As a normal and not-at-all-famous twentysomething living in New York, I
am in denial wholeheartedly know that I am not a Kardashian/Jenner. However, these women and I do have two things in common: horrendous taste in men and great taste in style. The Kardashians, namely Kim, have taught me that, unless I am dressed and done up like I’m about to walk the red carpet at the Academy Awards, I shouldn’t leave the house. Unfortunately for my bank account, I learned this lesson at a young age and have always dressed up for class, the airport, doctors’ appointments, you name it. On days when I should’ve been wearing leggings, a sweatshirt and Uggs after a rough night at my college’s local watering hole, I was in full ensemble. Look good, feel good, right? Well, as it turns out, that mantra does not apply to my wallet. I’m not an influencer, so I don’t get any of my designer clothes for free, and so I have had to learn how to not pay full price for my clothes. I use fashion subscription and rental services (of which there are many) to do this. But which clothing rental services are worth your money? I tested them out so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
Rent the Runway
Sorry to my friends and family, but RTR is the only thing I truly love in this world. Thanks to RTR, you literally have no reason to ever spend money on designer knock-offs at FashionNova again (no shade, but… ok maybe a little shade). You can get the real thing at RTR! They have every designer under the sun, including Derek Lam, Vince, Zadig & Voltaire, Proenza Schouler, etc. You can opt for either the Update membership or the Unlimited membership. The Update membership allows you to pick and keep any four items at a time, however, you can’t swap them for other pieces during the month. You just have to wait until next month, which is fine if you believe good things come to those who wait. I am not one of those people, so I have Unlimited. Praise be. The Unlimited membership allows you to have four things at once and swap anything out whenever you want.
I tried to explain this very simple concept to my mom and she did not understand, so if you and my mom have that in common, let me break it down again. Rent the Runway has literally thousands of legit designer pieces available at any given time. You pick four, and the angels at RTR send them to you in cute little garment bags. You wear them whenever you want and swap them for something new the next day, a few months after, or whenever you want as long as you keep paying for your account.
I did Le Tote for like three months, and it was fine. Not amazing, but not terrible either. Like Rent the Runway, Le Tote is a clothing rental company that has different membership options, and because I’m extra, I signed up for the plan where I get the most stuff at a time. So when I talk about LT, I’m referring specifically to the plan I had. Le Tote let me have eight pieces at once sans swaps (unless something didn’t fit) for the month. But in order to swap those pieces, I had to send them back within like, a millisecond of receiving them. Return shipping is a pain. Who has time for that?
Anyway, quantity-wise, eight pieces was plenty to get me through dinners with high school friends and office happy hours, but quality-wise, the clothes weren’t that exciting TBH. Like, my favorite thing was a navy blue sweatshirt with ruffles on the sleeves from a brand I had never heard of. If you’re just looking for a fun and easy wardrobe update, Le Tote may be for you, especially because it’s a lot cheaper than Rent the Runway. I stopped because I noticed that a lot of the stuff they were sending me was too similar to stuff I already owned, and I didn’t need to be paying a monthly fee for a few more basic sweaters to keep the ones in my closet company. But that’s just me and my style is like, v niche.
Lysse High Waist Faux Leather Legging
Trunk Club is Nordstrom’s personal styling side hustle that asks you to answer the world’s longest questionnaire about your style upon signing up. Because I love talking about myself, I was down to spend 30 minutes on it and then chat with my stylist about each and every answer for the rest of the
workday. So unlike RTR and Le Tote, there is no renting. You talk to your stylist and send her pics of celebrities and Pinterest boards you like and she will send you a legit curated wardrobe complete with bags, jewelry, clothes, and shoes. The stylists are also really cool and sweet. My stylist and I follow each other on Instagram and she always comments on my posts when I’m wearing something she picked out for me. Thanks, Lilly, love you!
Anyway, she sends me like six (or eight, I can’t remember) pieces every three months and I keep what I like and send back what I don’t. Because I still have to pay for things like rent, electricity, and a subway card, I usually only keep one or two things and regretfully send back the rest. If you are richer than I, you can schedule trunks more regularly. And speaking of trunks, the pieces arrive in the cutest little box and each piece of clothing is wrapped in tissue paper and tied with a super chic ribbon in the most perfect bow. Another great thing about this service is that I end up buying things I never would have found in the store, like my cropped crisp white button-down with a gigantic bow on the collar, which both repels and intrigues guys, depending on their level of fragility. Thanks to the never-ending questionnaire, Lilly always kills it with the trunks, so here’s to her and all that she does.
Sam Edelman Raakel Knee High Boot
Levi’s 501® High Waist Ripped Fray Hem Skinny Jeans
Ok, if you have eyes, you know what Adore Me is because their ads are literally everywhere. Adore Me is a monthly lingerie subscription that is not rentable, because gross?? The brand has two membership options: VIP and Elite. I opted for the Elite version because I don’t feel like I need more than three sets of matching lingerie per month. I have to say, the quality is not the absolute best, but everything is so fun and no one has ever complained. I probably won’t do this forever because I still need money for food, but for now, I am enjoying it and I highly recommend it.
