Finding clothes that are classroom appropriate, comfortable, fashionable, and suit your personal style can be a challenge.
This is not a sponsored post – it is a genuine, self-driven review.
Hands up if you’ve done the bend and reach test in a change room? You know, where you bend and reach in all directions to see exactly how much skin you’ll expose in your potential new outfit.
Hands up if you’ve ordered stuff online, only for it to not match the image, or be the wrong size, or be the right size but just fit weirdly, or in particular be too low-cut or too short for a teacher to wear.
Oh. my. gosh. I may just have the answer for you.
I don’t really remember how I came across eShakti originally, I think it may have been a Facebook ad. I do, however, remember jumping on their website and becoming very excited by their range. They have a lot of the styles of dresses that I like, and looking at their features just made me more excited.
Yes, they are an online store. But as a new mum and full time teacher, I don’t often get time to go shopping in person. Even before bub was born, I loved this store. I think I’ve been buying clothes from them for about 3 or 4 years now – both for in the classroom and for out of the classroom.
I have bought shirt-dresses, wrap dresses, and the styles that don’t open at the front at all. I have dresses in a wide range of their fabrics as well. If you’d like to see a style-specific or fabric-specific review, please let me know!
At the bottom of this article you can find a copy of the review I wrote as a new breastfeeding parent. I decided to include it here so you could see, but it is not necessarily teacher-specific.
Custom Neckline, Sleeves, and Length
Guys. You can change the neckline to what you find suits you best or you are most comfortable with. As a teacher, this means that you can always be modest enough while still loving the top of your dress.
In terms of the sleeves, you can have everything from sleeveless all the way down to full length sleeves. If you live in a particularly hot or cold climate, or your school has expectations around sleeves/shoulders, you no longer have to bypass dresses you like the look of based on that aspect!
The length can also be customised from mini to floor length. I personally prefer knee-length, or just below knee-length, for school. I know with the eShakti dresses I can have them made to the length I need for school, or a different length if I have another purpose.
If you see clothes with the symbol FX on it, it means you can change the above features and actually see what they would look like with that particular dress. I truly wish they would hurry up and roll this out across all their products, because if nothing else it is so much fun to play around and re-style the dresses!
So, this is definitely the top of the list for me. Every single one of their dresses (and skirts) come with pockets. I don’t mean those typical female pockets, where you can barely fit a folded piece of note paper. No – these are full fit-your-phone-or-wallet pockets.
At school I carry my phone around with me for a variety of reasons, and with these dresses I can carry it in my pocket quite comfortably and it doesn’t even fall out.
If the dress has functional buttons at the bodice, they include little modesty buttons in between the regular buttons. These modesty buttons are clear, and button backwards to the inside of the dress, so they cannot be seen from the outside at all. They stop any gaping that can occur when you bend or move around.
All of the dresses are fully lined. What they are lined with depends on the outer fabric, but I have not had any of their dresses be see-through. I have bought a white dress and a very light dress, and a few thinner cotton or gorgette ones, and none of them are see-through.
Bra Strap Keeps
Insider the shoulders of the dresses are these little fabric and pop-button clips. Their purpose? To loop around your bra straps so they don’t slip about or fall off your shoulder! As long as the shoulder straps are wide enough (and all the ones I have purchased have been), these little bra strap keeps are there.
I LOVE the quality of these dresses. The colours and patterns are bright and vibrant (except where they were meant to be duller), they look as they do in the pictures online, and the fabrics don’t feel cheap at all.
Full disclosure, this point will also be appearing the negatives below.
If you are so inclined, you can take all your measurements and put them into your order. Then eShakti will custom-make the clothes to fit those exact measurements! Absolutely fantastic if you find regular sizing doesn’t quite fit you as well as you’d like, or you are a bit out of proportion for what regular sizing is usually designed for.
I have ordered a few different custom sized dresses at different points through my pregnancy and afterwards, and they were generally pretty good (see below).
Quite a few people on online review sites have nothing nice to say about the custom sizing. I myself have had it come in slightly larger than I would have liked, and slightly larger than I thought it was going to be, given my sizes. I don’t know if it is just the style of the particular dresses I had customised, or if I had measured myself wrong.
The general consensus online is to have a professional seamstress or tailor take your measurements for you. Failing that, have a friend who sews their own clothes take your measurements. Failing that, have a partner or friend take your measurements a few times, just to be sure. When I had my measurements taken ‘properly’ I had no issues with the fit! I generally fit a standard size well though, so I don’t really use this option often at all.
Being an American website, the prices are in American dollars. They aren’t cheap.
If it’s your first time buying from their site, I’d recommend having a look in the sale section, just so you can test them out at a cheaper rate.
Or find someone who has a referral code. If you use a referral code, you get $35 off your first order, and the referrer gets a little gift voucher in return. If you’d like to use mine, it is EMILYASLIN – just pop it in at the checkout.
I personally think they are worth their cost, but I know a lot of teachers in particular don’t like spending a lot of money on their clothes, so this may be a big turn off for them.
