Your Ultimate Guide for Shopping Clothes and Accessories at AliExpress

AliExpress is a gigantic, multimillion dollar business, often referred to as the Chinese Amazon. Its virtual shelves are filled with a wide range of products, such as consumer electronics, clothing and accessories, as well as sports and entertainment equipment - to mention just a few market segments that they cover. With such a myriad of sale items, AliExpress indisputably has a lot to offer to its customers throughout the globe. In fact, the company is doing extremely well in the stock market, and has been estimated by financial experts to become the first trillion dollar internet company of all time.

Now wait a minute. You might think: What does this blog have to do with AliExpress? Am I not writing about classic style and high quality products, after all?



Despite its massive success and sky rocketing revenue reports, AliExpress has for some become a synonym for cheap, second class quality. And this is exactly why I wanted to write about it. I confess. I am a big fan of ordering from Ali, and have spent thousands of dollars on clothes, shoes and accessories there. Sure, I have made mistakes and ordered things that were - let's be honest - crap. But if you know what you are doing, you can find a delightful bargain there, and get good quality with just a fraction of the price that you would pay in a brick and mortar store in your home country. And I have found that a lot of people who criticize Ali may not have actually ordered anything from the site, or were expecting a miracle - Say, an iPhone for 1$. 

Sure, if you buy a dollar product from Ali, it will probably neither be worth the shipping costs nor satisfy you on the long run. But let's face it. Most of our goods come from China and other mass production countries, even if you buy them from your "local" store. AliExpress is a platform that connects the consumers directly with the producers, which makes it more affordable to the consumer and allows the producer to have a higher profit margin on their sales, without greedy middlemen. I for one am happy to support this business model, even though I am still struggling to make my consumption habits more sustainable on a larger scale.

But in order for you to avoid making some mistakes that I made when I first started purchasing from Ali, I have put together the following little shopping guide. Please note that my examples contain affiliate links. This means that if you buy something from an AliExpress store through my link, I may get a small commission on your purchase with no extra cost to you. I have chosen to speak for AliExpress because I have made so many wonderful purchases there, and want others to be able to do the same and avoid any poor quality products on the site. That is why I only recommend my favourite AliExpress stores and products that I have personally tested and found worth it.


1. Pay Attention to the Individual Stores within AliExpress - Not All Sellers Are Created Equal!


AliExpress consists of thousands of web stores. In order to succeed with your purchase, you must look at the individual rating of the store in question. For example, one of my favourite stores, Daimi, currently has a rating of  98.4%, consisting of thousands of individual ratings over the past six months. If you are unsure, check out buyer reviews and comments as well. I for one tend to give very honest feedback at Ali, and am seeing others doing it also. I never buy products that have several 3-star ratings or under. When shopping for exceptional quality, be extremely critical. Do not rush your purchase.


Daimi Quality Earrings are a great example of getting your money's worth at AliExpress.

It is also a good idea to check how long the shop has been in business, and how many followers it has. You can see all this data easily on the main page of the shop, and inspect their ratings in detail. Make sure to check the negative ratings as well, even if there may not be many. Often these tell you much more than the positive ones do.

2. Pay Attention to the Size

Chinese sizes are much smaller than the US or European sizes are. You will want to double check the size for every item, individually, to save yourself from disappointment.

For example, I am normally size S/M but tend to order L from AliExpress, unless the product description specifically mentions that the sizing is European. Remember to check the shoe size as well, even though it is in general more standardized. Most stores have a size table, where you can easily compare the Chinese, European, UK, and US sizes.

3. Do Not Expect to Get High Quality With a Ridiculously Low Price Tag

I made this mistake several times in the beginning. I was so blinded by the prices that I ended up ordering lots of things that turned out to be, well, poor quality. Do not expect to get a cocktail dress in quality fabric for five dollars. In general, think of getting 30% - 60% off the price that you would normally pay for the product in a local store.

