Though I'm a reporter who writes regularly about e-commerce for a digital publication, the truth is I don't like online shopping.
I'm perhaps an anomaly among my millennial peers in that I much prefer the experience of physically visiting a store, trying on clothing, and ruminating over it extensively before making a purchase. I also have a fondness for thrift shopping and relish combing through racks to score a unique piece at a bargain price, a practice I'm aware many find cumbersome and time-consuming.
So when it was suggested I trial a handful of the buzziest monthly clothing rental programs — an industry that continues to grow at a rapid pace, on track to reach $4.4 billion by 2028 according to GlobalData Retail— I was both skeptical and intrigued. For as much buzz as rental gets, could renting clothing really be the future of fashion?
My ultimate takeaway: Yes, but each of the services still has several kinks to iron out before the average consumer has a closet filled with rental pieces. While there are several perks to these programs — both personal and environmental — tracking my orders was a bit of a logistical headache. In one case I rented a dress for a wedding that didn't make it to me in time. In another, I lost a package and had to search for it in the depths of my office basement.
Over the past few months, I trialed Express Style Trial, Rebecca Taylor RNTD, Vince Unfold, Rent the Runway Unlimited, and Nuuly. Here's my ranking, from worst to best: