SHEIN Bikini Haul & Review

Shein bikini haul review swimsuit swimwear fashion review

••• Disclaimer: this post is not sponsored and does not contain affiliate links. Any and all opinions are 100% my own. •••

Grab a snack & drink babes, incoming a long ass post about…. BIKINIS.

I’ll start off by disclosing: There aren’t a lot of things I enjoy “collecting” to an extreme, and I typically don’t like to own A LOT of one particular thing. BUT, swimwear has a special place in my little tropical heart, and living in Miami (the land of 365 days of summer) doesn’t help the fact that my swimwear drawer no longer closes due to overcrowding. Plus, I’ve accepted that I have a strange emotional connection to swimwear: pool parties… boat days… sunday fundays… etc. etc. They just remind me of good times & tan lines.

Did I just admit that?

Anyway…

See, I waited for spring to technically arrive before going through my yearly swimwear purge & declutter session.

{Insert every Marie Kondo reference and quote here}

I like to pull everything out and get rid of any old swimsuits that no longer “bring me joy” hehe.
Donation pile here, throw away pile there, try-on-one-last-time-before-deciding pile over there.

This year, I was brutally honest and got rid of anything I hadn’t worn within the past 12 months. Needless to say, I had tons of newfound space in the swimwear drawer - aka room to expand the collection with fresh prints and new styles. Lady logic, I know!

So, what’s SHEIN? I have seen a few fashion hauls on Youtube over the past couple of years from fashion bloggers and vloggers who had ordered from a seemingly ridiculously affordable website called SHEIN. Some even used the term “underpriced” to describe the items they had purchased, and mentioned they were also great quality. Turns out, SHEIN is an online retailer based in China, and they have tons of fashion, gifts, and homeware items at really low prices.

shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim

Backstory: In 2017, I felt the FOMO (fear of missing out) after learning about this website, and ordered this bikini from SHEIN.

Now, 2 years later, it’s STILL my absolute favorite and most worn swimsuit of all time. Not to mention, it’s still in tact, no missing stitches, fabric hasn’t faded… just really solid quality suit (we’ll get into “quality” a little deeper into this post).

So, naturally, heading into the 2019 beach season, I knew I needed to order a few backups of this baby… and the SHEIN bikini shopping madness ensued!

I’ll break this post down into sections so it’s easier to digest.

:: sips coffee ::

WEBSITE REVIEW

The website itself is pretty easy to navigate. For the sake of this post, I’m only going to talk about the SWIMWEAR section. I really like that you can narrow down your search and shop by: top type, bottom type, neckline, pattern type, color, etc. Within each category, you can also narrow down by size and price range. Call me crazy, but I get really overwhelmed when a website has 268 pages of products to sift through, without the option of narrowing it all down a bit to suit your specific needs. Like… what if THE perfect one for me is on page 267?! lol

The product photos are also really simple, clear, and bright. They don’t typically have photos of models wearing the items, but they do allow customers to upload try-on photos with their reviews, which is really helpful. I found that most of the swimsuits also had really close up shots of the fabric/seams - another helpful detail when ordering online!


SIZING

The one not-so-great thing about ordering off this site, is that you have to purchase a bikini in a set. So you’re not able to mix and match different sized tops and bottoms.

For reference I am 5’1” - bust: 34” - waist: 26” - hips: 37”. After checking all the size charts and reading several reviews, I ended up ordering all of the bikinis in a size MEDIUM, except for one which I did order in a size LARGE because apparently it ran small according to the reviews. Funnily enough, they ALL fit me perfectly, except for the bottoms of the one suit I ordered in LARGE - not enough booty to fill it in hah!


ORDERING TIPS

  • check the size chart on each individual swimsuit you’re interested in buying. They all have different size charts and sizing recommendations - probably based on the style/cut of the suit.

  • go through all the reviews and customer photos. They really help you see what the fabric looks like in person and how the suit sits on a real body.

  • mix & match different suits by color palette and/or print scale. I like to buy bikini sets where I can interchange the tops and bottoms and get more “sets” out of them this way. For mixing prints, keep the scale of the print similar. Ex. a small polka dot and a small floral print in a combining color palette can look super cute together.

