Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Guide to Eshakti (Based On My Experiences)

I have been asked time and again how to order from Eshakti to get a Tznius dress. What necklines work, how the lengths work, etc. So I thought I would share my experiences with you all. I have ordered more than 20 dresses over the last 2 years from them and I have certainly gone through some trial and error in how to ensure I get what I want. I will got through all the fabric options, as well as length, necklines and sleeves.

Necklines.

What can be altered even beyond advertised options and what you get when you leave well enough alone. For necklines to fully cover the collarbone you really have two options. Either choose a button up dress with a full collar (though as I will show you later on, that in itself can be tricky) or choose the jewel neckline. I personally find that I am more than comfortable wearing either the jewel neckline or the much more rare round neckline (which seems not to be a customization option anywhere but ever so rarely is the standard given option on a dress). To be honest, I think the round neck is just the jewel neckline cut a tad higher. Its not quite as wide. But pretty much otherwise the same.

This red and denim dress is the "round neckline" and is not at all altered.


This terrible picture is of the Jewel neckline un-altered. I guess to be honest the rounded neckline above on the red one is a tad higher, but I truly think its just how the dresses are sitting on me that makes it look that much different. Both are pretty similar.


And to be 100% honest I will and do wear both of these as is. But in some communities (like when I go home for the holidays) I feel a tad uncomfortable with these. I decided to try something different in other dresses and order the standard Jewel neckline but to leave a comment in the order details/requests. It usually reads as follows: "please cut the Jewel neckline a half inch higher than standard. For religious reasons I need it to completely cover the collar bone. Thank You". And I have to say that I get great results that way. Here are 2 examples of the modified jewel neckline. Just a bit higher and certainly 100% collarbone covered!



As menitoned, the other option seems to be getting a collared dress. I have personally found the fit is not as good in general though. I always custom order the sizing of the dresses and they fit me perfectly in the chest but for some reason if the front is button up, they seem to pull. This has held true in both the cotton poplin dresses and the cotton dresses but did not seem to be an issue in the crepe dress.

This terrible picture is of a dress that is made of a light cotton with no stretch. This dress just was all over weird in the button placement and seemed to squish my boobs downwards in some evil magic that was just terrible. The dress was worn once before being thrown in the goodwill pile.


This dress is made out of the no stretch cotton poplin (the dress above was a light woven cotton, not cotton poplin) and is quite a bit thicker and sturdier than the material above. As you can see it pulls in the chest at the most unfortunate place. I do however love the dress and wear it with a cami underneath and the top 2 buttons undone. As a side note, this is the ONLY dress I have ever received from the brand that has a belt I will wear.


This green crepe dress is also a button up but again, for some weird reason it doesn't seem to pull in the chest like the cotton ones do, even though the sizing is exactly the same.


SLEEVES

So basically, the options for sleeves are 3/4 length (my normal go to), bracelet length and long sleeves. The green fish dress above is long sleeved. And to be honest, its a bit longer than I think it should be considering this dress was made to my measurements. Although, I did lie and say I was 5'5 instead of 5'3. So maybe that is why they are so much longer than I would like. But if that is the cause, then the 3/4 and bracelet length would be 2 inches longer on me than normal and that makes no sense.

This purple is the 3/4 length sleeve. And again, I used 5'5 as my measurements even though I am actually a quarter of an inch shy of 5'3.


Now this dress is the bracelet length and to be honest, it seems a tad bit shorter in length than the eiffel tower dress that also is bracelet length. I am not sure if it is the difference between a cotton (not poplin) and the jersey knit.



LENGTH

Now this is the part that is tricky. Finding the sweet spot is kind of hard. As stated, I am just under 5'3. Five feet, two and three quarter inches to be exact. And the first dress I ordered was the navy and green knit dress and I said I was 5'4 and I ordered ankle length. Now this picture is me barefoot and to be honest, I stretched this dress as much as I possibly could to make it THIS long. Its probably an inch shorter than this in reality. It sits a good 2 inches above the top of my foot. To be fair though, it is meant to be ankle length, not floor length and I guess they intend it to sit just at the top of the ankle.


For future dresses I have ordered ankle length dresses in both 5'6 and saying I am 5'7. The purple one is ankle length for someone 5'7 and it basically touches the floor in a ballet flat with ZERO heel. In general my ballet flats have a half an inch heel and thus its perfect. The navy floral was ordered as a 5'6 height and I feel it is perfect on me with a completely flat heel. But again, I like the dresses when maxi length to hit the top of my foot. Basically floor length but not actually touching the floor (but almost). 



My other go to length is always below the knee. Again, I tend to lie and say I am 5'4 when ordering this length though. I just want to make sure they are below the knee even when I sit down. I hate the idea of being self conscience as I move around. So pretty much every dress above that is not a maxi dress was ordered to be below the knee for me at a height of 5'4. I really do appreciate the extra inch of fabric and would not order them any other way. 



