I'll admit I've never been the most fashionable person. I love to dress well and look good, but I've never been the friend in my group who is fashion-forward. My outfits have always been simple, clean-cut, and timeless. But a few years ago, when I started a new job, I decided I wanted to try some new outfits. I was required to travel often and attend various events, sometimes three events in the span of three days, and I didn't want to have to wear the same exact thing for the whole weekend. I started to research different types of rental clothing subscriptions even though I was slightly nervous about the idea of throwing my money at a random company so they could ship me clothes that I wasn't even sure would fit me. But the first few months went pretty well, so I kept it going. And three years later, I'm still renting clothes every month—and I recommend it to every woman I know.
Why I Love Renting Clothes Every Month
One of the greatest things about renting clothes each month is that there's no commitment. You don't have to worry that you'll end up wasting money on something that you won't wear very often. I also love the fact that I get to experiment with different types of clothes and styles. When I do online window shopping, I always end up putting a fun, unique item in my basket but then chicken out and don't end up buying it. I get nervous that I'm going to spend money on something that I don't love, and even though I have the option of returning it, it sounds like a huge hassle that I don't want to put myself through. Plus, I've had experiences before where I wear a new top or dress out once or twice, but then it just sits in my closet indefinitely because I either realize I don't love it as much as I thought I did, or I simply don't have anywhere else to wear that item.
When you rent clothes each month, you can experiment with new clothing risk-free. If you don't love it, you don't have to worry about printing out a return label and returning it in time in order to get your money back. And if you do like it, you get to wear it as many times as you like during that month. I've tested out funky blazers, printed dresses, and leather tops that I normally would never buy. Some of them have worked out absolutely great for me, but a few have been a disaster. The great thing is, I get to try out so many different items that I might never even try on if I were going shopping for staples.
Perhaps my most favorite thing about renting clothes is that I'm always wearing something new.
You also get some great inspiration from the websites as to how you can style the items, what to pair them with, etc. I also like that you can peruse through different categories, such as winter casual dresses, outfits for work, casual weekend fashion, date night items, etc. I look at my calendar and see what I've got coming up that month and rent accordingly.
Perhaps my most favorite thing about renting clothes is that I'm always wearing something new. I don't think I've ever worn the same thing twice when I film for my social media pages, go out to dinner with my friend group, or take photos with family. I always get compliments on my outfits, and friends often ask me where I get all my clothes. And I pay a reasonable monthly price for it without filling up my closet with clothes I'm never going to wear again.
The Best Rental Clothing Subscriptions I've Used
The first rental clothing subscription I ever used was Nuuly, which is owned by URBN, the parent company of Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, and more. You pay $88 a month for six different items. You'll see a lot of items from URBN brands, as well as a variety of other brands such as Cynthia Rowley, Kate Spade, Paige, and many, many more. You can't exchange any items during the month, so the six items you get are the ones you have for the whole month. You also can't fill up your bag and select new items until you return the six items you have at home. There is no late fee, so if you don't return the clothes by the end of the month, you just get automatically charged for the following month, and you simply return the clothes whenever you get the chance.
I've also used Rent the Runway, which has a few different tiers you can choose from. The lowest tier is receiving four items a month, the next is eight items, and the highest is 16 items a month. The difference with Rent the Runway is you can exchange items in the middle of the month if you want to try something new or you don't like what you got. This service is more expensive than Nuuly because they have higher-end clothes. The company celebrates the fact that they offer designer clothes, so many of the items are more expensive than what you might find from brands like Anthropologie or Free People.
Rent the Runway has more formal, dressy clothes, and Nuuly tends to have items that are a bit more casual. You can certainly get formal outfits at Nuuly and casual stuff at Rent the Runway, but if you need dressier options, Rent the Runway might be better for you. However, I've found Nuuly is overall better because their clothes are a little younger in style and more age-appropriate for me.
What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Renting Clothes
The first question I had when I started renting (and one of the first questions I get from friends) is, if I like the item, can I buy it and keep it in my closet? The answer is yes! Plus, the clothing you get in your rental bag is at a discounted price because they're used. So if you find a designer dress that you absolutely love, you'll be able to buy it for much cheaper than if you got it brand new at the store. I've kept a few jumpsuits and tops over the last couple of years that are super flattering on my figure, and they've served me well.
I like to sort the price from high to low.
Here's a hack that everyone should know about renting clothes: There's always an option to "sort" the items you're looking at, and I like to sort the price from high to low in order to see the most expensive pieces of clothing on the site. After all, when am I ever going to get the chance to wear a $600 sweater or a $1,200 dress? These are the luxury items that don't come easily in day-to-day life, so I love the chance to wear high-fashion items that would never normally show up in my closet. Not all of them are winners, but most of them are showstoppers that are both flattering and comfortable.
Because many women before you have worn the clothes you're receiving each month, they've been thoroughly dry-cleaned before arriving at your home. That means some strong chemicals were used to get out all the scents and dirt so you can wear it free of worry. Someone once told me that you should air out clothes that have just been dry cleaned to get rid of some of the chemicals, so I take the clothes out of the bag (sometimes they are wrapped in a plastic cover first, like they do at the dry cleaners) and hang them on my back deck or just in my bathroom to let them breathe before I wear them.
Don't forget that if an item of clothing arrives to you damaged or smelling strange, you have every right to contact the service immediately and request a replacement. I've only had this problem twice in the last three years, and each time the company swiftly sent me a replacement and even gave me the option to rent an extra item the next month.
Renting clothes isn't for everyone, but it's worth a try to see if it might be right for you. I've been pleasantly surprised at how many great moments I've had over the years with my rental subscriptions. There have certainly been some months where I'm underwhelmed with my selections, but those are few and far between. I've had the opportunity to wear some truly great clothes that I don't think I would have ever tried (or been able to afford) if I bought them brand new. Give it a try and see if you like it!
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