If you are like me and buy a few dresses from them, you can move up their loyalty program. Each tier gives different discounts and specials (I am on the Gold tier now, and generally get 40% off dresses, with free customisation and sometimes free shipping).
Shipping time is generally perfectly within the stated range, even for me here in Aus. The only time it’s been a bit longer is around peak times (Christmas, Valentine’s, that sort of thing), or when I’ve had a few custom sized dresses at once. In those cases I would allow an extra week or so for them to arrive.
If you are ordering them for a particular event, you can mention this in the order, or get in touch with them beforehand to ensure it will be ready in time. Ordering standard sizing will help with that.
This might seem like a low grade, but I think it’d be higher than any other clothes outlet. I have deducted marks for the cost and the custom sizing issues, but other than that I cannot recommend them highly enough!
The below excerpt was originally published on Actual Mums.
I had bought a few dresses from them before I became pregnant, and wore those dresses every week as part of my work clothes for a good year or so (school appropriate for the win!). I was so happy when I realised I could wear one of the stretchier ones throughout my entire pregnancy (see the spotty dress in the pics below) – the design and fabric allowed it to sit over my ever-growing stomach without stretching out of shape or becoming restrictive or uncomfortable. I would constantly get compliments on them at work, particularly the spotty one, from staff and students alike. Even wearing and washing them so often, I feel like the quality of the dresses hasn’t degraded at all, they haven’t stretched out of shape, and the colours haven’t faded.
This is my all-time favourite, most-worn dress, before and during pregnancy. This picture is early on in my pregnancy – this is actually at Bec‘s second bubba’s first birthday party!
After bub was born, I went on the hunt for dresses that I could wear now. The vast majority of my wardrobe wasn’t breastfeeding-friendly, and my measurements were quite different to how I was pre-pregnancy which means I could no longer just buy clothes knowing they’ll fit.
Most of what I had found seem very frumpy and unflattering, and look as though they wouldn’t fit nicely. I really don’t understand why it is so hard to find flattering, pretty, youthful maternity and breastfeeding clothes!
Then I remembered eShakti, and jumped online to have a look. I was delighted to discover their range of shirtdresses – perfect for breastfeeding with their buttons down the bust (and some down the entire front of the dress). I was even happier to remember that you can enter your measurements, and they will tailor the dress for you personally. Perfect since I am no longer a standard size. I technically sit between sizes now – I need a size up from what I was before in order to fit my new-mum-boobs, but the size down to fit the rest of my torso. Knowing I could have the dresses made to actually fit my body was such a strong incentive.
I gave it a go, and couldn’t be happier! The dresses really are such good quality. I bought two cotton dresses, and they are such thick, lovely cotton – much better quality than the so-thin-you-need-to-wear-something-underneath cotton clothing I’m used to buying in stores here. They include all the features that drew me in originally, and guess what, the pockets are actually of a size deep enough to hold my phone without fear of it falling out while I walk around. That alone is a necessity when I’m no longer carrying around a convenient handbag. Deep pockets are a rare occurrence among women’s clothing – usually pockets are either non-existent, or they are so small you can barely fit your hand in past your fingers, let alone a phone.
The dress pictured here is my absolute favourite dress to wear now – it’s so pretty and is super easy to breastfeed in while feeling discreet and comfortable. The buttons are easy enough to undo one-handed with a little practice, but I’m confident the will never unbutton themselves. Even though it only unbuttons down to my ribs, each side of the top folds away enough to allow for bub to feed comfortably without worrying about stretching or ruining the fabric, or bub having a face-full of it to deal with while trying to feed.
The second shirtdress (pictured below) has buttons all the way down the front, and it is just as comfortable to wear and easy to feed in. It also has the added benefit of extra hidden buttons in between the normal buttons down the bust, so you don’t have to worry about gaping! It’s the only one out of the four dresses that needs ironing, and because it sits at mid-calf length that means there is a fair bit of fabric to iron. In saying that, I absolutely love the fabric pattern and the comfort and ease of the dress, so it’s still a winner in my eyes. I have gotten compliments from every person who’s seen me in this dress so far – it might overtake the spotted dress as the most complimented in time!
I am so happy with these two dresses that I’m going to buy more. They are very easy to wear, I feel pretty in them (a rare achievement when you have very little time to dress nicely as a new mum!), and I can breastfeed comfortably and discreetly.
I am keen to try out their true-wrap style and zip-front dresses next, to see if they are as comfortable and easy to feed in. I will certainly be a constantly returning customer to this fantastic online dress store. How could I not when I’ve found such good quality, good looking dresses that have carried me through my pregnancy, and now into this next exciting stage of my life? I can breastfeed in and then continue to wear these dresses happily once bub has stopped feeding, knowing they are of such fantastic quality and are so comfortable.
I strongly encourage all you out there to give eShakti a go. If you’re breastfeeding like me, go for their dresses that have buttons or zippers down the front (most of them are found in the Shirtdress category), or the true-wrap style dresses. I know ordering off the internet can be a very mixed experience, but I’ve have nothing but fantastic service from this one! The regular sizings are great, but if you can afford the little extra to have them customised to your size, it’s even better.