I joined Nuuly in early fall 2019, around the time the clothing rental service first launched. At the time, I was a college senior seeking a budget-friendly way to rent cocktail dresses and sweaters that I wouldn’t ever wear past graduation. (My cocktail style was… let's say collegiate, and I had zero desire to ever live in a cold place again.) My friends and I had already cycled through each others’ closets, borrowing and photographing all the same outfits over and over again. I craved the feeling of fresh clothing — that particular confidence and swagger you feel when you’re wearing something new to you — and wanted to test drive new styles as I entered a new era.
A lot of girls on campus used Rent the Runway, but most of those clothes felt too stiff for my taste, and the appeal seemed to lie in designer names I didn’t care about. At $94/month for four items, the program felt too restrictive. Nuuly was the new kid on the block, founded by the parent company behind Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People — brands that aligned much more closely with my personal sense of style.
Given the timing, I’m pretty sure I was one of the first users. I signed up, got hooked, and have spent the past three years falling even more head-over-heels with the brand. Read on for why.
How Does It Work?
Nuuly is a monthly clothing rental service that allows you to pick six pieces for $88/month. Aiming to reduce one-off garment purchases and extend the life of clothing, Nuuly accurately pinpointed a need for a younger, funkier rental option.
The website itself is clear, bright, and easy to navigate. Upon sign up, you can browse by clothing type, sort by newest arrivals, shop by brand, or poke through their stunning, often-changing curations. Personally, I love the clarity and vibrance of the styling; it’s easy to see the visual DNA from Nuuly’s Free People origins.
Each product page includes multiple photos, retail prices, available sizing (like at any retailer), a true-to-size fit estimate gauge, and a feedback section including customer reviews and photos. You can save products to your own personal “closet,” for when your next Nuuly quota unlocks, and add six pieces to your cart when it’s time to fill up your box. Want more than six? You can add up to two bonus items for $20 apiece.
Once you check out and click “ship,” you’ll see an immediate update in your clothing selections — the discounts. Should you choose to buy any of the clothes you rented, you'll have access to Nuuly's reliably discounted prices.
In my experience, shipping has ranged anywhere from overnight to a week later. The big shocker was when I lived in Hawai’i, ordered my Nuuly on Wednesday, and had my items by Friday. Sometimes shipping can be hit-or-miss in terms of timing (especially if I leave it too last-minute due to indecision), but that’s because the usual speed has spoiled me rotten over time. Nuuly uses a recycled fabric box made from scrap fabric that’s both durable and easy to store or transport. I’ve even taken it on the plane with me before.
If you like an item enough to want to buy it, you’ll simply click over to that page and click buy. Instantly done. No need to do anything else. Just keep it at home when you ship back your other pieces. Oh, and returning your Nuuly is practically effortless; just drop it off at a post office with the prepaid shipping label and you’re good to go.
Nuuly has had fantastic customer service whenever I’ve hit any snags. My first experience with their help team was when my car was broken into and my Nuuly items was taken — the kindness of the representative when tangling through the logistics helped so much during a stressful situation, and we sorted it out with no consequence to me. The help team has also rerouted my Nuuly order when I’ve miscalculated travel times, and even refunded me once when I meant to pause and forgot (which they one hundred percent did not have to do.)
Nuuly’s Fantastic for Events, Travel, and Temporary Situations
While I adore stuffing a Nuuly to the brim with everyday wear, it’s also ideal for eventwear and travel looks, in case you need to fill a gap in your wardrobe but don’t want to purchase anything. I’ve used it for weddings, trips, and all kinds of specific occasions.
The Nuuly community is also so active and helpful. People write reviews that include pictures, fit, height, and other details, all of which help immensely in deciding whether or not an item will work for me. I rarely post reviews on brand websites — that’s what The Quality Edit is for — and even I leave comments on my Nuuly rentals. As a tall girl, I love knowing what experience fellow 5’10"-ers have had with a particular item, and it’s made me much more likely to pick out clothes that flatter my body.
Last week, I scoured Nuuly for modest, shoulder- and knee-covering dresses as I planned a trip to a more reserved country. Going skiing instead? You can use Nuuly to rent snowsuits and technical apparel. Being able to plan a monthly box around a meaningful occasion has been so helpful in supplementing my wardrobe without eating away at my bank account.
