Updated July 24, 2022
There comes a point in the life of every Clothes Horse Mom when she finally breaks down and places an order at Shein.com. You’ve seen the Shein ads. All those images of gorgeous, flowing tea-length dresses and cropped chunky sweaters. They promise you that a fashionable life of ease and cool staples await, all for $11.90 each.
And all of that awaits your kids, too.
It’s not a sustainable brand, but it has cute clothes and amazing things – or so the pictures suggest. It’s a matter of weeding through the negative reviews to find some great quality items. Or at least reasonably good quality.
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CAN KIDS WEAR SHEIN CLOTHES?
Yes, kids can wear SHEIN. Babies too. All the latest baby and children’s clothing trends are on SHEIN, copycatting major fashion players within seconds of their new fashion drops.
Thus it was a stroke of curiosity more than impulsivity. I wondered what the quality of Shein.com kids’ clothes was going to be like. Was the pricing completely too good to be true, or a total rip-off?
Amid a sea of SHEIN clothes reviews, here’s one mom’s review.
Spoiler alert: the quality isn’t Badgley Mischka or Stella McCartney.
HERE ARE THE SHEIN KIDS’ GARMENTS I GOT AND HOW I RATE THE QUALITY.
I purchased 11 different SHEIN kids clothes items totaling $99.09, with taxes and shipping included. I purchased 5 dresses for my 3 year-old-daughter and an assortment of different tops, bottoms, and rompers for my 10-month-old son. (I should also note that I got 5% cash back from my total purchase for shopping on Shein.com through Swagbucks, making it as though I really spent only $94.14.)
I chose to spend $100 on the purchase to get a true idea of SHEIN quality and style.
Item #1 Butter Yellow Short-Sleeve Dress with Peter Pan Collar and Shirred Bodice for $12.60
Verdict: 3 of 5 Stars
Review: Made of very thin cotton, muslin. Semi-transparent. The stitches are large. The shirred bodice isn’t Boden quality smocking, but still a nice feature. The peter pan collar with embroidered detail is even cuter in real life. You can find cute dresses and tops with Peter Pan collars starting at $8. I don’t do slips, but I would buy a slip to wear underneath.
Note: While you can find Peter Pan collared garments ultra cheap, I’m more inclined to find ones priced $13 or $14 and up to be higher in quality, like this denim tiered ruffle dress with peter pan collar.
Item #2 Wheat-Print Short Sleeve Dress with Teal Twill Trim Yoke Collar for $10.80
Verdict: 4 of 5 Stars
Review: One of my favorites. This dress is made of thicker, sturdier cotton in a cute retro print. The stitches are smaller and neatly made. The thicker twill fabric in a contrasting color is a very nice touch on the yoke collar. The dress isn’t lined. I wasn’t expecting it to be, but that would have bumped up my rating by half a star.
SHEIN twill dresses are priced a bit higher, but generally, you’re getting a thicker, sturdier fabric. Obviously, reading Shein reviews (that are detailed and helpful) and looking at close-up pics will be your best barometer of garment quality.
Item #3 Retro (1930’s) Blue Floral Print Swing Dress with Ruffle Collar for $9.90
Verdict: 4 of 5 Stars
Review: I love the 1920’s and 1930’s look of this dress. I’m a sucker for retro, and SHEIN has plenty of vintage-inspired dresses. The print is fantastic, and I’m already plotting out future quilting and crafting projects with the fabric. It’s semi-transparent, but with the busy print that doesn’t bother me. I was expecting thin, lightweight material. The hidden zipper is a nice touch. With a cardigan and tights, she can wear this into fall.
Update: Three months out, and my daughter still really loves this dress. I hate ironing, so I’ve tossed them in the dryer on gentle cycle with a damp wash cloth to take out the wrinkles. A nice perk of buying a sub $10 dress is you no longer fear the dryer.
Item #4 Short Sleeve Plaid Dress with Criss Cross Open Back and Ruffle Edge Sleeves for $8.10
Verdict: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Review: I would give this 2.75 stars, but I’m already splitting hairs at 2.5. I love the open-back. The color is much darker than pictured online but I still do like it a lot. The flutter sleeves and plaid print are cute, and with tights and a cardigan, my daughter can wear this post-summer. The fabric is very thin. And while the stitches are neat and uniform, close up they are white and rather large.
You can find other open-back dresses on SHEIN that have more structure. But then again, at age 3, she doesn’t have a lot of puckers and lumps she’s self-conscious of.
