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Can You Buy a Custom Fitted Dress Through the Internet?

eShakti is a website that claims to offer the ability to order custom fitted clothing via the Internet. You (or a friend) take your measurements according to the instructions on their site, enter them as you’re ordering your clothing, and the garment will be made to those exact measurements. They also offer the option of changing sleeve styles, hemlines, and sometimes necklines and embellishments. This kind of customizing runs you $7.50 on top of the price of the dress. Does it work? And is it worth it?

The reason eShakti can offer these levels of customization is because, according to their website, they cut every garment to order even if you order from a pre-designated size (sizes 0-36 are listed as “standard sizes”). Even when ordering from their list of standard sizes, you’re asked for your height so they can be sure the garment fits you as well as it can even without customization. I’d ordered two dresses from them in a standard size and been happy with both of them, so recently I decided to take a chance and order a custom sized dress.

Me wearing a custom fitted dress from eShakti
The Golden daffodils sheath dress, custom sized, modeled somewhat awkwardly.

The first thing I noticed was that custom sized garments do take a little longer to ship. Because eShakti is based out of India, the typical shipping time (at least to the East Coast where I live) is around 10 days. My custom dress took 12 days. Not too much longer, but something to account for. When I got the dress and tried it on I could immediately tell a difference. I’m not far off a standard size, but it’s incredible how much an inch or so can affect the fit of a dress. My mother is a seamstress, and when I modeled the dress for her, she was impressed with how closely the dress fit.

Other details about the dress that I liked were that it was fully lined (as was my other standard size dress from them) and had small straps inside the shoulders to hold your bra straps with so they didn’t sneak out from under the sleeves. Most of their dresses have pockets, and they tell you on the product page how it zips, what it’s made of, whether there are pockets, washing instructions, and other important details that are good to know before you buy.

The dresses are a bit pricey, not more than you’d pay in a nice shop or department store, but still a bit beyond women who are on a shoestring budget. There are frequent sales, and if you know someone who shops there they might be able to give you a code that will get you $25 off your first order. Once you order from them, they’ll also send you gift certificates and discount codes pretty regularly to encourage you to buy more. They also send you almost daily emails, but that’s pretty standard for most online retailers these days.

What I like most about eShakti’s customization is that nothing is cut until it’s ordered. Those of us who have had clothes altered or altered them ourselves know that starting with a ready made garment and tweaking it to fit differently isn’t ever perfect and that you’re fighting a bit of an uphill battle. Because each garment ordered from eShakti is cut to order, it’s easier for them to ensure that the custom fit is tailored specifically to your measurements. I do think they could add a couple more parameters into what measurements they ask for (as a short waisted woman, I’d love to see a shoulder to waist box added) but so far what they’re doing seems to work well.

If you’re interested in ordering a custom dress, there’s helpful diagrams on the site detailing how to measure yourself. The boxes only accept whole numbers, so if you come up between inches you can either switch to centimeters to get more accuracy or just round up or down. Use your judgement on this, though I would recommend rounding up to give yourself a touch of breathing room. If you regularly wear bras with padding or shapewear, measure yourself with it on because it will change your measurements enough to matter.

Having ordered a custom sized dress, I plan to order one again. I’ve been happy with the service I’ve gotten from eShakti, and even though they take a little longer than some other online clothing retailers I feel like the wait is worth it for a dress that’s cut to order. Feel free to ask me any other questions you might have in the comments!

8 replies on “Can You Buy a Custom Fitted Dress Through the Internet?”

For those of you who have had trouble with orders in the past, I just got this email from eShakti:

Dear Genevieve B

Thank you for the review of your eShakti shopping experience and we have noted the comments that it has received.

Those customers who have reported a bad experience in response to your post – delay or fit or color as mentioned – will get $60 off their next purchase from us. Since we don’t know who they are, all they have to do is order in the normal way and let us know through you that they have done so – you can give us the order reference and we will credit $60 back to their card. If they prefer to have the $60 gift certificate first, we can do that as well – either you or they can refer to this email and write to us and we will arrange the gift certificate immediately.

We had a four-fold surge in order from March, and since we cut to order, and don’t mass-produce these clothes beforehand, it threw not only our manufacturing into overload, it affected our information system as well. We have since geared up our production and have been on track over the last several months, and we want our customers to experience eShakti now, and know that it is perhaps not hit or miss after all. More than that, we want to make amends and let our customers know we feel their pain. And most important of all, we want them to experience sheer delight when they shop at eShakti. We will keep working hard – and the internal mandate is to also work smart – to make that happen. You can count on us to do that.

We thank you in advance for helping us reach out to those customers in any way you can

Best regards
— Jennifer Mayer
Head – Marketing & Customer Care

I had terrible luck with eShakti. I ordered three dresses, all of which were *exactly* the styles I’d been looking for. I used the customizing option, since I’m freakishly tall. Dresses arrived, and all of them were made for someone with at least a D-cup bust. I… am not. Even at all. I double checked that I had entered the right measurements, and I did. I thought about re-ordering in straight, non-customized sizing, because I really WANTED to love the dresses, but I never did.

I have heard that when they first got going a lot of the orders weren’t right. So far I haven’t had problems with anything I’ve ordered from them, straight size or custom size, and when one order took longer than expected to ship they sent me a gift certificate to apologize. But, I don’t know if they’ve overhauled their system or if I’m just lucky.

I’m with Baseball — their reputation and results are incredibly hit or miss. I know lots of people who haven’t had any problems with them, but the people who do seem to have really terrible issues.

I’d been wanting to try them for a while so I convinced my mother that she and I should get dresses from the site for a wedding we had to go to. We both went the custom route. We ordered with over a month for the delivery time (promised in under 10 days). When they hadn’t shown up in two weeks, we emailed and got the run around (there isn’t a phone number you can call). The customer service rep was shockingly rude in her response to my mom, they couldn’t find the orders, then they did, then they were going to rush ship them, which they didn’t. The dresses literally showed up on the day of the wedding. My mother’s was the wrong color. Mine didn’t fit at all. I mean, the kind of didn’t fit that leads people into full blown tears and freak outs. It was obvious to me that they didn’t follow the measurements at all — both my mother and I sew, we’re no strangers to having to measure — the sleeves AND the neckline were the wrong style and the fabric was very unpleasant.

It took forever for them to respond to our emails about this and to get our refunds. Returning the dress wasn’t a problem — getting them to give our money back was.

I still think about wanting to give them another shot but I am very nervous about my past experience with them.

I’m glad to hear that you had a good experience with them. In conversations I’ve had with other people, they’re very hit or miss. I’ve ordered from eShakti three times, and all three times the order either didn’t fit right or wasn’t what I ordered. I definitely wouldn’t by from them again.

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