Some Thoughts about Kaliyana

Kaliyana is a Canadian clothing company with beautiful lagenlook designs. They have some questionable attitudes, though, and my experience with the clothing has not been great. Here are my thoughts after a few 2018 purchases.

Items: most of their items are made of all-natural fabrics, which is good. All the styles are unusual, which is also good.

Pricing: their prices are very high, but with a good exchange rate and their frequent offers of gift cards with purchase, these buys seemed worth it to me. It is getting harder to find natural fabrics around here anyway.

Returns: Kaliyana clearly states that they do not accept returns because it would “raise their prices” to cover their hassles. This seems like a very dubious argument, especially because they only have one store (in Ottawa), and therefore anyone ordering online is taking a risk on ordering without trying the clothing on. This particular policy is the reason I will no longer shop there; after examining, trying on, and in some cases wearing, my new purchases, I’m dissatisfied with enough of them that I will no longer take the risk. Maybe if I ever go to Ottawa, I’ll stop in the store, but won’t order online.

Customer Service: they are all awesome, and when I emailed to change an order before its shipment, everyone I dealt with was pleasant and professional, and accommodated my requests.

Shipping: If you are spending less than $469, shipping to the US is $69 (Canadian dollars). If you go over that threshold, the shipping is only $29. So yes, this is always an incentive to buy more. However, they are rigidly inflexible on this. The first thing I ever wanted to buy was a $99 necklace – just a fun pendant on a cord – and I asked whether they could ship it for the lower fee, since it was a small item and lightweight, and they said no, it would cost $69 more to ship. So I didn’t order, that time.

Spending gift cards: Think about that shipping threshold again. If your cart totals $500 and you use a $100 gift card, that brings you back down below the threshold, and you’re stuck spending $69 to ship again – or else filling your cart so that after the gift card your order is still over $469. Dangerous!

Now, as to the clothing itself. I got a wide variety of things: skirts, dresses, tops, pants. Let’s talk about color first.

Ever since Mom pointed their website out to me in 2013, I’d been loving the “lime Carnaby” color shown on their Fab Coat. When I decided it was time to take the plunge and order, I went for three items in lime Carnaby, but not that coat. I got a dress, a pair of pants, and a skirt.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I cannot describe this color as “lime” no matter how you slice it. It is a grungy yellowy-green, a bruised pear, greenish mustard kind of color. Diane calls it “acid green” but to me, “acid green” is more clean and vibrant, almost a neon. I have listed these on ebay – and then decided I’ll never make back what I spent, so I should keep them – delisted – listed again. At the moment they are delisted. But I hate this color and will probably not wear them.

All the other colors were as described, although it’s hard to mess up navy, teal, and black.

Pants: I have now 5 pairs of pants from them (including the aforementioned). All of these pants are insanely high-waisted. I’m 5’6”; when I wear the elastic waistband at my natural waist, the crotch seam is below mid-thigh! I’m wearing a pair of them now, and every time I get up to walk around I feel like MC Hammer. If I pull the waistband up to my bra band, the rest of the fit is fine, but it makes me feel like an old man! Plus the pants then become crops, which is okay, but not what I was looking for.

One pair of these is their Button-Cuff Palazzo pants. This pair happens to be crazy-long on me, but because they have cuff detailing, they’d be difficult to alter. Inseam length, or pant length, is not listed on their website for a guideline.

Dresses: here is a general lagenlook thing that I’d never realized, mostly because almost all lagenlook designers show their tops on flat-chested models. A stiffish fabric (like the all-cotton Carnaby, described below) does not flow and drape well around the body. Instead, it slopes down the tops of the breasts, and then continues sloping outward until the hem. This means that when wearing it, I look like the Liberty Bell! (Although in this case, a greeny-mustard Liberty Bell.) Not a flattering look. The other dresses I got are all either jersey or a lightweight weave, and they’re all fine and fun.

“Roma” fabric: this is a rough, scratchy, coarse linen weave. I have 2 pairs of pants and a top in this fabric, plus a kimono jacket from 2016, and they are all unpleasant to feel against the skin. One of these is the Button-Cuff Palazzos mentioned above, so they are bad for me on several counts.

“Carnaby” fabric: it’s a nice feeling. It’s a lightweight cotton weave. Unfortunately in the white, it’s also fairly sheer. I’ll have to get a white tank to go under my white tops.

All of the skirts are fine; the two cotton shirt-jackets I got are fine.

Tops: this is a weird thing I have never noticed with any other brand of tops, ever. Last year I bought the Mykonos top (which in the interim I donated to a women’s shelter). I got the largest size. Instead of flaring out over the breasts (like the dresses do), this shirt, in Carnaby, got sort of pushed upwards towards my throat, so that instead of a nice v-neck top, I had a crop top that was choking me – which is why I got rid of it. As if they widened the top to create larger sizes, but did not lengthen it at all. I have also now noticed this choking effect with the new navy Bubble Tunic. This is in Carnaby and has a great look on the flat-chested model, but not on me.

I can’t think of anything else to write about this experience, except that after weeding out all these unsatisfactory items, I’m still left with a respectable haul – but I really, REALLY wish I could return all the unsuitable stuff (nine items!), even though postage to Canada would be a little steep.  So, for me, Kaliyana is off the list.

Their stuff looks great with Fluevogs, though 🙂