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A 100% Honest Shein Review: What I REALLY Think Of Shein

by Alex DiBacco

An Honest Shein Review + Shein Reviews of All of My Orders

Pinafore // Blouse // Purse // Booties

It sounds pretty crazy to say that I’ve been ordering from Shein for the last 4 years. I’ve been thinking about writing an honest Shein review for some time (and have added many Shein reviews to specific item pages on the site), but after my last mass order, I decided that this post was long past due on my blog.

Have my orders always been successful? Not all of the time, but I’ve also found some amazing pieces that were insanely cheap. I still have some of them to this day.

I’m not a fan of the fast fashion industry (there are so many ethical issues associated with the industry, but that would be a whole other post or even a book), but I’m also not rich. I know that a lot of people will have an issue with me writing this review, so if you feel strongly about the issue of fast fashion, please feel free to skip this altogether or even leave your input in the comments. I’m always open to perspectives!

Someday, I hope to get away completely from fast fashion. Right now, however, I’m not one of those bloggers who is making millions. I live in a small, walk-up apartment, and I have a modest income, but I still want to dress trendy. I want to have options in my closet.

The only realistic way for me to do this is to buy from some fast fashion retailers. And yes, I do try to invest in my key pieces, but I have to admit that I shop at stores like Shein for trendy, seasonal items.

This Shein review won’t focus on the ethical problems behind the industry (you can definitely Google that and find a ton of information from people who are much more educated on the topic than myself), but will be a Shein review from start to finish. As someone who has invested a lot of time in ordering from Shein, I want to share all of my thoughts and tips!

Is The Size Guide Accurate?

An Honest Shein Review + Shein Reviews of All of My Orders

Dress // Wedges

Sizing can be a little tough with SheIn. I’m right between an XS and a S, but it really varies depending on the item.

For example, I just ordered 3 bathing suits in a size XS. One of them fit perfectly (it was a bikini), but the other bikini was way too small on the bottom (although the top fit fine) and the one-piece I ordered wasn’t long enough for my torso.

I always check the sizing guide if possible (and use a measurement tape that I keep laying around for accuracy) but it can still be a little tricky. Shein works with different brands and manufacturers, and you don’t always get accurate measurements for every single piece of clothing.

The other problem with the sizing is that some items fit incorrectly instead of just being the wrong size. For example, I’ve gotten a shirt that fit perfectly in most areas but was way too snug in the armpits. I also just received a top that was super cute (with adjustable straps) but was about 3 inches too short. It just didn’t look right no matter how I maneuvered it.

Other times, I’ll receive an item that fits perfectly and is super cute. The dresses tend to be the perfect length for me (and seem to be better quality than other pieces) and I always do well with pieces that have adjustable straps.

With bathing suits, I would lean towards the larger size if you’re right in the middle. Keep in mind that most bathing suits at Shein are final sale, something the Shein reviews on the site don’t always mention. I’ll typically order a few and make sure that they’re very inexpensive, so it’s still worth it if only 2/3 fit. I really do love Shein bathing suits and find that ordering them is worth it for me.

For those of you who don’t have a measurement tape handy, I recommend choosing the larger size for any piece of Shein clothing. While the sizing isn’t exactly juniors, the clothes are generally much smaller than other brands such as Ann Taylor or Express. In some brands, I’m almost always an XS; at Shen I tend to be a S more of the time. Many Shein reviews don’t mention this, so make sure to keep the odd sizing in mind.

Summary: The sizing is really hard to predict because the clothes are all over the place. I usually order my typical size or go up a size when I’m in between; sometimes the piece is too big, other times it’s too small. I recommend sizing up if you’re unsure, especially with tops and sweaters (they can be super short). Skirts run a bit larger in general, while dresses are always right on the mark based on my normal sizing.

Is The Shipping Time Really Long?

While many people claim in Shein reviews that the shipping time is terrible because the clothes come from China, I can say that I’ve literally never had that experience. Like I said, I’ve placed over 25 orders with Shein, and while the estimated shipping time is usually super long, my order almost always comes way before the estimated date.

