TL;DR: While Shop Cider isn’t the answer to your prayers for sustainable, cheap clothing, it’s a slightly better option than competing fast fashion. Here are our key takeaways:
- The knitwear tends to be of nice quality
- The sizes sometimes run small in the hip
- The quality is so-so because it has a tendency to degrade quickly
I first discovered Shop Cider a few years ago through an Instagram ad. Their unique matching sets, knitwear, and candy-colored pastels caught my eye.
The affordable prices sucked me further in.
It was a time in my life when I was trying to swear off fast fashion. My close friends were opening a small boutique focused on independent, sustainable designers, and I wanted to practice what they preached.
I wondered how Cider could offer clothes at such a great price point. I clicked on the “sustainability” section and saw that they painted themselves as a sustainable brand.
That was enough for me, so I placed my first order. Since then, I’ve bought several more rounds of Cider products and have watched how the clothing has held up over nearly three years (and how it hasn’t).
So, is Cider a globally-minded fashion brand offering good quality, cute clothes? Or is it just fast fashion dressed up in a shiny new bow?
I’ll take you through my Shop Cider clothing experience and give you my honest thoughts about this fashion brand.
Note: this article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free recommendations.
What is Shop Cider?
Cider is part of a new generation of social media-focused direct-to-consumer apparel companies.
It is, in essence, a fast fashion brand. But a few details set it apart from the industry’s worst offenders (I’m looking at you, Shein).
When you visit the Cider website, you’ll notice definite similarities between it and the leading fast fashion companies.
Like Shein, they present an infinite array of ultra-trendy items that appear plucked from your favorite Instagram influencers’ feeds.
You can pick a mood like “Feeling Nostalgic” or “Feeling K-Pop” and then shop that particular micro-aesthetic.
It’s the kind of interface that keeps generating new products, but only when you scroll to the bottom of the page, giving the shopping experience an endless, labyrinthine quality.
A Quick Look at Cider as a Company
Cider is an online store that provides great deals on fashionable clothes in unique styles, with slightly more ethical practices than some of its competitors in the fast fashion industry.
The company’s cofounders and creative directors are Fenco Lin and Yu Oppel. Lin holds a degree from Columbia University and Oppel from UC Berkeley.
Both have professional backgrounds in both fashion and tech start-ups. Both split their time between Los Angeles and Asia (Guangzhou and Singapore, respectively).
The company launched in 2020 with a team of just ten and has grown exponentially since then.
Cider’s headquarters are in LA, but their factories are in China (mainly in Guangdong).
Several other Cider reviews describe them as Hong Kong-based, but I haven’t seen any evidence that they have offices or factories in Hong Kong.
Although Cider shares many similarities with Shein, a few things set Cider apart.
First, they’re a “smart fashion” brand, which means they use AI to predict each item’s popularity algorithmically, only producing specific styles in measured quantities to reduce waste.
Some Cider clothing also uses recycled fabric, and those recycled items have clear labels. The website even has a filter that allows you to shop only for recycled items.
But are they good quality clothes? Jump into my deep dive and find out.
Shop Cider Review: My Experience With Cider Clothing
The first time I bought Cider clothing was in February of 2021. I got a shirt, a mini dress, two skirts, and a sweater. I asked for a few items for Christmas later that year and again the following year.
I have a feeling that, by now, Cider has improved at getting shipments out in a timely manner. Their website estimates that standard shipping will take about a week.
At the time of my initial online purchase, however, it took closer to three weeks for the packages to arrive. My mother gifted me a few holiday items and reported similar wait times.
I’ll say that I wear my Cider clothes frequently and like them a lot. But, at the same time, almost everything I’ve purchased has had some problems.
These problems range from a weird fit to surprisingly quick degradation and damage.
There’s a distinction between the poor quality I’ve experienced with Cider and the poor quality I’ve encountered with brands like Shein and Emery Rose.
Unlike some other fast fashion companies, the Cider clothing appeared good quality out of the package.
The knitwear, which had initially caught my eye, was soft, dense, and stretchy. The fabrics had nice textures that didn’t scream “polyester.”
The problems arose as I began to wear the clothes.
One of my favorite items from my original order was an oversized lavender sweater decorated with knit white flowers and miniature white pom poms.
The first time I put it in the washing machine, all those flowers and pom poms fell off, leaving behind little dark glue dots. I had to collect them from inside the dryer and sew them back on (which they should have been, initially).
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find every single pom pom, so a few of those dark glue spots are visible, and the flowers are a little curled up on themselves.
That said, I still wear this sweater. It has its flaws, sure, but it’s cozy and cute enough that a teenage girl on the bus told me she liked it (which I consider the ultimate compliment– teen girls are the world’s most discerning judges.)
The shirt is another example of how Cider clothing can degrade. It’s a yellow crop top printed with a happy face and a frowning face.
