Clothing rental companies allow you to try on and experiment with multiple fashion styles, adjust your wardrobe for changing seasons, and dress up for formal events and occasions without having to purchase an outfit you may only wear once. For that reason, many shoppers find opting for a clothing rental service to be an economical, satisfying, and—of course—a stylish choice. Options to “borrow, not buy” have multiplied over the years, ranging from prestige designer brands to trendy newcomers on the scene. For many shoppers, the choice may come down to FashionPass vs. Rent the Runway.
Both services provide a variety of apparel options across categories: dresses, blouses, pants, loungewear, and more. Each rental company provides multiple tiers of plans to fit any budget, and many carry similar brands—with some key differences. To help you determine which clothing rental service is best for your needs and lifestyle, we compared the costs, reviews, offerings, and more between the two.
FashionPass is a clothing rental service focused on high street clothes from contemporary brands, such as Free People, Show Me Your Mumu, For Love & Lemons, and more. The service offers three plans that cover both apparel and accessories in a range of prices and offerings with unlimited returns and exchanges throughout the monthly rental period. Thanks to its vast inventory, shoppers flock to the service for events and occasions like weddings, bachelorette parties, and vacations for trendy, of-the-moment pieces that don’t break the bank.
FashionPass also provides free shipping, washing, and dry cleaning services for your returns, with the additional ability to add on items. The service offers an inclusive size range, from 00 to 32, as well as a maternity-friendly section for pregnant shoppers to peruse.
You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your plan at any point without commitment. Should you decide to purchase an item you’ve rented, you’ll receive a discount from 30% to 60% off, not including a discount coupon that comes with your monthly plan that gives you $5 to $20 off depending on your tier.
About Rent the Runway
Rent the Runway is a clothing rental service focused on over 800 upscale designer brands like Ulla Johnson, Veronica Beard, Proenza Schouler, Coach, and more. It offers three plans where customers can rent between five to 15 items a month, covering everything from clothing and handbags to jewelry and shoes.
Thanks to the service’s à la carte offerings, you can choose to rent an item without committing to a membership plan—although Rent the Runway’s impeccable quality, speedy shipping, and complimentary “backup size” offerings will likely persuade you to discover more items you’re itching to rent. Rent the Runway provides free shipping, washing, and dry-cleaning service, plus delivers each item of apparel to you with a garment bag and hanger for ultimate care and keeping of your closet.
Depending on your plan tier, you may or may not be able to return and receive multiple items per month. Each plan has a capped monetary value of items you’re allowed to rent at once—those designer dresses are very tempting. Inventory ranges from sizes 00 to 22, with maternity sizes also available for pregnant shoppers.
FashionPass vs. Rent the Runway: How Do They Compare?
- Base price: $89/month ($29 for the first month)
- Free shipping? Yes
- Size range: 00–32
- Rental period: Unlimited shipments per month
- Delivery frequency: Monthly
- Items per shipment: 3–7
- Option to buy? Yes
Rent the Runway
- Base price: $94/month ($69 for the first month)
- Free shipping? Yes
- Size range: 00–22 (plus maternity sizes)
- Rental period: 1–3 shipments per month
- Delivery frequency: Monthly (or you can rent items à la carte)
- Items per shipment: 5–15
- Option to buy? Yes
Products & Pricing
- Socialite: 2 items of clothing and 1 accessory/basic for $89 per month; new subscribers receive their first month for $29. Shoppers get a $5 discount monthly on any clothing purchases
- Trendsetter: 3 items of clothing and 2 accessories/basics OR 4 items of clothing for $119 per month; new subscribers receive their first month for $59. Shoppers get a $10 discount monthly on any clothing purchases
- Wanderlust: 4 items of clothing and 3 accessories/basics OR 5 items of clothing and 1 accessory/basic for $149 per month; new subscribers receive their first month for $89. Shoppers get a $20 discount monthly on any clothing purchases
Rent the Runway
- 5 Items per Month: $94 per month; new subscribers receive their first month for $69. Renters may select items up to $350 in total value
- 10 Items per Month: $144 per month; new subscribers receive their first two months for $99 each. Renters may select items up to $3,500 in total value
- 15 Items per Month: $193 per month; new subscribers receive their first two months for $139 each. Renters may select items up to $3,500 in total value
FashionPass Customer Reviews
In FashionPass reviews, shoppers praise the clothing rental service for its quality clothing, appreciating that it includes trendy options from notable brands so that shoppers can embrace what’s en vogue without reverting to fast fashion. Other reviewers laud the company’s cost-effectiveness for events like weddings, bachelorette parties, vacations, and more. Many customers also reward FashionPass quick shipping, kind and helpful customer service, and flexible plan options.
Thanks to the rental service’s popularity and ease, some shoppers note that well-loved clothing can occasionally look and feel “worn” if it gets to them before FashionPass retires the item from circulation. Similarly, some customers describe highly rated items as being hard to get, as they’re frequently out of stock. But, FashionPass still has such an extensive selection that customers can easily find another item that captures their interests.
Rent the Runway Customer Reviews
In Rent the Runway reviews, shoppers relish the speed of shipments and the ability to rent one item at a time for singular events like weddings and galas. Shoppers especially love that the service allows them to select “backup sizes” for occasion rentals in case their original choice doesn’t fit as expected—although the vast number of customer reviews below each item offers comprehensive information and photo references. Customers also praise the consistently high-quality offerings, noting that items are nearly always in clean and excellent condition upon arrival.
Reviewers wish that the site’s design and customer service were less cumbersome, noting that policies are often strict and inflexible even in cases where the service is at fault. Similarly to FashionPass, shoppers also indicate that highly sought-after items are often unavailable in their sizes and ZIP codes.
