Shopping for clothes is the worst and for the third summer in a row I found myself attending a wedding, as a guest this time instead of a bridesmaid. I would be Michael's plus one as we headed off to Bozeman, Montana, this time Michael was in the wedding party, not me. I found the prospect of shopping for a dress as a guest of a wedding almost worse than getting a bridesmaid dress. At least buying a bridesmaid dress, my selection of dresses was somewhat limited to certain colours or styles that the brides wanted, but what should I get for a garden party wedding where I didn't know anyone? Complete free reign, my options were endless.
Both of my amazing friends who were brides the past two years were about the furthest away from the typical bridezilla that you can find. They both left it basically up to the bridesmaids to find dresses that we liked, only having specifics for the colour and that all dresses should be the same length. While I ended up loving both the dresses we did choose and how I looked in them, the process of choosing and altering them, for me at least, was difficult.
I thought that going to a wedding as a guest, and getting to pick any dress I wanted would be easier than all the hassle and frustration I went through with the bridesmaids dresses and in some ways it was, once I discovered eShakti. In order for you to understand my frustrations of dress shopping for a wedding, I need to provide you with a little bit of background on my bridesmaid dresses so that you'll understand why I will never want to buy another dress again, unless it's through eShakti.
Dress #1, Purple
The Bride and I fell in love with this purple dress almost right away, so picking out the dress turned out to be pretty simple, it's the aftermath that was horrendous. The store measured me out and told me which size to purchase and I listened to their suggestion, thinking they knew best. I was very careful not to gain or lose any weight in the meantime, five months from ordering to delivery, as I've heard all sorts of horror stories about dresses not fitting.
A few weeks before the wedding date, just before the dress was due to arrive, the store called my friend and told her the dress wouldn't arrive in time for the wedding despite them telling us we ordered with plenty of time. Apparently five months in advance wasn't enough time? I'm not sure what my friend said to the store to get the dress to arrive in time, but miraculously, it arrived, about a week or so before the wedding. Off to the store I went, at this point the weekend before the wedding, to pick it up. When I tried it on at the store it was too small. Like really too small, at least 2-3 sizes too small. The lady at the store used all her might to do up the zipper she told me it was a "perfect fit" and it would loosen up as I wore it. I had no choice, breathing would have to be a luxury, there was no way to get another new dress in a week.
At home that evening, I tried on the dress again. I have no idea what kind of superhuman strength the lady at the store had, but I couldn't get the zipper up this time, Michael couldn't get the zipper up, I was screwed. I figured I'd take it into an alteration shop the next morning and see if there was anything that could be done and worse came to worse I could just wear a shrug so you couldn't see that the zipper didn't close all the way.
The alteration place I took it to managed to save the dress, but it was a close call. The regular staff said the job was too complicated for them, but called over this little old gentleman to take a look at the dress. Tearing into the dress to see how much seam allowance there was, he explained that the most he could let it out was about an inch in total, one half inch on each side. I figured it was better than nothing and he set to work, telling me it would be ready in a week. I begged him to get it ready sooner as I needed the dress in 5 days at this point. Thankfully he said he would make it work.
I had a dress! There are a lot of double sided tape involved, and a small hole on the side of the dress because there was so little fabric to work with, but I was clothed in the same dress as the rest of the wedding party with breathing was being slightly difficult. In the end, I paid well over $350 for a dress and alterations that never actually fit but at least the dress made it through my friends lovely wedding.
Dress #2, Blue
From my experiences the year before, I thought I knew what to do to avoid getting a dress that was too small, and for the most part I succeeded. Blue took a long time to find and after many shopping trips we succeeded. I write this post I now realize that Blue it's pretty much the same dress as purple, just a longer version.
There were 3 lovely ladies who needed a dress for this wedding, and while the dresses didn't have to be the same, they did need to have a similar look, all the same colour and length. Have you ever tried to find a similar dress to fit three very differently shaped lovely ladies? It's tough. We persevered and eventually found some amazing dresses, that we all liked and looked good in. I wanted to make sure that I didn't get a dress that was too small this time, so in an effort to get something the correctly fit me, I explained the previous situation I had experienced regarding the sizing. The lady at the store was very understanding (it was a different shop from the last place as I had refused to shop there again) and they recommended that we order a dress size based off my largest measurement because making something smaller is much easier then making it bigger. She explained to me that when dresses are being fabricated in large batches, as is usually the case for bridesmaid dresses, when the fabric is cut, all the fabric is piled on top of each other and it's like a cookie cutter pressed and cuts all the fabric at once. Because of the way the fabric is cut, the dresses on the top will actually be a different size then the dresses on the bottom, but they will all be labelled with the same size, even though they can be up to two size differences between them. Have I mentioned before how I hate shopping for clothing?
When the dress arrived and it was HUGE. Success!? We ordered something bigger then needed, at least three sizes bigger then needed, but again, easier to take fabric away then add fabric. Apparently I needed to buy a dress size in between the two sizes I have purchased. I had decided to use the seamstress the store employed to have the dress altered. This is what turned out to be my mistake this time around as the seamstress didn't do a correct job.
At this point in the story you may think that maybe I'm just being too picky. Well I get really frustrated when I'm paying for something and it isn't done correctly. I later found out that the seamstress I was booked with was a junior at the shop and as it turned out, the job was too complicated for her. I really wish she (and the store) could have been honest about it when she/they realized that she couldn't do the job correctly.
