Capsule wardrobes are all the rage, being embraced by minimalists and eco-fashion enthusiasts. For some fashion lovers, however, capsule wardrobes are a form of creative style oppression.
What to do if you’re keen to reduce your environmental impact but love fashion and can’t force yourself to stick to capsule closet rules?
Rent instead of buy.
There are many benefits to renting clothing: it allows you to indulge in your love of fashion without any of the guilt; it’s way cheaper than buying (particularly if you have high-end luxe taste, you can save yourself a small fortune!); it enables you to keep your wardrobe clutter-free as items aren’t hanging on the rack unused and unworn; and it reduces textile waste because you aren’t purchasing poorly-made fast fashion that will need to be thrown out because you can’t be bothered mending it.
Now while renting has its downsides, mainly that some garments will have to be professionally laundered and dry cleaned after use which can increase its environmental impact, it still beats out owning, particularly if you’re unlikely to wear the item again, such as a special occasion dress.
So ready to begin your clothes renting journey? Here is a list of fashion rental sites to help you get started:
1. Rent the Runway (USA)
Possibly the most recognised fashion rental website in the world, Rent the Runway offers a broad selection of designer fashion and special event dresses from labels such as Monique Lhuillier, Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta, Rebecca Minkoff and Marni.
The website is beautifully laid out, with an easy-to-navigate bar that allows you to efficiently locate the right item, whether you’re needing something to wear to a Gala or you’re looking for an outfit as a guest to a Black Tie Wedding. There are also photos of each garment along with customer photos and profiles to help you decide whether the garment will suit your size, height, weight, body type and cup size.
Rent the Runway also offer member packages so if you plan to refresh your wardrobe monthly or rotate outfits frequently, these options may be more suitable for you.
Best for: Renting designer clothing and special occasion dresses
Shipping: Free shipping (both ways) on all rentals
Rentals price range: $30+
2. GlamCorner (Australia)
With over 6,000 of the latest dresses from more than 200 well-known international and Australian labels including Balmain, Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana, you’re sure to find something at Sydney-based clothing rental service, GlamCorner. Most dresses can be rented for a fraction of the retail value and the B-Corp certified business also offers garments in sizes to suit all body types up to size 22.
The website has a clean, crisp design that’s simple to navigate so you can easily search by dress type, designer or occasion. GlamCorner allows you to rent for four or eight days and all rentals come with accidental damage insurance. They also allow you to Try On for a small fee, ideal for one-of-a-kind designer dresses that you’re keen to wear to a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Best for: Renting designer fashion and special dresses.
Shipping: $10.95 – $15 (to return, just pop in the prepaid bag provided)
Rentals price range: 10-15% of the retail price.
3. Armoire (USA)
This US-based clothes rental platform focusses on serving you, understanding your size, shape, fit and style tastes and preferences. Perfect for all women of shapes and sizes, and caters to pregnant women too.
Here’s how Armoire works: You take a three-minute quiz and from there, Armoire’s stylists will help to build you a closet of designer garments, all handpicked especially for you.
From there, you get to choose at least four items that you’d like to wear and it’s delivered to you seamlessly and effortlessly. You can exchange pieces, or purchase outright if there’s something you particularly love – at discounted members prices too! The ‘infinite wardrobe’ members package is just $149 per month, and for this, you get a personalised styling service and have your closet curated by styling professionals – all based on your feedback. If you are time poor, don’t like shopping or online browsing, this is a great platform to try. Saves you time and shopping frustration.
Best for: Renting fashion items for a complete wardrobe as well as maternity wear
Shipping: Free cleaning and shipping on all clothing rentals
Rentals price range: $149 per month membership
4. Lána (Australia)
Best for: Stylish maternity clothing
Shipping: Express nationwide shipping for a flat rate of AU$10. Ships internationally too.
Rentals price range: From $20
5. Gwynnie Bee (USA)
“Gwynnie Bee is a service that offers unlimited styles for women. Raid our closet as often as you like—anytime, anywhere—and never wear the same outfit twice! Shop better, wear smarter, and rediscover the fun of fashion.” – Gwynnie Bee website 2018
Gwynnie Bee offers a broad selection of clothing for women of all shapes and sizes, from petite women, tall women and plus-size women. If you’re new to the platform, they have a 30-day free trial you can take advantage of where you can claim to items to try. You can also set up a chat with one of their stylists for free personalised styling recommendations and tips.
Become a member and take advantage of the many perks: unlimited clothing exchanges, free dry cleaning, free shipping, and if you especially love something, you can purchase outright for a discounted retail price. Gwynnie Bee offers several subscription plans to fit any budget. We particularly love that you can download the app on iTunes or Google Play for free to make browsing and renting that much easier!
