Fashion

My Lashkaraa Review!

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Image source: http://www.Lashkaraa.com


The latest and greatest in online shopping for South Asian clothes?!

This is gonna be a long one, grab a cup of chai or coffee and get comfy.

Check out the video if you don’t feel like reading:

If you haven’t heard of Lashkaraa, you probably will, very soon. Why? They’re doing a great job marketing their clothes – they’ve got some big named bloggers rocking their chic outfits. If you’ve read my most recent blog about my stash of Indian clothes, you already know that I’m hesitant to order clothes online because 1) the material is usually hit or miss. 2) The customer service is lacking. 3) The fit isn’t the best. And if you’ve read Mindy Kaling’s novel “Why Not Me?” you already know… FIT. IS. EVERYTHING.

 I decided to order a couple of things from Lashkaraa to see if the hype was real. Their outfits looked amazing on all of the bloggers and though I know things always look better on models/YouTube stars – I wanted to provide an honest, unbiased, unaffiliated, unsponsored review of the site that provides some of the most stylish South Asian clothes on the market! Read on to see what I found!

WEBSITE
The first thing I noticed was that Lashkaraa’s website is very user friendly. If you’ve perused any other South Asian clothing site you’ll know that they’re often hard to navigate and things aren’t sorted in the most logical fashion. Lashkaraa’s site is well organized and it’s easy to find an outfit by type/event. Lashkaraa: +1.

RESEARCH
Before jumping the gun and buying a bunch of cute outfits I wanted to do a decent amount of research. I looked for reviews online and I saw that site jabber had mixed reviews. That’s when I saw something odd – there were two 5 star reviews, by two different users, on two different days with the same exact review. If you don’t know what this implies – it just means that a bot may have, at some point (in early 2016), left fake reviews to boost their overall rating. RED FLAG. Lashkaraa: -1.

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Image source: https://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/lashkaraa.com?page=2#reviews

I tried to find YouTube reviews that weren’t sponsored/affiliated with Lashkaraa because I actually love the idea of seeing how the material looks and moves on real people… plus it’s really easy to read how the person feels about the outfits when they’re talking about them – there weren’t many videos. This is part of the reason I decided to do this post. Sure, beauty bloggers and instagrammers with large followings may receive this stuff in exchange for an honest review but it’s hard to hate something you may or may not have gotten for free, ya feel me? I found KeepingUpWithAnisa’s video where she showed some of the outfits she got from Lashkaraa, including a customized replica of the Roshini Daswani Kewalram “Princess Jasmine” lengha. (She was DYF’s Dubai bride that had 9 different looks). Anisa disclosed she wasn’t sponsored by Lashkaraa, she came across as genuine, and her outfits came out GORGEOUS. (If you haven’t heard of her, do yourself a favor and check her out on YouTube. Her makeup always be on pointtttt.) The best part about it? She mentioned that the Lashkaraa team was always in touch with her/consulting her about the progress of her dress. Good customer service? Sold. I have since noticed that Lashkaraa has been posting more pics of their real-life customers wearing their clothes rather than models… LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT.  Lashkaraa: +1.

 

MY ORDER AND THE COST
I ended up ordering two outfits from Lashkaraa. I didn’t order stitching for the blouse pieces as my in-laws were going to India and my tailor in India is THE BEST. Seriously, my husband didn’t have my measurements and simply showed him a pic of me… I kid you not the dude sewed a blouse based on a pic and it fit PERFECTLY. Anyway, I digress, see below:
Cream satin saree with the stitching for the fall.
Saree: $95.00
Fall Stitching: $2.00
Light pink and white embroidered lehenga – unstitched.
Lehenga: $105.00
There are constantly sales, so keep an eye out for discount codes! I found a Black Friday discount code and saved $50.00.
Shipping: $15.00
Total: $167.00 …about $80.00 for each outfit. NOT BAD. Lashkaraa: +1
The average cost of my outfits in India: $125-$190 with stitching, so that’s saving up to $90/outfit once factoring in stitching costs!

