eshakti

International Lolita Day and other weekend dress-up

Saturday (the first Saturday in June) was International Lolita Day. While I personally am not a Lolita, I dig J-Fashion and have several Lolita friends. My retro and historic looks can fit in pretty well at meet-ups so I usually attend a couple of the bigger Atlanta Lolita community’s events.

This year, a high tea was planned. I love high tea! Since it is really hot and humid here right now, I really didn’t want to go to the tea in full Victorian but I didn’t want to wear just vintage either. I wanted to do something kind of special or over the top.

Last year I made a “Murder” dress for Costume College’s Nancy Drew themed tea. I used Butterick Retro 5748 with a blood splatter print fabric and made a fascinator and earrings from the accessories and cards of a 50s era Clue game. I’ve been meaning to wear that dress again especially since my husband got me this crazy brain fascinator on his last trip to Japan. Those pieces both need a special kind of event and I realized the tea could be it!

“Guro Lolita, or Gurololi is a subcategory of Lolita that focuses less on sweetness or elegance and more on freakish horror. Blood splatters, bandages, eye patches, and fake bruises are all common themes in Guro Lolita.” — definition from F Yeah Lolita

I built my outfit around the Guro concept. It still wasn’t really Lolita but my coord went over really well and I certainly stood out.

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  • Dress – sewn by me. I’m wearing a small red net petticoat underneath
  • Brain Fascinator – Atelier Genshijin.
  • Self adhesive gauze arm wraps (did those in the car driving to the tea)
  • Pulmonale Necklace – Shannon Koszyck
  • Teeth Brooch – Diamante Queen
  • Rings – Key ring is vintage from a garage sale. The dragon ring is made from a Victorian button but I forget the designer. I call that my “Hogwarts” ring
  • Shoes – Doc Marten high heeled boots
  • Nails – SNS kitten claws!

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I was also dolled up Friday to hear The Music Of David BowieIt was cheesy as I sort of expected, very show tune. Luckily, I didn’t have huge hopes. I still had a good time with friends and I mean, anything David Bowie related can’t be all bad (well maybe except for Lady Gaga’s performance at the Grammys). I finally wore my 80s candy maxi dress from eShakti. This dress has been hanging in my closet for a long while. I’ve pulled it out several times but never actually managed to wear it. I guess the perfect occasion had to come along! IMG_0243 copy

Two from the Weekend

When I was out for dinner over the weekend, a friend with highly developed taste and style commented that I need to document my costuming and sewing. I strive to do that, but I’m not always the best about posting it here.

I don’t know if my daily looks should be part of this documentation. As I had two, quite different, good looks over the weekend, I figured, why not add them to the archive?

While I like them both one outfit got a lot more compliments than the other. Can you guess which one?

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Left:

Dress – eShakti

Boots – Clarks

Earrings – thrifted

Right:

Dress – Sewn by me from a vintage pattern

Boots – Clarks / thrifted

Belt – Target

Scarf – Vintage

Glasses – Vintage from Brooklyn Flea Market (yes, they are prescription)

Random Fashion and Crafts: eShakti, Mascara, Oilcloth

I hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day weekend. I spent mine on equal parts socializing, chilling and making.

I have a few random bits to share with you so I figured why not mash it all up, just like a 3 day weekend!

First, I have a bit of an update to my eShakti experience. I’ve learned one of the downsides. A few days after I received my dresses, I also received an annoying bill from DHL for $33+ in customs charges. I’d read people’s complaints about this on the eShakti Facebook page but as I’ve bought and shipped from overseas and never been charged, I ignored it. It also seemed to be mostly a problem for Canadians. eShakti does state in their shipping info that customs fees can be levied. They also mention that orders for $200 or more are often flagged. Considering their pieces tend to go for about $75, if you did one of their Buy 2, Get 1 offers with a couple of customizations, you’d be right around $200. For US customers, eShakti will give you a credit voucher close to the value of your fees (I got $30 for my $33+) for your trouble. You’re still stuck paying DHL but as long as you are willing to reorder you at least get something out of the deal. Canadians, you’re out of luck and just stuck with the charges. Dealing with eShakti to get this sorted was a bit pokey but I did get my discount code. It’s frustrating but I still like their products and I’ll be using the code to purchase again.

I had bought my dresses to wear on a trip to Las Vegas and Seattle that unfortunately was cancelled for me due to illness. I finally got to wear one of my dresses out to dinner so I thought I’d share with it all accessorized and whatnot.

eShakti on the town

 

Second, I was wandering through Target and I saw this:

Miss Manga Mascara by L’Oreal

While I wasn’t in the market for new mascara, I just had to buy it. I mean who doesn’t want Manga eyelashes? Of course I was skeptical, especially when I pulled the wand from the tube. First off, the wand wasn’t pink, which was a MAJOR disappointment to me. The brush is awfully wonky. It looks like it was hacked down with a weedwacker.

Miss Manga mascara brush. Not pink and kinda wonky.

That goofy brush did seem to have its merits though as the mascara went on pretty well. I put the mascara on clean lashes that had not been curled. I was fairly impressed with the effect, although it was far from “Manga Effect”. I think only fake eyelashes will get that for you. I also found the product to be kind of clumpy, but it did stay on nicely. Would I call it a must buy? Nope. But I’ll use it sometimes.

Far from Manga but decent coverage on my pale, short lashes

 

Finally, thanks to a brand new electric staple gun and some free oilcloth I refreshed some old porch chairs. I love my electric staple gun. So easy! I want to staple all the things to the other things!