Now I have ordered one dress with an asymmetrical hem. It is supposedly a knee length hem that dips to mid-calf at its longest. I have worn it at least 20 times but I have NEVER been able to get a good picture of it. For this dress because I wanted it to fall mid-calf at its longest I was afraid to mess with the lengths and thus kept it as knee length but changed my height to 5'5 instead of the usual 5'4 I normally claim. It JUST BARELY covers my knee and falls just at the bottom of the knee cap. Considering I am 2.5 inches shorter than 5'5 I would say its safe to say that knee length does not at all cover the knees in any universe. I guess the knee length is meant to go above the knee. I guess that makes sense since the above the knee dresses I have seen people get are very high above the knee. Like miniskirt length. Don't get me started on how short the length CALLED the mini is!



OTHER FACTORS

BELTS
Now as mentioned early on, the ONLY dress that came with a belt I wear is that navy and red shirt dress. This one, as well as the Eiffel tower one and the light blue cotton button up dress all came with dresses with HORRIBLE belts. Un-wearable. So instead, I use my own belt for both dresses I have kept. The blue one has been given away so its irrelevant.


The first two I thought it was just because they were so thin (therefor they don't stay where they should on the dress and move around) but even this plaid one I am wearing above came with a thicker belt. But it was cheap, lousy quality and just looked horrible. It also felt too tight. 




So when it comes to belts, I would say ignore what it shows it comes with and ensure you have one at home you like. 

CUTS OF DRESSES:
Now in general, I get dresses that are listed as having full flare skirts. This is in my opinion the most flattering cut on me and the most comfortable. It has a LOT of fabric and I like the way they move. These two are the cotton poplin with STRETCH and I have to say the extra weight (not much but a bit) gives them even more movement and show off the cut the best photographically. But pretty much ever none maxi dress I own is in this cut. I have ordered two dresses that were sheath dresses and even with the custom sizing did not at all fit me right. So I really can't compare the other cuts. 



This patchwork dress however was described not as a full flare skirt but instead simply as a flared, Missing that word full in there made a big difference in the fit I did not notice when ordering. I ultimately also gave this dress away because I just didn't feel comfortable in it. That being said, when I went back and looked at the stock photo it certainly does have a different cut and does look much slimmer in the hips.



I also ended up donating this dress as the cut which was simply listed as empire waist  was cut to slim in the hips for my comfort.


This bottom maxi is once more that full flare which I just feel more comfortable with.


MATERIALS
So I guess all the materials have their own idiosyncrasies. 

My favourite, hands down, is the cotton knit. Its a thick material almost like a cross between a t shirt and a sweatshirt. Its t shirt material, but like the thickest t shirt you can imagine (that is still totally soft and comfortable). My purple and my green/navy chevron maxi dresses are made of it as well as my asymmetrical hemmed one and the top of my Eiffel tower dress and the top of this tulle dress I have yet to wear. 


I have not worn this dress yet above (even though I have had it about 5 months) but I can say the tulle is a lovely material. Its lined in what they call a moss crepe which feels like crinoline and then has a crepe lining underneath. Its thick without looking cheap and it has body. Most certainly does not feel cheap at all. 

The light cotton dresses that are not poplin (my black and white plaid, my leaf maxi dress as well as 2 others not pictured here are also lovely and my favourite option in the summer. The knits are too heavy for hot days, and these are such beautiful thin cotton that wash nicely, wear well and dont wrinkle so long as they are hung up right after washing. 

The cotton polin without stretch is terrible. Ok, not really terrible. Just terrible if like me you think ironing is a four letter word that is inappropriate to even mention. They WRINKLE. And while most of the cotton poplin dresses seem to be lined, this one is not:


And that is fairly problematic since the white is very see through. I have to wear a slip under it. You can also see some of the wrinkles in it in the picture above. And that is after it was ironed but just hanging in my closet did that to it. 

Then, there is cotton poplin with stretch. The navy and red floral one, the red with floral embroidery, as well as the purple one are this material and its great. Its thicker than the standard poplin, its got just enough stretch in it to prevent the wrinkling and its weight lets it sit and move nicely. 

Then there is the crepe dresses. The white floral one, the green fish one and the bottom of the Eiffel Tower one are all made out of this. So is this blue seashell one below. The lovely thing about them is they seem to ALWAYS be lined. And they are super light and comfy for the summer months. No negatives to speak of with these.


