If there’s something any true fashionista craves, it’s a runway look at a bargain price and fast fashion gives it to us at the fastest and cheapest rate. But keeping up with the break-neck speed of today’s latest trends can quickly break the bank if you’re not careful.
Fast fashion is designed obsolescence, compelling us to come back and buy more. The truth is, ladies, fast fashion has failed us in more ways than one. Millions of impoverished young women ages 18-24 make our clothes under punishing conditions for unlivable wages.
When we buy fast fashion, we buy products that profit off of oppressed women. No. Thank you!
Not only are our clothes coming to us from unfair labor, most of our cheap buys fall apart, fade or lose their shape, demanding that we trash our tattered T’s and buy new. Think of it as a retail hamster wheel. We consume about 80 billion new pieces of clothing per year, a consumption increase of 400% from 20 years ago. In the same year, Americans send 12.8 million tons of clothes to landfills where they will sit for 200 years and emit carbon. These are big numbers that have a big impact on climate change.
Believe it or not, us fashionistas can take matters into our own hands.
Our money is what makes the fashion world go round. The good news is there are high-end durable products that also help you save on cash and reduce your carbon footprint. Behold, the rental! When we rent rather than buy, we keep clothes out of landfills, rock well-made threads from high-end labels and save our hard earned cash. Here are some of our top subscription services that will support you from the boardroom to the dance floor:
Price: $39 – 59/month + $5 optional insurance
Brands: Anthropologie, Nasty Gal, ShopBop, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, and more.
Sizes Offered: Dresses in 0 – 16; tops in XS – XXL; pants in 0 – 16; jeans 24 – 32
How It Works: Take Le Tote’s style quiz, choose your preferred package, and sit back and relax. Le Tote’s monthly packages with clothing and accessories are hand-selected by your own personal Le Tote stylist. Hang onto the goods for as long as you want, and when you’re ready to move on, send the laundry to Le Tote. Once your package is sent back using their prepaid label, you can look forward to a new sustainable style surprise.
Rent the Runway
Price: $30 – $800/item or $139/month
Brands: Rebecca Minkoff, Zac Posen, Milly, Derek Lam, Diane Von Furstenberg, and more.
Sizes Offered: 0 – 22
How It Works: Remember the Narciso Rodriguez gown Anna Kendrick wore to the Into the Woods premiere? It could be yours for $3,295 (plus tax, of course)! Or, you could save more than $2,500 and rent it from Rent the Runway. With the option to do a one-time rental or a monthly membership, you can keep your closet space and conscious clear while keeping your wallet full. Their wide array of designer dresses and other designer clothing is as unique as your personal style dream.
Bag Borrow Steal
Price: $45 – $600/month
Brands: Chanel, Valentino, Gucci, Fendi, Tory Burch, Prada, Michael Kors, Moschino, and more.
How It Works: Designer bags come with designer tags when you buy, but when you rent from Bag Borrow Steal, you can rent a new designer bag for about 10% of the retail cost. Keep that Stella McCartney Falabella mini backpack or Chanel classic bag for as long as you want with a monthly rental fee, and return with a prepaid label when you’re ready (shipping’s free both ways). Rental fees are by the bag, so there’s no extra membership fee to worry about. One important note: if the bag you’re eyeing is valued at the price of a used car, you may need to provide a credit check. Don’t worry, they only reserve this for the super high ticket items, like a $3,800 Chanel bag. And, if you have a designer bag that you’d like to unload, Bag Borrow Steal has a marketplace for you to sell your gently used designer purses and totes in good shape, too! Keeping in the circulating through the hands of our fellow fashionistas keeps bags out of landfills and extends the life of products that take a lot of time, woman power and natural resources to make.
How It Works: For the near-sighted, far-sighted, and anyone who isn’t operated at 20/20 vision, glasses are the one wearable accessory that generally doesn’t change on the daily. Winkcrate is a brand-spanking-new service offering the visually challenged the opportunity to try a new pair of glasses in your prescription each month. Don’t be surprised if people start singing “There’s Something About the Way You Look Tonight.” With Winkcrate, your entire look just went from a little predictable to a little more Elton John.
Price: $49 – $95/month
Brands: Ellen Tracy, Rachel Roy, Eloquii, Effie’s Heart, City Chic, Lucky Brand, and more.
Sizes Offered: 10 – 32
How It Works: Where Le Tote’s clothing subscription is driven by stylists, Gwynnie Bee puts its members in the driver’s seat. Think of Gwynnie Bee as one big revolving plus size closet with hundreds of items for all occasions and styles available in your size. Choose what you like an Gwynnie Bee will send you items from your faves in the mail. Keep the item(s) as long or as short as you like, send back unwashed (let them do the dirty work!), and as soon as they receive it, they’ll put the next bag of goodies in the mail.
The Mr. & Ms. Collection
Price: $49 – $113/month
Men’s Brands: 7 Diamonds, Penguin, Bruun Stengade, Surfside Supply, Jeremiah, Jachs NY and more.
Sizes Offered: Casual shirts in S – XL; dress shirts 14.5 – 17.5 with arm lengths 32/33 and 34/35; pants 30 – 38 with 30 – 34 inseam
Women’s Brands: Vince Camuto, Sanctuary, Michael Stars, Eliza J, Tart Collections, Maggy London and more.
Sizes Offered: 2 – 14 and XS – XL
How It Works: Choose between a professional, play, or professional + play package, enter in your size info and personal style preferences, and await the goods! Each month, a stylist will curate a complete outfit (along with some surprise items) and ship it to your door for free. You rent your items for as long as you want, or keep the pieces you love most, all at a discounted rate.
Price: $25 – $1,900
How It Works: Sustainably sourced precious gems are the way any Remaker girl wants to go. But if you’re not ready to buy, the rental service Adorn puts the kind of jewelry usually reserved for high rollers in reach and for repurposed love. Depending on the value of the item rented, a credit check and/or background check may be required, but once you pass muster, those $5,000 diamond chandelier earrings are temporarily yours and insured for $150. Send it back on time and you’ll avoid late fees, and Adorn will take care of cleaning before they send it out to another happy renter.
Vow to Be Chic
Price: $69 – $99
Brands: Monique Lhuillier, Adrianna Papell, Donna Morgan, Nicole Miller, Jenny Yoo, Watters, and more.
Sizes Offered: 0 – 18, in regular and tall lengths
How It Works: Bridesmaid dresses can be expensive even when they’re not designer, but Vow to Be Chic makes it possible for a bride with Dom Perignon taste and sustainable savvy to dress her bridesmaids on a Mumm’s budget. The bride can choose her colors and favorite designer dresses and email assigned dresses to each bridesmaid directly from the site. All her ladies have to do from there is click a link, choose a size, and complete the order. Dresses will arrive two weeks before the big day with a fit guarantee, and they maids have 1-3 days to return them after the event (no need to dryclean!) using a prepaid envelope. Want to see the dress before you rent? Sample try-ons are available for $19.95 a dress.
Join the Conversation
Careful with Vow to be Chic– I’m MOH in a wedding in six days and the fit guarantee is not really coming through for me! They actually said, “are you open to wearing a different dress?” Eek.
Amelia that’s a useful tip on their customer service! Have you tried any of the other rental models?