A Fat Girl’s Guide to Shein

So what’s the deal with Shein? This site has gained in popularity over the past year with thousands of YouTubers and influencers posting their hauls online for the world to see. It’s an inexpensive clothing website based in Asia with fashionable looks that attract lots of people looking for style on a budget. It has a straight size section for those between sizes XS-XL (but because it’s Asian sizing, it’s more like XXXS-M), but there is also a huge plus size section with sizes 1XL-5XL.

With over 8000 items available in the plus size section, it can be daunting to know even where to start! With fashionable curvy clothing options only becoming available within the last 5-10 years, it can still be overwhelming for a plus size person to know how to shop for current, trendy looks. But don’t fret! We have some tips for you to shop this site and find some dope fatshion styles that you’ll surely rock. BTW, we are NOT being sponsored by Shein for this article, but just wanted to share some tips with our fellow fat girls who’ve heard about this site, but haven’t taken the plunge yet.

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As the singer D'Angelo once said, "I found my smile again 😄" A few months ago I was in a dark place as my anxiety and depression kept eating away at me. In an effort to rehabilitate myself, I escaped to the Pacific Northwest where I could stay with my parents and not have to pay rent so I could put that money towards healthcare. During the first month I got my IUD removed (which I highly suspected was a big contributor to my health issues), started taking antidepressants and supplements, met with a therapist once a week, and walked every day for at least 30 minutes. And what do you know? After 3 months of healthy habits, I feel like an entirely new person. I had a check in with my doctor a couple days ago to see my progress and she was shook with how well I am doing and how happy I look. Even when my boyfriend visited last month he said he noticed that I'm glowing ✨ I feel so lucky that I could turn my health around in such a short time, because I know not everyone has it that easy. But I'm so happy I have so much hype for life again. I working on my musical again, writing blog posts, sleeping normally, making travel plans. It's so exciting!

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Double Check the Measurements

Shein is notorious for slapping a random size on a piece and making you think it will actually fit because it says it’s a 4XL. Well, every item is different and has different measurements. Thankfully there is a handy dandy sizing chart with every item and you can double check if it really will fit you. Sometimes their 3XL is more like an XL, but sometimes their 1XL is more like a 4XL. It’s so random! Grab a measuring tape and make sure you know your bust, waist, and hip numbers so you can shop smarter.

Check the Fabrication

Along with your measurements it’s essential that you look at the fabrication. In the Description tab is where you will find the fabric content. The trick is to look at the fabric and notice if it has stretch or not. For me, stretch is key especially in fitted tops and pants.

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Twirlin’ into Fall like 💃🏾 I’m not gonna lie, I dread the cold weather. For the past few years I’ve been leaving the U.S. just before the big chill ❄️ I much prefer the sunshine on my face and the sand beneath my toes. Which is why I’m heading to Asia next week! 🌴 In my #newpost I’m sharing my #plussizetravel schedule through the end of the year. 🗓 One of the questions I’m asked most often is how do I afford my #DigitalNomad lifestyle. I break it down a bit in my latest post. Where I reveal where I’m going for my next @workawayinfo. Head to the #linkinbio to read my latest #blogpost. 📸 @girlgonetravel 📍@flxwinecountry #FatGirlsTraveling #TravelInclusivity #Fingerlakes #FatCampFingerLakes

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For woven items or pieces without stretch I always size up. And honestly, I don’t usually take the risk in tops or pants, but I’ll try a woven dress or skirt.

