Close this search box.

Renting Clothes: It’s Not Really Better Than Buying Your Own


Clothing is one of the top things that people spend on each year. But with fast fashion on the rise, trends easily come and go. People are more likely to spend on clothing to keep up. Also, consumer prices in the U.S. are increasing at a speedy rate, including clothing. Thus, people are looking for alternatives to be able to try on new clothes and ride trends.

In recent years, fashion rental services surfaced. Some popular ones include Rent the Runway, Haverdash, and Gwynnie Bee, among many others. There’s a certain appeal to these services.

Why People Rent Clothes

People can just buy clothes for themselves when they need to. But many choose to rent for many reasons:

  1. Less Wardrobe Space. Not everyone has huge walk-in closets to store all their clothes. With renting, they can use certain pieces of clothing for a while without having to get extra wardrobe space.
  2. Easy Access to Branded Items. Some fashion rental services offer branded clothes for rent. So anyone can try them on for a limited time.
  3. Unique OOTDs. By renting clothes, a person doesn’t have to worry about not having anything to wear. And they can use the money they saved on other things instead. For example, they can get fine bracelets, necklaces, and rings that will match their outfits.

Problems with Renting Clothes

Though renting clothes has its advantages, it also comes with problems. If you’re planning to try renting clothes for a limited period or get a monthly subscription, you need to understand these issues. This way, you can make a responsible decision whether to push with renting.

It Is Pricey

dollar sign

It can be argued that renting clothes is more affordable than buying new clothes. For example, when renting, you can get two or more dresses at the same price as one new dress.

Also, fashion rental services offer branded clothing that you may not be willing to or able to buy at its original price. But through rental services, you can get to wear these luxurious clothes a few times without paying the full price.

But in the long term, renting clothes is more expensive than buying. The average annual spending on clothes of an American family is around $1,700. If you get a monthly subscription for a fashion rental service, such as in Rent the Runway, you’re bound to spend $1,000 to $2,000 a year. Note that this amount is for a single person.

It Is Not That Sustainable

One of the selling points of a fashion rental service is its sustainability. You don’t buy new clothes, so you can help in reducing fabric waste. You also don’t need extra storage space for your clothes, thus reducing your carbon footprint in many ways.

But in reality, renting clothes is not sustainable. A recent study found that among the five different ways of owning and disposing of clothes, renting had the most impact on climate change.

For one, there’s a lot of transportation involved with renting clothes. The clothes need to be delivered to and from customers. Also, clothes are often delivered to the fashion rental service during acquisition. The constant transportation of clothes greatly contributes to carbon emissions that damage the environment.

The packaging of clothes for rent should also be considered. Most fashion rental services do their best to package clothes well. They often wrap each piece of clothing in plastic, put tags, then wrap the clothes again using tissue paper before placing them in a box. Good packaging will ensure that the clothes arrive in good condition to the customer. But the materials used for packaging also contribute to damaging the environment.

Delayed Shipments

Fashion rental services cater to many customers. So they’re bound to experience delays in sending out parcels. Not to mention, the COVID-19 pandemic is also causing logistic problems in the trade industry.

Most people tend to rent clothes when there’s a special occasion. In this case, renting is the ideal option over buying since they’re likely to use the clothes only once.

If you also decide to rent clothes for a special occasion, you need to consider the risk of delayed shipment. It might be better to borrow clothes from a friend or relative instead. This way, you can get them in advance and won’t have to worry about not having the outfit ready on the day of the occasion.

Renting clothes can be helpful for many. But it’s important to consider not just their advantages but their disadvantages as well to determine whether renting is really the best option.

About the Author





Scroll to Top