My last order actually arrived in 3 days, which was way faster than many other retailers.

Some orders have taken a bit longer (5-7 days) but always arrive on schedule, give or take a few days. Similar to other online stores, I never order something if I need it within the next few days and make sure to plan ahead for any events or vacations. There aren’t many express shipping options on Shein, so you do need to plan for any events or holidays.

Although it’s never happened to me, I’ve heard (mostly from other Shein reviews) that Shein will offer a credit if the shipping time is exceptionally long. Their customer service is pretty good so I don’t doubt that this is true.

Shein often has shipping deals or free shipping over a certain price; I recommend taking advantage of that. They also offer free returns which is awesome since I almost always return at least 1/3 of the clothing. For this reason, I recommend placing a large enough order and returning whatever you don’t want.

Summary: Despite what I’ve heard, shipping time has never been an issue for me. I’ve found that the shipping, tracking, and returns processes are all super easy and transparent.

How Is Shein With Returns?

If Shein wasn’t great about returns, I 100% wouldn’t shop here. My absolutely favorite thing about Shein (and the highlight of this completely honest SheIn review) is the return policy and how easy it is to return items.

You have 60 days to return a piece of clothing after you’ve received it, but get this: if you return the clothing within the first 40 days (which is still more time than most stores offer), you don’t have to pay any return shipping. It’s also easy to get free express shipping with a certain order price, so I find that it’s worth it to wait until you have a large enough order, regardless of whether you’ll keep all the items or not.

In my mind, buying clothing from Shein is basically the same thing as trying something on in a dressing room. As long as you can afford to purchase a bunch of clothing, you’ll definitely find a few pieces that you love and can easily return the rest. The company actually encourages this.

Like I mentioned before, not every piece is amazing quality, but I’m able to keep up with seasonal trends at a really affordable price-point. I probably keep 10 new items from Shein every season and combine them with the classic staples from high-end brands that I always have in my closet.

If you do plan on returning a lot of your order, make sure to only try each piece on quickly (so that the items don’t appear used as I’ve heard Shein can be strict about this) then put them back in their proper packaging with the receipt. Basically, I treat online returns the way I’d treat clothing in a dressing room.

I’ve had the experience of ordering from a Chinese company (the total order was over $300) and then being unable to return the items despite their 40 day return policy, so I love how reliable Shein is. I’ve placed over 25 orders and probably made over 25 separate returns with absolutely no issues. You don’t even have to get in contact with them to print a return label; it’s all right online in your account.

I always receive prompt reimbursement, often only a few days after I send the clothes back. 

One extra plus is that Shein conducts returns through the Post Office right now. After dealing with Amazon returns (why do they only go through Kohl’s now??) and various returns to FedEx (the closest one is a few towns away from me), I love dropping my Shein packages off at the Post Office with a prepaid return label. It’s just so easy!

Summary: Luckily, Shein easily accepts returns. Expect to return at least 1/2 of your order due to quality or sizing issues.

The Big Question: How Is The Clothing Quality?

An Honest Shein Review + Shein Reviews of All of My Orders

Blouse

I said I was writing an honest Shein review, so I’ll be 100% transparent here: the quality of SheIn clothing is never amazing. And personally, I wouldn’t expect it to be. Where can you buy a shirt for $9 and expect top quality material?

There are a few items that I still wear regularly even though I bought them three years ago; it happens. But for the most part, Shein is best for buying trendy clothing that will last you a season or two. The reason I don’t care about buying items that aren’t great quality is because most of the trendier pieces will be out of style by this time next year anyways. 

However, there is a difference between okay quality and terrible, not-wearable quality. I’ve found a bit of both at Shein. If you read Shein reviews on the site, you’ll be able to steer clear of some of the pieces that are truly just awful. Other times, you simply need to return the item.