If it seems too good to be true, it usually is just that. A cocktail dress for five dollars is just as ridiculous as gold jewelry for twenty bucks would be. Always check the product description carefully. What material is it? How clear is the description? And remember to check the photos uploaded by previous customers. 

4. Do Not Buy From a New Store Without Many Ratings

Of course someone has to be the first. But especially with Chinese sites you will do yourself a favour by being careful. Do not be the guinea pig that gets scammed.

Do you want some extra security? The following stores are my personal favourites, and I have tried and tested them over and over again. The best, reliable AliExpress stores in my opinion are: 

LoveNighty ArtLife Store

LoveNighty is one of Ali's Top Brands. It sells fabulous silk night wear and Japanese pajamas. The prints are cute and the materials are high quality cotton or silk. You can expect to get a stylish Japanese cotton pajama for 15 - 25$. For a silk night gown, expect to pay well over a 100$. As said, these products are the real deal. And there is no such thing as silk for pennies. Order one size up!

My Favourite Yukata from LoveNighty.

Fashion Walking

Fashion Walking offers cute shirts and blouses in all prints imaginable. The prices range from 10$ to 20$ and the store continuously launch new products. I have ordered several Dioufond shirts from Fashion Walking, and the store has been open over 5 years. It currently boasts a 98.6% positive feedback score and a 4.8 rating out of 5. Order one size up, and check the size carefully especially if you are busty.

I ordered this black Cherry Blouse and totally love it. The cut is just perfect.

The Second Crush

The Second Crush Bra Store has a wide selection of sexy yet comfortable underwear. The prices are unbeatable. Again, pay attention to the sizes, even though they are quite standard. I love Second Crush's colourful bra and panty sets. Also the lace is super sturdy, making your purchase last several washes and steamy situations, as well. 


XZHJT Official Store

XZHJT Official is one of Ali's Top Brands with its 98.7% rating. I have bought super cute cosmetic bags and travel bags from them, and they offer also other products, such as passport covers. I love their fabric patterns and the playful prints. Many products also come in a wide selection of colours. 


Candy Kitten goes abroad.

5. What to Do If Your Product Does Not Arrive or Is Not What You Ordered

It is very easy to file a complaint or open a dispute at AliExpress. I ordered some T-shirts that never arrived, and after I opened a dispute with the store, AliExpress investigated the issue and refunded my money within two days. The seller only gets paid after you have received your product, so your money is safe up to several months from the purchase date. Check the buyer protection individually on your orders, though, to make sure to open a dispute within the requested time frame. An order that arrives within 15 days obviously has a shorter buyer protection than an order with a 30-day ETA.

If the product is not what you wanted or there has been a shipping error, contact the store as well for a replacement or a refund. I have only done this once but got fantastic service. The bikini that I ordered was too small, and the store shipped another size without me even having to return the smaller pair. 

5. Be Patient When Ordering From China. Delivery Times Can Be Long.

It takes time to ship from China to Europe or USA, so be patient. The good news is that many stores have a free shipping option, which might range from 15 to 45 days, in general. If you require your items faster, you can pay for express delivery. 

Are you placing an order for an event, and thus require a delivery before a specific date? Count with at least a week extra on top of the expected delivery date, unless you order express. It can sometimes take long for your items to arrive. 

Conclusion

AliExpress is in my opinion a fabulous site. Your purchasing power is enormous if you have a US or a European salary, and you can come across great finds there. But you have to know what you are doing. To recap, these are the key point you should pay attention to:

  • Be critical. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Check the size! If you are uncertain, order one size up. Be especially careful with materials that do not stretch.
  • Read the buyer reviews before making a purchase. Are most customers happy with what they bought? Did they upload pictures? 
  • Check the postage. Each store charges differently. Many stores offer free shipping.
  • Be patient. It takes time to ship from China.

Do You Have a Question That Is Not Answered in This Blog Post? 

Are you uncertain of something or not convinced? Please send me a message or comment this blog post, and I will be happy to help you. 


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