Here’s the Fashion Editor Secret For Expanding Your Wardrobe on a Budget

The author, Bella Gerard, wearing a red patent leather coat during NYFW

Edward Berthelot / Getty Images

When I first started working in fashion, I didn’t understand how all the other editors managed to show up in a new ensemble every single day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against outfit repeating, but the fashion industry requires attendance to events and parties on an almost-daily basis—and don’t even get me started on outfit changes during fashion week. Unless these women were getting paid quadruple my own salary, I couldn’t wrap my head around how they could always afford to buy something new.

It didn’t take long for me to find out their secret: They weren’t necessarily making more money than me, but they were spending those dollars on rental services, not at stores. Yes, they still invested in everyday basics and a few luxury splurges here and there, but when it came to trend items and statement pieces, they opted to rent and return instead of being stuck with something forever. Soon, I was hooked on the idea of borrowing instead of buying, and my wardrobe benefitted tenfold from the switch.

In addition to renting, editors and influencers often have the luxury of being gifted clothes and accessories, further amping up their wardrobes. While I can’t hook you up with these kinds of opportunities, I can let you in on the world of renting as a viable option for hacking your wardrobe.

You don’t have to work in fashion to rent great pieces—rental services allow anyone to build their dream wardrobe sans splurge. Whether you’re seeking a service that does it all (clothes, bags, and accessories), a luxury handbag to complement and elevate your everyday apparel, or even some extra-sparkly diamonds for a special occasion, the below options are editor-tested and approved by myself and other members of the fashion set I trust.

No two options are alike, so read on for the deets on each to find which service suits your needs best.

Best Handbags

Vivrelle

If your favorite influencer debuts a new Bottega Veneta pouch or Chanel bag every month, it’s safe to say they’re borrowing bags via Vivrelle. The monthly membership club grants you access to fine and designer jewelry, plus handbags from the aforementioned brands along with Fendi, Prada, and any other high-end designers you can think of. There are four membership tiers ranging in price from $39 to $279 a month, the priciest of which gets you two pieces a month—one from their Classique offering of bags and jewelry, and one from their Couture closet of limited-edition designer pieces.

Our Pick: Bottega Veneta, Chain Cassette ($199)

Best Jewelry

Switch

Over the last year or so, you might’ve noticed an influx of fashion girls layering up on vintage gold Chanel costume jewelry. There’s a pretty good chance most of their go-to layers are from Switch, a monthly rental service that grants users access to collections of fine jewelry as well as vintage pieces from fashion houses like Hermès and Chanel. Options truly run the gamut, from luxe-but-trendy tendril rings by Bea Bongiasca to massive YSL cuff bracelets. Switch offers three membership plans ranging in price from $45 to $95, with the top tier Black membership offering three pieces per month.

Our Pick: Chanel, Vintage Embossed CC Logo Pendant Long Chain Necklace ($45/month)

Best Diamonds

Verstolo

Unlike any other service, Verstolo is the premier choice for anyone seeking diamonds for a special occasion, be it a NYFW party or your wedding day. Unlike most rental services, Verstolo doesn’t operate on a monthly membership. Rather, users can book a virtual or real-life showroom appointment, select their desired bling, and send it back after their event with a pre-paid shipping label. I mean, why drop $40,000 on a pair of diamond rings when you can wear them for $550?

Our Pick: Simone ($550)

Best Contemporary Clothing

Nuuly

If you find the majority of your paycheck goes to stores like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People, it’s high time you sign up for Nuuly. This monthly rental service features It Girl brands that you’re probably already shopping, like Universal Standard, LoveShackFancy, Levi’s, and AFRM. Nuuly only offers one affordable membership option, and you can borrow six pieces monthly for $88.

Our Pick: AFRM, Zadie Mesh Turtleneck ($38)

Best Designer Clothing

Rent The Runway

Perhaps the OG of clothing rental subscription services, Rent The Runway is not without its flaws (if something doesn’t fit, you’re stuck with it), but it definitely has the widest variety of designer brands to rent from. Tory Burch, Hervé Léger, Proenza Schouler, Staud, Simon Miller, and more make up a smidgen of the app’s offerings, and with most pieces costing upwards of $200 at retail value, it’s a great way to borrow items you wouldn’t normally splurge on. There are three membership tiers ranging from $94 to $235 a month, with the highest tier allowing for four shipments of four items monthly.

Our Pick: Staud, Ashley Coat ($100)

Best Membership Value

FashionPass

If you think you’re too indecisive to commit to rentals for an entire month, FashionPass has you covered with unlimited rentals. Plans range from $79 to $139 a month, with the priciest option getting you four clothing items and three accessories at a time—and you can swap them out as often as you like, making this the best value if you want options. The majority of FashionPass brands are affordable contemporary names like Steve Madden, For Love & Lemons, Selkie and Frankies Bikinis, so you’re guaranteed to find things you’ll actually wear on a regular basis.

Our Pick: Selkie, The Puff Dress ($49)

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