, etc. correct.

What upset me most about this dress, however, was the back of the dress. I was disappointed that the back was too low to cover my bra. I hate when dress manufacturers don't take this into consideration. Whyyyyy?

P.S. the skirt only looks weird on the left side of the first photo because I had the dress tucked into my underwear! I'm so classy.

"Cool color processor" dress

I really like the "Color Processor" dress although it doesn't really accentuate any curves. The extra fabric and puckering around my midsection appears to be from the straps being too long. Since I am 5'8", I was surprised that the bust to shoulder area was too long, as I assume the only changes they make to the garment based on your height are to the skirt. Alternatively, the issue may not be with the straps, but rather the front seams not being tailored in enough for the waist measurement of this dress size. As you can see here, the dress looks significantly better when the straps are pulled up:

I was disappointed to see that the second dress I ordered went from $70 to $42 between the time I placed and received my order. It made the "buy one, get one at 40% off deal" I used for the second dress not a deal at all. If I had placed my order a little later, the second dress would have been 40% off $42 instead.

After I received my order, I did get a wonderful (automated, I assume) e-mail with a $20 gift coupon to thank me for my first order. Additionally, the e-mail stated if I filled out their feedback survey, I would be sent another $10 gift coupon.

Final verdict
I am definitely going to return the Amelia dress as the fit is too terrible to be tailored easily/cheaply, especially with the back being too low to cover my bra.

I think I will keep the "Color block" dress and just shorten the straps myself.

Oddly, it seems that both of the dresses suffer from the same main problem: the underbust measurement being too large. Since I have never had this issue with "off-the-rack" dresses before, I cannot help but wonder if it is an issue with eShakti's original dress patterns rather than an issue unique to my shape.

While I love the idea of being able to customize their dresses to my measurements for only $7.50, I was not prepared for the dresses to fit so poorly off-the-rack. I have never had off-the-rack dresses fit so oddly before; it is especially perplexing considering my measurements match the size chart exactly. I am quite disappointed that I can't order off-the-rack dresses from eShakti even when my measurements match their size chart exactly, and have them fit reasonable well. If I order from eShakti again, I am either going to pay the extra $7.50 for customization (as a return itself cost $6), or only order a style where I can easily "fix" myself if need be.

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