Item #5 Long Sleeve Light Pink Cord Dress w Polka Dots and Embellished Collar and Cuffs for $11.70
Verdict: 4 of 5 Stars
Review: This dress is cute, but it was listed as corduroy fabric so I was expecting a lightly textured feel. Instead, it’s just a soft, thick, smooth polyester feel. The fabric is sturdy and relatively thick. It’s very well stitched and has lots of nice extra embellishments. I would rate it higher, but the fabric isn’t 5-star quality and I think there should be more seam allowance along the bottom hem.
There are plenty of choices for cord dresses on SHEIN, many of them in earthier hues of bronze, brown, rust, and wheat. If I were to buy another cord dress on SHEIN, I’d go for a different color.
Item #6 Three-Piece Baby Boy Outfit with Button-Down, Shorts, and Bow-Tie for $8.10
Verdict: 4 of 5 Stars
Review: If you want a cute baby boy outfit for birthday pictures or Christmas cards, this little ensemble does the trick. The shirt doesn’t wrinkle. It’s listed as cotton-spandex, but the texture feels smoother like a thicker nylon-polyester blend. Think something Greg or Mike would wear from the Brady Bunch, but without all the shine. The elastic-waist shorts are made of a cotton-twill fabric. The stitches are large but well placed. The fabric feels stiff and starchy, but that’s helping the shorts keep their shape. A run through the washer will fix (or ruin) that.
Item #7 Nautical Themed Muscle Onesie for $4.00
Verdict: 3 of 5 Stars
Review: SHEIN has hundreds of cute onesies for cheap. On this onesie, the fabric is nice and soft, and the colors are crisp and bright. This looks like something you’d find at H&M. I would give it a perfect score, except the squid looks like it’s going to crack and peel badly if it goes through the washer. After the squid starts to crack, it’ll just be a layering piece.
Update: The squid hasn’t peeled! Somehow this onesie got lost at daycare. When or if it makes its way back home, I’ll let you know how it’s holding up.
Item #8 Short-Sleeve Cream Romper with Black Geo Print and Banana Appliqué for $5.40
Verdict: 4 of 5 Stars
Review: There are few things more adorable in life than a textured baby romper. SHEIN baby rompers and shorties aren’t, perhaps, as buttery or silky soft as Kyte, but they’re on trend and the fabric is smooth.
The material feels like a cotton bamboo blend, but the material composition is 95% cotton and 5% elastane. The material isn’t too thin and has a lot of give. The snaps are plastic and look cheap. I am worried they are going to break off during diaper changes. Fingers crossed.
Item #9 Darker Acid Washed Stretch Denim Hooded Romper for $9.00
Verdict 5 of 5 Stars
Review: I love a denim romper – for babes, kids, and moms. No ironing required! Structured fabric! SHEIN has around 100 to 200 denim rompers for kids and babies on their site. (Unlike other product categories, where there are thousands of options to sort through.)
This denim stretch romper is in a shade of dark blue acid wash. My photo makes it look more blue than it really is; it’s much closer to the SHEIN.com product photo. The material is thick and cozy with lots of stretch. The zipper is sturdy. This is a super well-constructed piece that I am excited for my son to wear. I wish they had it in my size. It’s on par with the quality I’d expect from Gap even though this doesn’t match Gap’s style aesthetic.
Most of their denim rompers are priced closer to the $15 to $18 range, which makes sense given denim is a thicker material.
Update: Henry wore this romper once and it fit super cute – especially with his hair combed up into a faux-hawk. Dad, however, hated the look. Said it reminded him of Pony Boy from The Outsiders or a greaser. That said, the fabric and zipper quality were good.
Item #10 Knit Gray Romper with Matching Bonnet for $9.00
Verdict: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Review: This grey cotton knit romper is sturdy and well constructed. It’s a thicker knit fabric, like a lightweight sweater. It’s not as soft as cashmere or more expensive fabrics, but I’ll confess: my baby doesn’t always deserve the best and the softest. Quality-wise, I would give it a 5 of 5 stars, except the buttons do look cheap.
Item #11 Knit Oatmeal Short Overalls with Matching Bonnet for $9.90
Verdict: 5 of 5 Stars
Review: These knit overalls with a matching bonnet make me want to stop everything and go do a woodland-themed photo shoot. Now.
