Is Shein Legit? An Honest Review

Updated on October 3, 2019
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Katy writes honest reviews of the latest services with an eye for budget and practicality.

Is Shein Legit?

Shein is actually a legit online retailer. They have a huge selection of fast fashion clothing from China.

This means you can find clothing at a great price, but what about the quality? Many consumers in the Western world have complaints about the quality and not receiving items as described.

Read my honest review of Shein, learn the scams to look out for and decide if it could be a budget-friendly part of your wardrobe.

Cute wrap dress from Shein.
Cute wrap dress from Shein.

Honest Shein Review

I ordered my first haul from Shein in 2017. After that, I made two more orders in 2018. While I wasn’t blown away by the quality, there were only two pieces I didn’t use.

Orders from Shein and YesStyle fill an important part of my wardrobe: affordable, fun fast-fashion pieces. So with a few important warnings I think these online retailers can be helpful for most Western shoppers.

That’s the mindset that this review uses: an honest review of where Shein could work for your wardrobe. I'm not paid by them in any way.


I’ve been pretty satisfied with the value of their clothes given the low prices. But there are some warnings you should consider before buying:

  • Sizing is inconsistent, read more on sizing below.

  • Some details like embroidery, hems and zippers are poor quality.

It can be risky to order clothes online from Asian sellers. You’re usually waiting a long time and you might spend a lot on shipping only to receive really awful clothes you can’t even wear.

Free Returns (in the U.S.)

You can send your items back for a full refund and not pay anything for the return shipping. This makes it way easier to take the plunge and buy an order. I can’t speak for other countries but the return process was very easy for the United States. Just make sure you don’t take the tags off and you can ship it back to them.

You need to be careful with swim suits and sleepwear because these items can’t be returned for a refund.

Explore SHEIN's online store, you just have to spend $50 to get free shipping. Between free shipping and returns it makes it a little easier to try for the first time.

Why Is Shein So Cheap?

Chinese retailers can keep their prices low by: not paying for customer service staff, using lower quality materials, faster manufacturing processes. Shein does all those three to a certain extent. Thankfully they don't use tactics that other Chinese online stores use: hiding their costs in inflated shipping fees and misrepresenting products.

The clothing prices on Shein have actually increased in the last 3 years since I started shopping there. This could be because they now offer free returns, which has a cost to any business. You'll find that the prices aren't crazy cheap like Wish. They're more aligned with Target or Walmart clothes that have been discounted.

Given that the quality is usually a little better than Walmart and competitive to most mall brands, I think the prices are still worth it for the right items.

Shopping on Shein.
Shopping on Shein.

Shopping Tips

Between thrift stores and Shein I spend very little on many of my basics and extra items. Some core elements like bras and trousers I go into department stores to find because the fit is so important. But for items like sweaters, tees, tops and skirts I’m able to get online for super cheap. Then I don’t feel guilty about getting different colors or styles because it doesn’t dent the budget.

Here are tips for you to get the most out of your Shein order:

  • Always order enough for free shipping, otherwise the cost isn’t worth it.
  • Read reviews and look at customer pictures.
  • Pay attention to measurements instead of Small, Medium and Large.

Best Things to Buy:

  • Graphic or text tees
  • Sweaters
  • Wrap dresses
  • Skirts with elastic waistbands

I've had good luck with dresses that use a wrap style and skirts that have an elastic waistband. These are a safer bet because the sizing is really forgiving. If it's a bit too small or too large, it can still look great without paying to get it tailored.

Avoid Clothing with:

  • Zippers
  • Exposed stitching
  • Bodycon dresses

Almost all the items with exposed stitching or embroidery that I've ordered from Shein have started to look really ratty in just a few washes. Usually the stitching around zippers is weak, and the zippers end up separating or not working well.


Don’t expect Shein sizing to run very small like a typical Asian retailer. Their sizes run much closer to American sizing. But for items across the website sizing can vary widely.

If you’re a Medium in one blouse, you could still be a Small or Large in another style. Rely on the measurements they have posted. Also look at reviews from other customers that bought your target size. Usually their measurements are posted also and if they included a picture you can see if you like the fit.

One thing I like about Shein’s descriptions is they give you the body measurements of the model and tell you what size she is wearing. That can give you a good idea of how it will fit on you.

Compare to Wish and Romwe

If you don’t like the selection at Shein, there are alternatives like Wish and Romwe. These are both online retailers for Chinese merchandise.

Wish sells clothing, electronics and other items from China. They take longer to ship and are usually lower quality. Read more about whether Wish is legit and some tips on shopping with them.

Romwe is more similar to Shein. They carry similar items, sometimes even the exact same pieces. I haven't tried them personally since they don't offer free returns.

What is Your Experience with Shein?

Share your shopping experience in the comments below.

© 2019 Katy Medium


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