Tell me all about your experiences with eshakti
June 6, 2018 7:20 AM   Subscribe

I found several dresses I love on eshakti and I'm almost ready to buy from them, I just have a bunch of questions first

1. Around how long does it usually take for an order to arrive? (to US east coast)
2. What is the return policy like, how long do you have to return, how has the return experience been for you, are they flexible if there were delays, etc
3. How long-lasting are the dresses? At what point if ever do they start to wear down? Can I expect a dress to last 1 year, 5 years, 10 years...?
4. Is the fabric comfortable? Does it have any finnicky bits I should know about in advance (eg special washing instructions or whatever)?
5. When choosing "custom style", to what extent is the customization smooth (as if the dress had been designed that way) vs awkward/obvious?
6. Anything else worthwhile for people to know/you feel like sharing?
posted by Cozybee to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (29 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
6. Yes. Do not get the cotton poplin dresses unless you LOVE ironing. Also beware of the sleeve styles. Gathered sleeves are easier to sew, especially if you're doing custom work (you just change how gather-y the gathers are to fit a sleeve into an armhole, so no need for precision cutting) so it's kind of easy to wind up with Puffy Shirt sleeves as the armhole is sized down but the sleeve is not. You can see it going on in this dress.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:27 AM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


So it's been a while since I bought anything, but you will want to look at what the fabric description actually says on the item listing page. A lot of the items are in cotton poplin, for instance, which is a woven fabric (not a stretchy knit, and needs ironing or steaming to avoid wrinkles). For those, if you choose to put real (non-cap) sleeves on something originally sleeveless, I would advise considering an increase in the armscye measurement to a wider circumference, because your range of motion will be limited otherwise. I believe this is because sleeve design is a lot more structural than cosmetic. For things like tweaking length, that's far less complicated.

Looking back at my last order in 2015, it was 10 days from order to ship and 5 days from ship to receipt. I believe I've gotten some notifs saying they've decreased the TAT, but I haven't bought anything more recently so I can't say.
posted by inconstant at 7:30 AM on June 6, 2018


When you say beware of sleeve styles, does this only apply to transitioning from sleeveless to sleeved, or would cap sleeve -> long sleeve have the same issue?
posted by Cozybee at 7:31 AM on June 6, 2018


I loooove eshakti! I would beware of shopping from their sale/clearance section, though, unless the item would fit you as-is. I ordered a couple of dresses on sale which had to be hemmed from their existing size because I am short, and those just don't look right on me. The waist isn't at the right spot, etc.

IDK if this is the experience for everyone, or just because I am under 5 ft tall, but I do find that I need to tell EShakti I am an inch shorter than I actually am in order to get a dress that hits me at the "correct point" for above-knee, knee, calf-length, or ankle length. When I give them my correct height, I find that the dress is just a shade too long. But this is highly likely to be a short person problem only.

The other thing is, their standard-size bust measurements (like when they say size 2 is recommended for bust size of 30 inches, say) are not super constraining. I have a larger bust and have never had a problem fitting into their standard size 2s.
posted by MiraK at 7:37 AM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


1. I find the current estimates I receive from eShakti to be slightly generous - I am always surprised by 1 or 2 days in terms of when the dress shows up. At this point, it's never taken LONGER than they say, and occasionally it's been shorter.
2. The return policy is generous. I returned a dress to them that just did NOT fit (really my fault, not theirs) and it was zero hassle to do so.
3. The dresses are well-made and if you care for them according to the labels, you should get a normal amount of wear out of them, more if you're more used to "fast fashion" labels.
4. The cotton knit fabric is really nice and I've enjoyed all the dresses I've gotten in that fabric. The fabrics I've seen from my friend's dresses have also been of good quality, but I do not think that the wovens are low or no iron options.
5. So far in my experience the customizations are all pretty seamless, but if you're adding a sleeve, I'd keep the comments in this thread in mind. I am much more likely to be removing sleeves than adding them, so YMMV.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:53 AM on June 6, 2018


I am an awkward size so ordered a custom fit dress in a cotton poplin style (sleeves added) on a first-order discount. It came within two weeks (I'm in the UK), fit amazingly well and I've always been complimented when wearing it. Used the exact same measurement profile for a second dress in a slub fabric and it was like night-and-day. Terrible fit - so far from my measurements as to have been made for an impossibly-figured individual, awful fabric, shoddy seams, dreadful communication.

I sent the offending garment back under the terms of the returns process, using the stated carrier and registration process, which should have resulted in either a refund or a 75% credit for another dress. Six months later despite multiple emails and attempts to communicate I have received neither an acknowledgement that the dress was returned or any information whatsoever about a refund. I gave up.