The crop top fits well, and the stretchy jersey fabric is pleasantly soft. I was disappointed, however, that their smiley faces cracked and faded dramatically after just one wash.
Do I still wear it? Yes! But do I wish the heat transfer printing was of higher quality? Also yes.
I admit that perhaps these items would have survived longer if I had hand-washed them more carefully. But not all of the problems I ran into were laundry-related.
Take the mini-dress, for example. It’s a stretchy, body-con dress made from cow-print velvet. I got it in my usual size (large), and it doesn’t feel very tight.
However, something about the fabric or the fit makes it ride up dramatically when I walk.
The dress hit mid-thigh when I was standing still. A quick walk to the coffee shop pushes it all up over my butt. I had to hold it down when I walked, which wasn’t a great solution.
Compounding that fit issue was that one of the straps (which resembles a stretchy back hair band) snapped clean in two the second time I wore it.
I’ve had the best success with Cider knitwear (the socks, for example, are great!).
Despite my various ups and downs with the clothing’s durability, I continue to wear and enjoy most of what I’ve purchased there.
Cider clothing includes a ton of adorable and unique styles.
If you’re feeling retro and want a sweater vest that looks straight out of the 70s, or you want to look as on-trend as your favorite Instagram influencer, Cider will likely have you covered.
Cider clothing is wonderfully inexpensive. It is, after all, a fast fashion brand.
If you want fresh pieces to breathe life into your wardrobe, but you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford the extra cost, Cider could be a good option.
(Slightly) more sustainable/ethical than other fast fashion
For a direct-to-consumer clothing brand with an active social media presence and insistent Instagram ads, Cider isn’t quite as deplorable as other brands like Shein, Emery Rose, and Romwe.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re ethical and sustainable. But it is, at least, a start that they provide information about their factories’ locations and conditions right on their website.
They have a zero-tolerance policy for the worst workers’ rights abuses, items that use recycled fabrics are marked and searchable, and a section on their website encourages mending your clothing to reduce environmental impact.
They also use AI to avoid overproducing inventory and cut down on waste.
Again, many of these efforts might do more for social media optics than the actual environment. But, if you must shop fast fashion, Cider may be a slightly better choice than comparable brands.
The Cider Instagram ad that initially drew me in was for knitwear, and I feel most satisfied with the soft and wooly items I’ve bought from Cider.
A lot of the Cider garments I’ve purchased have fallen apart or degraded surprisingly quickly.
Sometimes, cheap clothing has a chemical smell or a super plasticky texture.
That’s not the case with Cider. Instead, the clothing often starts breaking down much quicker than it should.
Problems with fit
Another giveaway that a clothing brand is low-quality is when the clothing doesn’t fit well.
Several dresses and skirts I bought from Cider fit weirdly over my hips, even though I consulted the size chart carefully.
Still not a guilt-free brand
Comparatively, Cider isn’t as bad as some other fast fashion brands. They have legitimately more sustainable and more ethical practices than other brands in their category.
But that said, they still aren’t fantastic. They’re still part of an industry that’s doing a tremendous amount of environmental harm. Choosing Cider over Shein might be the better option, but it still isn’t great.
Shop Cider Size Guide
Cider Sizing Fit
Cider standard sizing runs from XS to XL, but each product has a drop-down menu with alternate options such as “US Size” and eight other global sizing systems.
They also carry plus sizes, although they aren’t available for every item.
Do Cider clothes run small?
I’ve seen other Cider reviews that report Cider sizes running large.
In my experience, that wasn’t the case. I mainly had issues with garments that were form-fitting over my hips (which are, admittedly, pretty wide in proportion to the rest of my body.)
Cider Sizing Tips
The best way to ensure something will fit you is to consult the size chart.
Take your bust, waist, and hip measurements and buy the size that will accommodate those measurements. I always err on the roomy side and take things in if they’re too baggy.
Is Shop Cider good quality?
I’d say that Cider’s clothing is medium-quality. It can be hit-or-miss and prone to falling apart. However, most of the clothing looks and feels reasonably nice.
I’ve found the knitwear, including the socks, to be the most worthwhile product that Cider has to offer.
How to Have the Best Experience Shopping on Shop Cider
In general, setting realistic expectations leads to better experiences. If you’ve decided to get yourself a Shop Cider haul, expect the quality to vary slightly from item to item.
Focus on knitwear and stretchy cotton instead of silkier fabrics that will invariably fall short of the silks and satins they try to mimic.
Consult the sizing guide carefully in relation to your own measurements, and round up the sizing when you can. It’s much easier to make something smaller than to make it bigger.
Invest in a sewing machine and learn to do simple straight stitches so you can take things in and mend them.
Best Things to Buy From Cider
More than one Shop Cider dress has had sizing issues around my hip area, though this may be particular to my body type. However, I’m wary about trying pants for this reason.
