What are Women’s Clothing Subscription Boxes?
Ready to try clothing rental but not sure which one of the women’s clothing subscription boxes on the market is best for you? We researched the ten best to help you find the right one for your budget and wardrobe needs. If you take Uber or Lyft, stay in an AirBnB, and have recently embraced the KonMari lifestyle, then you’re ready to give a clothing subscription service a spin!
Monthly subscription boxes make it easy to try new styles every month without the buyer’s remorse or filling your closet with items that don’t spark joy. Importantly, sustainability doesn’t have to equal austerity. Renting reduces your environmental impact while maintaining the joy of consumption. We purposely didn’t include boxes that require you to purchase items like Stitch Fix or Amazon Prime Wardrobe. Ultimately these services will require another Marie Kondo session if you purchase new items every month.
Now that you’re ready to get a new outfit in a box every month without the long term commitment of ownership, we compared the ten best clothing subscription boxes. While the brands, rules and pricing varies widely, all of the rental clothing services offer free shipping and discounts to purchase items you love.
Quick History of Clothing Rental Subscriptions
Rent the Runway started renting formal dresses in 2009 and launched an unlimited subscription box offering in 2016 focused on everyday clothes for work and weekends. Gwynnie Bee launched its rental clothing subscription box for plus size women but focused on work and weekend clothing in 2011. Following soon after by Le Tote in 2012. Mr. and Mrs. Collection launched in 2013 focusing on millennials. Armoire launched in 2016, offering 30+ professional women curated designer selections leveraging machine learning. Brands have also launched monthly fashion rental subscription services. Ann Taylor started in 2017, Vince, Express and NY & Company in 2018, American Eagle in 2019 and subsequent brands at various price points since then.
Comparison of 10 Women’s Clothing Subscription Boxes
Editors note (Nov. 2020): This list was created in early 2019, and a few things have changed since then! We wanted to keep the integrity of this post, so we haven’t changed the table below.
Since the writing of this blog post, Rent the Runway stopped offering an unlimited subscription, and Armoire is the only rental company with a truly unlimited subscription. We updated our plan to match the value of the service and reflect feedback from customers who wanted more items at one time. Before we changed, we gave all of our members the option to be locked in to the “old” Armoire plan, we didn’t want anyone to be surprised! Armoire’s new Unlimited Plan gives you 6 items at once, with unlimited swaps (single-item or all items!), for $249/month.
|Armoire||$149||4||Unlimited||Exchange single items||Designer brands||30+ Prof women/moms|
|Rent the Runway||$159||4||Unlimited||Exchange single items||Designer brands||Prom, Formal, Accessories|
|Vince||$160||4||Unlimited||Exchange ALL items at once||Single brand||Brand fans|
|Le Tote||$69-$119||8-15||No||1 or 2 shipments/month||Private label||Maternity, Fitness, Accessories|
|Gwynnie Bee||$49-$199||1-10||Unlimited||Exchange single items||Private label||Plus size|
|Ann Taylor||$95||3||Unlimited||Exchange ALL items at once||Single brand||Brand fans|
|Mr & Mrs Collection||$59-$89||2-3||Depends on price||Exchange ALL items at once||Private label||20-something, Prom|
|Express||$69.95||3||Unlimited||Exchange ALL items at once||Single brand||20-something|
|American Eagle||$49.95||3||Unlimited||Exchange ALL items at once||Single brand||20-something|
|NY & Company||$49.95||3||Unlimited||Exchange ALL items at once||Single brand||Brand fans, Plus size|
Are Clothing Subscription Boxes Worth It?
The value proposition of renting through a monthly clothing subscription box is clear regardless of your budget. Even the most expensive clothing subscription services rent items that retail for above the fixed monthly membership fee. An average shipment of four items retails for over $1,000. If you rented your clothes from a premium subscription company, you would receive a minimum of $12,000 of retail value for a cost of just under $2,000. Additionally you save time and money on dry cleaning. If you purchase designer brands, these services give you a rotating selection of new styles to try every month. Alternatively, if you were going to purchase clothing at retail prices, $2,000 doesn’t go far if you want to purchase high quality items that will stand up to multiple cleanings. Most designer denim retails for over $100 and cashmere sweaters, silk tops, day dresses and jackets all retail for over $300.