  • look at photos of EVERY color option available in the suit you’re interested in buying. Sometimes it’s easier to see the fabric texture and other small details on lighter colored fabrics. (assuming they use the same fabric for each color way). So, even if you want to order the black bikini, look at the photo of the same bikini in white or baby blue to see the stitches, finishes, and type of fabric better. This helps avoid that “surprise! This isn’t what I thought I was ordering!” moment from online shopping.


CRAZY QUALITY LADY

I have to admit that I’m extremely nitpicky about garment construction (thanks to my fashion school degree for that). So everything I’m going to talk about in this section is REALLY extra! Nobody should be looking this closely at quality issues on a $10 bikini. But, I did want to touch on this a bit, because I feel like these are useful shopping tips for all different swimwear price points.

  • adjustable straps: to me, this is a clear cut sign of a better quality swimsuit. If a suit has adjustable straps, it will most likely fit better and also give the tatas more support.

  • seams & stitching: ok, here’s where the nitpicking comes in. Zoom way on into those product photos, and really look at the seams. Are they buckling, bulging, do they look straight? Does the fabric on either side of the seam lay flat or is it wavy? If the stitching on a completely brand new swimsuit already looks a little “off” - it probably means it won’t last more than a few wears and washes. Especially considering the torture swimwear goes through - wet for hours, rubbing on pool walls/rough surfaces, that time you forgot to hand wash it and just threw it into the washer (AND DRYER) with your husbands jeans?! umm.. yeah! Seams are the first to go on lower quality items, so I always make sure to pay attention to them.

  • double lined (also known as self lined) swimwear: THIS is the way to go - the very best of the best in terms of quality. Swimsuits that are self lined have the same fabric on the inside and outside of the suit. Because there is no top stitching on these, it almost creates a “seamless” look, and the fabric tends to lay really nice and flat/flush on the body - no tight elastics digging into the hips. Double lined swimwear also has less chance of being see through, which is always a plus.


SHIPPING SITUATION

I was expecting shipping to take a super long time, seen as how the suits were coming from China, but SHEIN actually offered free express shipping on orders over $99. Eight bikinis, and some clothing and accessories later, I was in the clear for free shipping. I placed my order on a Friday morning, and received my package by Wednesday of the following week. Only 3 business days - not bad at all!

I did receive a random refund for one of the bikinis a few days after placing the order. Seems like they didn’t have it in stock and just cancelled it right off my order without warning. I appreciated the prompt refund, but was kind of bummed out about not receiving the bikini - it was one of my favorite prints. In other words, don’t get too attached to every single item in your order - because you may run into a similar stock issue when the order is being pulled and processed.


THE HAUL

Here are the bikinis I ended up ordering, with prices, links, and a few notes.


*** All of the bottoms came with protective try-on liner stickers and the tops came with removable pads, which I immediately took out and got rid of because I personally don’t like pads in swimwear. But I wanted to include that note here just in case that’s important to you! ***

shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim
shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim

Style name: Calico Print Bandeau Top With High Leg Bikini
$11 - size M
doesn’t come with straps - bottoms are double lined with self fabric - top is double lined with self fabric on the front only - cheeky/minimal back coverage on the bottoms.

shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim
shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim

Style name: Dot Print Bandeau With Cheeky Bikini Set
$11 - size M
doesn’t come with straps - top and bottoms are doubled lined with self fabric - slightly cheeky back coverage on the bottoms.

shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim
shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim

Style name: Random Floral Smocked Top With High Cut Bikini
$14 - size M
self tie straps on the top can be adjusted to fit - bottoms are double lined with self fabric - very cheeky/minimal back coverage on the bottoms.

shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim
shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim

Style name: Smocked Top With Hipster Bikini Set
$11 - size M
no adjustable straps - not lined with self fabric but lined with same color (still better than lined with white fabric) - not see through - cheeky back coverage on the bottoms - zero support on the top.

shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim
shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim

Style name: Random Dot Print Lace-Up Bandeau With High Leg Bikini
$11 - size L
doesn’t come with straps - top can be worn with the lace-up detail on front or back - top and bottoms are double lined with self fabric - sizing feels off (bottoms run much larger than the top) - moderate back coverage on the bottoms (this could be because they were too big on me, but looking at the cut they still have more of a “moderate” coverage)

shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim
shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim

