I hate dress shopping. No, wait, scratch that. I loathe it. I’m an awkward shape, I ain’t no size two (channeling Meghan Trainor there for that one), and ever since I had a baby, dresses fit my body even more awkwardly than before. In short, dress shopping is low on my list of fun things to do. It’s right up there with shopping for a bathing suit.
Since I’m talking about things I don’t like…I really don’t like pictures of myself, especially when I’m carrying an extra 30+ pounds on my already overweight body. But I absolutely positively love having photos to look back on, and I absolutely positively love my family and I treasure seeing us in those pictures. I take thousands of pictures on my phone a year, but except for an occasional photo here and there, I stay behind the camera. I’m too critical of myself and usually end up deleting or quickly swiping over those that I take with me in them. I would like to be more intentional this year about being in front of the camera: double chins, flabby arms, make-up free and messy hair and all. Because that’s real life.
But you know what else is real life? These pictures. I do love getting dressed up, and the smiles in these pictures are genuine. We may not always traipse around fields with the perfect golden hour light shimmering behind us, but we do spend time together as a family. My hands are constantly on my bump, and my husband is always swinging our daughter round and round. We laugh together, we yell at each other, and we make genuinely enjoy each others company (most of the time, at least). This perfect perception, while somewhat posed, makes my heart full, and I’m happy and thankful I’ll have these pictures to look back on in years to come.
Whew; I’m getting a little misty-eyed over here all of a sudden! Now let’s talk about what I’m wearing, shall we?!
Several months ago, eShakti approached me to see if I’d review one of their dresses, I almost said no. I was already in my second trimester, and my pre-pregnancy “normal” jeans didn’t fit anymore—the last thing I wanted was to online shop and get something in the mail that didn’t suit me well, or that I’d have to stuff in the back of my closet and pull out again when I could wear real clothes again. Actually, I originally deleted their email, but curiosity got the best of me, so I dug it out of the trash and read it again.
They (eShakti) offer clothing in sizes 0-36W, and it’s all customizable. I was still hesitant, though, because I knew how big my belly got last time, and I had no idea what dress I could pick that would work double time as a maternity dress and then again as a normal dress later.
I wrote back and voiced my concerns that maybe they’d want to have me participate another time, or shoot…maybe even ask a fashion blogger to do this review, but the woman who replied was nice and said they wanted me, and that they could work with me and my ever-changing size. (Well, okay then!) She suggested I look for a dress with an empire/higher waistline or no waistband at all, and then gave me free reign to find something that fit my style.
Searching for a dress was the hardest part. There were SO many to choose from, but I wanted something versatile. I wanted it to be simple enough that I could make it a casual dress to wear alone, but also something I could dress up in for special occasions. I wanted it to take me from my third trimester into my new postpartum body. But most of all, I wanted it to be comfortable, and I wanted it to fit my body. Basically, my list of “wants” was a bit high, but I found everything I wanted in their Scalloped Melange Knit Dress (retails for $79.95).
My one and only regret about this dress (and I’ll just put this out there right now), is that I should’ve picked something a bit more colorful or with a pattern. I don’t know if I can see myself wearing it just on its own (without a cardigan or something to break up the gray), because I’m afraid I’ll look like a whale. Whew…now that that’s out of the way…here’s the good stuff:
The material for this dress is top notch. It’s not some wimpy cotton that’s going to dissolve into nothing after one wash. It’s thick (hopefully not too warm for spring/summer), sturdy, super soft, and flows nicely. It has pockets (most of their dresses do), and that’s one of the highlights of this dress. I also like where it hits me (just at my knees), and that I was able to change the sleeve length. You can’t see it, because I’m wearing a cardigan, but it originally had cap sleeves; I customized this dress and opted for short sleeves to make them a bit longer. You also have the option to change the dress length and neckline, but I really liked it just as it was in the photo online.
One more thing to note about eShakti: their clothing is not made in
America. If this is important to you, run the other way. I actually
didn’t know this about them until I received a shipping confirmation
that something was coming for me from India. My husband was deployed at
the time, so it was a little concerning since I had no idea what I
purchased that was coming from so far away. I was actually a little
hesitant to sign for the package, but then I saw the return label (where
it mentioned the company) and I put the pieces together. I personally
love supporting American products, but I’m only human and I know things
are outsourced and imported from around the world, so this isn’t a deal
breaker for me. I’m actually really looking forward to shopping on their
site once I get my body back. This dress was made so well that I’d love
to see what else could be out there for me!
I need to apologize, because I just wrote this entire review, and posted the photos for it, and I realized you can’t see the top part of the dress. That’s my bad! But like I said, I’m not a fashion blogger, so unless you wanted selfies in a mirror, this is what you get—and I promise you that Brooke’s pictures are a million times better than an awkward blurry selfie.
If you’ve been thinking about ordering a dress from eShakti or want to now after reading this, they’re offering my reader’s 10% off with the code jessicalynnwrites. (*Enter code in the “promotional code” box. It’s not case sensitive. Code can be used multiple times, but is not applicable on clearance/sale, gift cards, previous purchases, or overstock categories. Expires on February 3, 2015)