Fashion rental sites have shot-up in popularity over the past year as we all try and turn our hand to living more sustainably wherever we can. With lockdown proving that a large chunk of our wardrobe isn’t quite as needed as we once thought (looking at you 17 pairs of heels), it’s becoming clear that buying an outfit to wear once for a special occasion is no longer the obvious course of action.
For my birthday earlier this month I booked the fanciest restaurant in town and planned a night of cocktails, lipstick and deep chats with my best mates – whilst still obviously hoping we’d be in bed by 10.30pm because y’know…kids. And whilst the Hannah of years gone by would have jumped at the opportunity to spend hours on the hunt for a hot new dress to feel amazing in, I decided that I would try and find something to rent instead.
Where to rent from?
There’s a handful of well-known and respected rental sites to choose from. In fact, we compiled a list over here. I went with By Rotation in the end, but not for any good reason aside from that they had the most dresses on offer in sizes 14 and 16. It’s a peer-to-peer rental site which means you’ll likely just be borrowing from another girl, just like you, somewhere else in the country. Think of it a bit like a pen pal mate you’re borrowing clothing from.
The app is super easy to use and I could just scroll through all the dresses which were available in my size for the dates I wanted. I looked a few weeks in advance. And it’s worth noting it’s not just dresses you can rent either – there’s bags, accessories and other clothing items.
How to choose?
I filtered down to find brands I knew I already love like Ghost, Ganni and Rixo and went from there. When I spied the dress I knew almost instantly that it was the one. I loved the statement colour and print, but mostly I liked the style which I knew was a fail-safe one for my personal taste and body shape. With renting I didn’t want to take risks, I wanted to find something similar to stuff I’d worn before that I knew I would love when it arrived.
I paid £21 to hire it for three days and then paid postage (around £7) on top of that to return it first class and signed for. Brand new the dress would have been almost £200.
How did it all work?
Once I’d chosen the dress I wanted to rent, the app then makes it super simple for you to contact the owner and check it’s OK for you to borrow. I conversed with the owner a bit like you would on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. She dropped me a message to let me know she was popping it to the post office and I asked her whether she’d like me to return the dress washed or unwashed (I was pleasantly surprised to find the label said I could machine wash and tumble dry which was a result).
It arrived the day before my birthday dinner, I wore it out (and took special care to keep it well away from red wine) and then washed and dried it the next day before putting in packaging and sending off at the post office. Easy peasy.
Would I do it again?
Absolutely. For sure. I have a wedding in January that I’m already planning on renting for and have a potential trip to New York in a month or so that I’m debating renting a couple of bits for – maybe a nice handbag or even an extra winter coat. Pieces that make you feel special without having to spend your money on having it forever. I think it’s a great way to ‘shop’ moving forward, especially if you know what suits you and makes you feel good!