Get Ready to Fall in Love With Renting Instead of Buying Your Clothes

Vince Shaggy Coat in Porcelain. Rent it instead of buying at Vince Unfold.

Vince Shaggy Coat in Porcelain. Rent it instead of buying at Vince Unfold.

When I was in high school, I lived for vintage shopping. My favorite place was Wasteland (either in Berkeley or San Francisco depending on the day). I took great pride in wearing things that no one else was wearing and wearing them in a way that was distinctly my own. As I got older, and made more money, I moved further and further from second hand shopping. Until one day, I didn’t do it at all.

And that’s how it has been for the last several years. Where once I would have loved to hit a thrift store, now I have a similar experience with new clothes at the Rack. But Gen Z is reminding us all of the impact our consumption has on the planet. That means that thrifting has become cool. But you may or may not be up for that. I rediscovered the gems you can find while thrifting earlier this summer at Buffalo Exchange in Ballard. In fact, 60-70% of the dresses and jumpsuits I wore on my travels all summer were from that excursion. And, they were free. After all, I could sell pieces and have some credit to work with.

One challenge with thrift shopping is the need to dig through the racks. If you aren’t someone who enjoys the hunt, this is a major time suck with very little reward. Often, there’s the struggle to find the proper size or a current piece. For most of my clients, the idea of having a few hours to kill while perusing a thrift store just seems insane.

Enter the rental market.

Before we begin, let me clarify. Rental subscription services give you the freedom to curate your own collection and pay a regular monthly fee to do so. I see these as very different from Stitch Fix and Trunk Club. Those are subscription services that have employees selecting pieces for you based on a quick survey to identify your style archetype.

Back to clothing rental.

The Best Ways to Rent Clothing and Rock Your Authentic Personal Style

Vince Bias Skirt in Black. Available in Vince Unfold.

Vince Bias Skirt in Black. Available in Vince Unfold.

  1. Vince Unfold

    Say, “hello” to Vince Unfold. Yes. THAT Vince. You can now rent Vince pieces, wear them and then send them back. Clearly modeled on the Rent the Runway Update, the Vince version gives you access to luxurious pieces without breaking the bank. Vince is one of the most popular brands with Poplin clients. The pieces are effortless, sophisticated and made well. Rent 4 at a time for $160 per month and exchange them when you are ready for something different.

Iro  Delicate Jumpsuit. Available via Rent the Runway.

Iro Delicate Jumpsuit. Available via Rent the Runway.

2. The OG: Rent the Runway Update and Unlimited

I am a fan of Rent the Runway Update and Unlimited. For RTR Update, you can rent any 4 items at a time every month for $89 or right now $69. RTR Unlimited allows you to rent an unlimited number of pieces on rotation, swapping out anytime for $159 (get the trial now for $80/ month).

I tried the service for a few months in its early days. I loved finding pieces that spoke to me and having them arrive at my door. It’s fun to keep some pieces longer and send others back right away. Of course, they weren’t always ideal; but that is also because I took more risks knowing I wasn’t purchasing items. Here’s the Poplin Referral Code for either.

The Pros and Cons of Subscription Rental

It’s true. Subscription rentals offer some major pros and a few cons. And, yes, they also make sense while working with Poplin. Here’s what you need to know.


  • Keep your wardrobe fresh and find current styles you adore

  • Have a defined monthly budget for clothing shopping

  • Experiment with different styles, brands and trends

  • Have the ability to rent in different sizes as your weight changes.

  • The services take care of the dry cleaning

  • Often there is an option to purchase the items you love.

  • Rent the Runway goes to size 22 and includes maternity pieces


  • Don’t kid yourself, you’ll still be buying clothes. No matter how much you are renting, you’ll find that you still pick up pieces to pull it all together and/or end up purchasing the items from the rental company.

  • Your monthly clothing budget may actually expand because you’ll have the monthly fee plus your other purchases.

  • You need to wait for pieces (even 1-2 days can feel like an eternity when you have an event coming up). You’ll also need think ahead so that the pieces you rent coordinate with your existing wardrobes or the other pieces you’ve rented simultaneously.

Sitting with Poplin client  Abby , perusing her wishlist.

Sitting with Poplin client Abby, perusing her wishlist.

My very first Uber Wishlist from back in 2013.

My very first Uber Wishlist from back in 2013.

Where does Poplin Fit In?

Each Poplin client receives a password protected webpage just for her. It details the cuts that work for her body and those that don’t. It defines her personal style in key words that she can use when searching for new pieces. And, it offers an array of other resources made just for her. Armed with the online personal profile and a great Closet Edit, a number of clients have jumped right into renting.

Poplin wishlists also coexist nicely with rental services. Clients can request a wishlist of pieces that can be rented instead of purchased. Alternatively, clients have requested that Poplin create the shopping cart on rental sites so that several weeks of rentals are strategically chosen.

Clearly, this is only the beginning of subscription rental services. Let’s hope it continues. The price of RTR has dropped significantly over time as the company masters this platform. Ideally, we can all benefit from this trend. And hey, if you opt to try these out, please consider clicking through from this post. Thanks and let me know how it goes!