The textured sweater knit material is acrylic, but still reasonably soft. But the buttons do look cheap. Despite some small flaws, this piece is so incredibly adorable I couldn’t possibly score it lower. I am sure if I’ll replace the buttons or not since they are firmly in place. I might try it on my son and then decide – I have a feeling once I see it on him, I won’t care.
Update: There are new baby jumpers and shortalls cropping up all the time on SHEIN. But 3 months after I purchased this set, it’s still going strong on SHEIN. I think it’s a testament to the quality of this product that it’s still selling well on a fast fashion website. Many high-end garments don’t have this type of longevity and would be price-slashed into oblivion by now.
WHAT SIZE IS 110 IN CHILDREN’S CLOTHES?
You’ll see sizing on Shein.com that’s unfamiliar to many U.S. shoppers, like size 110 or 140. This is in reference to a child’s height in centimeters.
Generally, a size 110 is equivalent to a US size 5, or size 4-5y or 5-6y. It coincides with a child who is 43.3 inches in height.
SHEIN KIDS’ SIZE CHART
This is a size equivalency chart for translating International or European sizes to US sizes for kids.
If your child is in-between two sizes on this size guide, I’d recommend sizing up.
SO WHAT AGE GROUP IS SHEIN FOR?
SHEIN is best known as a fast fashion retailer for women’s clothing, but SHEIN carries clothing for every size group and age group for men, women, boys, and girls. SHEIN even carries pet clothing for cats and dogs of all sizes and breeds.
- Babies and toddlers (from 0M – 3M to 5T)
Shein women’s sizes range from 00 to 22. Men’s sizes range from 28 to 42.
WHY IS SHEIN HATED?
Different people have beef with SHEIN for different reasons.
- SHEIN is a fast fashion company and is known for copycatting other brands. (But really, all fashion is emulative and derivative. Everyone scoops and influences everyone else. SHEIN does it on a much more massive scale.)
- SHEIN creates tons of cheap, fast fashion which is horrific for the environment. The brand’s omnipresence drives other labels to create cheap fashion and fuels overconsumption.
- SHEIN has a vast supply chain making 100% oversight of working conditions and safety impossible.
- SHEIN clothing is cheaply made and doesn’t fit or feel like designer clothing. Some of SHEIN’s garments are reasonably and neatly stitched. They’re made of reasonably thick fabric that fits comfortably and drapes well. Some of SHEIN’s garments are made of tissue-thin fabric, held together with large stitches and scan seam allowances.
- SHEIN is made in China. Many shoppers (and retailers) are opposed to all things made in China, mistakenly believing that all China-made garments are made unsafely and unethically.
DOES SHEIN USE SLAVERY?
On the retailer’s “Social Responsibility” page, it states that SHEIN “never, ever” uses forced labor. That said, 100% oversight is virtually impossible. But this is also true with every large fashion brand.
As a mammoth retailer, the supply chain network is vast. Shein works with thousands of factories, textile mills, and warehouses. There are many contractors, subcontractors, and subcontractors with contractors in that supply chain. There is no way to audit every person in their supply chain 24/7.
Pushing factories to churn out endless product at lightning speed is bound to lead to corner-cutting in terms of quality and worker safety.
Industry insiders do speculate that SHEIN gives their factories piecemeal guidelines and then allows for subcontracting for cheaper production of goods – and is then hands-off with all subcontractors.
With both the unconscionable wrong of using slave labor and the public fallout, finding slave labor anywhere in the supply chain is horrific. Every retailer’s worst nightmare.
And it’s not just fast fashion you need to be vigilant of. Slave labor has been used to harvest organic cotton for eco-friendly, sustainable clothing brands too. There are cases that come out every year. The U.S. Department of Labor has reported that slavery (“forced labor”) has been used to harvest organic cotton in eight countries, including India, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
DOES SHEIN USE SUPPORT CHILD LABOR?
Shein’s “Social Responsibility” page states that it “never, ever” uses child labor or forced labor. It’s morally unconscionable. And morals aside (if you believe SHEIN has none), it’s a PR nightmare. If this were a matter of practice or tolerance, consumers would come at PR with pitchforks.
Given the enormous size of Shein’s supply chain (contractors and subcontractors and subcontractors with contractors), SHEIN can’t have oversight over everyone 24/7. It’s impossible. This is a challenge for Zara, Mango, H&M, Target, Walmart, and even organic and eco-friendly clothing problems. The problem is massive and hard to stomp out. India is actively working to stomp out child labor in its cotton supply chain. And India is actually the major catalyst behind cotton picking slavery today. Even for “sustainable” brands.
