Have you been searching “Shein Reviews 2021”? You’re not alone! Earlier this month, SHEIN topped Amazon as the most downloaded shopping app for Android/IOS in the U.S. That’s according to data from app tracking firms App Annie and SensorTower. Shein is valued at $15 billion, yet you really have to dig to find information on this company (that’s part of the strategy). In fact, many in the 30+ crowd have never heard of it.
How then is SHEIN challenging a behemoth like Amazon?
First, let’s get the big question out of the way.
Yes, this is a real company… and a big one. It is not some phishing scam looking to steal your credit card information. The items you order will match the photos on the website. I say this from experience, as I’ve placed many Shein orders. I’ve tried everything from swimwear to sweaters (some better than others). All of the clothing I’m wearing in these photos is from Shein. I’ve found the more familiar you get with this retailer, the more you understand how to shop it, and begin to increase your odds of loving what you buy.
Pro tip: If you want to try Shein with the safety net of free returns/lightning fast shipping, it now has a store on Amazon with hundreds of options.
I’ve written about SHEIN before, back in the early days of my blog. At the time, I could find precious little information about the company. So, I simply shared my personal shopping experience. There is a lot more info available now. Forbes wrote about SHEIN in February and several online writers have explored its rapid success in detail (this one is super comprehensive).
In this post, I’ll summarize the new details I’ve learned about this ultra fast-fashion company + the pros/cons of buying from SHEIN. I’ll also touch on why I’ve continued to shop the brand and partner with them on Instagram.
Note: SHEIN is not sponsoring the blog post, I am writing this solely to be a resource and to answer questions I’ve personally had about the brand. I’m hoping this information helps you formulate your own opinions and assists you as you make your shopping decisions.
Shein describes itself as an international B2C fast-fashion e-commerce platform. Although it heavily downplays its roots (there is no mention of China on its website), Shein is a Chinese company headquartered in Nanjing. It services more than 220 countries and has warehouses around the world, including in Los Angeles.
According to internet analyst Matthew Brennan, Shein controls its entire production chain, utilizes competitors websites, Google Trend Finder, and in-app user behavior to forecast demand… then recruits its own designers to create a robust/responsive product catalog. This allows the brand to pump out thousands of new products daily, all tailored to the tastes of the various regions it serves.
Interestingly, Shein does not sell in China. It is export only, so most Chinese consumers have never heard of it. That’s one of the reasons for its low media profile within China. Instead, Shein targets the U.S. market, Europe, South America, and the Middle East. Little is known about its CEO, American-born Chris Xu. He doesn’t give interviews, nor does Shein itself.
If you’re here looking for 2021 Shein reviews, you’re probably here for details on the shopping experience! So, let’s break down those pros and cons…
Paisley Dress ($14) – I wear this all the time!
First, let’s be realistic… When shopping Shein, you need to consider what you’re spending. We can’t possibly expect haute couture at an under $25 price point. If you’re looking for high quality, durable garments you’ll wear for decades… Shein isn’t for you. However, it does have its uses. And from my perspective, is continually improving!
Although Shein’s website is broad and a touch overwhelming, it has an uncanny ability to offer suggestions that match what I’m looking for. Sometimes I feel like it’s reading my mind! I’ve had the most luck with dresses, skirts, and blouses/blazers.
While Shein sizing has been getting more consistent over the years, I still don’t recommend purchasing pants or any super slim cut styles. In general, Shein runs smaller and shorter than U.S. retailers. As a petite, that’s a positive for me! However, taller ladies should pay close attention to the lengths on sizing guides so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises.
It has super fun/super cheap swimwear. If you want something daring, this is a great place to test new swim styles (below are a few styles catching my eye). On the flip side, Shein isn’t the place I’d turn for wardrobe staples or classic pieces. Shein fabrics can be sheer and stiff. I’ve had some pieces that feel amazingly high quality, while others seemed scratchy and rough. This is a tough thing to gauge based on product and customer photos alone.
That’s where reviews come in. Read… them… carefully!
Additionally, keep in mind that quality increases along with the price point on Shein. For example, the beautiful bridesmaid/event dress pictured above is $43. That’s expensive for Shein. Consequently, the dress was remarkable in quality. It has padded cups, a secondary lining, and the fabric moves beautifully.
Shein has also launched a premium collection, MOTF. MOTF offers better construction/higher quality fabrics and unique designer silhouettes. When shopping Shein, I typically stick to the $15-40 price range. Unless it’s swimwear, I don’t recommend buying anything under $10 from Shein. Under $10 finds are pretty lackluster in quality. Shein also has a growing line up of plus size styles and children’s clothing.
Puffed Sleeve Blouse (on sale for $11.49)
Shipping has gotten a lot faster since I first began ordering from Shein. I live in Lafayette, Ind. and typically receive my Shein orders within 1-2 weeks.
I haven’t ever returned anything from Shein, so I can’t personally speak to the return process. Because of the super low price point, if something doesn’t work out, I usually donate it. Here is what Shein’s website says about returns:
You must send back and postmark your return packages within 45 days after the purchase date. No returns made after 45 days from the purchase date will be accepted.
Shipping is free on your 1st return for any order. You must use the shipping label they provide.
If you are returning something beyond that 1st free return order, then $7.99 in shipping will be deducted from your refund. You also have to option to use your own shipping method and cost to get your return back to Shein.
Would love to hear your perspective on the experience! Drop me a note in the comments and please pass along any questions you may have.