 

 

SHIPPING
Here’s where things get a little messy. My order was placed 11/22/2017. I received the shipment on 01/20/2018. Most people that reviewed Lashkaraa mentioned that they got their order within 2-3 weeks. Long story short: I was told that my items weren’t ready or there was an issue, week after week. If you want the detailed account read on, otherwise feel free to skip this section:

Emailed Lashkaraa 12/18/2017 – about 4 weeks after I placed my order, they responded 12/19/2017 and explained that couture products take 3-4 weeks. (but it had already been almost four weeks at this point so like, …whut?)

Emailed Lashkaraa, again 12/28/2017 – about 5 weeks after my order. I got a response 12/29/2017 informing me that the items will be dispatched next week.

Next week came and went and I didn’t receive notification of shipment so, again, I emailed them on 1/8/2018 – it had been 6 weeks since the initial order. I got a response 1/9/2018 explaining there was an error in the embroidery. And the items would dispatch over the weekend. Theoretically, this would have been 01/13/2018.

The weekend passed and I still had not received confirmation of shipment. So yet again, I found myself emailing Lashkaraa on 01/15/2018 – it had now been 7 weeks since my original order. I kindly asked them to cancel my order and provide a
refund as my in-laws were leaving for India in a couple of weeks and I would not be able to get the items to them in time for them to be stitched, thus, deeming this whole experiment fruitless… Like clockwork I got a response on  01/16/2018  saying my items had dispatched.  I also received shipment information on that day.

I received my items on 01/20/2018. Almost 8 weeks after order. This contrasts greatly with Anisa’s experience and the reviews I read online.  Lashkaraa: -1.

OUTFITS
So I guess this is the most important part and what everyone is most interested in- the actual outfits.
The saree: The satin saree is BEAUTIFUL. The reason I was immediately drawn to it was it’s simplicity. It’s just an all-white, satin saree. If you know me, you know I LOVE Sonam Kapoor’s style and this outfit just screamed Sonam Kapoor. The simplistic saree paired with the net/beaded blouse wonderfully contrasts old-bollywood style with new-bollywood style. I’m all about it. The beading on the blouse was beautiful, as well. The only real issue (I wouldn’t even call it an issue) is that the blouse lining was more of an ivory whereas the saree was more of a bright white. Honestly, this really doesn’t bother me much. I’m 5’7 and I’d probably have to wear conservative heels or flats with this saree after tucking, so if you’re taller than me, keep that in mind.
The lehenga: My biggest fear ordering this lehenga was whether or not Lashkaraa would provide a liner for the white lehenga. They did. The skirt wasn’t see through! HALLELUJAH. The embroidery featured on the skirt isn’t embroidered directly on the skirt but rather is patchwork. It’s done really tastefully and given the price, I don’t mind. The net (this is usually a big point of contention for me) on the blouse and dupatta is a little stiff but nowhere near as bad as some of the stuff I’ve received in the past.
Lashkaraa: +1.

THE VERDICT
Would I recommend that you order from Lashkaraa? Reemskii rating: 4/6 stars.
I know, I know, out of 6 is a weird rating but that’s just how the cookie crumbled.

ABSOLUTELY! …just not for a specific event, unless you’re ordering at least a few months in advance.  Keep in mind that I didn’t even get my outfits custom-stitched. I just ordered the material and it still took 2 months for me to get it. My in-laws will now get that material stitched in India. I believe Anisa’s custom-made Princess Jasmine outfit took 3 months from order to delivery (I may be wrong). I would be mindful of the order times and discrepancies in customer experiences before ordering.
While I really want to believe that everything that was corresponded to me via email is the truth and that this was just an isolated event I, unfortunately, can’t vouch for that. I will say, however, that Lashkaraa’s customer service team never ghosted me. Every week that I emailed them I had a response within 24 hours. I was never left unanswered for whatever that’s worth.
The clothes were decently priced, they were beautifully made and as long as you’re not in a rush, I don’t see why you wouldn’t order from Lashkaraa!

PS: If you’re part of Lashkaraa’s team, I’d love to discuss this review with you further to help improve the customer experience. If you’re a viewer or reader who found this helpful and would like to see more content like this, leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you.

