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Clothing rentals: A chic alternative to spending sprees

Clothing hangs on a rack prior to a fashion show/makeover event.
Photo by Bryan Bedder

Trying to find a new outfit for a special occasion can be stressful. For those who don’t often attend formal events, it can seem like a waste of money to buy a dress that you’ll only wear once or twice. It can also get boring to wear the same dress to every wedding, charity event and special dinner. If the thought of going out and buying a brand new outfit for one night gives you hives, but you’re less than thrilled about the prospects in your closet, there is hope. A crop of businesses allow women of all shapes and sizes to rent their favorite runway looks, so they can look fabulous for a night without killing their bank account or buying something that will end up collecting dust.

Rent the Runway: One of the most well-known of these services is Rent the Runway. Featuring designers like ML by Monique Lhuillier, Kate Spade, Badgley Mischka and more, this site is perfect for those occasions in which you want to be dressed to the nines. Rent the Runway allows its users to save big on designer gowns, with deals like a $70 rental fee on an $870 dress. Shipping takes about a week, and after the event, you return the clothes in a pre-paid package. Rent the Runway takes care of the dry cleaning, saving another expense. The site will help you find an outfit that matches your taste and your body type, and the selection is diverse as well as stunning.

Gwynnie Bee: This rental site functions as a subscription service (like Netflix), and caters to women ranging from size 10-32. Featuring brands like ASOS Curve, Karen Kane, Poppy and Bloom and more, this company offers a versatile closet for plus sized women. Since this is a subscription service, there are a lot more everyday looks, so you can wear something different to work or school and change up your look. However, there is also a good selection of cocktail dresses for fancier occasions. The company has different subscription tiers that start at around $40 a month.

Le Tote: Le Tote is also a subscription service that allows for the option to buy. It also has a shopping option in which members can buy merchandise at a discount. For about $50 a month, you can receive a tote that includes around $200 worth of clothing and accessories, and you can return whatever you don’t want. This option is great for the trendy girl who quickly tires of her clothes. It’s also a good way to try before you buy. You can test drive those skinny jeans to see how they look on you without busting your budget.

Renting clothes is a great way to stay stylish and save money at the same time. If you’re a trend setter or hate wearing the same outfit all the time, try one of these services and get your style on.