Much unlike many a magazine editor who recommends you buy all sorts of crap that they most likely got for free, your Jezebel staff doesn't get jack shit (other than books, unsolicited). And that's how it should be. But on our own time, in our personal lives, we still buy stuff. So this is Worth It, our recommendation of random things that we've actually spent our own money on. These are the things we buy regularly or really like, things we'd actually tell our friends about. And now we're telling you.
I don't remember exactly where I first found out about eShakti, but I think it was a couple of years ago, when I wrote about Fatshionistas. As a plus-sized shopper — and an avid online-shopper — I am always looking for more choices. It's frustrating when you see something you know would look great on you, only to discover the largest size available is 12. OldNavy.com's women's plus division offers dresses and jeans up to size 30, but the quality is not great — often pieces are flimsy and ill-fitting. Forever21+ is hit or miss; I want a dress to be cheap yet not look cheap. But when I started shopping at eShakti, I discovered I could own a well-made, fun dress at an affordable price.
Here's how eShakti works: All the designs on the site are available in sizes 0 through 26. You can order your size — size 6, size 16, size 16W, size 26W — or you can enter your measurements and have the dress cut to fit you. At no extra charge. FOR FREE. You need a friend and a tape measure; the site requires your shoulder, chest, bust, hip and upper arm measurements, among others. In addition, many designs offer the option to choose your hem length and your sleeve type. Is the thing sleeveless, when you prefer cap sleeves? You got 'em. And if you don't like what you ordered — if it doesn't fit properly, or you hate the fabric, just send it back. The site describes the policy thusly:
It's simple, if you're not happy, we're not happy. Making you look your best is our mission. That's why eShakti offers you a hassle-free returns policy.
Once, I ordered a dress with an open back, and I wrote to customer service and asked if they would make it for me with a closed back. They said "sure." When I got it, I wasn't happy with the neckline, so I returned it. They had no problems with that. I returned a custom dress, people. It's amazing.
Recently I received an email from a reader, who wrote:
Last year, you told this chubby girl about eshatki.com. Now I buy almost everything from there. People stop me and ask, 'where did you get that dress?" I tell them. I have never gotten compliments on my clothes before. I'm 38, for Chrissakes.
This site changes lives!
So I have a bunch of eShakti dresses, including this one in black, this one in royal blue, this one in pink, and this one in black and cream. The cotton dresses are of very high quality — a couple of them are lined, and satiny enough for an evening out. I swear to Goddess the only reason I don't have every single dress on the website is because I don't have the cash. If I could, I would, I swear. Right now I have my eye on this dress, this little number and this one, too. And I'm pretty sure I'm going to get another one of these, since I wear the one I have all the time, and when I find myself reaching for the same thing over and over, I usually buy two to extend the life of the love affair. The only other time I have been as happy with a dress as I am with eShakti dresses was when I ordered a custom polka-dot frock from Oh Sew Betty on Etsy. Pricier, but pretty damn awesome. Because custom is just so worth it.
Dresses, approximately $40-$90 at eShakti.com.
Worth It only features things we paid for ourselves and actually like. Don't send us stuff.
UPDATE 6/19/12: A few readers have written to me to complain about their orders and/or eShakti's customer service (or lack thereof). Since I never had any bad shopping experiences with eShakti — only great communication, even when something went wrong with my order — I can only imagine that the relatively small company — not based in the US — is incredibly overwhelmed following my post, which now has sixty-one thousand views. Hopefully things will be ironed out with time, and I wish everyone luck.