Shop Cider Shipping, Return & Exchange Policy
How long does it take Cider to ship?
When I placed my first order from the Cider shop in February of 2021, it took three weeks to arrive. My mother placed the subsequent two orders, as they were Christmas presents, and she indicated that they both had a lengthy shipping time.
That said, I purchased when Cider was in its first few months of operation. According to their site, Standard Shipping takes seven to nine business days (which could end up being over two weeks, depending on when you place the order).
That costs $4.99 for orders under $39 and free for orders above that amount.
Express Shipping ($15.99) takes three to five business days.
Does Cider have free returns?
The Shop Cider return policy is quite generous. They offer free returns on every order unless you purchased items using store credit. Otherwise, you’ll get the amount refunded to the payment method you used for the order.
You’ll need to submit a return request within fourteen days of receiving your order, and you must download the Cider app.
They’ll create a shipping label and issue a refund between seven and ten days after your package returns to their warehouse.
I won’t dive deep into explaining each step of the return process, but you can read more about it on their website.
Shop Cider Discounts & Coupons
Cider offers discounts periodically. You can always get 15% off and free shipping on your first order in exchange for registering your email address.
Their sale section includes tons of items at all times, with markdowns ranging from ten to fifty percent.
Like most online stores, you can find coupons and promo codes through a quick Google search. I’ve used these types of codes before with other brands, and while they don’t always work, they sometimes do! So, they’re always worth a shot.
Other Cider Products
Additionally, Cider includes a section labeled “Wigs and more.” The “more” appears to have fake nails, garter belts, and other, more obscure jewelry-adjacent items.
I investigated the Cider home goods section a few months ago, and the selection was limited. It’s quickly growing and has expanded dramatically since my last peek at it.
Lastly, an adorable section called “pets” consists of clothing for cats and dogs. I might have to test that one out– my cat will not be pleased.
Where to Buy Cider Clothing
Cider clothing is available exclusively from the Shop Cider website and app.
FAQs About Cider Clothing
Is Shop Cider a trustworthy site? Is Shop Cider reliable?
Is Cider legit? Yes! They’re a legit company because you can trust them to deliver the products you purchase, and the quality is passable.
Is Shop Cider a US company? Who owns Shop Cider?
Cider’s headquarters are in LA, and their factories are in China. The CEOs are both partly based in the US and partly based in Asia.
Where does Shop Cider ship from?
Cider clothing ships straight from their factories, which are all located in China.
Why is Cider so cheap?
Cider manufactures their clothing in Chinese factories using inexpensive materials, which keeps costs lower.
But it’s not all nefarious. Cider’s innovative fashion model reduces waste, which also helps to keep their costs lower.
Is Cider part of fast fashion? Is Cider clothing ethical?
Cider is fast fashion; it’s cheap, trendy, and abundant. I wouldn’t go as far as to call them ethical, but Cider is transparent about the factories where they manufacture their products.
Their commitment to a responsible supply chain and zero-tolerance policy does help put my mind at ease when I shop from them.
Is Cider similar to Shein?
Cider shares many similarities with Shein, but in my personal experience, the clothing is slightly better quality. Their practices are also less shady, wasteful, and morally questionable than Shein’s.
Conclusion: So, is Shop Cider Legit?
The ultimate question is: Is Cider legit? And the answer is yes, with some caveats. It’s an honest company, and it isn’t going to scam you by taking your money and never shipping your products.
The clothes are cute, and the quality is… moderate. My biggest issue is their tendency to deteriorate quickly, although that isn’t the case universally.
They’re no saints in terms of sustainability and ethics, but they aren’t the worst choice you could make. Yes, their clothing comes from overseas factories that use cheap labor, but they also have a few aspects that temper their footprint.
Some of their clothing uses recycled fabrics, and you can apply a filter to your shopping search to show you only the recycled garments.
Comparatively, Shein has made vague claims about using recycled fabric, but they’re not substantiated, and you can’t determine which of their pieces do and which don’t.
They also use algorithms to predict the quantities they’ll need to manufacture for each garment, which cuts back on inventory waste. Even if that’s a small drop in the bucket, it’s still something.
Cider is also a little more transparent about its factories and workers. You can see the addresses of all of their factories on their website, and they have an explicitly stated pledge to adhere to a list of ethical rules about their workers’ treatment.
So, if you want to indulge in fast fashion, Cider is a slightly better option than Shein and other competitors.
If you’re looking for Shop Cider Alternatives, your best bet is probably going secondhand. ThredUp is an online consignment store with many incredible deals on secondhand clothing. You can also find great vintage pieces on Etsy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elina Ansary is a writer, visual artist, and avid traveler. She grew up in San Francisco, CA, and spent her childhood camping up and down Northern California. These days, she visits artist residencies around the world and has lived in Amsterdam, Australia, and now Brooklyn, NY.
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