Although there are always exceptions, here are some of the pieces I find are decent quality at Shein:

  • Dresses: I’ve found some of my favorite dresses at Shein, especially after reading Shein reviews on the site
  • Crop tops: I really see no point in wasting money on simple crop tops from Urban or Free People. Shein crop tops are quite literally the best. I don’t order crop tops from anywhere else. There are so many shapes and sizes; I like to get a few neutral crop tops per season with some bulky sweaters to go over them. I also love pairing Shein crop tops with their sweatpants for a cozy at-home look.
  • Sweaters: they pill quickly but there are also some trendy sweaters that I love
  • Some jackets: jean jackets, anorak jackets, and other light jackets are good, while I haven’t had luck with leather jackets or heavier coats (they either smell terrible or aren’t anywhere near warm)
  • Skirt: if you’re looking for simple skirts, Shein has the best pieces that are usually under $10.
  • Purses: this is again a hit or miss, but I have found some super cute crossbody bags at Shein. I don’t recommend the larger bags as they generally look cheap, and you need to look closely at the quality of the crossbody bags before ordering. Some of the backpacks are cute as well.
  • Loungewear: I absolutely love Shein for sweatpants and sweatshirts. I got some of the comfiest, trendiest sweatpants in black and nude recently. I also got a few super cute crewnecks that I wear over a collared shirt. I don’t recommend Shein leggings at all however; they’re super thin and not very shapely. I go for the real deal (Lululemon) when it comes to leggings.
  • Nightgowns and pajamas: Some of my favorite nightgowns are from Shein. This is again a hit or miss. Sometimes, the fabric is really itchy (that’s an immediate return for me) while other times the piece is incredibly soft

SheIn clothing is almost always a hit or miss, so some items might be absolutely terrible quality and you’ll need to (easily) return them. Other pieces will be decent quality and very wearable for a season.

I buy all of my staples elsewhere (my Longchamp bag, Madewell jeans, Steve Madden slides, designer bags, etc.) and then supplement with trendy clothing that have 5 stars in other Shein reviews on the site.

Let me give you an example. I bought a bathing suit coverup that’s more like a lace shawl from SheIn. These pieces are super trendy and are all over Instagram so I knew I needed to have one, especially when the summer is just beginning. For reference, here’s the shawl:

An Honest Shein Review + Shein Reviews of All of My Orders

This item has a few good Shein review testimonials on the site itself that looked legit and the quality of the shawl in the photos seemed decent. I went ahead and bought it.

It took 2 days to arrive and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the quality was really good. Now, this isn’t to say that it wouldn’t either get damaged or shrink in the wash, but I know that if I’m gentle with it, this shawl will easily make it through 30+ wears this season.

I also know that it probably won’t be trendy (or I’ll get sick of it) by next summer. Costing only $12, this shawl was cheaper than any similar items I found at Target, on Amazon, or at other budget stores. To me, this is totally worth it.

I also love Shein for dark academia fashion items. Check out my post here all about my favorite dark academia fashion brands with pricing breakdowns.

So what pieces should you avoid buying? I steer clear of anything too unique or frilly. For example, as much as I love some of the trendy, asymmetrical blouses that are on the Shein site, they almost never fit. Shein is best for basic pieces. If it looks like it might be tricky to make, it probably won’t fit right.

I would also avoid any piece that you’re counting on to keep you warm. For example, a winter jacket isn’t a purchase you should make at Shein. If there’s one thing I can guarantee it’s that it won’t keep you warm during the cold months.

Lastly, I don’t like buying jeans at Shein. I’m pretty picky with jeans, but I find that they’re itchy and shapeless. Sure, there might be a few pairs in there that are decent, but I’ve never read good Shein reviews about the jeans and just don’t have the patience to pick through the hundreds of options.

Summary: Clothing quality is never amazing, but it depends on the piece. Some are absolutely terrible while others are wearable. I recommend placing a medium to large order and sending back anything that isn’t up to par. Over time, you figure out what your go-to items are at Shein and what types of items you should avoid purchasing.