Now, I have one more dress that is polydupion. I don't even know that that IS. But I saw it, and had a simcha coming up and ordered it as a bridesmaid dress. I wish I had a better experience with it. Part of the problem is that the fit was TERRIBLE. It was a weird random experience where the sizing was very very off. I have never had that with an eshakti dress before and unfortunately I needed to suck it up and wear it because I didn't even consider the option it might not fit and left no wiggle room in my time line leading up to the wedding. This was the dress:


I ordered it saying I was 5'5 and chose the length "full length with 3 inch heels on" since I wanted to wear it with 4 inch heels. In this picture I am wearing it with 3 inch heels and its an inch too short. BAH!


But even worse, it was too big:


Now the material itself. The polydupion. Described as woven dupion, high sheen, lightly textured slubs, no stretch, midweight and lined in light polytaffeta. The lining is nice. Its not super puffy but gives it just enough body to be quite nice. The actual material though is not great. It looks pretty cheap up close. Not terrible, and I did get lots of compliments on it. But it wrinkles super easily. I steamed it because the material scared me to try to iron. Was afraid it might melt or the sheen get destroyed. It also looks like it might get pulls very easy. I think that is the meaning of the "light textured slubs". Like it has a funny texture. But to me it just looks like it would get pulls super easy. I can't say that for sure it would, I had no problems that way. It just looked like it might. And the fabric looked imperfect. I just felt the quality didn't have the feel or the weight I have come to expect from that brand. But for the price, I would say it was a fantastic option for a formal gown to wear once to a wedding. And the following three dresses have all really caught my eye and so I might give the material one more try. These three are all listed as woven dupioni instead of woven dupion and so I am not sure what that added "i" means. And all still say sheen and textured slubs so if I do try one of these 3 I will keep you all updated! 





50 comments:

  1. Holy cow - that's a whole lotta Eshakti dresses! I agree the belts are junk and even with putting in your own measurements you never know what you're gonna get. That said, I would probably try again. My first attempt came with messy seams and the second was ok - I just made the mistake of ordering above the knee and I meant to order at least knee length. A lot of their styles are old fashioned but every so often something kind cute pops up...
    XO
    http://www.lehoarder.com/

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    1. OMG. I JUST saw this comment!! I also think a lot of their styles are repetitive. It would be nice to see some more fashion forward syles coming about!

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  2. So helpful! This is the first I have heard of these dresses. Some beautiful options.thank you!

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  3. Thank you. Very comprehensive review. Will definitely consider ordering from the website.

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  4. Wow, these look great! There's a bunch here I really wanted to order and probably will now.

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  5. Awesome review and very comprehensive. Very helpful information about length. Wish I would've seen this review before my daughter ordered a dress. Hoping it will be OK.

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  6. i love eshakti

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  7. Thank you for very helpful information. Curious on the custom measurements if you add inches for a comfortable fit.

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    1. I never added any inches anywhere but height.

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  8. This is AMAZING! Thank you!

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  9. Chayale Shagalow ChazanOctober 23, 2017 at 1:37 PM

    Amazing. Thanks so much!!
    How much do u pay per dress?

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    1. Anywhere from $55 to $85USD after taxes and shipping and discounts etc.

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    2. But I only shop sales. I'm in Canada and have also NEVER once been hit with duty even though they ship dhl.

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  10. Dani Swerling EinsohnOctober 23, 2017 at 1:38 PM

    Thank you for sharing such great info!

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  11. Brazilliant...reposting on the Teaneck/Bergenfield Jewish Moms Group.

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  12. Awesome. def interested. So helpful, thanks!

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  13. Rochelle Pudlowski EissenstatOctober 23, 2017 at 1:40 PM

    Thank you for taking the time to post such a thorough detailed description of your eshakti experience!

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  14. Awesome review -- I have been eyeing the site, but have been scared to order based on length. It's good to know to be 'taller' than one is! It sounds like custom is the best and lying by an inch or 2 of size is best too (e.g. I'm super broad shouldered, average bust, high/small waist, and very hippy --> basically buying clothes can be a disaster because if something fits me on the shoulder, it's often too big around the middle!).

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    1. I wear a size 6-8 waist and a 12 hips/bum. So I have a terrible time shopping also. But I kept my sizes true. I think that's why the sheath dresses turned out so bad. It's not possible to add so much in the hips and not lose the sheath shape. I'd not add more than 1 inch or so to true measurements though

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    2. Shayna Chaya Greenfield yes -- same size. That's really good to know. Thank you. I will come back to your review when I feel brave enough to order -- ordering online without trying on a dress at all is scary -- there's a few cotton ones that look so pretty on the side, but I'm a nervous buyer!

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    3. Shayna Chaya Greenfield what would you say about this dress -- can't go wrong with cotton knit?? This is the one I've been eyeing -- would add at least elbow length sleeves...As said, it makes me nervous...but the moroccon blue colour 😍
      http://www.eshakti.com/ProductDetailoption2.aspx?productid=CL0050460

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    4. Hilary Edelstein I LOVE the colour. And the knits are really nice!

