I'm not quite sure the algorithm used for the targeted advertisement that is always popping up on my Facebook thread. But who knew clicking once on the link "The Tea that Kate Middleton drinks for her post-baby bod" would mean that I was perpetually pregnant and in search of every herbal laxative on the market. So I was in a Facebook black hole; you know the hole i'm talking about, the one where you are clicking from one person to the next and you find yourself so wrapped up in a photo album of some chick you've never met before and have concluded that her boyfriend is cheating on her. Yes, in that hour i will never gain back, I found myself clicking on a link from her page luring me with the words "Designer styles 42% off". Peculiar, i thought. First, the site had a name that was a strange combination of words not relating to designer or fashion, and 42%?? What a very specific discount. This click unleashed a slew of discount websites bombarding my FB thread. You might already know the sites: Rosegal, Shein, Sheinside, Zaful, Lovedolly, etc. The promises of Haute Hippie inspired rompers for $12.47 and Mara Hoffman body-con look-alikes for $8.12 were just too good to be true. So what's the catch?? I scoured the internet for reviews, insight and legitimacy on these sites. There was little feedback other than these sites were based out of China and delivery was longer than average. So I succumbed when my feed was hit with yet another "Today 28% off your favorite two piece crop dresses!!" Dammit facebook algorithms YOU GOT ME! I am a sucker for cheap fashion and dammit I have been debating on whether i can pull off a crop top! So i succumbed and went on a shopping spree....TWICE. Here are my reviews and insights on two of these fast fashion websites.
Pros-There is always a sale at Shein.com, Discounts are offered at different amounts everyday and the items are priced so low you can really fill your bag and not break the bank.
Cons- They mislead you by saying "Spend $100 and receive 20% off!" when most items are not eligible for these sales. However it's no big deal if you end up paying full price for your $10 maxi dress. I ended up paying full price for all 7 of my items which added up to a whopping $98 dollars.
Pros- There is a multitude of fashion options that you can browse for hours. The catalog imagery is a mixed bag of nuts but they offer product reviews from actual customers and an option to share images of yourself wearing your purchase. Super helpful in getting an idea of the quality and real life look of these items.
Cons- The big issue is the return policy, you basically can't return ANYTHING. The only exception is if there is a flaw or it was inaccurately describe and even then they don't make it easy. You are require to take photos, and show measurements for them to analyze your reasons for return and then after much deliberation you still have to pay to ship returns back for review. God forbid you decide the corset D&G knock off you got for $7.63 was just not your taste. You unfortunately have to keep it.
Conclusion-Shipping, although it took longer than a domestic purchase (10-12 business days), was communicated from the beginning and arrived in two separate packages based on availability within the time promised. Quality was similar to Forever 21 but a fraction of Forever 21 prices if that is even possible. Also styles were unique enough that no one would know where you purchased them and if paired with a pair of Jimmy Choo's and a Saint Laurent clutch no one would have to know you spent $19.83 on your dress. Of the 7 items only 2 were a bust. Overall not too bad of an experience! Check out some of my purchases...
Zaful.com is a very similar style of website as Shein.com with the abundance of items and a great user reviews system that allows you to see "real people" wearing the clothes and their reviews of the quality and service. It also has the same difficult return policy, therefore you know that whatever you purchase you have to be willing to part with the money no matter what.
Pros- Trendy interface with a touch more stylish options than Shein.com with comparable prices.
Cons- Zaful rhymes with Awful. Doesn't quite roll off the tongue like Neiman Marcus.
Pros- You can pay through PayPal which means your credit card is protected from any potential fraud.
Cons- Shipping can potentially split into two completely different orders. They don't share what is on backorder even if you have ordered it and instead they just continue to notify you that the item will be two more weeks....and two more weeks... and two more weeks...
Conclusion- Zaful's website and items had a more stylish on trend feel than Shein. I purchased a dress that was essentiially a Free People dress (tags and all) for under $20 that I LOVE. However of the 4 items I ordered I only received 2 and was promised the remaining 2 eight weeks after the initial order. The feedback process was slow, and cancelling the order was a week long process. Although i did receive my money back, the hassle for a $32 spend was just not worth it.
Here are the items i received...