Style name: Shirred Top With Tie Side Bikini Set
$12 - size M
top has adjustable straps - lined in same color fabric - not see through - tie strings on the bottoms are fully adjustable

shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim
shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim
shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim

Of all the suits I received, this one felt the “worst” quality-wise - shirred stitching on the top was already coming undone - tie strings were left unfinished on the ends (again I’m nitpicking but being brutally honest) - clasp closure on the back isn’t great quality, feels a little flimsy - inside stitching on the cup area was sloppy and already starting to unravel and little.

shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim
shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim

Style name: Keyhole Top With Side Tie Bikini Set
$12 - size M
top and bottom have self tie adjustable straps - top and bottom are both double lined with self fabric - top doesn’t have slots to remove the padding (you could always cut a tiny hole and slip them out) - same issue with the tie strings being left unfinished on the bottoms.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I hope some or all of these bikinis are still in stock if you want to order. I went through SO many pages of swimsuits and these where the ones I personally liked the most - pretty/simple prints and a few bright solid colors that I didn’t already have in my collection. I’m looking forward to mixing and matching the small red floral print with the black and white polka dot prints together. And also plan to mix and match the solid pink and red suits together as well. :)

Overall, I’m really happy with most of the bikinis. They all fit well with the exception of the one LARGE bottom, and in person, they are exactly the same as pictured on the website. To be completely honest, none of the bikini tops felt like they were really THERE to support me, if you know what I mean. I don’t have a very large chest, and even so, I felt like I wished the tops had more support. This could be because of the styles I chose (none of the tops had underwires or thick bands under the bust area), but that’s just something I wanted to mention here. The only top that felt the most “supportive” was the last one pictured above (maroon Keyhole Top With Side Tie Bikini Set) most likely because of the additional strap under the bust line.

Quality wise, I think the more simple/basic suits are the best by far - the self lined bandeau style ones without straps, strings, clasps, or shirred stitching. Basically, the more complicated the design, the more room it has for quality issues. So if you’re looking for the highest quality options, I’d go with a basic simple style without too many bells and whistles. The fabric quality on ALL of them is really nice, but I do prefer the quality on the printed suits a little more.

One thing I do want to mention in this post as a sidenote:
From an ethical standpoint, I DON’T love that SHEIN is known for actually ripping off or creating “dupes” of designs, styles, and prints from independent swimwear brands. I know it’s frustrating for an indie line to work long and hard on a collection, only to have it be mass produced in a Chinese factory 6 months later, and sold at a fraction of the price. This is not okay, and I really wish this wasn’t the harsh reality of the fashion industry as a whole. (ugh, this got deep). As I said before, I originally ordered from SHEIN because I was really curious about the fit and quality of their swimwear, and now see it as a place to go for really affordable items if you want to spruce up your collection before a vacation, or get a ton of trendy new styles before summer without going completely broke. I know many higher end swimwear brands have pretty heavy price tags, but, again, no dupe or copy will ever compare to the original. Most independent swimwear brands really pride themselves to ensure every detail of the suit is impeccably made (many are even hand cut and sewn in small studios using limited edition fabrics), and the finishes are always going to be better quality - from the metal strap adjusters, down to the very last stitch.

Also, I’m going to go ahead and assume that these $11-$14 swimsuits are not made with the most sustainably sourced materials or in highly environmentally friendly factories. Although I’m not going to pretend that every item in my closet is completely ethical & sustainable, I do think this is something we should all be more conscious of as consumers in 2019. Just my 2 cents on the topic, and that’s as deep as I’ll go with this. ha!

•••

So, what do you think about SHEIN swimwear? Have you ordered from them before? I decided to write this post because I was actually searching for something like this (a really in depth review of the items and an honest opinion - from an unbiased, non sponsored person online) while I was shopping and narrowing down which suits I wanted to order on the site.

Hopefully this helps someone find at least one cute bikini before pool/beach season! :)

Xx Laura

shein swimsuit bikini haul and review swimwear spring summer instagram trendy swim.jpg