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Wassup fam! 👋👋 I'm in Thailand… . . . and I haven't stopped sweating since my plane landed. This heat is no joke! Slowly waiting for my puddle of a body to acclimate. 😅😅 But in the mean time, you know I keep it cool. . . How I've not died from the heat thus far: – Ducking into 7/11 (there's plenty) because their air-con is always blasting. – Cool watermelon street side iced drinks from kind Thai women. – Lots of water & sunscreen – Finding shelter while embracing some culture, if in Bangkok, I suggest this absolutely jaw dropping Buddist temple, Wat Pho. . . . You'll forget the heat when you see the 46m reclining Buddha gleaming in all its glory. The free water was so convenient and there are so many beautiful twist and turns that will keep you occupied for hours. . . . To further distract you from how much I'm sweating (it's a lot) this picture is one of the first I've taken with my @gopro 7. Let me tell you guys, I'm in love. 😍 . . . . #watpho #bangkokthailand #visitbangkok #exploretocreate #explorethailand #visitthailand #travelgang #travelbug #travelinclusivity #biggirlsdoitbetter #biggirlswinning #biggirlshavestyle #digitalnomadgirls #fatgirlsbewinning #fatgirlstraveling #fatgirlsfashion #livingmybestlife #iamtb #voyagingvagabond #plussizelife #plussizegirl #plussizeootd #enjoytheride #shein #gopro #gopro7 #goprohero7black #gopro_moment

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Take Chances for Cheap

The nice thing about Shein is that it’s so damn cheap! If you get an item and it doesn’t work for you, it’s not much of a financial investment and you can obviously return it. There are trends that call to me, but I’ve been too scared to try. Buying it in a store would likely be 3 times the price of Shein. So I suggest taking a chance, it’s completely worth the risk and it’s fairly likely you’ll love the look.

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Red Sea cruising 🌊

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Swimsuits are a Steal

You’re probably thinking, with plus size swimsuits this cheap, they can’t be that great. I am here to tell you that you my friend, are wrong. I am a huge lover of Shein’s plus size swimwear section! I can’t stand how expensive plus size bathing suits can be. During the summer I spend as much time as I can in the water so being able to buy 6 suits and spend less than $100 is ideal.

I’ve purchased one pieces, monokinis and bikinis from the site. More often than not I’ll find that the sizing does run a bit smaller when it comes to swimsuits. While I would typically wear a 1-2XL when wearing a one piece,  I always order a size 4XL on Shein to accommodate my larger chest. Like we said early, checking the measurements is so important. The only downside is I wish I could mix and match bathing suit tops and bottoms when shopping for bikinis. I always run larger on tops and then have to size down 1 or two sizes for bottoms. Being able to only pick one size for bikinis may not be ideal but I’ve only had to (quickly) alter one or two bottoms because they were too large.

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The last two weeks have been the most difficult and most rewarding of the year. I’ve pushed myself past my comfort zone and been extremely vulnerable. Throughout that time the things I feared most happened. • • My vulnerability was used against me. My vulnerability was seen as a weakness. I was taken advantage of. I was underestimated. I was disrespected. • • I’ve learned that vulnerability is my 💥SUPERPOWER 💥 Because regardless of how I was treated. Regardless of what was said about me I refuse to let the fear of judgment keep me from living FULLY. • • To me, living fully looks like taking risks, making mistakes, crying when I get overwhelmed, then pulling it together and getting shit DONE. • • I’m forever grateful to everyone who’s supported me and believed in me. Today I’m especially grateful for the naysayers, the haters, the people who didn’t think I could do it. Because sometimes, I’m right there with you. I doubt myself. I second, third and sometimes over guess myself out of taking risks. • • But the feeling I get when I DO risk it all and come out on the other side stronger, smarter, and more determined than ever. Is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. ✨ #FatGirlsTraveling #FatCamp2019 #TravelInclusivity

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I will say that some suits are better than others and keeping an eye on the reviews from past purchases is important. You’ll be able to sift through and determine which will fall off when you jump into a pool or which suits will keep you secure during a day of river tubing.

Read the Reviews

I cannot stress this enough, but the reviews will save you time and money. I’ve fallen in love with an item based on the photos and then read the reviews and quickly fell out of love after learning its flaws. Sometimes the fabric is low quality or the fit is off.

