eShakti is an online store with a mission to make every woman look her best, no matter what size or shape, and they understand that one size does not fit all. One of the great things about this site is that they customize their items to your liking for a fixed fee of $7.95! The sizes already range from 0-26W, but you can customize the fit to your own particular measurements. Even after customization, if you still don't like the item, you can return it minus the cost of shipping and customization. This is certainly a great selling point, especially if you have trouble fitting items off the rack like I do, petite or not.
To be honest, I did take a look at the eShakti website before I responded to Jennifer's email. I had never heard of this website, and I really had no idea what kind of clothing they sold. I took a little time to browse, and my first impression was that the style of clothing was very Anthropologie-esque--very feminine, vintage-looking/country-inspired/boho-chic. Not really in line with my own personal style, though I do like to incorporate different elements of that style into my outfits on occasion.
I did find a few pieces that I truly liked and in some really beautiful items in jewel-toned colors. Jennifer allowed me to choose one item from the website to review and I could customize it if I so desired. Looking at the size chart, I already had the idea that purchasing an item as is, was likely going to be too large for my petite frame as is, so I opted for some customization. What I really wanted was a cape or a skirt (they have a beautiful 100% silk skirts for sale), but I knew that the true test for this site was a pair of pants because I have so many problems with finding pants that fit. BUT, I am far too picky about my pants and though I tried really hard to try to find a pair of pants that I wanted, I finally realized that I was going to do both myself and eShakti a disservice by choosing something that I didn't really like to begin with and then force them to try to please me with some custom alterations. If this were one of my regular online stores, I wouldn't purchase something that didn't truly like to begin with and hope my tailor would fix it so that I would like it, so I wasn't about put eShakti in a position where the chances to please me were going to be slim. I also wanted an item that I would wear again and again.
Many of their items are 100% cotton of which I'm not the greatest fan. I do tend to like a little bit of stretch in my clothing, it helps with fit and helps the clothing retain shape, and IME, the material tends to last a bit longer. Some items were of some polyacrylic, and some wool blends. After taking some time to browse, I decided on this very pretty Herringbone Tweed Ruffle Jacket:
I love tweed and I love little jackets so I thought that this would be a perfect choice.
I began the process of customization. The form was very straight forward and easy to fill out. If you didn't know how to measure, then the site gave you instructions on how to do so. One problem with the customization that I do have, was the bra size option. Not that it applied to me in this case, but I did notice that the smallest bra size given for customization of tops is 32A. If you are petite like myself, many of us are smaller than 32A. I gave it some thought and I dismissed it because I didn't think it really mattered in the grand scheme of things. Maybe 32A is close enough since they are not actually customizing a bra, but even still, I thought that if you are going to customize to smaller sizes, it might be a good idea to have that option in there.
I could have even opted for a bracelet length. I thought long and hard about this, but I decided to go with a regular wrist-length jacket, but without the cuff as shown in the picture. I really loved the fact that I could do this.
My first thought when I pulled it out of its box was, "OOH! Cute buttons!" The tweed material was very nice. I chose the jacket in Light Rust because I really wasn't a fan of the dark rust color. I thought that it might really bring out the yellow tones in my skin.
And here it is:
Cute ruffle detail all around!
Upon closer inspection, the quality was very good. Seams and buttons were nice and tight and there was no loose threading that I could see. I proceeded to put the jacket it on, and as cute as the buttons were, the jacket was pretty difficult to button and unbutton. The slits just weren't quite big enough for easy on and off. Once buttoned up, I noticed there was a little shoulder-padding, which is fine, sometimes jackets need a little padding to help structure the jacket. And if you have small or sloping shoulders then a little bit of shoulder-padding is your friend, as it will help even out your proportions. I noticed here however that the padding was a little off on my right shoulder:
Can you see it? It seems a little bit high and a little bit short on my right shoulder compared to my left. I took a measuring tape to the shoulder seam and it was actually .25" shorter on my right than it was on my left. This may partly be contributing to the too-tight feeling in the back of the jacket.
As to the rest of the fit, the arms could use a little bit more room in the bend. It was quite tight in that area. It fit perfectly across the waist. My main concern was the room across the chest and back. The chest was fine, but the back was just slightly too tight. I could lift my arms, but it just felt a little bit too small across the back.
There was one thing about the fit I did notice after wearing it for about twenty minutes. When I initially put it on, I thought that there was something just slightly off across the front that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Then I realized something. Across the bust, the jacket seemed a little too roomy. I'm not sure if I could get the proper angle to show this properly, but this jacket is customized for someone with a fuller bust than I have. Maybe not having measurements smaller than 32A is a problem after all. Either that or the jacket needs to be cut a little bit higher under the bust for a better fit for a shorty like me.
I compare it to having any empire-waisted top that just doesn't sit quite under the bust like it should, but rather it sits a little bit low. I'm suffering from droopy-boob syndrome in the above photos.
The sleeve-length was also strangely a bit short. I don't think I have particularly long arms, and I'm pretty sure I didn't accidentally opt for a bracelet-length sleeve, but you could see my wrist bone while standing normally. I generally prefer my jackets to be a little longer, but this isn't bothersome. After some time, the wool material began to get a little itchy, but tweed tends to do that.
Overall, the jacket is very pretty and I really liked the way it looked, but the fit was just off. It could be attributed to my own inaccurate measurements, so I suppose I can't fully blame eShakti for the problem. It is also the danger when you anything altered, especially if the tailor is not there to do the measuring. On the bright side, if you purchase something from the website and have it customized, you can send this back and either get a full refund, minus the alterations and shipping cost OR get this, exchange the item for a credit with 20% more value. So if you return something worth $50, you will get a gift voucher worth $60 (the catch is that it must be used within six months of issue). eShakti claims doing this has two purposes. According to their website, they say it is:
"*A way for us to show higher responsibility in not meeting your expectations.
∗ To give you the opportunity to order again so that we can try and delight you, the next time round!"
Now *that's* standing behind their products and I find that pretty impressive.
A few of my other favorites from the website include:
I'm generally not a fan of ponchos, but I love a great cape:
They also have some great evening dresses and even some maxi dresses. So if you're a petite who has a hard time finding a maxi that fits, this may be a good place to try it out and their prices are very reasonable. The ruffle jacket didn't work out perfectly for me, but a simpler piece like a skirt or a top that requires less complex alterations (if you need them) is certainly something I would consider purchasing on this website in the future.
Right now they have a few promotions: Free shipping with orders over $100, Overstock sale with up to 35% off, register with eShakti and get $15 off your first order, and free customization on your first customization order! Have fun with this site ladies, it definitely a place to check out! See here: www.eShakti.com.