I'll start off with explaining about the hem of the dress. It's a long dress, it's supposed to be long, your feet really are not suppose to show out the bottom of your dress, but it was too long. I was literally tripping over the dress as I walked, that back section dragging on the ground. You might be asking yourself if I word the shoes I was planning on wearing to the wedding when I did the fitting and yes I did. Aside from the length being too long the actual hem itself was crooked. Crooked! If I wanted it to be crooked and not done correctly, I would have done it myself (I do have those skills), but I didn't want to do it myself, I wanted to pay someone else to do it. I should have just done it myself.
Secondly, the strap area was done incorrectly. The straps needed to be shortened, but the dress was designed so the straps were supposed to sit just on the edges of my shoulders. I didn't know this and the seamstress apparently didn't know this either as she did all her measurements with the straps sitting up on the middle of my shoulders. When I came back to pick up the altered dress I commented to the seamstress that it was too long and that the straps kept falling off my shoulders. I was there well over an hour trying to convey my concern with the fact the straps kept falling off and I was tripping over the dress when walking. That entire time the seamstress was insisting that it was correct and it wasn't until my disappointment and frustration burst forward in a fountain of tears did she even try to acknowledge that it wasn't right and she called in her boss.
At this point I lost all faith in her abilities (and the shops abilities in general) and refused to allow her to "fix it" by adding bra straps onto the dress (for an extra fee). The hem length was never acknowledged by either the seamstress or her boss. I took the dress as is and headed out of the shop disappointed. A quick stop for coffee and to look up how to make bra straps and I was heading off to Fabricland to buy supplies.
I bought the material needed to make my own bra straps and decided to just be really careful walking so as not to trip on overflowing fabric as I really didn't want to hem it myself. Fast forward to a few days before the wedding as I was showing the bride and the other bridesmaids the incorrectly altered dress. Yes, it was too long, I wasn't just imagining it, AND, my friend pointed out to me that the reason the straps kept falling down was because they were supposed to sit on the edges of my shoulders and not in the middle. I really feel that this was something the seamstress should have know as I was paying for her expertise. No wonder they kept falling down, they were sized incorrectly. For the dress and the ill-fitting alterations, I paid well over $300 + an additional $20 for the materials to sew on my own bra straps. The dress still looked lovely and worked out in the end, but it caused so much stress, tears and even a little blood (I poked myself with the sewing needle sewing on the bra strap holders) to get there.
eShakti to the Rescue
After my last two disastrous attempts at purchasing a bridesmaid dresses, having them fit incorrectly, spending a ton of money, I was excited for the opportunity to purchase a dress for a wedding as a guest but was also terrified that it wouldn't fit. I was ready to try out a new seamstress if needed to adjust a dress that I found that was close, but not quite fitting correctly.
At this point my friends of the Jedi council (the name of the group message chat we talk in) have been going on and on for some time now about how amazing and awesome eShakti is, but I was really gun-shy about purchasing something online. I find that I really need to try clothing on because nothing ever fits correctly. Tops are always too small around my chest or not long enough or spacious enough for my hips, and don't even get me started on shirts that have buttons. Pants are also just about impossible to buy, trying to find something that fits my hips where I don't get waist gap is basically hopeless, unless it's made out of elastic. The thought of buying a dress from an online store, hah!
After multiple attempts going to the shops looking for dresses I was extremely frustrated. Either nothing fit, wasn't nice enough for a garden wedding or was well over $200.00. Finally I decided to attempt eShakti. I figured at this point, what did I have to lose? It took me three weeks to decide what dress to purchase as I kept adding items to my shopping cart and then closing the browser, changing my mind. Eventually I decided on this pretty pink dress with the red embroidery.
The dress arrived in a very nice box. Honestly I was impressed with the box. I figured it would be in a bag and wrinkled into as small as a package as possible, but it showed up in a nice box, and inside the dress was covered in tissue paper. With baited breath, I tore off the tissue paper and held up the dress. It looked even better in person than online. The moment had come for me to try it on...it fit! Like a glove! I can't believe that I bought a dress, online, and it fit perfectly, no alterations needed. I was overcome with joy and couldn't wait till Michael was home so I could show him the most amazing dress.
Then the moment came where I was wearing the dress, to a wedding. Meeting new people is stressful for anyone, but in this dress, that I knew looked good, I felt confident. It was so amazing to be wearing something that took zero effort and made me feel good about myself and not self-conscious about my body. The wedding was beautiful, the location was gorgeous and I I received multiple compliments on my dress from complete strangers. What more can you ask for?
Once Michael and I got home from the wedding I posted a pictures of us, with me in my dress, on facebook. The picture has turned into one of my most complimented pictures, with tons of people asking where I got the dress. I can honestly say that I love eShakti and now have three of their dresses. Even the cost of eShakti is awesome, after the exchange rate, duty and shipping to Canada this dress was still under $100, practically a steal.
A Final Note
I actually started to write this post so that I could enter a contest that eShakti is currently holding called Something Happened. I was meant to write a short paragraph on why I liked eShakti and post it to social media to be able to enter. That short paragraphed turned into this rather long blog post. If you've ever had trouble buying clothing I guess you can understand why I was able to write so much about one dress. Seriously, check out www.eShakti.com and you will see how awesome their stuff is. #eShakti
PS: I never mentioned in my post how customizable eShakti is. The dress I bought was "straight-off-the-rack", but you can provide them with your measurements and they will custom fit any of their items specifically for your measurements. They mostly have dress, but also some tops and even jeans and all the items themselves are customizable with different options available such as sleeve type, neckline type, length. And the best part of their dresses..THEY ALL HAVE POCKETS!