Pros and Cons
- Can return your entire shipment for a new order if something doesn’t fit, or you can pay up to $19.95 each for up to two new items or sizes
- No monetary value cap on items you rent per shipment
- You can return and select new items as often as you’d like
- Renters on Trendsetter and Wanderlust plans may pick out new items as soon as the return shipment labels are scanned by FedEx
- Receive personalized recommendations from a FashionPass stylist
- Free shipping both ways
- You must return all items from your FashionPass shipment together
- Cannot rent one item at a time; you must be on a membership plan
Rent the Runway
- Items can be returned at different times—keep an item you loved from a previous month while returning others
- A wide variety of styles that fit dress codes, from casual brunch to black-tie galas
- A significant array of clothes from top brands and aspirational designers
- Offers single-item rentals without having to commit to a monthly plan
- Rentals include accessories like handbags, sunglasses, jewelry, and even shoes
- Clothing selections come on hangers and in garment bags for your convenience
- Will be charged full retail price rather than member price if an item is lost, stolen, or significantly damaged—can be a steep price for premium designer options
- Caps the swaps, pieces, and total monetary value of items you can receive monthly depending on your plan
More Clothing Rental Services
Just as styles vary, the clothing rental service that best fits your needs may differ from another shopper’s best choice. You’ll want to evaluate factors like what designers a service carries, the body types and sizes it best serves, the number of available plans to choose from, the type of subscription commitment, what type of events they cater to, and more. Luckily, there’s a clothing rental service for every buyer, including the options below.
- Base Price: $69/month
- Free Shipping? Yes
- Size Range: 0–24W
Named one of Byrdie’s best clothing rental services for its curation, Armoire includes both a clothing rental branch and a personal shopping service. You begin your membership with a style quiz that determines your curated monthly box of four items, and recommendations from its team of stylists can be edited before shipping.
- Base Price: $88/month
- Free Shipping? Yes
- Size Range: 00–34W
In the question of FashionPass vs. Nuuly, both brands give shoppers access to popular contemporary brands, although their subscription models are quite different. Founded by the parent company URBN (behind Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, and Free People), Nuuly is a contemporary clothing rental company with styles ranging from accessible basics to striking statement pieces. Named “Best Value” as one of Byrdie’s Best Clothing Rental Services, Nuuly allows you to rent up to six items at a time in its singular plan, with up to two add-on items for $19.99 apiece. But know that you cannot return or exchange items during your cycle.
- Base Price: $49/month
- Free Shipping? Yes
- Size Range: 0–32W
Gwynnie Bee is a rental service originally founded to serve plus-size customers before expanding to carry sizes from 0 to 32W. It focuses its curation on serving different body types and mainly carries more formal and professional styles, allowing customers to rent anywhere from one to 10 items at a time depending on their chosen plan. There are six different plans to fit a wide range of budgets, from $49 a month to $199. Plus, you can get half off your first month.
FashionPass and Rent the Runway offer customers a way to experiment and refresh their wardrobes without breaking the bank. Both companies offer free shipping, take care of washing and dry-cleaning your returns, and provide discounts on items you’d like to purchase.
While both FashionPass and Rent the Runway carry a large variety of brands, FashionPass’s inventory veers more toward affordable contemporary brands on trend, while Rent the Runway tends to offer timeless upscale designers. Shoppers who prefer to shop items à la carte and based on single events like weddings may find Rent the Runway more useful. But FashionPass is an excellent option for those who like to dress to the trends, especially with its unlimited return options.
In the end, your selection relies on your budget, what you’re dressing for, and how often you want to switch things up. Consider each company’s existing plans and make sure to read the fine print before deciding, although both offer flexibility if you hope to upgrade or downgrade from existing plans.
Can You Buy From a Clothing Rental Service If You’re Not a Member?
Whether you can buy apparel or style items without a membership depends on the clothing rental service. Rent the Runway lets you shop from the site without paying for a plan, but it also hosts members-only sales and exclusive discounts that may make the subscription worth it for the deals. FashionPass also allows you to shop from its website without having a subscription. Other services such as Nuuly, Gwynnie Bee, and Armoire do not allow you to shop for individual items without signing up for a subscription plan.
What Brands Do Clothing Rental Services Carry?
The brands also vary from rental service to rental service, making the choice of your clothing subscription crucial to your individual closet’s look and feel. Some services, such as Nuuly and FashionPass, cater to a younger, trendier demographic and carry brands like Free People, Show Me Your Mumu, Marcella NYC, Good American, For Love and Lemons, and more. Others like Rent the Runway, Gwynnie Bee, and Armoire have more upscale and designer brands like Rag & Bone, Veronica Beard, French Connection, and Staud, all of which are great for special events and workwear.
What Happens If a Rented Item Gets Lost or Ruined in Your Care?
A membership with FashionPass ensures that you’re covered for general wear and tear and minor accidents—because life happens. If it’s damaged beyond repair, lost, or stolen, unfortunately, you’ll be charged the member price to buy the item, which still includes a 30% to 60% discount. Rent the Runway has a similar policy in that minor mishaps are assumed with your membership, but it will charge you the full retail price for significant damage, theft, or loss of the item.
Can You Cancel a Clothing Rental Subscription After a Month?
Yes and no. Some rental subscriptions work on a month-to-month basis, which allows customers to cancel at any time. However, if you are locked into a longer-duration commitment, such as a quarterly or annual plan, you may not be able to cancel after your initial month. Luckily, many companies offer trials where you can test the waters before committing to a fashion subscription.