Alright, so as you may have guessed, I would rather rent my outfits than buy them. Yes, I know I have commitment issues, it is something I am discussing with my
best friend therapist. I mean, I live in New York, city of renters, right? This brings me to yet another clothing rental company called FashionPass. The concept is literally the same as Rent the Runway, but for a fraction of the price. No shade to RTR, which will always have me covered when I’m in the mood to wear something loud and memorable like a fuchsia Jason Wu sweater with a plaid Milly asymmetrical wrap skirt. Sometimes, though, I just want to wear jeans and a T-shirt, and that is where FashionPass comes into play. I love this company because it promotes designers for like, normal people. Think Sanctuary, BB Dakota, French Connection, Free People…etc. The list goes on, but you get what I mean.
There are three different membership options, but I am only going talk about one: Wanderlust, which offers the most bang for your buck because you get four clothing items and three accessories per month, and, like RTR, unlimited swaps and free shipping both ways. I know I said I wasn’t going to throw shade at RTR, but in order to properly commend FashionPass for something, I have to sh*t on RTR for a hot sec. Sometimes I have a legit question about my account and want to chat with a stylist online about it, which is an option RTR advertises everywhere on the site/app, but 9 out of 10 times I open the chat bubble, my stylist is out living her best life and not responding to my
urgent questions. At FashionPass, if you have any questions about literally anything, the stylists respond to you basically as you’re hitting send on your message. I don’t know about you, but I am a millennial who would rather rip my hair out one strand at a time until I am bald than speak to someone on the phone, so I love online chatting with customer service employees, and FashionPass has really nailed their chat service. If you don’t care about that because you’re a functional human who can handle a three-minute phone conversation, then opt for FashionPass for the clothes and bags. That’s all.
BB Dakota Friendly Fire Ruby Wrap Dress
Wantable is similar to Trunk Club in that you take a style quiz and get to keep your clothes. After filling out the quiz and telling them any patterns, colors, silhouettes, etc. that you don’t like, you get an “edit” which is basically a preview of a bunch of looks. From there, you can spend literally hours (maybe not literally, IDK, I got bored after a few minutes) going through every piece on the Wantable site and indicating if you hate or love it. This way, hopefully, your stylist won’t send you anything you automatically hate. You can also request certain items that you know you want to try, and at the end of it, you’ll get a box with seven picks. In addition to regular clothes, they also offer fitness wear, so you no longer have to be that girl at the gym working out in your frat tank even though you graduated five years ago. The pieces typically range from $50-100 per item, so it’s a bit more, shall we say, accessible than the stuff you’d find on RTR (while still offering brands you’d find at Nordstrom and other similar retailers). I ended up keeping two items from my edit (some solid black jeans and a fun sparkly black top), and would have kept three, but the leopard jeans they sent me were a touch too big. But the stylist was so apologetic about it, it was actually kind of sweet. This is a good option if you want to push your style a little bit without committing to an expensive designer piece.
Kut from the Kloth Donna High Rise Ankle Skinny with Raw Hem
If you like your fashion with a side of responsibility, then you’ll want to check out Fashom, a new cruelty-free styling service that also does the whole quiz-then-we-send-you-stuff thing. Fashom is actually not a subscription, because you can choose when you want your boxes delivered, which means you don’t have to worry about auto charges or skipping months. (Even though it’s technically not a subscription box, I like the fact that all the clothes are ethically sourced, so I’m including it anyway.) You get to pick five pieces and then can keep or send back whatever you want, but you get a 25% discount for keeping three or four items and 30% for keeping all five. The nice thing about Fashom is that for every box sold, they donate $1 to Second Chance Rescue in NYC, so at least I can say my impulse buying is helping puppies. What I liked about it is that they don’t just randomly send you a bunch of items you didn’t want—they help you narrow down a list, and then you ultimately choose what comes in your box. However, if you want someone to do the choosing for you, this might not be the box for you. It’s not, like, designer, but I found a few cute items (like the fun striped sweater below that earned me a ton of compliments when I wore it) that I wouldn’t have found on other sites. And I mean that, because I literally tried to search the items I got in my box and didn’t find them anywhere on the internet. So at least I won’t be wearing the same sh*t as every other girl on the streets of New York, right?
Love In Gillian Striped Pullover Sweater
Crescent Ella Lace With Spaghetti Top
Images: freestocks.org/ Unsplash; Rent the Runway; Le Tote; Trunk Club; Adore Me; FashionPass; Wantable, Fashom
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Sponored by Rent The Runway
Look, I know you think I should be honored and #blessed to be invited to your wedding, but in all reality here, given how much money I have to spend on your wedding, I’m pretty sure it’s actually the other way around. So like, you’re welcome for gracing you with my presence. Given how much money you’re forced to spend on the hotel, gift, etc., it’s nice to know that there’s a way to avoid spending half your paycheck on a dress you’re only going to wear once (because we all know that once an outfit has been on the ‘gram it gets banished to the back of your closet for the rest of eternity.)