WHERE IS SHEIN LOCATED IN THE UNITED STATES?
Shein has a warehouse located just outside of Los Angeles, California. Fulfillment can take up to 10 days for U.S. consumers, but orders filled at the California warehouse can get there in 2-3 days or less.
Salaries posted on Glassdoor for SHEIN positions in the US range from $14/hour for Pinterest engagement curators up to $100+ an hour for marketing managers.
IF I LIKE BUY SELL TRADE CLOTHING RESALE GROUPS, WHY DID I BUY SHEIN.COM KIDS CLOTHES?
1) Firstly, it’s because SHEIN is made in China so I thought the brand deserved a fair shake.
SHEIN and similar clothing brands get maligned for being “cheap made in China crap” – a paraphrase of every concern I’ve ever heard voiced about that brand. Even among liberals, in a woke age.
High-end products, green products, and products of questionable safety are made everywhere. Yet somehow “toxic”, “unsafe”, and “cheap” are adjectives reserved (specifically) for Made in China products. Let’s re-think how we view “Made in China” as being such a negative. Most of your closet comes from China – think Burberry, Nike, J. Crew, Levi’s, Old Navy, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. Many high-end European toy companies, like Hape and Brio Toys, manufacture your children’s eco-friendly, made-of-birchwood, uber-green toys in China. Even LEGOS are made in China.
2) Secondly, I was selective about what I bought from SHEIN Kids.
Several years back I purchased an array of $9 pants and $6 blouses from a third-party seller on Amazon. To call the garments cheaply made and paper-thin is an understatement. Thus, I was afraid to try SHEIN. I’d already been “ripped off” by an obscure Chinese company. I realized that was completely xenophobic.
I purchased items with highly rated yet honest SHEIN reviews (at least 4 of 5 stars), looking for reviews that were detailed, helpful, and written in English.
Three dozen perfect reviews mean nothing if there’s no qualitative data being shared about the garment’s look, cut, color, feel, and quality.
I also avoided products made of rayon, viscose, or polyester. I find cheap versions of these fabrics to drape poorly and wrinkle easily. I looked for items or fabrics described as “thick”, “knit” or that were made of cotton, jersey, corduroy, or denim.
3) Thirdly, I had reasonable expectations about SHEIN quality.
SHEIN kids’ clothes mimic the high-end styles you see from more expensive brands, but when they are a fraction of the cost you cannot expect the same quality.
As a grown-up woman with two kids (and scabby legs and cellulite), I wasn’t quite willing to shop for myself on SHEIN. The gamble, of winding up with a paper-thin dress held together by two-inch stitches and my sucked-in waistline, seemed too much. A semi-transparent dress on me is a liability, but a see-through cherry-print frock on a toddler? Less problematic.
For my kids, I got about what I had expected given the prices and reviews from Shein community members.
4) Finally, I wanted to understand what I was criticizing.
Shein undoubtedly produces cheap, fast fashion – an industry that is the globe’s number two contributor to carbon emissions and global warming. Shein is signaled out like none other. I have major, ethical qualms about that. It’s a constant struggle, balancing my quest for sustainability with the lure of fashion and consumerism.
If SHEIN is the biggest bad guy, should I understand what I’m criticizing?
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BUYING CLOTHES FROM SHEIN
SHEIN is all about cheap. You can find the latest fashions at a fraction of the price of upscale designers, and there is always a free shipping promo code or other coupon deal.
Just don’t order yourself a $17.90 chiffon dress for your wedding shower only to later lament, in tears, that the dress literally ruined your day because you looked nothing like Kate Middleton.
Those SHEIN ads for gorgeous, flowy clothing in shades of bronze and honeydew are tempting. If you do order from SHEIN, be smart about it. Keep in mind the color shade could be a bit off. Look for heavier fabrics on well-reviewed items with close-up pictures.
For SHEIN, as with any brand, look for garments that you can wear at least 14 times. If your closet is too full, or the quality is too questionable, or the trend is too fleeting for you to get in 14 wears, you may want to hold off. For fewer than 14 wears, you’re importing landfill trash. (Over 80% of “donated clothes” go to landfills because there’s too much of it in circulation throughout the globe.) The Earth needs less future donated clothing, not more of it.
And remember: any garment price tag ending in “.90” is not going to be duchess quality.
Fueling my coffee runs, this post may contain affiliate links. I stand behind the products I recommend.
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