In summary, it's a crapshoot. Proceed with caution.
posted by freya_lamb at 7:54 AM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


Re: sleeves, I mean any sleeve, whether it comes standard or you're adding one to a sleeveless item. Even their off the rack dresses seem to favor the puffy sleeve look, and I've been told by seamstress friends that this is because it's just easier to sew.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:56 AM on June 6, 2018


I love eshakti, but every dress I have bought from them has suffered a broken belt loop or lost a button within fewer than 10 wears. Doesn't bother me, because I can mend those things myself. And the fabric feels high quality, and the customisations have been great.
posted by lollusc at 7:59 AM on June 6, 2018


2. My experience with return policy has been mixed. The way returns are displayed on the website is really confusing and it took quite awhile to process, but it went through without any prompting from me. I think one refund came through faster and that was when I selected a gift card option rather than putting money back on my credit card. YMMV.

3. I've only bought dresses in the last year or so, but all of mine have held up great. (Caveat: I wash all my work clothes on cold delicate and hang to dry.) I've been impressed with the construction on most. A shirt I bought came with extra hidden buttons at the bust, for instance, so that you don't get that boob gap thing. Many of the dresses also come with old school little loops with snaps that you can hook around your bra strap!

4. Depends on what the dress is made of. The website specifies material for each dress. The cotton knits are soft and thick enough and haven't pilled. The cotton poplin does require ironing. I got a few polyester dresses and I don't like the way they feel--kind of sticky to my skin, but I hardly *ever* wear polyester.

5. I've been impressed with how smooth the customizations are. I've customized length, neckline styles and sleeve styles, but not all my measurements. Usually I add sleeves to things. It has been just fine.

6. One thing that's funny is that because I've had to compensate style-wise for my height-weight ratio in clothes shopping for so long, occasionally I am totally wrong about something from eshakti looking good on me, because they've made it for my height. Like a boxy blouse I thought would look kinda architectural and like a tunic was just a boxy blouse on me because it was customized for my height, if that makes sense. I'm 5' 6" and all the dresses have hit where I expected.
posted by purple_bird at 8:22 AM on June 6, 2018


I have a million eShakti dresses and every single one is slightly "off" in some way. There's always some weird piece of fabric or strange style choice. Everything has a zipper, even the knits, making for some awkward or uncomfortable dresses. Pretty much only their knits actually fit me well, everything else is very oddly proportioned. I'm fat and I think that they likely don't have a fat fit model and just size everything up, and it doesn't work great. The return policy is great though so it's pretty low risk. I think a lot depends on your body and style.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 8:38 AM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


I find the current estimates I receive from eShakti to be slightly generous - I am always surprised by 1 or 2 days in terms of when the dress shows up. At this point, it's never taken LONGER than they say, and occasionally it's been shorter.

I find it's usually shorter than the estimate online, and the one time there was a delay, I received an apologetic email advising me that my order would be delayed a week. I appreciated the heads up and it was one time out of... lots.

I have a large bust, so I size up if I order a dress in a non-stretchy fabric. I just don't want to pay for customization. I've found the fabric to be very durable - everything gets washed and dried the same way in my house because we're lazy launderers. The knits are surprisingly heavy. I recently got a maxi-dress and it weighs a ton. This works great for me because my eShakti dresses are my work clothes and my office is always freezing, but may not be ideal for actual outdoor summer wear.
posted by Ruki at 9:11 AM on June 6, 2018


I looove eShakti. I am 5'8" and 270 lbs. I have about 25 eShakti dresses, all customized, and I have been delighted every time. Nothing has ever not fit, but there were some dresses that were unflattering, and the return process was very smooth. All of my orders have come within 15 days (to California). My dresses have held up very well over the past two years, except the buttons -- but every garment with buttons does come with extra buttons.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 9:19 AM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


I am a big fan of their knits. Very unhappy with the cotton poplin - agree with the others here that it is incredibly wrinkly, and sleeve adjustments to make them longer always make them a hair too tight for comfort. And if you're at all busty, the poplin doesn't always fit quite right since there's no stretch (I've never customized that measurement, though - maybe that would make a difference).

Returns are a little complicated - you have to register a return before mailing back, and it takes a while to process. But they've always refunded my money (less the customization fees).

Shipping can take 2-3 weeks. When it's longer than expected they email you to let you know. Once I received a dress and the belt was missing. I called and they sent it within a week as I recall.

