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Eshakti.com review update: The dresses are here! The dresses are here!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my first order with Eshakti.com , an online women’s clothing retailer. You should read it in full, but just in case, here’s the recap:

1. Eshakti.com sells customizable dresses
2. Many of them come in… statement colors. Take this one:

I call this “Old Highlighter From the Bottom of my Backpack” yellow

3. Others have lovely vintage-like patterns and styles
4. The sizing may be a little wack. I took a gamble and ordered a smaller size. Um, no, the decision wasn’t based on vanity. How DARE you insinuate such a thing?
5. I thought I ordered two, but wasn’t sure because…
6. I didn’t hear from Eshakti.com for several days
7. I finally received a customer email that appeared to be written by a cross between Charles Dickens and Emily Bronte
8. The gist of the email was that since my shipment was late, I would receive an unspecified discount
9. Questions remained- Will the dresses ever arrive? Were they made at the Wonka factory? What will happen next?

Eshakti, is that you?

Well, folks, the dresses did arrive. But not before being held up in international customs in Chennai, India, and brief sojourns in Bangalore, Leipzig, Cincinnati, and San Francisco.

Finally, a little less than a month after I originally placed my order- a joyful noise on my doorstep! Hark, hark, the dispatched package has come hence!

Let’s start with the “Birds who gossip dress”, which retails for $69.95. (I got it for less. Read the original post.) The dress is polyester but does not have the cheap and shiny look of a….cheap polyester dress. It is well constructed and surprisingly soft and comfortable. The seams are evenly finished and strong. Most importantly, there are pockets! Unadvertised pockets! Talk about a delightful surprise! It could have also come with a unicorn and I would have been more excited about the pockets.

Yes, that’s a Buzz Lightyear sticker by my foot

The size six fits well, although it is mere millimeters from being too tight around my ribs. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that I’ve recently stopped running. Although I had customized the length to fit my height (5’7”), the length is a little longer than the described knee length. I guess we could always give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that I’m shrinking. My least favorite thing about the dress is the neckline, a deep v-cut. What looks nice and feminine on the flat-chested non-human dress-form pictured on the website is A LOT OF BOOB in real life. It doesn’t look like it in the picture, but trust me, the buffet is on display, as my breastfeeding infant might say. I decided to keep it because it’s something different than every other dress in my closet, and a tank-top and a cardigan will make it work appropriate.

Another view of my heaving bosom

Finally, for the “Ranunculus” dress. (Not to be confused with the Redonkulous dress.) This was one was a hit, at $69.95 retail. It’s 100% cotton, with lovely embroidery and quality fabric, although it is not as soft as the polyester. It fits looser than the first dress, as this one has room for a few extra Pretzel M&Ms, and is a good inch plus longer than knee length. (I’m 5’7” darn it!) To quote my mother, it is not as “Booby Ruby” as the “Birds who gossip” dress. AND THERE ARE POCKETS!

Bonus points if you spot the baby in the background!

A few days after my shipment arrived, I received an email with a $10 gift certificate towards my next order, plus a receipt for $5 taken off of this order due to the slow shipping. In general, I’m impressed. Sorry for making fun of your emails, Eshakti.com! I was just joshing ya! I’ve spent way more at other retailers and never received unrequested delay discounts, even from places whose shipping takes forever (I’m looking at you, J Crew). These dresses are also conversation starters in a way that something from the Gap or J Crew will never be. I may order again, if I ever give up on that whole “I’m never going to shop online again because my clothes are full of holes” thing.

What do you think? Cute or scary? Pockets!

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Consumer Wednesdays: The Reckoning

Let me tell you what I should be doing right now. I should be creating a powerpoint on my dissertation findings, to be presented at a swanky reception in LESS THAN 48 HOURS. But instead I’m working on a blog post that I can’t even possibly finish, because it’s a review of an online clothing company that I haven’t even gotten my damn clothes from yet.

I’ll begin at the beginning.

I first heard about Eshakti.com from one of the “Worth it” postings on Jezebel . “Worth it” is when a Jezebel contributor posts a love missive for a product, service, or company that actually satisfies or even exceeds expectations. They claim that they don’t receive product placement fees of any kind for these posts, and if it’s true (and I think it is based on the random assortment of products endorsed) then it may be one of the last standing uncorrupted corners of the web. Except for The Sisters Twit, of course. Advertisers pay for jack shit here! You heard it, folks. We buy everything ourselves, which means that “Consumer Wednesdays” might more often technically be titled “I want to consume this Wednesdays” (not to be confused with Culinary Mondays).

