Shopping·5 min read

The Ins and Outs of Rental Clothing Programs

clothing rental programs
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Nuuly, Vivrelle
September 7, 2022

Whether you have a lot of events coming up (we’re looking at you, wedding season) or simply love a little retail therapy, updating your wardrobe with quality pieces can be hard on your wallet. Not to mention your closet space — and the planet. That’s where clothing rental programs come in. You can rent an item you may not have ever considered actually purchasing, at a fraction of the cost. But most importantly? It’s a way to consume consciously. Because more individuals get more use out of one single item. (And they’re all dry-cleaned BTW.)

Today, there are so many rental services on the market — so that’s why we’re breaking down our faves. Like one for designer bags, one that’s great for workwear, and a few that just curate the best pieces for everyday wear. Let’s get to it.

Psst…this is part of our Relatable Fashion Week series. For more of our picks on all things sustainable clothing, click here.

Rent the Runway

The original rental clothing service that’s a cult fave for a reason…

If ya haven’t heard, Rent the Runway is the place to find trending designer pieces. They’ve got everything from formal gowns to everyday staples to maternity wear. Their plans allow you to receive between four and 16 items per month. You’ll get fast, free shipping, cleaning and rental coverage (aka yes, you can spill), and you can rent something new as soon as you issue a return. If you’re looking for items for everyday wear, special occasions, events or even vacations, this is the service for you. The best part? You can keep the item for as long as you want…or you can buy it if you decide you love it. ($101+/month, Rent the Runway)

Check it out

A trendy option that allows you to sell your clothes…

Nuuly’s curation game = strong. Which is why we love them for elevating your everyday faves. They have the cutest cardigans, jeans, and casual dresses. When you subscribe, you can rent any six styles every month. They offer free shipping and returns, and laundry's included in the plan’s price. You can keep the items for as long you want, and you also have the option to buy any faves. And through their thrift program, you can sell your own clothes on the site for extra cash or store credit. Brb, signing up. ($88/month, Nuuly)

Check it out

A rental hotspot for all the best designer handbags…

Ever seen a bag that you just *had* to have but the only thing stopping you was…the price? Same. Enter: Virvrelle. Each month, you’ll be able to access a closet of hundreds of luxury accessories. We’re talking designer handbags, and even fine jewelry too. You can pay monthly or prepay for a certain number of months. Depending on the tier of your plan, you can select up to two luxury items a month from a curated collection. After the month is up, you can exchange that item for something else or continue to rent that same one. And if you absolutely need that bag in your life, you can buy it at a members-only price. Dreams do come true. ($39+/month, Vivrelle)

Check it out
Gwynnie Bee

A size-inclusive option for every wardrobe situation…

Gwynnie Bee for the win. This service offers countless options for every occasion — whether you need outfits for the office, working from home, brunch, a night out, you name it. And the best part: Their pieces are available in sizes 0–32. Once you create an account, you can add your picks to your online closet. The price of a monthly delivery will depend on how many items you select. They constantly update their new arrivals, so you’ll have endless pieces to choose from. Your closet? It’s saying ‘TYSM.’ (Price varies by plan, Gwynnie Bee)

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Vince Unfold

A luxury rental program from Vince that carries sleek, minimalist pieces…

If you’re looking to experiment with a capsule wardrobe, this is the service for you. For $160 a month, you can rent four pieces of clothing from Vince for as long as you want. When you’re ready for new items, just send ’em back in a prepaid bag they provide, and repeat. It’s a great way to try out items from a high-quality, designer brand at an affordable price point. Psst…sometimes the retail price of their pieces can cost more than the monthly subscription itself, so we think it’s totally worth it. Need some new staples now that you’re back in the office and don’t know where to start? Try this one out. ($160/month, Vince Unfold)

Buy it
Nova Octo

An option that specializes in eveningwear…

Nova Octo does all things fancy only. So if you’ve got a gala coming up (casual) or endless formal weddings on the agenda, they’ve got you covered. Bonus points: Pieces are even curated by occasion and dress code. No more wondering the difference between white tie, black tie, and black-tie optional. Plus, you can actually get temporary alterations on your garment for the perfect fit. Keep the garment for four days, and once you place your order, they’ll donate 15% from your rental to a cause that matters to you. Your next event just got a lot less stressful. (Price varies by item, Nova Octo)

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A rental service that curates your closet based on style quiz results…

Think Birchbox, but for clothes. All you have to do is take a five-minute style quiz and Armoire will then pull together some suggested items to try out. Once you select your faves, they’ll ship them right to your door. You also can work directly with the company’s stylists to pull items based on your unique needs. So you’ll get a super-customized experience and garments that’ll feel just like you. And, what really makes them stand out — you can keep your previous items all the way up until your new garments arrive. ($69+/month, Armoire)

Check it out

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