Now that Nuuly’s more popular, there are moments in which it feels like everything I’ve saved to my closet has already been rented, but since over 300 brands have joined the website, I’m always able to find other pieces that excite me and fit my needs.
Nuuly Made My Style Bolder, Braver, and More Me
This is going to sound over-the-top sappy, but I’m keenly aware that Nuuly is perhaps the most formative brand for me in my personal history. My review sounds incomplete to me, simply because I could go on forever about how much I adore the service and how much it’s improved over time (although it started out pretty solidly!)
Nuuly’s library of clothing is so significant and varied that I’d find myself drawn to clothes I never in a million years would have been brave enough to buy. There’s a before Nuuly period and an after Nuuly period in my personal style evolution.
Even my college graduation dress was from Nuuly too. I’ve taken interviews in their blouses, tried out decadent faux furs, finally (!) found a pair of dream-fitting jeans, and more. Nuuly has been fantastic for showing me items that I wouldn’t have thought to look for on my own — but now simply couldn’t live without.
Nuuly is the reason I’m a style writer. You may have seen my style guides across The Quality Edit (nearly all of which feature Nuuly picks), but I never would have had the style vocabulary that I do — the pieces to reference, the patterns I’ve noticed, my own visual signature — had Nuuly not immensely boosted and improved my wardrobe access.
I’ve Bought Most of My Clothes Through Nuuly for the Past Three Years
Ironically, for being a shopping writer, I rarely purchase clothes. I’ll put something in my cart, stare at it for months, and then curse my choices when my size inevitably sells out. I am whatever the opposite of trigger-happy is in regards to buying apparel.
Nuuly’s changed that, however, especially in regards to “risky” clothing. I’d rent it, love it, and rent it again, before finally buying when realizing that I had all these arbitrary rules about what to wear and how to wear it. I had this vision in my head of what I would dress like if I had the money and the guts, and renting via Nuuly allowed me to test drive, tweak, and perfect my own taste. In fact, I created a rule: if I rent a piece more than twice — and it’s not hyper-seasonal, like I’ll get it every December but don’t need to own — then I have to purchase it. Since the discounts often hover from roughly 40 to 60% off, it feels like a fantastic bang for my buck.
I also appreciate that Nuuly makes a significant effort to stock independent brands. I love discovering a small, up-and-coming fashion studio through Nuuly. It’s wildly expanded my fashion ecosystem, and there are so many more designers to discover.
Overall, Nuuly is the reason I can dig into and express my personal aesthetic, so I’m indebted to the service for its convenience, affordability, and encouragement of self-expression. Over the past three years, Nuuly’s given me the opportunity to learn what I love and what’s not for me; to dress properly for occasions rather than purchase one-time wears; to support new brands; and to participate sustainably in the fashion industry at large. To say that it’s formed the foundation of my style is an understatement, and I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.
Five Pieces I’ve Loved from Nuuly
- LACAUSA Lucky Coveralls—I was never a jumpsuit person because I thought I was too tall. This one was so comfy, though — long enough, transitional between seasons — that I found myself reaching for it in all situations. Whether I'm running errands, interviewing for roles, or going out to dinner, it’s a jack-of-all-trades pick.
- ASKK Lexi Wide Leg Jeans—Thanks to Nuuly, I’ve realized I love wide leg jeans. Plus, bold colors are easier to wear than I expected. These vintage-inspired bright red pants were a staple for me this past fall. I need to rent them again (and then buy.)
- Ronny Kobo Gioia Mini Dress—This little black number was so elegant at my college graduation. It had grace and gravitas, but the puff sleeves added just the right amount of flair.
- Saylor Newton Dress—I wore this to a wedding in August. Despite being sequined, the maxi is so well-lined that it's perfectly soft. The color glows: I kid you not I got at least ten “you look like a mermaid” comments from strangers.
- For Love and Lemons Madeline Sequin Top—This is my favorite item in my wardrobe, and the subject of my last five Instagram posts. It makes me feel so confident and comfortable — it’s a showstopper, guaranteed.