Choose. Wear. Return.
They say variety is the spice of life. A beautiful adage, which one may apply to many areas of life, such as the culinary world (tarragon, anyone?) to relationships (no judgment, of course). Yet, for some — say, a certain lifestyle editor — variety immediately conjures up visions of racks upon racks, as in, bring on the looks! However, kindly hold the spicy credit card bills that may ensue.
Thanks to technology and ingenuity, the retail world and the people in it have embraced the idea of renting clothes and accessories, allowing for racks and racks of looks while not blowing budgets. More mainstream than ever, companies like Rent the Runway paved the way for similar concepts, providing a plethora of rental options. We’ve kept up with this trendy fashion concept and dug into rental companies that keep popping up on our radar. Sharing is caring — and apparently for rent, too.
Rent the Runway
Known as the OG of the mainstream fashion rental biz, Rent the Runway began as a business idea in a Harvard classroom. Created by two female students turned founders, RTR was born in 2009 and has evolved along the way. With a mission to empower women to feel their best, over time, the company added accessories for rent, opened a physical store, introduced a plus-size category and, most recently, a subscription service. The website is organized by events (black tie), situations (date night) and clothing types (dresses, pants, jackets, etc.). The one-time rental service was the original concept for RTR — renting clothing and backup sizes for four to eight days. Perfect for formals, one-time rentals are an economical alternative to purchasing new. The subscription service or “swapping” is a popular option for those wanting variety and access to otherwise inaccessible designers. Subscription plans begin at $69 per month, depending on clothing count and more. With approximately 800 designers in its shared closet, purchasing previously rented items is a nice addition to RTR’s robust menu. More at renttherunway.com.
In 2016, Armoire was launched as the brainchild of an MIT-educated trendsetter who wanted to save women frustration and time in the dressing room. As the female founder’s team began to assemble, Ambika Singh’s aspirations to “be the armor for every type of woman” developed as a personalized clothing rental membership company providing access to thousands of styles for a flat monthly price. With a nod toward sophisticated, professional styles, Armoire’s virtual closet includes brands ranging from Paige to Diane von Furstenberg and Rag & Bone — trendy yet mature. A style quiz lets users find the membership that best suits their needs. Afterward, an Armoire stylist curates the user’s personalized case. A four-item plan begins at $69 (currently on sale) per month, with additional memberships available. Armoire allows users to keep favorites for as long as needed with some membership editing. While purchasing items to keep is a go, short-term rentals are not. For more, go to armoire.style.
Identifying as a curated destination for anyone who loves fashion, Nuuly is equal parts clothing rental and virtual resale platform. Nuuly Thrift allows members to buy and sell items from beanies to baby clothes, including men’s fashions. With a focus on sustainability, Nuuly leans heavily on brands like Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Free People. Providing access to its full inventory, Nuuly offers a questionnaire to help fine-tune style searches. The subscription service is a flat $88 for six styles per month, including shipping both ways and all laundering. With an option to purchase what you love, Nuuly’s vibe is easy, breezy and community-focused. Details at nuuly.com.