I have been an ongoing supporter of clothing rental since its inception.  It’s environmentally friendly, keeps closets from getting bloated with never-worn purchases and saves money.  Yet, there is another benefit to clothing rental that I hadn’t considered until I went to Rent the Runway’s flagship store in New York with a client, it can help you discover your style.

I shared this epiphany with my closed Facebook Group and the feedback was so enthusiastic that I thought I would share it in a blog post.

How Clothing Rental can Help You Discover Your Style

My longstanding client, Ms. Chic, and I visited the Rent the Runway store with two missions: to check out the merchandise before deciding whether the Rent the Runway Unlimited Style plan was for her and to look for something for her to wear to her company’s holiday party.  

While looking through the racks for office party appropriate evening dresses, I said to Ms. Chic, “The best part about renting a dress for this event is we can really take a risk.  It’s not like you have to worry about it hanging in your closet.”  Ms. Chic looked at me and enthusiastically replied, “totally!”  It was then that I realized what a benefit clothing rental could be for discovering your style.

Clothing rental removes the pressure of getting it right

The reason why clothing rental can be so helpful in style discovery is the pressure of getting it right is totally eliminated.  You try it, it fails, it goes back.  Lesson learned at a fraction of the cost.  Plus, you don’t have to worry about the item hanging in the closet.  Without the worry of the consequences, it feels much more liberating to step out give something you normally wouldn’t a try.  Here are more ways that clothing rental can help you discover your style.

You can try new brands and styles without the commitment

Who has the time to hunt down new brands or try new silhouettes with all the other commitments the average person has?  With little time to shop, it’s completely normal to go back to the same watering holes that are either convenient and you know will work.  Sure, online shopping can be helpful, but, for the average woman, many purchases will fail and be returned.  What if, instead of doing all the legwork yourself, you had the opportunity to try before you buy?  Clothing rental allows you to test the waters and take some risks.  Through this process you have the opportunity to learn some things about your style you may have not considered before.

This was a text between me and Ms. Chic.  Ms. Chic had refused to try peplum tops for years.  I couldn’t help but mention this point when she told loved a peplum top she got from her first Rent the Runway Unlimited delivery.  Clothing rental feels like much less of a risk when you know you can try something without consequences.

Clothing rental unburdens your closet

Having a packed closet doesn’t necessarily mean having the right things or even everything you need. When a closet is packed, it can be hard to justify buying more.  But what if you really do need something that doesn’t exist in your closet?  No matter how much is crammed in the closet, this can happen.  If you have stopped shopping because you simply cannot add more to your closet, but find yourself either in need or wanting something, the pressure of burdening your closet further is decreased.  Plus, you get to explore your style without adding to what you already own.

Clothing rental can help you cull down your wardrobe

Even better, clothing rental can actually help with wardrobe culling.  Imagine you have a closet full of clothes, much of what you aren’t wearing.  Scared to make the situation worse, you stop shopping while at the same time find yourself also reluctant to get rid of anything.  As a result, you’re stuck in limbo, knowing that buying more will only add to the problem, while worrying that getting rid of things might be a mistake.  By being able to try things through clothing rental you can get a better idea of what to shop for in the future while also being empowered to let go of things that you know just aren’t you any longer.

You can find more to wear with what you already own risk-free

Let’s say you have some favorite pieces in your closet.  The only problem?  They’re not getting nearly as much wear wear because you don’t have other options to consider.  You could go out and buy more things that will work with your favorite pants or top, but what happens if these purchases just wind up being mistakes that hang in your closet.  Through clothing rental, you can try some things risk-free that will give you the opportunity to play around without any consequences.  You can then either buy the winner rental pieces or know what silhouettes to shop for in the future.

The downside of clothing rental

So far, Ms. Chic has been pretty optimistic about her Rent the Runway Unlimited subscription.  It’s early on, so we’ll see how it goes.  In the meantime, I will say the one downside that has presented itself has been with the one-time rentals of clothing.  If you haven’t don’t a one-time rental from RTR, how it works is you select the dates you would like to rent and search for the styles available.  You have two options for rental periods, either four or eight days.  Smartly, Rent the Runway lets you choose two sizes for free to better ensure the item will fit you once it is in your possession.  It’s also really helpful and cool that former renters not only review the styles many post photos of themselves wearing the them.  Seeing real women with real bodies wearing the clothing can make a huge difference.

Despite all these helpful tools, if you don’t give yourself enough time to try a style you run the risk of potentially have to scramble to find something else if your rental doesn’t work.  This happened to Ms. Chic when she ordered two dresses to wear to her company’s holiday party and both wound up not fitting properly.  Because of this, she wore something from her closet that she wasn’t enthused about wearing.  To work around this issue, either give yourself enough time on the front end to return your rental and rent something new or, if you have a great deal of time, try renting the dress before you actually need it so you can try it on without pressure.  Of course, renting something twice just to make sure it fits does increase the cost, which can be an added downside.  

Clothing rental services to consider

Interested in clothing rental?  Rent the Runway isn’t the only game in town.  Check out these other companies offering this type of service.

Have you tried clothing rental services yet?  What has your experience been?