Rental Subscriptions

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If you don’t own it, you don’t have to store it

This is part of the reason why fashion rental subscriptions are so smart.  For a small investment, you can have a constantly rotating wardrobe, so you will never get bored.  You know the clothes will always fit because you can change what size you request and when the trend is over, you are not stuck with the question of “now what”.  The future of fashion for urban fashionistas is rental subscriptions.  While I agree the above is true for a lot of women and a great idea for the fashion industry, I don’t like it.

Reason #1: I get attached. There is something beautiful about owning your clothing.  Each item brings back so many memories from when I was wearing them.  I have always grown up switching over my closets with the change of season.  This means that I put my winter clothes in the attic when it is summer and vice versa.  Whenever it is time to switch, I feel like I am going through an old yearbook because I never remember all of the clothing I have. 

Reason #2: I like a wide range of brands. Rental subscriptions only work for people who like to shop with one brand or style.  If I am going to pay a monthly fee for a subscription, I am going to get the most use out of it as I can.  Rent the Runway works if you have a high society, chic life that requires you to wear expensive clothing.  This is a service I would consider when I start being invited to a lot of weddings.  I do not need these clothes in my everyday life, I would be way too dressed up.  On the other end of the spectrum is Nuuly.  With brands like Urban Outfitters, Free People, and Levi’s, this subscription service is more casual and free-spirited.  I do not know of anyone who has multiple rental subscriptions, but it seems if you have Nuuly you will still need to buy for your more dressed up looks and if you have RTR, you will have to buy for your casual clothes.  

Reason #3: I do not easily fit into clothing. Fashion rental subscriptions are a great concept for people who know the brands they are renting and fit in most clothing.  Alterations are a necessity for me to even be able to wear some current trends.  Obviously, when you are renting clothing, you can’t alter them.  I have heard so many stories of people who try to rent 4 pieces and only 1 piece fits.  This ends up being a waste of money and huge frustration.  How do we enhance these programs for women who are hard to fit, so this trend can benefit everyone? 

At first glance, Nuuly looks more promising, but there is a catch.  Nuuly rents 6 pieces each month, with no swaps.  This means if you rent 3 pieces that do not fit you, you are stuck with them for a month.  At RTR, there are three subscription options.  One where you have 1 swap/month, one with 2 swaps/month, and one with unlimited swaps/month.  For most of us who are not always a perfect fit, the option of swapping allows us to not waste an entire month.     

At this point, why wouldn’t you invest in your wardrobe? It is like renting versus buying a house.  You will pay the same amount each month, but at the end of a year, you are closer to having an investment if you buy.  Renting is basically throwing money away for an experience. 

The old fashioned version of rental subscriptions is borrowing dresses/clothes from your friends.  In college, every time we had a formal or date night, we all swapped dresses.  I think I only bought 1 new dress in all four years.