Hi, I'm Kristin! Like many people, I have been inundated with 50 billion Facebook ads for eShakti, an online retailer that makes customizable and made-to-measure clothes.
But this relentless slog of ads brings up a fair point: Like many people, I find that clothes often fit me perfectly in one area...and then not really anywhere else.
So I decided to test out a few online customizable clothing retailers and see if ~clothes made for my body~ are the solution to my fit problems or just another pain in the butt.
Now, before ordering anything from these places, you need to take A LOT of measurements. And as anyone I work with will tell you: I take measurements EXTREMELY seriously.
When we're ordering stuff for shoots, I always insist on using my measurements rather than my "sizes," because "sizes" are nonstandardized nonsense that always backfire on me. Picking a size for yourself is like roulette, in that sometimes you win and sometimes you get suddenly squeezed VERY tightly. Do you know how many different size charts just Target has for its in-house brands?
(No, seriously, go look, I'll be here when you come back with your mind blown.)
Suffice to say that I checked and double-checked every measurement multiple times. I followed each stores' specific instructions, even when they differed (lookin' at you, shoulder measurement instructions). I even fitted myself with the exact undergarments I planned on wearing. I did not come to play.
First, I tried on three items from eShakti, which sells basically every clothing item you can imagine you might want for a full wardrobe.
Measurements needed: 18 different measurements for optimal fit (though your size profile allows you to enter as many as 24).
Delivery time: The jumpsuit and the shirt I ordered showed up in two weeks, the dress in three.
Returns: You can get a refund or a store credit, but no exchanges.
eShakti does offer standard sizes, but if you want an item made to your custom measurements and/or with any custom styling (sleeves, necklines, or lengths) it costs $9.95 per item. I took advantage of this because I have kinda short limbs for my body, and sleeves have a tendency to make me look like an wacky inflatable guy at a car dealership.
First, I tried this eShatki floral print belted georgette jumpsuit (currently $60.95 + $9.95 for custom sizing and custom cap sleeves). It's very cute and looks like it fits impeccably, but it's giving me a full-body wedgie.
Looks pretty good from the back, though!
This eShakti polka dot sheath dress (now out of stock, but was $52.95 + $9.95 for custom sizing and a custom shorter length) fit well but the back of the boat neck collar was so out of control that you could see the tag.
Also, it appears that in order to get the custom shorter length, the slit at the back of my dress is now comically short.
This eShakti ruffle cotton voila contrast trim blouse (now out of stock, was $42.95 + $9.95 for custom sizing and custom puff sleeves) fit well over my boobs, and then proceeded to just keep skimming outward, into the universe, forever.
It was really hard to make it fit like the image unless you just grab a handful of it from the back.
Next, I tried on two items from Sumissura, a store that offers a variety of tailored work separates.
Measurements needed: 17 different measurements, but one of the ones they asked for was my weight, which should have been a warning sign in retrospect. Determining a body shape using weight is like describing a house by saying it's 21,165 bricks large.
Also, Sumissura offers to "calculate" your measurements for you for convenience, which lol, no, if we're just guessing, then what are we even doing here?
Delivery time: My sheath dress and pair of pants arrived in about two weeks.
Returns: You can take it to a tailor within seven days of receipt, and Sumissura will reimburse you for your invoice. If a tailor can't fix it, they'll remake it.
Also for one of my measurements, I got an error message saying it was "out of range," which like, I KNOW I'm out of range, that's why I'm coming to y'all for made-to-measure clothes in the first place!
Sumissura was probably the most disappointing of the three stores in terms of initial fit. This Sumissura red sheath dress ($119) I ordered was high quality, but too large in the chest area and comically huge in the hips.
I could have padded my hips with two actual sandwiches.
This pair of Sumissura blue micropattern pants ($129) were also cute and the right length, but super baggy around the waist, hips, thighs, and butt.
Finally, I tried two skirts from Rita Phil, because they only offer skirts.
Measurements needed: Just four, including your height, and then two photos of you from the front and from the side wearing something close-fitting. I had a SERIOUS case of the doubties with this. If you only need four to do a skirt, then what are the other companies doing circumnavigating my body?
Delivery time: Both skirts arrived 10 days after I provided my measurements.
Customizations: The miniskirt is to the length of your choosing, though they give you a guide, and you can pick a custom lining color.
Returns: Choice of a $30 credit for a tailor, getting the skirt remade, or getting a refund.
To my great surprised and delight, this Rita Phil Kelly custom pencil skirt ($155) fit and looked beautiful.
I only have two complaints about this skirt, and they are both very ticky-tacky — I am still in love with it.
And it's even more banging from the back.
Alright, after trying on all these clothes, what is my verdict?
• The best-fitting items were, from best to worst: Rita Phil by a mile, then eShakti, then Sumissura. Although to be fair, since Rita Phil only makes skirts, I can see it being easier to master one clothing item rather than several.
• I was still pretty shook that the best-fitting items came from the place that took the least measurements, and instead asked for photos. Measurements might not actually be enough sometimes to tell the whole story of your body.
• All these places do have some kind of fit guarantee, so if you try them, you aren't going to waste your money; it just might take a little more time and effort to get the fit right.
• If you do decide to go made-to-measure, definitely have a tailor measure you if you aren't used to measuring yourself, because at least then you won't spend two hours in a dither because you are a perfectionist who can't let anything go ever and then stays up all night obsessing about it.
eShakti charges an additional $9.95 per item for custom sizes as well as custom styles (necklines, sleeves, and lengths). A previous version of this article said the add-on fee only referred to custom styles.