Fashion

Bollywood Flow on a Budget!

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is where I get my Indian clothes. To be frank, I don’t even know where more than half of them come from! While I’d love to travel to India, annually, to purchase a bunch of clothes it’s just not feasible. The first time I went to India was in 1998, for a cousin’s wedding. The second time was in 2008, also for another cousin’s wedding. Most recently I went in 2016, to shop for my own wedding. Following this pattern, the next time I go to India will probably be some time between 2024 and 2026. (Unless my awesome husband decides to treat me to a trip just to go shopping. *wink*wink*) Indian boutiques in the US significantly mark up their prices and there’s no way I’d pay three times as much for something mediocre and generic! While many people love online shopping for their ensembles, I just haven’t been happy with the products I’ve received – I don’t like cheap materials and there’s just no way of ensuring you’ll be receiving quality materials before you order. (You all know that the stiff net that often comes with Indian outfits is the WORST. It doesn’t pleat, it doesn’t sit pretty AND IT ITCHES!)

Obviously, the most recent of my Indian clothes were purchased when I went to do my own wedding shopping. I was there to hand select them. Before then, I’d find pictures of things I’d like and my younger, cooler, masis (maternal aunts) would use that as inspiration to find me the perfect outfits. Luckily for me, I’ve always trusted their judgement and they’ve never failed me. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of my masis. More importantly, nobody wants to spend lakhs on lakhs on lakhs for an outfit they’ll likely wear once. *Cue my wish list of Sabyasachi outfits* Regardless of my abundance of Indian clothes, I tend to repurpose and recreate a lot of items! This post is for the gals who can commiserate and want to learn how!

Learn the basics of sewing!
Sewing machines are fairly inexpensive and if you don’t want to splurge on one, a simple needle and thread work great! Even with my aunts bringing me tons of outfits, I’ve always altered things to better fit my needs. I’ve added fun borders to older blouses to spice them up/repurpose them to use with newer outfits and saris! If you don’t trust yourself to do a quick fix, you could always find a cheap tailor! 

This blouse used to be long-sleeved, I altered it to be sleeveless by myself!

Think outside the box!
The best outfits are the ones I’ve created myself! Invest in cheap crop tops – Forever 21, Zara, Asos (the list goes on and on) have tons of sales and I’ve often found the best Indian-inspired crop tops for less than 10 bucks! If you are able to shop in India, I bought a bunch of pre-stitched blouses in different colors for 400 rupees, each (That’s like 6 bucks USD, guys!). These tops paired with my moms old saris or a maxi skirt and matching dupatta (also repurposed from older outfits) tend to create the most trendy looks! The latest craze is Indo-Western outfits inspired by comfort and minimalism – this is super easy to recreate shopping at shops right here in the US!

This entire outfit cost me $36! Maxi skirt from a boutique in Surat: $30, pre-stitched blouse from a market in Surat: $6, dupatta repurposed from one of my mother-in-law’s older dresses: FREE!
I used that same $6 blouse to spice up this lehenga: the original blouse was blue and I wanted a contrasting blouse!
I paired this $10 gold-sequin crop top from Asos with one of my mom’s older saris to create a modern look!
This outfit was only $38! Maxi from boutique in Surat: $30, cream/gold crop top from Forever 21: $8, dupatta repurposed from one of my anarkalis: FREE!

Make your own trends!
When I went shopping for my wedding the boutiques kept showing me dresses with velvet accents/dupattas or dresses made entirely out of velvet – I get the appeal, it makes outfits look regal and who doesn’t want to look like a queen on their wedding day?! I, however, am not a fan of velvet (we can have a discussion on this later, if you’d like).  I still maintain that no outfit holds a candle to the elegance of a simple silk sari, others detest them and think they’re “motherly”. My point is, just because everyone seems to be wearing chiffon floor-length gowns doesn’t mean that’s what you have to wear. Wear what you like and have on hand, regardless of what’s in this season!
Spoiler alert: I still frequently rock silk saris. 😉

Old is gold! Love simple silk saris!