Good-bye, Shabby Apple:

Why I’ll Never Buy Another Shabby Apple Dress

I remember the first time I stumbled upon Shabby Apple. Their styles were so cute and I loved that all the dresses had sleeves! It was “modest” meets vintage-inspired, chic perfection!

I Loved Shabby Apple

When I heard the origins of Shabby Apple, I knew I had found a company I could really love and support. Like me, founder Athelia Woolley LeSueur had struggled profoundly with her health before she was forced to give up something she deeply loved – dance. In the midst of finding herself anew, apart from her life-long passion, she decided to go out on a limb and design modest dresses that she wanted to wear; the result is was Shabby Apple.

I don’t remember what my first Shabby Apple purchase was, but I do still have three of their dresses hanging up in my closet – two from around 2012/2013 and one that I purchased just last month. Sadly, the profound change in quality speaks to the decline of this once wonderful and dazzling company.

Now, I’d just like to say, we never like to slam other companies. We loved Shabby Apple! We’ve supported Shabby Apple throughout the years by including them in our modest clothing directory and by prominently featuring them in blog posts. In part because we’ve so strongly supported Shabby Apple, I now feel the need to explain why we’ve removed them from our modest clothing directory and can no longer support them.

Let me start with the two “vintage” Shabby Apple dresses hanging in my closet. Both are cute, modest styles with sleeves purchased for around the $60-80 mark (on sale). They’re unlined, but other than that the quality is good and about what I’d expect for that price point.

Shabby Apple Modest Dress

One of the “vintage” Shabby Apple dresses I have hanging in my closet. It’s a darling style and with photography as gorgeous as this, how could any girl resist?!

Moreover, the sizing is consistent with Shabby Apple’s own size chart. My two “vintage” dresses are sizes medium and large and the measurements of the dresses fall within the guidelines of the size chart. So far, so good.


Shabby Apple Size Chart

Now, let’s fast forward to my most recent Shabby Apple purchase. I was looking on their website and was taken with their “Summer Pinstripe Dress.” When I saw they were offering 40% off sitewide, I knew I had to have it!

The Pinstripe Dress

Shabby Apple Summer Pinstripe Dress

Shabby Apple’s Summer Pinstripe Dress, $103.00

Much to my dismay, when I went to try on my new dress it was quite small, as in “there’s no way it’s going to fit this month” kind of small. Feeling somewhat defeated, I took my dress off. I looked at the dimensions of the dress and, one eyebrow raised, went to get my handy pink tape measure. The waist was 4.5 inches too small. Four. And. A Half. Inches. Too. Small.

Well, perhaps it’s just a sizing error, right? I quickly reached out to Shabby Apple to see if I could exchange my dress for one that was actually the size it was supposed to be.

Here’s the reply I received:

Hi Megan,
Thank you for contacting Shabby Apple, I check on this style and they all have the same measurement that yours have. If you like to return the one you have? And we can send you another one and you can try it on it may feel or look different. Please let me know what you would like to do.
Thank You
Customer Service
shabby apple  |

Confused? So was I.

When I reached out to Shabby Apple for clarification, especially as to what they meant by “they all have the same measurement that yours have” I received no reply.

I wondered if other Shabby Apple fans had noticed a decline in quality (and customer service), so I set to Google to see what I could see. Most illuminatingly, I stumbled upon this article from the blog Everyday Reading entitled “Why I Will Never Buy a Shabby Apple Product.”

“Well, there you have it.” I thought to myself. Just another company that, over time, suffers from a decline in quality and customer service.  But here, dear reader, the plot begins to thicken.

The Plot Thickens

Dismayed that my Shabby Apple purchase had not worked out, I went online to see if I could find another pinstripe dress. Much to my surprise, I found a dress that looked exactly the same from Chinese retailer AliExpress – for under $12.00.

Now, AliExpress is in part known for knock-offs so I bought my second dress not knowing if it was a knock-off, or, more intriguingly, sourced from the same vendor as Shabby Apple’s wares.

When my second dress has arrived and when compared to my $103 dress from Shabby Apple, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that they were sourced from the same, exact vendor. The sizes were the same (I had bought an XL from both), even the size tags were of the same exact style. The only difference was the Shabby Apple tag.

Cheap Chinese Sources Shabby Apple Dress

My AliExpress and Shabby Apple dresses hanging side by side.


Close Up of Cheap Chinese Made Shabby Apple dress

A close up of the front of both dresses. Can you tell which one was $12 and which was $103?


Back of Cheaply Chinese Made Dress

The backs of both dresses, side by side.


Care Tags of Cheaply Made Chinese Shabby Apple Dress

The identical size tags shown side by side.


The Material Compared Side by Side

The fabric of both dresses are identical!


What Happened, Shabby Apple?

So, what went wrong with Shabby Apple? I don’t think we’ll ever know. True, one of the original owners, Emily McCormick, left the company in late 2010, but I don’t know that this alone counts for Shabby Apple’s dramatic, downward slide. Were they perhaps sold to another company in the past few years? Perhaps. Online there is simply a dearth of information.

What I do know is this isn’t the same company I fell in love with a decade ago. And that, really, is too bad.