Instead of shelling out money to actually buy a gown, you can just rent one of the amazing dress options from Rent The Runway. The cost of renting it is wayyy less than what your gown would retain for, and some dresses start as low as $30. This way, you can still look amazing and wear a $1,200 designer dress without spending anywhere near that. Here are some of the best dress options on Rent The Runway right now that will be perfect for attending any fall wedding.
Black Halo Naples Gown
$575 retail / 4 day rental $70-85
This yellow dress is similar to the iconic dress Kate Hudson wore in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, and I’m totally here for it. I mean, anything reminiscent of Kate Hudson implies an effortless beauty, which is something we’re all constantly striving for. Now, I know yellow may seem like an odd choice for fall, but hear me out. This yellow is a deep and rich enough tone that it doesn’t scream “summer,” and when paired with a cool cropped leather jacket or faux fur shawl, you’ll be perfectly stylish and seasonally-appropriate!
Catherine Deane Red Lace Lena Dress
$680 retail / 4 day rental $90-105
This lacy dress is chic and sophisticated, while also subtly sexy. The intricate details of the red lace against the nude fabric elevate this midi dress from other, more basic lace dresses. Not to mention, the red color combined with the lace gives it a flirty, feminine vibe. This is the kind of dress that demands attention and makes a statement, which is the ideal kind of dress to rent rather than buy.
ML Monique Lhuillier Midnight Lace Gown
$650 retail / $65 to buy
This tiered gown is EVERYTHING. I’m obsessed with the perfectly fall rich navy color in the baroque-adjacent lace pattern. The whole vibe of the gown is very gothic princess, but like, in the most elegant way possible. What I love about this gown is how unique it is and how it’s pretty much guaranteed to flatter all body types. You’ll legit look and feel like a princess, and who doesn’t want that?
Christian Siriano Knit Drape Dress
$1,595 retail / 4 day rental $270-280
I know this may come as a shock to you all but, as a 26-year-old Communications major who just moved out of her parents’ house, I can’t afford a Christian Siriano dress. However, I CAN afford to rent one (well barely, but that’s a personal problem). This dress is classy and conservative, making it the ideal dress for attending a wedding when it might end up being like, freezing.
Cooper Street Midnight Lucky Gown
$389 retail / 4 day rental for $70
So this is the type of glitzy gown I would have dreamed of my mom letting me get for prom, but of course there’s no way in hell she would have let me buy a $400 dress. Which like, fair, she had to use her Macy’s coupons. But now I can finally live out my prom fantasy of wearing such a gorgeous dress, just now as a wedding guest instead. And I can even do so without actually having to buy the dress! With the sequins and the silhouette, this dress is beautiful and classy, making it the ideal dress for an elevated bougie Black-tie wedding. You know, the kind with an open bar that’s fully stocked with top-shelf alcohol.
C/MEO Collective Take Seriously Dress
$198 retail / 4 day rental $30-35
Honestly, the name of this dress embodies it perfectly. It’s the type of dress you wear to a wedding where you don’t mention that you went to a Big 10 school and once did a beer bong on the roof of a frat house. This is the dress you wear to attend the formal wedding of your boyfriend’s fancy lawyer friends. Like, where you know the other women will already be judging you regardless, so you come in looking like a class act. It’s all around very Amal Clooney vibes. Plus, pleating is very in for fall, and this dress has just the right amount without being over-the-top trendy.
Slate & Willow Metallic Flounce Hem Dress
$128 retail / 4 day rental for $30
For a cocktail attire wedding, this dress is beyond perfect. The bronze color paired with long sleeves make it perfect for fall, while the metallic sheen elevates the dress and gives it a touch of trendiness. At a retail price of $128, this may seem like the type of dress you’d just blindly buy right out. But a wiser woman than you would recognize that a dress this cute is sure to be remembered, which means it’s highly unlikely you’ll wear it again. Hence, the more fiscally responsible thing to do here would be to rent it rather than buy it.
Shoshanna Navy Montrose Gown
$649 retail / $65 to buy
This gown is stunning, and even better, it’s pretty much guaranteed to flatter everyone. The keyhole cutout and fitted silhouette give it a touch of sex appeal without being over-the-top. But the best part is probably the fluttery off-the-shoulder sleeves, which always give the illusion of perfect arms without even having to strike the “skinny arm” pose. The midnight color plus minimal mock turtleneck give it just the right amount of fall-appropriate vibes.
When the rental price of your RTR gown costs a fraction of the retail value, you’re guaranteed to look incredible while also making a smart financial decision. Even though you would usually justify buying the dress by claiming you’ll wear it again, we all know that’s a lie. And realistically, you’re probs too lazy to even attempt to resell it. So save yourself the buyer’s remorse and utilize Rent The Runway’s amazing selection of wedding guest dresses. Plus, you can even get 30% off everything on Rent The Runway (including their monthly subscription to Unlimited and Update memberships too) if you use code: RTRXBETCHES.
30% Off Everything on Rent the Runway (that includes Unlimited and Update memberships too!) use code: RTRXBETCHES
Images: Naku Mayo / Unsplash; Rent The Runway (8)