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    5. ok. That's good to know. Will do measurements after Shabbat and hold my breath a bit!

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  15. Excellent tips. Thanks. Just ordered for the first time from there.

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  16. Shayna Chaya Greenfield I bit the bullet. I didn't want to wait until your referral code because I'd want the dress to come in time for yom tov. I got the drape front knit dress in what I hope is a gorgeous turquoise colour. I ordered it sleeveless with hopefully a bit of a room to add a shell underneath -- I added about an inch to my general measurements. I'm so broad shouldered that buying without trying a dress with added sleeves is too nerve-wracking! As you noted, I put my height as 2 inches taller than I actually am. Here's to hoping! http://www.eshakti.com/product/CL0050460

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  17. That was a great review!!

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  18. I've ordered 4 dresses from eShakti & I love all of them.

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  19. I have 2 dresses from them that I love. I was just telling my husband that I want a whole wardrobe from them! Your tips & info are great thanks! Did you ever ask if they can do a more closed in boat neck?

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    1. No. I've always stuck with round or jewel necklines

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  20. Thanks for this! I have yet to order from them (I keep not having money when they send me the $25 off coupons!) but now I know which styles and fabrics to choose, and how much to add to my height to get the right hemline. ;)

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  21. Shayna, what a well written article! I have been thinking of trying Eshakti for quite a while. While I love the fit and flare style I really want to try a sheath. Can you offer any advice from your experience with fitting/sizing. You had mentioned the fit was off on those you tried.

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    1. I'm about 3 sizes bigger in the hips/bum than I am the top. I think it's just not possible to cut a dress that will be in my sizes and still be a sheath. So I'm thinking it's purely a geometry problem.

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    2. So I am almost a dead on hourglass with an inch or two more on the bum/hips. I was wondering if customization would yield a decent result.

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    3. If you're in the USA you can return them if they don't fit.

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  22. I really liked the purple dress ! Is that a recent purchase ?

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    1. About a year ago? It came in a few colours.

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    2. Dresses tend to sell out in a few weeks. At least half the dresses don't last more than a few weeks. Some last a year. But at least 85% of the dresses I've purchased haven't lasted more than a week or 2.

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  23. If you got it in with them, maybe you can suggest dresses that are more nursing friendly - at least a way to search them. I bought a great dress a few months ago and would buy more if I could find them :). I love Eshakti!

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  24. Wow, thank you, so helpful!

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  25. Thanks for this. I've been on the fence about ordering from eshakti, and your suggestions will be super useful if/when I do. By the way, dupioni is a kind of silk weave that's designed to have imperfections (those slubs you're talking about in your blog). The nubby texture is intentional and adds to the sheen. It's more expensive than other fabrics and is typically used in bridal (I had gorgeous silk dupioni curtains in my house at one time, also with the slubs). I think the weaver uses different weights of silk thread in different directions to get the effect, and since you're dealing with a cocoon, imperfections are to be somewhat expected. Definitely do not iron that dress. Do the dresses NOT come with washing instructions?

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    1. I don't think so? Maybe? I'll have to check. The fabric though feels very very thin and it wrinkles super super easy. I just realized however that I have one more dress out of the material that I was going to give away as it's one of the sheath ones I don't think fits me. I'm going to try it on again and see.

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    2. I don't think so? Maybe? I'll have to check. The fabric though feels very very thin and it wrinkles super super easy. I just realized however that I have one more dress out of the material that I was going to give away as it's one of the sheath ones I don't think fits me. I'm going to try it on again and see.

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  26. I bit the bullet. I didn't want to wait until your referral promo because I'd want the dress to come in time for yom tov. I got the drape front knit dress in what I hope is a gorgeous turquoise colour. I ordered it sleeveless with hopefully a bit of a room to add a shell underneath -- I added about an inch to my general measurements. I'm so broad shouldered that buying without trying a dress with added sleeves is too nerve-wracking! As you noted, I put my height as 2 inches taller than I actually am. Here's to hoping! http://www.eshakti.com/product/CL0050460

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    1. Can i ask a question just for curiosity sake? Why order intending to have to put a shell under it? Why not just get it with sleeves to start?

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    2. because I'm so broad shoulder, that I'm terrified. As a first try, I want to see if the measurements come out. My fear with any dress with sleeves is that I'll tear it at the shoulder (it's happened before!).

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    3. there is. But I'm wary. When I got married they had to do last minute changes to my dress because of my shoulders, which required some major double sided tape around the bust.
      When I was a bridesmaid for my sister in law, my dress ripped the morning as we were getting ready. I had to call the dressmaker and did some on the spot alterations. My broad back/shoulders are just not proportioned to the rest of me!!!

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    4. I hear you. I'm the same way with my hips/butt. Hopefully you have as much luck with eshakti as I have.

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