Dresses for Life

It’s not uncommon for us to remember what we were wearing at significant moments in our lives. The scarf you wore when you met your partner, a lucky pair of socks or the interview outfit that witnessed you landing your dream job. Even the least sentimental person can appreciate the significance of the clothing for the magic rituals of humanity. For me – wedding dresses, 18th birthday party frocks and communion dresses are the ones that come to mind.

When it comes to formal dressing up, who among us dress wearers has not enjoyed spinning around in something long and voluminous, feeling like a fairytale princess. I personally have a satin mermaid ball gown that makes me feel like a holywood sophisticate (despite my 5’1″ stature). The feeling of wearing garments like these that are a touch enchanted creates tiny memorable moments that enhance the occasion. Just a fleeting second of how the drape looked just perfect to you catching your reflection, or the way the fabric looks in summer evening light. When recollecting these moments, I definitely have small momentary memories of what I was wearing and how what I was wearing made me feel.

It isn’t so often you find a dress that can elevate that bittersweet feeling of life transition attire that also serves as everyday office wear. Creating dresses that can transform a 30 min tube journey into something just a little more evocative probably wasn’t the design brief, but they still nail it. I have 7 dresses from eshakti and they all bring these tiny moments of magic to my work day.

Pre-covid, I worked on a particular upmarket street in London that was a popular destination for instagrammers. I was stopped numerous times by strangers to compliment these dresses and ask where it came from. Obviously, there was always the obligatory “thanks, it has pockets” moment.

I have found their dresses have a lot more fabric in the skirt than similar designs for the same target market, at least in the styles I have, and this is the key to their charm. The specific designs on offer change frequently but the general offering is simple tailoring, good fit and high quality fabric.

When it comes to the tailoring side of things, the custom fit offering is an absolute game changer. Given the wide range of shapes and sizes humans come in, I believe there is a genuine happiness to be had in having clothes that fit you exactly right, that then make you feel good when you wear them. I am sure I am not alone in having many times had that crushing feeling of standing alone in a changing room when the garment that seemed perfect on the hanger is not wide enough for your hips or is too tight on the arms. It is hard to remember in those moments that the garment should fit you as you are, and you are not obliged to change to fit that garment. I also doubt I am not the first person to convince myself I can live with it because the pattern is so lovely. These purchases rarely last, they clutter your home and really, who does their best work when they aren’t comfortable. I have undoubtedly saved myself time and cash by investing in my eshkati dresses, as I wear them over and over again.

So back to my instagram street, and I am walking back to the office with an entire meal deal in my pockets. That’s right, did you really think given the flowy skirts they would be skimping on the pockets? Easily you can have the phone and office door pass in them at the same time too. If you are like me and like to sneak a little walk to get lunch while listening to music and getting lost in your own thoughts, it’s nice not to have to have that broken up by a search for the door pass.

Then all of a sudden there is a little bottle of hand sanitizer in my pocket too, and I am on my way home in my most favorite summery eshakti dress. It is the first spring-ish day of the year and I have the sentimental music of the artist whose concert I have tickets to playing on my headphones – the concert has been postponed now. The rush of air from the tube blows my dress in exactly the right way to give me just a hint of feeling like a fairytale princess. My last commute before the first lockdown when the world changed forever, and what a perfect garment to transition with me through it.

Ultimate Airport Dress?

I recently purchased “The Debbie Dress” from SCOTTeVEST, a US company selling dresses with a seemingly unreasonable amount of pockets. 7 in fact, which seemed too good to be true.

When it arrived I wasn’t hugely blown away by it. The fabric is cotton spandex, just a little bit too closely resembling a pair of supermarket sweatpants I have still from university to make it feel worth the money I paid. The style is a bit aging on me and I am quite short so it does swamp me a little, but there is a waistband that gives me some shape (with a zipped pocket in the back for cards). Overall, it didn’t make me feel amazing wearing it, just simply OK. I wear a dress everyday to work and I knew this one would not be joining the work dress team any time soon.

Turns out, dress wearing friends, this is not a work dress – this dress is for airports.

I was bitten by the travel bug this year. Facing uncertainty over opportunities to travel after Brexit and working at a travel company, where I am being constantly bombarded with travel imagery and cheap flights, I went a bit mad and booked a bunch of mini breaks. Like – 7 in total. After a summer of adventures, let me tell you how this dress comes into its own.

So – adventure time – it’s 3am we are ready to go. I have the three things you absolutely need to travel – passport, card and phone. I tap my right pocket, phone is there. Left pocket is actually two pockets next to each other. Passport goes in the back one, card goes in the velcro fastened card section inside of the front one. That’s right – the pockets have pockets.

These pockets are so deep, if I touch the bottom with my middle finger it’s still deep enough to cover a watch on my wrist. I am confident my things are at least as secure as they would be in my partner’s jeans pockets.

Normally we take an Uber then a coach. I can sit comfortably the whole time with these in my pockets and not really notice – except the occasional “phone, passport, card” patting of my pockets.

When you arrive the the airport, we have security, where the dress really has my back.

While I am waiting in the queue, I take my kindle, battery charger ( a large Anker one too) and put them … in my pocket. So my hands aren’t too full with the liquids bag while I am waiting. When it gets to my turn I just empty my pockets into the tray and walk straight through. We do not mess around now we have pockets like a tardis. I am certain this is the least important use case for this too – parents, medical device carriers,

There is a snag to all this – very occasionally on the 3d body scanners I get an extra pat down because of the amount of fabric where the pockets are. I know this because a) I have asked the security staff why and they told me and b) my partner noticed it on the monitors and now we look out for it. It’s not ideal but it’s not every time. Its a decent trade off for now because the deep pockets with phone space make the rest of the journey a breeze.

Airport shopping isn’t a faff because my phone is right there. Boarding is so easy because I have my phone and passport right there. I can put my phone and passport back in my pockets so I don’t worry about dropping it on the walk between the gate and the plane (I totally worry about this). This may not sound super exciting if you wear clothes that have big pockets, but this is such a novelty if you don’t.

So we land in some exciting city destination (served by Ryanair) and my dress has a secret surprise – the zipped pockets. There are two – one on the waistband and one on the lower left side. Into these go my card and backup card – one each. What’s the point though? Well, as much as I am as likely to get pickpocketed or robbed in London where I live, it would be horrendously more inconvenient to be on the way to the hotel from the airport (or vice versa). So, in they go. I figure I would probably get to keep one of my cards at least.

From my door to hotel room door this dress has my back – and the cotton fabric means you can easily wear it again for the journey home.

Other useful things I can easily fit in the pockets of this amazing garment for short term holding:

– water bottles

– spare change – in one of the two secret velcro pockets inside the pockets

– a subway sandwich

– an umbrella

So – if you like secret card holders and not getting caught in the rain, this may be a wise investment for you. I personally couldn’t care less if it isn’t the best looking dress, because at 5am when I am carrying a sandwich in my pocket navigating an airport, it’s the only one you will find me wearing.

You can find “The Debbie Dress” here – be aware, you will end up paying customs tax on it too in the UK.