I have a hard time buying clothes on the internet. I have trust issues with the online world because catfishing. A photo can be heavily shopped or simply photographed strategically to show it's best angles and hide the discrepancies and problem areas. Plus there are so many weird brands popping up all the time and I can never trust where the clothes are coming from, the quality, the sizing, the fit, how long it's going to take because they don't disclose that it's coming from China.
I knew about Shein for a year now and so I took a chance on them because one of the Instagrammers I follow did a haul and some of the outfits looked nice on her and I have a similar taste, style and body type. They actually had a 2 day pop-up shop in NYC last year but I didn’t stop by til the last hour and there wasn’t much left so all I got was a straw boater hat that I’ve been wearing all summer. I liked the hat so it further influenced me in taking a chance along with them promoting 15% off, free express shipping and free returns. The website looked easy enough to navigate and it looked pretty legit on the outside. They also have a WIDE variety of items, slight but different variation of styles in case you like one thing about a dress but not another detail, and they have a lot of different colors to select from.
Unfortunately this review will not be a glowing one. Bottom line: You get what you pay for.
Shipping: I was able to get free express shipping because I met the minimum needed for the express option. If you spend $49+, you get free regular shipping, while if you spend $99+ you can upgrade to free express shipping. I placed the order on a Sunday night and got my package by Thursday, which is definitely fast but I had no idea until I received my tracking number that it was to be a package from China. I should’ve looked more into the company but that’s my own fault. I thought the package would be coming from within the US since they had a pop-up shop here last year. Upon further research, I discovered they stock from China and ship overseas to the US. I have no issues against China or imported clothes, but in my experience, these shops are a dice toss on quality, usually being on the lower end, and shipping usually takes forever because well, China. In this case though, it was one of the few times I did NOT have a problem with shipping and it was extraordinarily fast. My package actually moved quicker through China than when it finally got to the US and had to be sorted through here and finally reached my house.
Price/Quality: Bottom line, again, like I said, you get what you pay for. The prices were cheap so I have to admit, I should’ve saw it coming. The skirts were all $9 each, the dress was $20 and the two piece sets were $12-19. Everything was under $20. The quality fit the price. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t great either. I sat on everything for a few days and decided to pretty much send it all back to return because there was nothing I was really in love with to keep. I could do without them even though they were cute and cheap outfits.
What were the problems I had with the quality? Everything was of pretty cheap, thin fabric. There was no lining in anything and that’s probably why everything was so cheap; cutting corners.
I wish the blue dress had come with padded cups in the chest area to hold the dress nicely in place but alas, for once I can say a Forever 21 dress is constructed better.
The yellow halter two piece was okay, but the material again was very cheap thin jersey material and the waistband was very baggy and ugly looking. I belted it to see if I would like it better but it was still not fitting the way it looked on the model.
The other yellow two piece was cute but the fabric again was very cheap and wrinkled easily and the color was duller than the online photo. The one thing I did like about this outfit was that the top can be worn both front and back. The front has a sweetheart neckline while the back has a square neckline. Both worked and looked flattering.
The blue eyelet two piece set was another disappointment as well. There is no lining at all which is kind of okay for the top as long as you wear a decent bra to go along with it, but the bottom is not. It’s completely sheer so the only time this would really work is if you wore it as a beach coverup.
The lavender gingham two piece set was cute in photos but when worn, it’s a different story as well. It’s easily masked in photos but if you purchase this, you’ll notice, they skimped on fabric on this. The way the skirt ties, it masks that they didn’t bother to finish the skirt beneath it. It’s a very shoddy job at sewing, in my opinion. I wish it wasn’t this way because I really wanted a cute lavender gingham set. But for the lack of quality, I just couldn’t compromise to keep this set.
The floral blue set was better constructed in the skirt than the lavender gingham, however again, like everything else, was of very thin, cheap fabric. I could feel that it would shrink within one wash.