“Worth it” has turned me on to a few cool things, including running socks that are marked for the left and right feet . It’s also featured things that I know from experience are
truly magical . So as a dedicated online shopper, the post on Eshakti.com caught my attention. Eshakti.com is a clothing company that specializes in dresses that are completely customizable. For an extra $8.95, any dress can be altered, by changing the neckline, the length, or adding or subtracting sleeves on a whim. $8.95, you ask? Doesn’t the Jezebel article say that customization is free? Welcome down the rabbit hole of Eshakti.com ladies, where it’s never quite clear how much the services cost, which products are available, when your order will arrive, or even if your order happened. Did I have a third margarita last night or was that an Eshakti.com order? It’s all a blur. What about an order confirmation? One may arrive, but you’ll need the Rosetta Stone to decipher it’s meaning.

But at this point, I was still an innocent. Many of the offerings are solid dresses in really bright colors, but if you look around there are many “conversational” prints (their term, not mine) that look like your very favorite vintage or thrift store find. Except that they will actually fit, because apparently women of the past did not have linebacker shoulders like mine. The only thing that could possibly improve most of the dresses is the addition of a cardigan (which improves everything). Prices are moderate, ranging from $50-$80 a dress, not super expensive, but too high for an impulse purchase, especially from a company I know nothing about. At least when I place an order from Gap or J.Crew I have an idea of what the quality will be (and I’m not saying it’s good). But I just kept coming back to look at these beauties: the “birds who gossip” dress in navy and red and the Ranunculus dress.

Bitchy birds dress, aka Birds who Gossip

 

Ranunculus dress

 

See, totally cute with a cardigan! Or even without one! (But why on earth would you want to be without one!) I internet stalked them both for a few days, which was a nail biter, as both moved in and out of stock within hours. When I saw that they were having a promotion for $20 dollars off your first order, with no minimum purchase required, I decided to go for it. There was also free customization for a first order, but even though I was dying to try out this service, I really liked them the way that they were. Who needs to add sleeves when you’ll just be wearing a cardigan all the time anyway?

In addition to customizable styles, Eshakti.com also does customizable measurements. This is great for those who don’t fit well into traditional sizing. I tend to hop between two sizes depending on the cut- if it’s loose in the hips or A-line then I can wear the smaller size, but if it’s a skinny or straight cut I’d better go bigger. The website tells you how and where to measure yourself, which I did with the help of our mother, complete with comments about how my size compares to that of my sisters, and hers when she was my age. Love ya, mom! These “custom” measurements corresponded to a much larger size than I usually wear on their size chart. Now, for a cute dress, I’m able to ignore the number and go with what works. I’ve had three kids in 5 years, my weight has been all over the place, and I’m ok with my body image. But I don’t have ANY items in my closet right now that are the bigger size. So, I decided not to customize and went with the middle size. It usually fits pretty well, and I’m not so pear or apple-shaped that custom sizing is a must.

Before I placed my final order, I googled “Eshakti coupon code” and found another coupon code for 15% off to combine with the $20 credit. People, if you don’t do this, you are just giving money away! Retailmenot.com and similar websites are your friend! I also apparently placed my order when the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars because the Ranunculus dress now seems to be out of stock for good. Including shipping, I got both dresses for about $100, which seemed like a pretty good deal.

Except that I don’t have them yet. I clicked the confirm button and…..it was as if it never happened. Days went by before I got a confirmation that my order was received. Then, several more days of radio silence, until I received the following email:

Dear Matilda,

Thank you for your order with eShakti.com

Today is the 4th business day from the date of your order and this letter is to intimate you of a delay of 5 to 10 days that we are experiencing currently due to a dramatic rise in order levels recently.

We take responsibility for this delay and upon shipping your order we will be giving back a delay discount that will be processed to your credit card account. This discount will be reckoned by the number of days of delay. We will also be intimating you via email of this credit upon dispatch of your order.

This is not a substitute for timeliness and it will be our endeavor to quickly get back to shipping orders per schedule.

Thank you for your patience.

Regards—Carol Your Representative
http://www.eShakti.com

I haven’t checked the reckoning of my credit card account recently to see if my order has been dispatched. But I appreciate the intimation of the process, as well as the potential delay discount, whatever that may be. Since I like to see online clothing items on actual people instead of creepy knob-headed dress forms, I’ll post some photos when the dresses arrive. Is this website awesome or scary? We shall see.

Update: 05/07/12 According to DHL tracking, my package is about to leave Madras, India!

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Filed under Consumer, Wednesdays