Order Tips

Even though it seems pretty easy to order from a site (especially nowadays when we’ve been doing it for 10+ years), the Shein site is massive and isn’t always well-laid out. Here are some of my tips to make sure that you save the most money possible while ordering the cutest pieces.

1. Make an account and save all of the items that you like to your cart. 

You can also heart them as a way to save them for later. I like to then sit on these items until there’s a big sale with free shipping before ordering.

Shein will sell out of some items, but some items will basically be on the site forever. That pinafore that I linked in the first photo up above? I bought it over 6 months ago and it’s still available online.

There’s new items being posted every day, so if a few of the items do happen to sell out, you can easily add new ones when the sale goes live.

I highly recommend making an account to save your cart. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve added 50+ items to my cart then realized they were gone within 20 minutes because I wasn’t logged in! Luckily, the Shein website is really good about saving the items you’ve chosen in your cart indefinitely, as long as you’re logged in.

2. Do your research on each item before buying it.

When you’re looking at an item on Shein, you can sometimes scroll down and see photos of bloggers or real life people wearing the item. There may also be Shein reviews about the specific item from buyers; these will show up at the bottom of the item page.

If I see the item on someone and it looks good, that’s a clue that it’ll be decent quality and fit in person. If there aren’t any photos, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t buy it, but it’s more of a risk if you don’t plan to return.

I also carefully check out the photos of the item in the description before adding it to my car. If anything seems even a little bit off or low-quality, I don’t buy it. There’s literally thousands of options for every style on Shein so you’re sure to find something else that’s better quality. Don’t get stuck on one piece.

Go with your gut before purchasing and you’re bound to do better! You can also check online Shein reviews to see what items look good on. I love when buyers include pictures in their Shein review write-ups.

Another great place to source items and check out each honest Shein review is on Instagram. Bloggers will often do try-on hauls and save the results to their story highlights.

Sometimes, an item looks flawless online, but when I get it I’m sad to find that the piece is just terrible quality. That’s when Shein’s free returns come in handy!

I almost never place an order on Shein without expecting to do a return for at least some of the items. I try to make my orders large enough that I get both free shipping and free returns.

Some Shein reviews mention return issues, but I’ve placed over 25 orders and I’ve never had an issue with returns at Shein. I always get my full money back promptly after I send the return in.

Should You Trust Blogger Shein Reviews?

An Honest Shein Review + Shein Reviews of All of My Orders

My answer for this is: sometimes. I’ve noticed that some bloggers (even when writing a sponsored post, which this one is not) will be honest about the quality of Shein clothing and give good shopping tips within a Shein review. Other bloggers claim that every piece they got is amazing, which just can’t be true. 

It seems like the company is pretty fair and realizes that not every piece will work for everyone. I think that’s one of the reasons why there’s so many options on the website and such a great return policy.

Generally, Shein reviews are pretty trustworthy, and most will talk about the site being hit-or-miss. That’s definitely true, and if you have a few shopping tips to use (like those I gave above) then you’re bound to be more successful.

Most of the Shein reviews on the actual site seem to be trustworthy as well. If there’s one item with only 2 stars consistently, you should probably steer clear, but items that have multiple 5 star reviews are generally good choices.

Sadly, not all items on Shein have reviews, so you will mostly have to trust your gut or be willing to get a bunch of different items and do returns. If I want a tweed skirt, for example, I’ll buy three different choices on Shein and return at least 2 of them.

My Shein Seasonal Favorites

I couldn’t finish up this (super long) SheIn review without showing you some of the pieces I ordered this season. Trendy styles change really quickly, so I wanted to make it easy and share some of my favorite pieces from Shein this season.

I made sure not to include any items that I’ve ordered and had to return; in my opinion, these are the best quality items (an opinion other Shein reviews & reviewers agree with) for the cheapest price!

Found a few items you really love on Shein.com? Share them with me and I’ll add them here!

xo, Alex

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