The pink and green tartan skirts were also of cheap thin material and while cute when worn and cheap for the price, I ended up deciding to return them too because when compared to my Forever 21 tartan/plaid skirts, they just didn’t cut it. It’s funny because for once, something was cheaper in quality and material than Forever 21! I could also tell these skirts wouldn’t make it past a few wears before I would end up tossing them in the trash or donations.
The pink Barbie vinyl skirt is the only item I’m keeping but not because of quality because let’s be real, you clearly know by now it’s not Shein’s forte. I’m simply keeping it because it was cheap enough and I could use for Barbie look shoots. This shade of pink is hard to come by. It’s cute but the fit isn’t the same as pictured as well. The website makes it look like the waistband is thick and covers everything. Nope, the waistband pictured is non-existant so I had to belt it to make it look more presentable. Again, no lining so you have to be very selective with undergarments here to give yourself a seamless look.
And the last item I purchased was a cheap $6 sticky bra which I wasn’t expecting much because I simply needed a new cheap sticky bra for backless outfits but this bra arrived damaged, as you can see in my photos. And that’s where all the trouble arose, as this item was sent damaged and because it was considered a non-returnable/non-exchangable item due to sanitary reasons. But what about when it arrives damaged/defective through no fault of your own? It doesn’t allow me to select it on the website under my orders to return it or dispute it with anyone like everything else I ordered. It’s simply grayed out on my invoice online so I had to hunt them down to correct the issue. And this is where I realized I would never order from Shein again.
Customer Service: This is probably where I should’ve done my homework but like everyone else you don’t know what you’re getting into until you have to actually cross that bridge. When you click on Contact Us, you’re directed to a page that looks reassuring but trust me, it’s a bed of lies. It boasts of 24/7 live chat but it’s really just a bot chat giving you the runaround. The Submit a ticket for your issue is a joke. If you click on it, nothing happens. It just reroutes you to that bot, so there’s no way to submit anything. It also says you can schedule a call if you have any questions or need to contact them at all through call reservation. Yet another lie that reroutes you back to the bot.
So how did I end up contacting them to take care of the damaged bra that was sent to me? I went on Facebook and tried to use the chat option on their page. Which was unfortunately another bed of lies as it’s yet another chat bot that does absolutely nothing but give you the runaround. So I went to my last resort. I went on the Instagram page and did the dirty deed of commenting on the their posts regarding my order until someone eventually contacted me back to do damage control. It took two days for someone competent to take care of it and even then every time they sent me a message, I would reply back immediately but it would take them hours before they would respond back. What gives? You JUST personally messaged me back. Whatever.
Anyways, long story long, at first they tried to offer me half off my next purchase of that same bra. WTF. How does that compensate for the damaged one I received that I can do nothing with??? If anything, they gain in that option since I would have to pay more for shipping to get a $3 bra shipped out to me. Ridiculous. I argued that this was through no fault of my own and that I wanted a brand new non-defective bra sent to me in replacement. Whether or not they understood English I’ll never know because they just dusted past that request as if they didn’t even understand what it meant. In the end, they offered me a full refund which I accepted because it’s just $6 and I really didn’t want to banter back and forth anymore for the next few days. I learned my lesson to never order from them again by now.
Final Thoughts: I wouldn’t recommend buying from Shein, to be honest. It’s sad because while they do have a lot of cute stuff on their website, a lot of it is catfishing and cheap. I would stick with Forever 21 and what you’re used to for cheap, fast fashion. At least a lot of my F21 clothes have held together through the years. I didn’t know you could get any cheaper than F21 when it came to quality but boy was I wrong. This entire haul felt like the cheap Halloween costumes you get in the party city bags that last you through one Halloween and that’s it. But if you really want to save money and are okay with just wearing it for one season/a few wears before it falls apart or tossing it out and getting new stuff for the next season, then by all means, try it out. Trust me, I wanted to like this brand, but again, like every time I bid on ebay on a China seller, it’s hit or miss and this was a severe miss. The only saving grace is the free returns, which are super easy. You simply go on your account, select the items you want to return and they immediately generate your return label. You throw it all back in the bag and mail it back out, easy peasy.