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I just did my first live audition in 5 years and the best word to describe it was "crusty." Since leaving college, I started focusing on travel and my career, and theatre got left behind while I pursued these other things. And last year, when I got to be a part of a show again (via a taped audition that let me redo as many takes as I needed to, thank God), I was reintroduced to my first love and knew I needed it to be a part of my life again. So perhaps my first audition in a minute shouldn't have been at The Met Opera where I was completely out of my element and had to sing an Italian aria that my voice does not fit. But even with how nervous I was and how not great the vocals were in those two minutes in the room, I am glad I went and did it and now I can focus on practicing for my actual singing genre of musical theatre and keep auditioning and see if there's a place for me in the New York theatre scene 🎭

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The first few times I ordered from Shein I didn’t pay much mind the the reviews and I seriously regretted it. I would receive my orders and realize that outfits were completely different materials than I anticipated or colors were severely off. Paying more attention to the reviews helped me avoid going through the return process.

Maybe the reviews will say it’s amazing and confirm for you that you definitely should get it. Most items have at least a few reviews, so see what people are saying to get a better idea of what will actually arrive in the mail.

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Yesterday was a difficult day for me. You never know what someone is going through, despite what it looks like on the outside. In honor of #mentalhealthawarenessmonth and transparency, I’m about to open ALL THE WAY up! I’m nervous because I don’t want to hurt my friends. But I have to speak my truth! • I’m currently in a live/work position and all the meals are eaten communally. Through fat activism I’ve been able to work through a lot of my negative self talk issues, internalized fatphobia and diet culture bull shit. But sharing 3 meals a day with new people and old friends has revealed the toxic food environment I’m currently in. • The thing I know for sure is that the people here love and support me. But they also dread becoming fat. At every meal people talk about how many calories are in what we’re eating. Some even watch what others eat and report it to friends back home. • Everyone here is doing everything they can to not be fat. They talk about it with such disdain, but then love up on me. As a fat person, that shit does not feel good. And in the end, their actions are #fatphobic. But since this movement is so new that many haven’t even heard of it. And diet culture is so prevalent and acceptable. It’s a WHOLE fucking job to even explain my feelings of discomfort and othering. Because unknowingly, everyone here has bought into the lie that skinny = happy/healthy. They don’t understand that that implies that being fat = unhappy/unhealthy. • I’m at a crossroads, I know I should separate myself during meal times because, self-care. I know that people would ask why I’m not joining for meals and I’d have to either down play it or really explain how uncomfortable I am during meal times with this group. I don’t want to police meal times, but I have to protect myself and my mental health. • Even as the leader of a fat positive group I get tired and beaten down by the messaging that tells me to hate my body. #BodyPositivity is a journey, not a destination and yesterday I got a flat tire, but today I’m feeling better, stronger and ready to be vulnerable and share what’s really behind my smile. 💚 #FatGirlsTraveling #fuckfatphobia #dietculturedropout

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Don’t Sleep on the Accessories

Shein has a great selection of accessories and home goods that should not be ignored. If you’re feeling that the clothes aren’t speaking to you, check the other categories on the site. The jewelry, bags, beauty items, and shoes are definitely worth a look. The home decor section has cute and quirky items for such a great price.

I always stock up on sunglasses! They’ll typically run between $4-8 dollars which is perfect for me since I’m always breaking, forgetting or losing my sunglasses. To be fair though, despite the low price tag there are sunglasses that I’ve purchased from Shein that have lasted me over a year.

