The Throwdown: Clothing Rental Edition

In Partnership with Armoire.

Do you ever open your closet, stare blankly at your clothes, and complain that you “have nothing to wear”? I can’t be the only one that does this on the regular. Aside from a few staple pieces, I find myself really only wanting to wear most of my clothing a few times — either because I want to try out different styles, or because much of what I purchased was for specific events. So with too many items sitting in my closet collecting dust, I decided to explore the world of clothing rental.

And really, what’s not to love? Borrowing pre-worn clothes from your friends is an age-old trick, so for those of us who no longer live with roommates, the internet is here to help. For a (super reasonable) monthly price, you can rent pretty much anything you want, and the items are delivered straight to your door.

Having tried two of the most popular brands in the fashion rental space — Armoire and Nuuly — I figured what better way to honestly compare them than a good old-fashioned Throwdown? Let’s see how they stacked up against each other.

Armoire’s interface complete with customizable filters including Category, Weather, and Occasion. Nuuly on the other hand does not have great recommendation feature based on interests. 

The Players

First up, we have Armoire, a company built by women (and a few kick-a** men) who “understand what it means to be busy, social and simultaneously stylish.” Today we’re putting them up against Nuuly, a brand owned by the URBN Group (who are also behind mega-brands like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters) that wants to create unique shopping experiences for their customers.

Armoire's variety on display with gorgeous selects for Spring dresses to help me stay relevant with each season

Test #1: Variety + Quality

Armoire: Alright, so the number one most important thing to me in a clothing rental service is the variety of options and brands that are offered. This is where Armoire really shines. With tons of designer brands to choose from — like Rag & Bone, Equipment, White + Warren and Joie — you can snag some great deals. I got the cutest cashmere cardigan that was not only a super versatile piece of my work wardrobe for a few weeks, but the quality was amazing. It didn’t feel like it had been previously worn at all.

Nuuly: I wouldn’t say Nuuly has an equally stellar brand lineup, but it’s still pretty good, featuring hip brands like AGOLDE and Farm Rio. Actually, after initially browsing Nuuly’s site I thought I’d struck gold, but when it came to actually looking at the different items, I realized there wasn’t as much variety as I’d hoped. For example, there were one or two AGOLDE items available, not the popular jean or shorts styles I was hoping for. Unfortunately, the quality of their items just wasn’t there. The items I got in my closet were very worn, which frankly sort of freaked me out. Plus, they had a weird air freshener smell going on. No thanks.

Winner: Armoire

Test #2: User Experience

Armoire: I really love this interface. It feels very personalized, which in turn makes it all seem a bit more special — like a best friend’s closet that you’re browsing through on a weekend afternoon. From a dedicated section for Top Recommendations to customization options that include category, weather, and occasion, it’s really easy to narrow down exactly what you want. I grabbed a few cute basics for work, and found an awesome dress for an upcoming wedding. There’s something for everyone and that something is easy to find.

Nuuly: Nuuly’s big advantage is a beautiful site. They’ve done a great job with colors and fonts — the site almost feels like a premium brand in itself. But aside from a "closet" where you can save your favorites, there isn’t a ton of customization. This means figuring out what to order is a ton of work. You have to sort on your own, and sift through hundreds upon hundreds of items to find things you want. They’re there, but truthfully, they’re nearly impossible to find. Who has time for that?

Winner: Armoire

An instant closet upgrade

Test #3: Value

Armoire: For the clothing rental newbs, let’s break it down. Renting clothes isn’t cheap per se, but it can be very economical in the long run. First things first, you can keep your items until your next case arrives (Nuuly doesn’t offer this), so you’ll never be without clothes. In terms of cost, you can choose from three different membership plans: unlimited items/month (nets out to as low as $10/item), 7 items/month (nets to $17/item) or 4 items/month (nets to $20/item). This is a steal, honestly. The Rag & Bone cardigan I mentioned earlier retails for $695!!

That includes free shipping and returns (which are super easy, by the way - you just mail everything back in the same bag it came in) to sweeten the deal.

Nuuly: Unlike Armoire, Nuuly doesn’t offer an unlimited option. Their plan is $88 (that ends up being $96 with tax) per month for 6 items. This includes free shipping and returns, plus the ability to pause or cancel anytime. Unfortunately, you don’t have a ton of flexibility in terms of subscription options to fit different needs so the cost per item doesn’t really net out for me.

Winner: Armoire

One of my absolute favorite looks for spring!

Final Verdict: Armoire

Honestly, this wasn’t even much of a contest. While both brands offer beautiful clothing at a great deal, Armoire steals the show with a wide variety of premium brands, high-quality items, a personalized user experience, and three different cost-effective subscription models to choose from.

Check out Armoire and start building your first order here.

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