I definitely send back more than I keep - I think my success rate is about 45% - but I'm still going back. And everything has pockets!!!
posted by Mchelly at 9:25 AM on June 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'm a big fan.

My summer wardrobe is made up of eshakti dresses, customized. I added an inch to my bust measurement, and in the "notes" give my bra size.

I buy mostly "fit & flare" in poplin with embroidery, prints or embellishments. I alternate drip dry or machine dry. I have not had a problem with the fabric shrinking. Solid color dresses did look like I'd need to iron them.

I have returned dresses without issue.
posted by MichelleinMD at 9:33 AM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, always look at the dress photos from all sides, because not only do they not care whether the prints match at the seams, they often will feature a print on the front but none on the back, so you can avoid surprises if that's the sort of thing that bugs you.
posted by Mchelly at 9:40 AM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


My experience has not been great.

Nothing I have ordered has fit -- one was just kinda long; one was enormous in the arms (I had given the measurement for my upper arms, which are chubby, and they made the entire sleeve that width so it was this huge floppy tube;) one was tight across the chest although it was made for a size larger than I am (this was an "off the rack" one.)

Two were customized, and of course that fee is not refundable, and neither is the shipping I think, so after having invested in the full price of two customized dresses, and having applied the credit to another dress I also had to return, I don't have much credit left (and no usable dresses.)

Things were dowdier in person than pictured, somehow. A flower print that looked super pretty online had a sort of country calico look in the flesh.

I still have some credit with them and I need to call them and find out how much. Their customer service is slow to do things like let you know the dress was returned and your credit is $x. At this point I'm not optimistic.

It's too bad because their things look so pretty on the screen.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:48 AM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have had wonderful experiences with EShakti, but mostly when I customized literally every measurement. Sizing up or down is just like meh dresses.
posted by corb at 10:37 AM on June 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


- I have found the quality to be pretty high -- I have several dresses that I've been wearing for almost 5 years (others that lasted at least 2).
- Custom options usually work out for me, but a couple times I've ordered something longer or shorter that really didn't work.
- Returns have been easy and relatively quick (a week or two)
- I have a trick to receiving items in a timely manner: If you tell them you need it by a specific date (say two weeks from your order date) it will arrive at least two days before the date you name. Otherwise, it's very unpredictable.
- Try not to actually need customer service - returns are fine, but communication is ridiculously bad.
posted by tangosnail at 10:45 AM on June 6, 2018


Do all customizations-- style and fit-- cost 10$ together, do style and fit each cost 10 separately, or does each individual customization (ie, collar, sleeves) cost 10$ apiece? Was not able to understand from website.
posted by Cozybee at 10:53 AM on June 6, 2018


It's a noncumulative yes/no. Have you applied any customization (other than one of the ones explicitly marked as free)? If yes, then add $10. If no, then add $0.
posted by inconstant at 10:55 AM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


There's a single customization fee - 9.95 for changes to styling (neck, sleeves, hem, etc - all or only one), and I think 14.95 if you want the same dress but in a different fabric. Not sure if customizing a dress and changing fabrics is one charge or two, though (it's a new option).
posted by Mchelly at 10:56 AM on June 6, 2018


Even with the occasional miss, eShakti has been far better for me than any other source. I always get sleeves put on, usually get the neckline changed, and always get custom sizing. They do last well; I still wear a dress I bought from them eight years ago, a cotton poplin dress that does not need ironing. The regular side-seam pockets are generous and deep, so I don't lose things out of them, as sometimes happens with dresses from other sources, if I can even find a dress with pockets anywhere else. Sometimes there's a flaw, such as a hook sewn the wrong way around, but usually the quality is very nice. I love the linings, in particular.

You have to be really critical of the pictures. If there's something you don't quite like about a style, don't get it. Early on, years ago, I bought a dress that had a ruffled neckline. I didn't know how much I would hate ruffles. Plus, ruffles need ironing. Never again. More recently, a couple of years ago, a dress I bought quite cheaply from the sales section was unflattering to me, in spite of the custom sizing--must have been on sale for a reason--so I gave it to my daughter, who looks good in it in spite of not being shaped like me. Last winter, I really should have known better than to order a plaid cotton flannel dress, but it looked so cozy; it is wonderfully soft and cozy, but looks too much like a nightgown to wear it anywhere. At least it was only forty dollars, with the discounts and free customization they gave me.

My arms are thirteen inches around, but the sleeves fit much better if I lie and tell them they are fifteen inches around. Otherwise they make the sleeves too tight.

