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Shein Shopping 101: How to Shop the Popular Online Retailer Like a Pro

“Is it safe to order from Shein? Are the clothes actually that good of quality? How long does shipping take? What is sizing like?” This article is answering all of those questions and more to ensure you have a successful shopping experience on Shein.

What is Shein?

Madrid, Spain - February 23, 2023: Logo of fast fashion retailer Shein and it's online store on mobile phone.

Before I get into my Shein shopping tips, I should probably explain what kind of store Shein is in case you haven’t heard of them yet. Shein is an online women’s clothing store based out of China. They feature fast-fashion pieces…meaning, many items will look similar to pricey designer pieces, but will be VERY inexpensive but also not as high of quality (obviously) as the original pieces. At first glance, Shein’s prices seem too good to be true, and there is always a negative stigma about ordering online goods from overseas companies.

However, if you follow these tips, you can have a fabulous time shopping on Shein.

1. Look at Sizes for EVERYTHING & Know Your Measurements 

Shein shopping tips - where to find the measurements on an item

The sizes on Shein’s website vary…A LOT. I am anywhere from an XSmall – XLarge, depending on the clothing item I’m ordering. It really does vary that much! So, know your measurements before ordering from Shein. 

Once you know your measurements, you’ll want to compare them to the Shein item’s body measurements. These are not the default measurements shown on Shein products – you’ll have to click “body measurements” to get the proper measurements. Product measurements are the default setting on Shein items – which are the measurements of the product itself. This is good to know if you want to know the length of an item, for example.

2. When in Doubt, Size UP

Lindsey of Have Clothes, Will Travel wearing a Shein maxi skirt.
Lindsey of Have Clothes, Will Travel wearing a Shein maxi skirt.

If you’re in between sizes on an item on Shein, and you’re not sure what to order…always size up. I have yet to have this method fail me. The majority of items do seem to run on the small side.

3. Be Wary of Items that Don’t Have Customer Photos

Lindsey of Have Clothes, Will Travel wearing too small Shein pajamas.

Looking at the photos and Shein reviews uploaded by customers can be very helpful in determining what an item will look like. In my experience, Shein items DO generally look like the product photos on the website – but there have been times when this has NOT been the case for me!

The PJs I ordered above did NOT have any customer photos when I ordered them… and I see why now. They didn’t look or fit quite like the product image!

4. Check Shein Promo Codes

Lindsey of Have Clothes, Will Travel wearing a Shein maxi dress.

Shein is always running some sort of sale or promo code on their website. Be sure to check their homepage for the latest sales and promo codes before you checkout.

5. Order Several Weeks Before Any Event You’re Trying to Shop For

Turks and Caicos Packing List - swimwear and cover ups are a must
Lindsey of Have Clothes, Will Travel wear a Shein swimsuit coverup.

Shipping on average takes 2 weeks. I ordered from them while in the US, Japan, Australia, and Russia. No matter what country I was in my order took about 2 weeks. So, their shipping estimates are quite accurate.

However, if you’re trying to dress for a specific event, don’t risk it! Order at least 3 weeks in advance! Also, shipping costs are quite reasonable. It’s free for US orders over $29.00 and only $3.99 for orders less than $29.00.

6. For Best Results – Order Swimsuits, Athletic Clothing, Skirts, or Tops 

A sun hat and swimsuits are the most important clothes to bring to Turks and Caicos!
Lindsey of Have Clothes, Will Travel wearing a Shein swimsuit.

I’ve had the best luck with swimsuits and Shein activewear. (Their skirts and tops have also, generally, been of good quality, in my experience.) My Shein swimsuits and workout clothing have lasted through countless wears and washings now. I am very impressed!

However, I’ve always been underwhelmed with outerwear and accessories from Shein. I have a friend who also ordered their shoes, and while they are nice-looking shoes, she, unfortunately, had the heel snap off after a few months of wear. So, I do not recommend Shein shoes, accessories, or outerwear.

7. Be Aware of Shein’s Return Policy

Lindsey of Have Clothes, Will Travel wearing a Shein cape dress.

Here is Shein’s return policy per their website as of January 25, 2023:

  • You have a maximum of 35 days from the date of your purchase to make a return. Your return package must be postmarked within 35 days after the purchase date. Returns postmarked after 35 days from the purchase date will not be accepted.
  • Return Shipping is free on your 1st return package for any order. You must use the return label (“Return Label”) we provide (See “How do I make a return?” section for details), then ship the return package postmarked within 35 days from the purchase date.
  • If you have already returned item(s) from an order but would like to make additional returns of item(s) in the same order, you can use the Return Label we provided, and a $7.99 shipping fee will be deducted from your refund.
  • Please note that any additional returns must be postmarked within 35 days of the purchase date

8. Adjust Your Expectations

Lindsey of Have Clothes, Will Travel wearing a white eyelet midi skirt from Shein.
Lindsey of Have Clothes, Will Travel wearing a white eyelet midi skirt from Shein.

If you’re someone who normally spends $50+ on a skirt and then you order a $15 skirt from Shein… there are going to be some noticeable differences in quality compared to what you’re used to. However, for $15, it’s going to be a quite nice skirt. Just don’t expect it to be on the same level as its designer counterpart or the top you just bought from Nordstrom. I’m 9 times out of 10 really happy with the quality of the product I get based on the price.

9. Wash your Shein Clothing Before Wearing

Shein pajamas review of shorts set
Lindsey of Have Clothes, Will Travel wearing Shein pajamas.

Personally, I think it’s a good idea to wash ANY new clothing before you wear it. This is especially a good idea, though, if you are buying clothing that is made from polyester or nylon, as the dyes used on these clothing items can cause allergic reactions, according to dermatologists. (Most of Shein’s clothing is made from polyester, too.) Washing your new Shein clothing can help prevent any unwanted allergic reactions to the dyes used on the clothing. 

10. Shein is also available on Amazon

CHIANG MAI,THAILAND - OCT 01, 2017 : iPhone 6s showing Amazon logo and credit card shopping online. Amazon.com, Inc. American international electronic commerce company.
Editorial credit: Worawee Meepian / Shutterstock.com

If shopping on Shein is still a bit intimidating for you… you also order Shein clothing on Amazon. (The dress I’m wearing above is available on both Shein and Amazon.) The selection of Shein clothing on Amazon is not as good as it is on the Shein site. However, you will have access to Prime shipping & free returns then.

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