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Steph has always been the practical one in this relationship. . . . Where my mind always looks to the next destination and the best flight deal, Steph reminds me that retirement plans are a thing and rent exists. BUT she never holds me back. She keeps me responsible and will always drive me to the airport. She won't even test me when I repeat my go-to mantra "don't worry baby it will all work out." . . . Since she's way better at adulting than I am we don't always get the chance to travel internationally together, our last trip being back in 2016. The beginning of the year I made her pinkie promise that we would take AT LEAST (😈) one international trip this year. . . . Which is how I managed to convince Steph to come to Thailand. Wellllll the endless supply of noodle soup and pad thai absolutely worked in my favor too. It feels really good to have her here and these trips always feel extra special because we're sharing it together. . . . . 👭FOR MY FELLOW LESBIAN/BISEXUAL TRAVELERS👭 Thailand marks #22 for countries visited as an openly gay couple. I'm beyond thrilled to report that our love has never batted an eye here and we have been warmly accepted everywhere we've gone thus far. As I write this, Steph and I are in the middle of heavenly $8 foot massages and very much so HAPPY AF. . . . . .#lgbtcouple #traveltogether #travelingcouples #coupleswhotravel #lesbiancouple #travelgirls #wearetravelgirls #wearetravelgays #globalgaygirlgang #lesbiansofig #lesbehonest #lgbtinfluencer #lgbtcouple #creativetravelcouple #couplelove #iamtb  #loveislove #lgbt #lesbians #visitthailand #kohphanang #lgbtequality #lgbtpride #gaypride #allweneedislove #loveisfreedom #loveforall #shein #couplesgoals

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Make a User Account to Stack up Rewards Points

If you’re like me, you’re not always willing to devote the 2 minutes it takes to create a user account when shopping online. I ALWAYS choose “Guest Checkout,” but in the case of Shein you should really create a user account.

The user account is great to stay up to date with any tracking information from your orders, help you remember past purchases and makes returns significantly either. Having past orders to reference are so helpful when remembering how something fit or what size you purchased for certain styles. There are even perks of creating a user account too! Each time you make a purchase, confirm a delivery or leave a review you’re given Shein Points. These points can be applied to purchases to get a sweet discount!

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I've been back in London for 5 days and I have so much to tell you! It's been a wild week, but I am so happy to be here 🥰 We arrived on Tuesday morning and I got to use the E-Gates at the airport for the first time which took a minute to get through, which was amazing since I usually get grilled at immigration 😂 After dropping off our luggage, obviously I went to @primark immediately. The next day, I met up with a dear friend, picked up my UK bank card, signed up for a new phone plan, obtained my biometric residency permit, and saw @hamiltonwestend (for which due to my jetlag, I fell asleep during the second act 😭). On Thursday morning, we checked out of our temporary accommodation and asked to hold our luggage there, only to find out that overnight the company went under, so we had to vacate the premises immediately 😬 We killed time until heading to our Airbnb we're staying at for September, and finally could relax a bit and unpack. On Friday, I got my hair done by the lovely @dhairdoctor_officiallondon (whom I found through @whatdettedoes 🙏🏾) and now I have dope faux locs that I'm excited to rock. It feels so good to have things coming together and for the jetlag to finally be drifting away. Our flat is near @godsownjunkyard, so we took a little walk there this morning and I acted like the Insta-ho I am at heart. I can't wait to keep the momentum going in my new London home 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

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Returns are Easy

One of the best things is how simple the return process is. There will be items that are marked as final sale. You’ll be able to clearly see those items when you are finalizing your cart. However, if you find that there are some things in your order you’re simply not loving then rest assure, returns are a breeze. You’ll want to save any bags that the items of clothing came in and put together whatever you’d like to send back.

If you’ve made a user account then making a return is just 5 simple steps:

1. Sign into your SHEIN account.
2. Find the order in My Orders, click the “Return Item” button.
3. Select the item(s) you would like to return, indicate the reason, and submit.
4. Print the return label and securely tape it on the outside of your return package.
5. Call the post office to arrange a collection or drop off at your nearest post office.

Shein will accept any returns postmarked within 60 days of your purchase date. If you use their return label within 40 days from your purchase, they’ll cover the shipping cost. If you accidentally forgot to return that dress within the 40 days don’t you fret, a $7.99 fee will be deducted and you have to cover shipping costs BUT you still have an extra 20 days to return it.

Shein is the affordable, on-trend retailer plus size girls have been waiting for. With price tags that don’t make our wallets wince and styles being added daily there are SO many options for ladies that feel limited in the style world. So go ahead and get yourself a big haul. Try new trends that you were worried about spending too much money on. Buy those extra pair of earrings. Go on girl, treat yourself! 💖

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