I’ve only been meaning to do this for six or seven years (or maybe ten..)?

Ick, Before.

Pretty, After!

My eShakti Experience

Thanks to a Buy Two, Get One free offer, I made my first order with eShakti, a company that sells semi-custom, Indian sewn dresses, skirts, tops and jackets. Styles seem to be short runs so the offerings change fairly quickly. eShakti works one of two ways — you can either shop by their stock sizes or you can have a piece made exactly to your measurements. Additionally, depending on the item, you can customize further changing neckline, sleeves and hem length. All pieces are cut on order and customized based on your height, even if you order stock sizes and opt for no further customization. Customizing to height can really help for fit for someone like me. I’m a curvy hourglass girl but I am also short with narrow shoulders. Most of the time getting dresses that will fit my hips and tits usually means I am swimming somewhere — in the shoulders, waist or length. Customizing for height seems to with help this. It also means that a knee-length dress will actually hit my knee. The assumption most clothing manufacturers seem to make is that if you are big busted or curvy you are also large framed and tall. There really needs to be “plus petite” or something similar. With the kind of customization they offer, eShakti seems to be sort of addressing these kind of fit issues. It takes 14 business days or 18 calendar days for you to receive any order. I ordered on April 14th and the first delivery attempt was made May 1st. They deliver via DHL and you will need to be there to sign (or wave signature, etc.)

So, did the clothes actually fit?

In all styles, I opted to go for a stock size versus custom measurements. I did this mostly out of laziness. I know my core measures from sewing but there are a couple — like the eShaki chest and shoulder measures — that I do not know and would have needed someone else to help me with. That wasn’t going to happen at 3am on a weekday when I was working on this experiment. I realize, given some of my general fit issues with off the rack clothing, going for full custom could have really helped overall fit but I was also curious how it would go just ordering off their charts. I fell in a size zone somewhere between a 16W – 18 – 18W. My hip measure is actually beyond all those sizes but as all the items I was ordering had fuller skirts I didn’t worry about it. If I ever order something fitted at the hip, I would go for custom sizing. In the end, I erred on the larger size and ordered the 18W. All the dresses are just a touch big so I’d probably go for the 18 if I order again soon.

 

Here are the dresses (featuring below par iPhone pics):

#1  Belted BiPlane Print Dress

eShakti Biplane Print Dress

How I customized:

Below Knee to Knee Length

Scoop Neck to Sweetheart Neck

For my Height

My version of the Biplane Dress

This dress is adorable. The fabric is a soft yet crisp cotton. The red fabric belt is a nice touch but I will probably wear this dress with a red leather belt I have versus the fabric belt. The belt is made from a thin cotton and has a tendency to slide open. I’m glad I changed the neckline and while I’m pleased with the sweetheart it’s cut a little high for my tastes. It furthers the retro look of the dress though and I much prefer this over the scoop of the original design. The below knee-length just doesn’t work on me so I was happy to shorten that too. Length options were mini, above knee, knee, below knee and calf length. Adding sleeves was also an option. Of the three dresses this one has the least “give” as there is no elastic anywhere. The fit could be a little better at the neck but is more than acceptable considering I went for a stock size.

 

#2 Candy Crush Print MaxiDress

eShakti Candy Crush Print Maxi Dress

How I customized:

For my Height

My version of the Candy Crush Maxi Dress

I sure love a maxi dress but buying them at 5’3″ on a good day is comical to say the least. This was the dress that made me try eShakti. I’m really excited about the print. It’s hard to tell in these photos but the candy is very 80s Patrick Nagel looking with the primary colors and black outlining. Knowing I wouldn’t have to hem this sucker was huge. The fit is good but a tiny bit big. The back waist is ruched with elastic so fit is forgiving. There is a small hidden snap that keeps the crossover neckline closed. That is a really fab little detail. Also, this dress, like most of eShaki items, has pockets! Sleeves can be added to this dress and the hemline can be raised in various ways — although raising the hemline kind of defeats the purpose of a maxi dress. There is also a similar, shorter Candy print dress.

 

#3 Belted Corset Style Print Dress

Belted Corset Style Dress by eShakti

How I customized:

Regular Straps to Wide Straps

Below Knee to Knee Length

For my Height

My version of the Belted Corset Style dress

I had a hard time photographing this dress. The fabric patterns is really cute and lively. The topstitching pops. The fit on this dress is the worst of all of the three dresses but it is still quite good. The biggest problem is that the straps are too long. This is an easy fix. The entire back of the dress is elastic smocked so again the fit is very forgiving and a tad big on me. I’m pleased with how the bust fits as that could have gone really wrong. I love the matching belt on this one. I plan on sewing a snap on to the belt to keep it from sliding open. You get a couple of strap choices on this one — it would be really cute as a halter — and length options.

All these dresses also had “bra strap restraints”, little snap tabs that hook around your bra straps to keep them from going astray. Again, another small detail that just adds to the overall polish of the eShakti garments.

Bra Strap Restraints (Oh!)

I think you’ve figured by now that I’m very pleased with my initial experience with eShakti. While their dresses aren’t cheap, they also aren’t any worse that what you see in most department and boutiques. They seem to be well made but as I have not yet worn or cleaned any of these dresses I can’t yet comment on over all durability. The biggest complaint I can really make at this stage is time. Since everything is made on order you can’t just have a dress for that surprise date or unexpected event sent to you in a snap. Maybe you’ll just have to order an extra just in case…