This year, the lid was kinda-sorta blown off a string of clothing websites based in China. Buzzfeed covered the story, and many familiar, cheap sites, Romwe among them, were mentioned. Is Romwe legit? Are any of them legit? Is it all just a scam?
I’ve shopped at some of these sites in the past, Romwe and Shein among them, and while I do think there is definitely a higher risk associated with shopping from these foreign, cheapish sites, I also think that getting a great deal shopping at these websites is absolutely possible.
First off, here are the sites mentioned in the article I have personally bought clothing from (this post is sponsored in no way, even though I have worked with a couple of these brands in the past). I have shopped at: Romwe, Shein, Choies, and Sammy Dress. I have not bought clothing from Rosewe, Rosegal, Zaful, or TideBuy. Here are some tips!
Don’t buy if the pictures look like they’ve been stolen from other sources.
If the photos look too glossy or ad-like, or if they aren’t the typical model against a white backdrop kind of photos, then I would steer clear. These sites have been known to lift images from fashion blogs, magazines, and from websites like Free People.
Check for customer reviews and, most important, customer images.
The items I recently received from Romwe and from Shein both contained customer images, which were in large part responsible for my comfort ordering the items. I got to see what real people looked like wearing the clothes, and I also looked for fashion blog images. That’s what fashion blogs are here for—to wear real clothes and to provide a different perspective of the fashion industry. So look for these images rather than the modeled ones.
I personally loved the look of the Shein dress I recently wore on here, and I got like a dozen compliments. I’ve worn it a few times already, and I truly love it.
If it looks too cheap and too nice, it’s probably too good to be true.
I’ve had many experiences, as I’m sure a lot of you have, of clicking into a clothing website from a Facebook ad and seeing a very different second photo than the initial ad photo. Click out. It’s just going to be a very poorly made knockoff.
Pay very close attention to the item’s measurements.
I’ve had two very good experiences lately, with Romwe and Shein, which prompted me to write about these sites in the first place. With Romwe, from which I received this red romper, I measured the dresses and rompers I already owned to make sure this one would be long enough for me (I hate too-short rompers). I know these sites’ sizing can be wonky, but taking that extra step really made a difference for me. I love that item, and I got a lot of compliments on it.
Expect to get what you paid for.
This sounds obvious, but if you’re paying $30 for a prom dress, the likelihood that it’ll look like a department store gown is very slim. For example, I’ve had a very bad experience with Sammy Dress. I ordered a few things a couple years ago, all of which were obviously not the items photographed. I got totally scammed. I also have had some sizing issues with Choies, but I’ve only ever had good experiences with Shein. I’ve purchased clothing from them before, and more recently, my sister asked for over-the-knee boots from that store for Christmas. I was skeptical buying them, but they ended up looking perfect!
The bottom line is that these sites are “fast fashion” in the truest sense of the word, but if you’re looking for trends, a deal, and some affordable fashion, it’s not a bad choice. At least you’ll be more aware of how to navigate the pitfalls.