I'm going to stage a little departure from my usual navel-gazing today to talk about something else near and dear to my heart: clothes. I like them, but I really like them a lot better when I can get them in my size. What generally ends up happening is that I get a catalog or visit the website of a company from which I've ordered clothing to purchase without being able to try anything on. As my mother used to say, I'm "built funny", so standard clothing sizes, even plus sizes, often don't fit me correctly- so then I have to do the Mail Order Return Tango, whereby I send something back and have to wait forever for the money to be refunded. The shipping, which is frequently extortionate, is never refunded, and sometimes there's a penalty of 10-15% of the cost for sending it back- in the end, a plus-size is paying for the "privilege" of not being able to try things on in a store.
What's really saved me in recent months is eShakti. I've regained most of my weight that I lost with my LapBand, since I had to have the saline removed while Mom was sick (I developed a dangerous digestive issue). The thing is, I still have to have clothes, regardless of my weight. I am well above a 24W pant/skirt, which is the highest size carried in most plus-size departments. So what am I supposed to do? I'm a full professor- I can't roll onto campus in my skivvies!
One of my colleagues is on the short and curvy side. That is a deadly combination as far as clothes go, too; she needs petite, but plus petite is harder to find than hen's teeth, and like standard plus, the clothes are often expensive and just barely this side of hideous. She was an eShakti customer, and one fine day, she sent me a link to a dress on their website that was embroidered with cats on the skirt. I looked at it and thought, "Eh, well, they probably don't have my size," until I read the size charts. Not only do they make clothes that will fit me, they actually go beyond my size (I'm a pretty big gal).
If you have a friend or relative who sews, you can get extensive measurements taken and have your clothes completely bespoken (I don't, currently, and am loath to hire a seamstress to do it if I'm not going to buy from her). I do, however, use the customization option to change skirt lengths, add sleeves, and sometimes change necklines. All custom work and alterations are included for a single $7.50 per-garment customization fee. Their return policy is surprisingly liberal given that all of their clothes are made-to-order. Also, those returns end up as overstock, and sold at a discount over the regular retail. I've scored several dresses and a skirt that I love from the overstock section of the website.
Once, I ordered an overstocked dress using my cell phone, and for some reason, it processed as the smaller of the available overstocked sizes. I left a voicemail with their customer service line to follow up an e-mail saying that I needed to cancel the order and why. They called me back promptly the next day to confirm the cancellation and the lady with whom I spoke was very nice.
If you're leery of buying a custom piece (14 working-day turnaround, custom-made and courier-shipped from the factory in India), check out the overstocks. Buy something at a discount and see if it fits/you like it. If you do, chances are you'll be back for more!
Disclaimer: I'm just a rank-and-file eShakti customer. I have not been solicited to promote them or received any form of compensation for doing so. I just like them and I'd pretty much be naked right now without them.