Love the idea of a minimalist closet but always crave something new? Consider renting your wardrobe. Yes, that’s right.
You may be familiar with special-occasion rentals, which have recently experienced a boom. “The growth of the sharing economy is helping change mindsets,” says Julie Buczkowski, co-founder of The Fitzroy, which ships dresses across Canada. “I attend so many functions where different outfits are required,” says Tamara Bahry, a Toronto-based artist and philanthropist, and long-time Fitzroy client. “Renting has encouraged me to push my fashion choices; it’s also eco-friendly and doesn’t break the bank.”
You can also rent everyday pieces, thanks to new subscription services from Canadian companies like Rent Frock Repeat and Dresst. “There’s a point of mass accumulation with subscription boxes,” says Kristy Wieber, co-founder of Rent Frock Repeat. “They’re not as sustainable as a rental subscription.” Both services feature contemporary brands and work similarly to traditional subscription boxes, except for the fact that after one month, everything gets shipped back. Monthly rental costs vary depending on the number of pieces; both brands take care of any loose buttons and other repairs, as well as dry-cleaning. You also have the option to buy‚ at a discount, any pieces you can’t bear to part with.
Three rental services we love
Lightly worn casual, work and formal wear—like the Balmain x H&M blazer shown above—in sizes 00 to 14 are put up for rent by their owners and managed by the Reheart team. Rentals start at four days (and around $45) and can run as long as 30 days; shipping is included.
A $99 per month membership to Dresst (Ontario-only for now, sizes 0 to 14) lets you choose three pieces from labels such as Joie and Vince (like the sweater above). After 30 days you return them, and you’re sent three more; shipping is included.
With thousands of dresses (in sizes 0 to 18) available online or at its Toronto studio, you’ll find an option for every occasion. Depending on the designer (including Rachel Zoe and Needle & Thread, shown above), prices range from $75 to $140 for a four-day rental; shipping is an extra $25.
How special-occasion rentals work
1. Find a dress
Up to four months before the event, select your dream look from a bricks-and-mortar location or website, and book your rental date.
2. Consult a stylist
Unsure about the precise fit of your chosen style? Most services offer stylist consultations either in person, over the phone or by email.
3. Select a rental period
You’ll likely have the option of renting for a four- or eight-day stint, with an extension for an additional cost.
4. Look amazing (and send it back when you’re done)
Two-way shipping isn’t always included, so double-check the total cost before you commit.