Does Shein Run Small?

shein dress on a plus size woman

As a plus-size woman, clothing shopping comes with its own set of challenges. Like while I love finding cute plus-size clothes at an affordable price online, there’s really no way to try the clothes on and know they’re going to fit.

Size charts are generally reliable if you have your measurements, but not every manufacturer has them. This leaves you with a little guesswork if you like taking advantage of the styles and prices of plus-size clothing online. Something else that helps is knowing which manufacturers run true-to-size and when you need to size up.

So, does Shein run small?

Yes, clothes from Shein run a little small compared to the average American manufacturer. However, this sometimes changes based on the article of clothing. Try buying items that have already been reviewed by other customers. Usually, information on whether the item is too small, true-to-size, or too big is listed right over the customer reviews.

Below, we’ll talk a little more about Shein sizes and how they compare to some other plus-size clothing manufacturers. I’ll also give you some tips on how to shop on Shein as a plus-size woman.

Do Shein Clothes Run Small?

In some cases, clothes from Shein do run on the smaller side of things. While Shein doesn’t run as small as some other clothing brands, there is a slight difference between what you’d expect as far as typical American sizes and the size that comes in.

Something else to note is that Shein clothing comes in sizes that differ slightly from what you’d expect. For example, with a lot of clothing brands, the size 2X is a size 18/20. On Shein, however, the size 2X actually means size 16. Here’s a chart that explains what I’m talking about.

Sizing Typical Numerical Sizes Shein Numerical Sizes
0X N/A 12
XL (or 1XL on Shein) 16/18 14
2XL 18/20 16
3XL 20/22 18
4XL 22/24 20

Once you get the right size based on what you need, the clothes generally are a good fit. However, if you’re in between sizes or aren’t sure, I usually recommend going the next size up to avoid overstretching the fabric. Something else you’ll notice is that Shein has sizes like 0X and 1XL in plus-size clothing.

Most Shein clothes are made from synthetic fabric and a lot of them have at least a little stretch. If you stretch them too much though, it’s going to pull at the seams. I’ve also found a few of the items become almost see-through if you stretch them too much so you’ll want to avoid it for that reason, too.

Are Shein Clothes True-to-Size?

Some Shein clothing is true-to-size, as far as their own sizes and what you’d expect. However, you’ll want to use the information available to you like the sizing chart and the differences in Shein sizes compared to typical American clothing brand sizes to find out what size you actually need on their website. Someone who needs a 2XL in most cases might need to size up to a 3X or 4X on Shein.

Are Shein Clothes Too Big?

While it is possible for your clothes from Shein to run a little big, it’s less likely than Shein clothing fitting well or running a little small. Shein sizes tend to be a little smaller in most cases. However, if clothes do run big on an item that’s already been reviewed, it’s pretty easy to find this information when you’re shopping in the app!

Is Shein a Good Brand for Plus-Size Clothing?

In most cases, anywhere you shop for plus-size clothing is going to have its advantages and disadvantages. Ordering from Shein is no different. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of Shein.

Some of the Good Things About Plus-Size Clothing from Shein

There are some major advantages of shopping on Shein. The first one that really stood out to me was the different styles of clothing. There are a lot of outfits that really look great on the plus-size body and you don’t have to compromise style to get the right size of clothing either. Of course, the affordability of most of the clothing on the site is also a plus!

Here’s a quick look at some cute clothing that comes from Shein.

There are slight discrepancies when it comes to clothing sizes but in general, the sizing charts make it easy to get what you need. Clothing is also available in a wide range of sizes. However, you should always order a size up if you are in between sizes instead of a size down, especially since you don’t want to overstretch the fabric.

Something else that I love about Shein as a plus-size woman is that they offer free returns. If you don’t end up with the right size after using the charts and considering the reviews, you still have the option of sending it back for a refund or a new item at no cost to you.

A Few Disadvantages of Shein Clothing

The other thing that comes to mind as far as disadvantages is the quality of the clothing from Shein. While the quality is decent overall, the fabrics do tend to be a little thinner and you’ll want to be careful about stretching it too much. This stops it from becoming see-through and it also stops damage around the seams.

Clothes won’t last through being a daily staple for the next several years, but they are durable enough that you’ll get a fair amount of use out of them. This is especially true when you consider the more affordable price.

The only other downside is that it only goes up to size 4X, which is actually closer to a size 2X-3X in typical sizes. This isn’t a problem for me personally, but it could be a problem for some other plus-size shoppers. Fortunately, there are some other plus-size clothing options that I’m going to discuss in a later article for the curvy woman who needs bigger sizes than Shein offers.

Should I Buy Plus-Size Clothes from Shein?

Overall, I’d rate Shein a 7.5 out of 10. I absolutely love the affordability and style, and the sizing is something I can work with. The only real downside is that the quality of all the clothing could be a little better. However, I’m big on “you get what you pay for” and I would definitely shop here again!

The pros definitely outweigh the cons in my opinion. I have not found a lot of other places that offer the same affordability and style for all clothing styles. One of the things I really loved was Shein’s swimsuits. The cute styles made it really easy to find something that made me feel confident on the beach!

Tips for the Plus-Size Shopper on Shein

As someone who has used Shein a few times, I’ve picked up a few tips when it comes to shopping and sizing. Here’s what I’ve learned.

#1: Check Out the Reviews

As a plus-size woman, I generally do not buy clothing online if they don’t already have reviews from other customers. When they include pictures of how it looks on their bodies, that’s an even bigger positive! This is a rule that I stick to whether I’m ordering from Shein, Amazon, or somewhere else.

One of the things you’ll notice on Shein is that the information about sizing and whether something is too small or true-to-size is right there above the reviews. This makes it a lot easier to know what you are buying so that when your Shein haul shows up, it actually fits!

#2: Use the Sizing Charts…

Sizing charts vary depending on the clothing. Pants might include measurements for the width of areas like the hips, waist, and buttocks, while shirts might include measurements for your chest, waist, and bust. You’ll need your accurate measurements to use these sizing charts, but they do take a lot of the guesswork out of finding out what clothing is going to fit across your body.

#3: But Don’t Forget About the Stretch Factor

Even though the sizing chart will get you pretty far as ordering the right size, you’ll also want to remember that Shein uses a lot of synthetic fabrics. A lot of these fabrics also have a little bit of stretch, with the exception of more rigid materials used to make pants and other garments.

For example, women’s plus-size dress pants are going to have less room for error than elastic waist jeans. The stretch with certain frabrics means that you really do have a little wiggle room when ordering sizes. However, you don’t want to stretch the fabric so far that it no longer looks cute or that it gets damaged.

Final Word

Does Shein run small? As a whole, most are close to the size you need. Plus, reviewers usually give you a good idea of which items run small, big, or true-to-size so that future shoppers have a good idea of what they are buying.

This is an app that I’d definitely use to shop for plus-size clothing again. Something that you sometimes sacrifice shopping at brick-and-mortar retailers is the wider selection of cute, affordable clothing. However, you don’t have to do that when you shop on Shein.

Camila R.

Camila is a body positive blogger and fat activist that's focused on helping people of all sizes live life big! That means accepting yourself at any size and just enjoying life! She lives in New Mexico with her husband and two chihauhuas.

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