The cotton poplin don't usually get very wrinkled, but the hems tend to turn up after washing, so they need a touch-up ironing. My wonderful husband is willing to do this for me. The cotton knits are much less flattering to my belly than the woven fabrics. I avoid the knits now.

Do not get anything with a polyester lining for summer wear if you live in a hot climate. Those are relegated to cool-weather wear, for me. The polyester crepe dress material is surprisingly nice, and is often available in some pretty cool-looking prints. I love to wear the polyester crepe dresses in the winter. I remember we hated all polyester intensely, back in the seventies, but now I understand there is a point to something that looks great right out of the closet every time.

I love being able to customize the necklines, because boat-necks and crew-necks are awful on me but are often all you can get elsewhere. I have found that the wide-v necks tend to slip off my shoulders a little bit, so that's not ideal for me. The low-v necks are too low for me and show more cleavage than I am comfortable with, for most situations, though they would be fine for someone else. The sweetheart-neck is nice, but it is cut wide enough at the bottom that I can't wear my favorite bras but instead have to wear a bra with wider-set straps. The square neckline and the regular v-neckline are perfect for me. They are low enough to be flattering to my face without leading to embarrassing moments.

Oh, speaking of embarrassing moments, I got a very nice wrap dress in a beautiful bird-and-flower print, only to learn that a wrap dress is unwearable without a visible camisole. That's apparently true no matter where you buy a wrap dress, though.

They are constantly introducing new designs, and then quickly run out of them. It's best to check back frequently. Their search box allows you to remove pages from your search results with the minus sign, which helps a lot. I keep a bookmark (to this link) in my web browser that automatically does a search for a print dress that is not polyester and is not dry-cleanable, so I can idly do a quick scan without spending much time on it. Sometimes they have several good things at once; sometimes they have things that will do if I really need something; and other times they will have something so great that I have to have it. In the latter case, it's usually gone a week or two later, if I don't get it pretty much right away. Sometimes it will come back if I keep checking. I checked back again and again to see if a particular cat-print dress would come back; I was so happy when it did, and I've gotten so many compliments on it!

I wear clothing from eShakti probably 95% of the time now.
posted by chromium at 10:57 AM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


> I got a very nice wrap dress in a beautiful bird-and-flower print

...are you possibly talking about this dress? I ask because it's one of the ones I'm considering right now. I was gonna order high-V, but I would definitely like to be warned in advance if it will require a camisole.
posted by Cozybee at 11:23 AM on June 6, 2018


It's not the same one, and the one I ordered a year and a half ago (see pictures) is no longer on the eShakti site. I ordered it with a v-neck, the only option at the time. Maybe ordering a high-v neckline would solve the problem.

When I complained to my friends about not being able to wear it, they assured me that this is what always happens with true wrap dresses, and that I should just buy a decent-looking camisole to wear under it, which I did. But I didn't get the dress in high-V, which should help.
posted by chromium at 11:50 AM on June 6, 2018


I meant to say, above, that sometimes they don't have a single thing that will do for me. And some of their designs are laugh-out-loud ridiculous, making me wonder who would buy them. So sometimes it can take a few weeks to find something I really love there.
posted by chromium at 12:58 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have a lot of things from eShakti, and it's a mixed bag. Some things I love to death, some things are an ill-fitting nightmare. They're very bad at sizing up necklines for plus-sizes, which is a big part of the problem for me. I like v necklines, but eShakti does not make them right.

Still, I am a very large woman, who can buy almost no clothing at all, even in fat stores, and I can get things that fit me, some of them very well indeed.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:27 PM on June 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


I ordered from eShakti. There was a problem; they forced me to pay shipping for the return; they refused the return (so I didn't have the dress to alter myself, had paid for shipping, and had not gotten a refund). Bear in mind I had already had the return approved via email.

I would sooner dance naked on top of an active lava flow than ever order from this company again. I'd sooner order from Rosewill or the other fly-by-night cheap-garment manufacturers than deal with shady ol' shakti again.
posted by Nyx at 7:44 AM on June 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


All four dresses I have from eshakti are well sewn and fit comfortably - I did not do custom sizing but changed sleeves and necklines. Some are surprisingly heavy, such as a chambray jacquard which weighs as much as denim, so too heavy for desert summer wear.

All needed to be washed before wear, though - each one had a fairly strong odor which went away after being washed and air dried.
posted by zepheria at 4:12 PM on June 7, 2018


I've ordered three dresses and one white shirt, and had no problems at all. One of the dresses will be my wedding dress (casual, second wedding). They all fit just right and seem well made. Never had to return anything. They usually ship quicker than expected.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 12:41 PM on June 8, 2018


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