Best for: Renting a complete wardrobe from casual wear through to work attire
Shipping: Free shipping on all rentals within USA (but not its territories) and free dry cleaning
Rentals price range: Member packages start from $49
6. Tumnus (Melbourne, Australia… for now)
We’ve featured this Melbourne-based wardrobe-sharing platform on EWP before because the concept behind Tumnus is brilliant, so we’re going to share it here again.
Unlike the other online platforms already listed, Tumnus works a little differently, it is a community-driven platform that allows people to share fashion with people in their local area. So if you have a closet full of fashionable, trendy clothes, no longer will your beautiful clothes just hang in your wardrobe collecting dust – you can rent it out to people and make some cash too! It’s like a Melbourne-based Airbnb for clothing where borrowers will regularly find gorgeous items from Gorman, Alice McCall, Scanlan Theodore, Willow and Life With Bird.
Best for: Melbourne-based fashion lovers keen to rent or those looking to make some cash by sharing their wardrobes
Shipping: To be arranged and agreed on by both parties.
Rentals price range: From as little as $5 (although you will need to put down a deposit, it’s returned to you when clothes are returned).
7. EKOLUV (Australia)
Founded by eco-conscious model, jewellery designer and ethical fashion advocate Emily Kate Symes, EKOLUV is a Sydney-based sustainable dress hire and consignment boutique that enables women to indulge in their love of luxe fashion, ‘IT’ bags and other fabulous accessories – without the eco-guilt.
This sustainable fashion business offers items for hire online but also has a boutique in Paddington so customers can try its gorgeous garments on in the showroom, assess the size and fit before renting. Fashion labels stocked include Alice McCall, Hugo Boss, Celine, Ellery, Dion Lee and much more, including EKOLUV’s own in-house produced fashion jewellery. Hire items for four or eight days. Customers can also sell their own high-quality designer wardrobe items on consignment.
What’s more, EKOLUV gives back by donating a percentage of its profits to Opportunity International Australia and empowering women in the process.
Best for: Fun, flirty and glamorous pieces to wear to parties and special events.
Shipping: Delivery is calculated at checkout.
Rentals price range: From $49.
8. Style Lend (USA)
“Style Lend is a community of fashion lovers that lend and rent designer items. Think of it as your own infinite, high-end closet from which you can borrow anytime – a place where you can lend your items to fashionable women and make money when the items rent.” – Style Lend website 2018
Works similarly to Tumnus but Style Lend is a US-based community wardrobe sharing platform where lenders can make money renting out their closets, where they keep 80 percent of the basic rental fee. To join the community and start sharing your fashion, just click on this link to get started.
The brand accepts a variety of items but recommends they must have a minimum retail value of $250 retail value and be less than two years old, preferably less than a year old and retails for over $300. Lenders insurance is also available at $5.
Best for: United States-based fashion lovers keen to lend or borrow fashion, shoes, bags and accessories
Shipping: Delivery is set at $19 per item roundtrip.
Rentals price range: From as little as $15
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9. The Volte (Australia)
Dubbed the “Airbnb of Australian fashion”, The Volte is an Australian online marketplace that enables members to borrow and lend high-end designer clothing. Works similarly to community closet sharing sites Tumnus and Style Lend, although it focusses specifically on high-end designer dresses, outerwear, handbags, accessories and millinery and preferably with a recommended retail price of $100
Borrowers will find many exquisite garments from popular Australian brands such as Alice McCall, Alex Perry, Thurley, Nicola Finetti and Zimmerman.
Best for: For those who have a penchant for gorgeous, one-of-a-kind head-turning dresses for special events and occasions
Shipping: The maximum shipping cost is $15.95.
Rentals price range: From as little as $49 per item.
10. Le Tote
“Le Tote is a rental fashion service that lets you wear the clothing and accessories you choose. Just wear, return, repeat.” – Le Tote website 2018
This US-based clothing subscription service delivers ‘totes’ full of clothes and accessories to your door for a monthly fee, helping time-poor customers save money, cut down on closet clutter, budget and reduce overall textile waste.
Le Tote styles and curates your ‘totes’ based on your input, and you can provide feedback, exchange and return every single month. The rental business carries fashion brands such as Free People, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, French Connection, Kate Spade and House of Harlow just to name a few. If you’re particularly keen on an item sent to you, you can purchase it at 50 percent of the retail cost.
Best for: Renting casual wardrobe basics, work clothing or maternity wear.
Shipping: Free for all Le Tote member subscribers.
Rentals price range: Le Tote offers monthly membership plans starting at $69 per month for classic items and $79 per month for maternity wear.
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Disclosure: The curated list is based on the writer’s research and does not fully take into account all ethical criteria that are unique to each individual. Before subscribing or purchasing from any of the above platforms, we encourage you to do your own research into the sites and fashion brands, paying particular attention to customer reviews, business supply chain and your own particular set of ethics. We also recommend you review customer ratings if any on the site and online. This list also contains affiliate links. For more information, click here.
Title image credit: Unsplash.