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5 Clothing Items You Should Never Buy Online, According to Retail Experts

It's best to shop for these items in person.

Online shopping is certainly convenient—who doesn't love being able to buy whatever you want from the comfort of your couch? But when it comes to clothing, clicking "add to basket" isn't always best. In fact, shopping experts say you should never buy certain things online at all.

If you're tired of opening package after package only to find that your highly anticipated purchase doesn't fit quite right, it might be time to throw in the towel and head to the store. From swimwear to shoes, here are the top clothing items experts say are better to buy in person.

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Running shoes

Female athlete tying laces for jogging
AlexMaster / Shutterstock

While some types of shoes are fine to order online, experts say running shoes are a different story. If you're wearing the wrong size, or a pair that doesn't cater to your individual needs, your feet will suffer the consequences.

"The shape of your feet and the way they hit the ground when running can dictate the type of running shoe you need," Katie Roberts, consumer analyst with, told Best Life. "If you buy running shoes online and just hope for the best, you run the risk of an uncomfortable running experience, or even pain and injury."

"When you shop for running shoes in person, you can try on different options and see what feels best when running around. And some running specialty stores will even do a personalized fitting," Roberts adds.

High heels

High heels with a gold heel.
Mr.Music / Shutterstock

High heels are the hardest kind of shoe to walk in, so it doesn't make much sense to take a gamble with online shopping. Whether you're headed to a wedding or are looking for a new pair to wear for your next date night, it's best to head to the store instead, experts say.

"High heels are difficult to fit and often require in-person fitting," John Smith, a fashion stylist with Leather Skin Shop, tells Best Life. "Buying them online can lead to choosing the wrong size, resulting in discomfort and pain. When you buy online, you can't try them on and determine if they fit properly."

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Tailored suits

Man in a fitted suit and tie.
ABGJ / Shutterstock

When you're shopping for a suit online, some stores will let you put in your own measurements so it can be tailored to your size. This may be tempting, but Smith says you'll get a better fit and feel if you go to an actual store where experts and stylists can help you.

"A tailored suit requires exact measurements and should be done in person," he explains. "Since a tailored suit has several customization options, it is important to try the suit on in order to get a perfect fit. You can also get advice from experienced tailors or fashion experts, something that you cannot do when buying online."


Collection of bras.
AbElena / Shutterstock

"With so many different styles of bras, and the way they fit, it's very difficult to buy a bra online and actually be satisfied with it," Catherine Brock, a writer and editor at The Budget Fashionista, tells Best Life. "Even after measuring yourself to get the proper fit, you really don't know how it will feel on your body, and might actually be uncomfortable to wear. You should always wait to buy a bra in store so you have a chance to try it on," she adds.

Even if you're sure about your bra size, Brock recommends going into a store to get measured professionally. "The way a bra feels can determine your comfort level the whole day, so it's important to get one that fits well. Many bras are also final sale online due to the nature of their function, so if it doesn't fit, you've wasted your money."

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Bikini swimsuit with tropical print and other beach accessories.
Nesolenaya Alexandra / Shutterstock

Looking at swimsuits online can be more fun than actually trying them on at the store—but if you want something that will fit you like a glove, it's best not to order one online.

"Swimsuits are one of the few items that you should never buy online, due to the fact that the cut of the suit can change significantly depending on the brand and the style, and not all retailers will accept returns," Raine Gui, founder and creative director at Model Chic, tells Best Life. And while you may not enjoy the process of trying on suit after suit, having to return a bunch of suits you bought online right before a vacation isn't much fun, either.

Lauren Jarvis-Gibson
Lauren Jarvis-Gibson is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Her work has been published in Teen Vogue, Allure, HuffPost, and more. Read more
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