Woman talking(l+r), Hand holding phone with shein app(c)

Diego Thomazini/Shutterstock @mikinleyh/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘We’re being taken advantage of’: Shopper shares how to avoid buying clothes that look ‘cheap’ from brands like Princess Polly, Shein

‘I miss quality clothing.’


Grace Fowler


A shopper posted a TikTok video sharing how to avoid buying cheap-looking clothes from fast fashion brands like Princess Polly and Shein.  

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Mikinleyh (@mikinleyh) has reached over 159,000 likes on her viral video as of this writing. She added an on-screen caption that says, “Our clothes look cheap and not worth our money.” 

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To start, Mikinleyh prefaces that she is going to share a “strong opinion.” She says the clothes being advertised today “look like sh*t,” and customers are “being taken advantage of.” 

“Let me clarify,” she says. Mikinleyh addresses that the clothing brands she believes are taking advantage of shoppers are fast fashion brands. Fast fashion refers to “low-priced but stylish clothing that moves quickly from design to retail stores to meet trends,” according to Investopedia.

The first example Mikinleyh uses is the clothing brand Princess Polly. She says there is currently a green dress from Princess Polly that is trending on TikTok. While Mikinleyh does not show the dress, the search terms’ results in the comments section suggest she may be referring to the brand’s green Kenzie dress, which comes in both mini and maxi.

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“Don’t buy that dress,” Mikinleyh says. “Every person I’ve seen it on, it looks bad.” She adds that she thinks this because the fabric looks “cheap.”

“The straps look like they’re gonna break off in a second,” she adds.

Mikinleyh says despite these issues, the dress likely costs at least $90 “because these brands, they know we aren’t looking for quality, and we’re looking for what’s trending.”

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Princess Polly’s website lists the Kenzi mini dress at $68 and the maxi at $75.

Mikinleyh says customers’ tendency to just go for what’s popular gives brands the opportunity to use the cheapest materials they want “and jack up the price … just because it’s a trending item.”

“And then we fall for it,” she adds. Mikinleyh admits that there have been times she ordered a big selection of clothes from Princess Polly or Shein, but she says she ended up giving them to a thrift store due to the poor material of the clothing.

How to avoid cheap fabrics

Next, Mikinleyh says she wants to help by educating viewers on clothing materials.

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 “When you’re buying things, look in the description and look at what material it is,” she says. “That’s gonna tell you a lot about how the fabric and the clothing item is gonna fit and hold up through time.”

The first fabric Mikinleyh suggests staying away from is polyester. She says polyester is the cheapest, fastest, and easiest fabric to make.

According to GoonVean Fibres, “Polyester consists of synthetic materials, so it’s usually less expensive than natural fibres, making polyester a good choice for businesses looking for budget-friendly manufacturing options.”

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Mikinleyh says, “Basically everything from Princess Polly, Shein, all of those things are mostly made out of polyester.”

“It’s a very thin material … it catches lint really, really easily,” she adds.

The fabric that Mikinleyh says is a “step up from polyester” is cotton. Mikinleyh says that while shopping, “it’s gonna be hard to find things that don’t have polyester in it unless it’s really high-end.” So, she suggests customers “look for more cotton in your T-shirts than polyester.”

Barnhardt Cotton states, “Cotton is natural, breathable, absorbent, and sustainable. Polyester, on the other hand, is a synthetic fiber that doesn’t breathe well, repels water, and isn’t sustainable.”

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According to Mikinleyh, some good options for quality material T-shirts are Gap and Brandy Melville

The next few fabrics Mikinleyh says you should purchase are “modal, viscose, and lyocell.” She says these three fabrics are plant derivatives and are made in a way similar to silk. “But they’re man-made, rather than silk is made from a silkworm,” she says.

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Robert Owen Undershirts confirms that “Viscose, modal and lyocell are all made from plant material.” The site adds, “The important thing to remember is that they may be man-made but they are not synthetic. In fact, as fibres that are man-made from a natural product, we might call them semi-synthetic fabrics.”

Mikinleyh says these three fabrics are a “little bit higher end” but that you will have a lower price than fabrics like cashmere and silk. Since the fabrics are man-made, she says, “it lowers the cost of the fabric.” 

Before ending her video, Mikinleyh says that her overall message is to “be careful when you’re buying things.”

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“Look at the fabric; think about the quality over quantity,” she adds. “Overtime, those polyester items are going to wear out. You might have a year max.” 


♬ original sound – mikinleyh

Viewers in the comments section agree with Mikinleyh and express that they are tired of fast fashion and cheap material clothing. 

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“I just want cotton, linen, wool, ANYTHING NATURAL PLZ … we’re in a polyester pandemic,” one said.

“Princess POLYESTER,” another adds.

A viewer with over 40,000 likes wrote, “I miss quality clothing.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Mikinleyh via the TikTok comments section, Shein via email, and Princess Polly via media contact form. 

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