Premium Clothing Subscription Boxes
The premium services are Armoire, Rent the Runway and Vince. Armoire and Rent the Runway offer designer contemporary brands and charge $149 and $159, respectively per month while Vince charges $160 per month. All services allow you to pick four items at a time and unlimited exchanges. Rent the Runways and Armoire allow a more flexible exchange policy while Vince requires you to exchange all four items at once. With unlimited exchanges, you could theoretically have new clothes every week or try sixteen new items every month. Rent the Runway needs to receive your returns before you can pick new items. Turnaround can take over a week between packages especially if you live on the west coast. It’s hard to get more than 2-3 packages per month unless you live in NYC. Armoire allows you to pick new items once you’ve reviewed the ones you’re exchanging. Armoire also offers monthly packages for up to eight items for $199 per month. As of summer 2020, Rent the Runway no longer offers their unlimited plan.
How to Pick the Best Premium Box
Pro tip: Armoire is currently offering new members $100 off to try the service. Rent the Runway also gives new members a discount on the first month. New members get $60 off the first month of unlimited. Vince doesn’t provide discounts to try the service but you might find a cash back offer from one of the many coupon sites.
Armoire is the best option for busy professional women and working moms over 30. They also offer maternity clothes. While Armoire offers date night and special occasion styles, they don’t have a large selection of gowns and formal dresses. If you’re looking for formal or prom dresses, Rent the Runway is the best choice. Unlimited rental is also a better value if you have multiple formal events during a month. Rent the Runway also rents accessories like handbags, costume jewelry and items for your home. If you’re already a fan of Vince but don’t want to keep buying new pieces, this is a great option. Alternatively if you’ve wanted to try this brand, renting allows you to try without the commitment of ownership.
Under $100 Fashion Subscription Boxes
If you’re looking for a box with a monthly fee under $100 per month, there are a number of options. Gwynnie Bee and Le Tote offer the most flexible item packages with 1-15 items per package depending on the price. Gwynnie Bee is most known for its extensive plus size selection. Le Tote offers accessories and a range of clothing options including fitness apparel. In addition, Le Tote is a good low cost maternity option. Both rental subscription services offer a range of more accessible brands and private label selections to keep the cost of the service below $100 per month. Le Tote offers new members 15% off the first month. While you can rent more items at a time with Le Tote, exchanges are limited. The lower cost option doesn’t allow for exchanges while the higher priced option allows for only two packages per month. Importantly, all items must also be exchanged at the same time. Gwynnie Bee offers the first month free. It also has a flexible exchange policy. You can exchange any number of items at any time.
If you’re already a fan of Ann Taylor, this is the monthly rental subscription for you. At $95 per month for three items, it’s lower priced than the premium services, but still gives you a range of clothing options for work and weekend. While you can exchange your items as often as you like, you need to send them all back at once.
Low Cost Subscription Services
If you’re looking for a low priced monthly clothing box, there are several good options. NY & Company provides similar clothing styles as Ann Taylor but is about half the price at $49.95. If you’re looking for inexpensive work and weekend styles this is the lowest priced rental clothing service. Additionally, they carry sizes 2 – 20, so this is another good option if you’re looking for plus sizes.
If you’re 20-something and have wanted to try renting clothes, there are three good low cost choices. Mr. and Mrs Collection has both prom, formal and everyday styles that are best suited for 20-something year olds looking for fun and fashion forward styles. Additionally, Express is also another good rental clothing subscription for younger millennials looking for work and weekend styles. At $69.95 for three items, the price point is very similar to Mr. and Mrs Collection. Finally, American Eagle at $49.95 per month for three items is the best choice. While you can exchange items as frequently as you like, you need to return all items at the same time for all of these services.
Get Ready to Rent!
If you haven’t tried clothing rental before, it takes time to integrate into your life and create a new habit. On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic. Our style profile learns your unique style preferences and helps you to find styles and shapes you already know will work for you. Another way to maximize renting clothes is take a favorite item and pair with something rented to update an existing piece.
Finally, try new styles that you wouldn’t buy and don’t seem your “style”. Don’t worry if it doesn’t fit or you don’t love it, just send it back and get something else because that is really the point of renting clothes. You don’t have to love every piece or wear it more than once. Renting allows you to experiment and take small risks every month. Plus, our personal stylists are always happy to help you style your new pieces!