Rental dress services have been around for a while, but they’re all the rage now that Carrie Symonds (aka Mrs Boris Johnson) reportedly rented a £2,830 Christos Costarellos wedding dress for a mere £45. The move was a savvy PR stunt after the whole house renovation debacle and the faff of the £840 gold wallpaper that kept falling down at Number 11.
PR stunt or not, it’s sent everyone’s tongues wagging about rental websites and how good it is for the planet. We should all be keeping shopping for new stuff to a minimum right? So now you can rent an entire wardrobe and keep up with the changing seasons with the click of a button.
1. Girl Meets Dress
Girl Meets Dress was founded by Anna Bance, a former PR for Hermes, who knows her Dolce & Gabbana from her Dior. It works on pay-as-you-go system, where you hire a dress for two or seven days. You get the option of ordering up to three to try different styles. And you only get charged for the dresses you wear, so if none of the dresses fit you can send them all back free of charge.
There is also a monthly membership for £99 and you get three dresses on rotation so you can rock up to weddings and meetings looking fabulous, and just generally be prepared for any event at any time. They also have a physical store in SW6 in Chelsea that you can pop into if that’s more your thing, you just need to email them to organise an appointment. They have everything from Dancing Leopard to Self Portrait and Diane Von Furstenberg.
Style: Summer dress sophistication
2. Hire Street
High street. Hire Street. You see what they did there? Excellent word play. The Newcastle-based company is a more high-street level rental service (hence the name) renting out brands like Talulah and Never Fully Dressed. Like many of the other websites they have outfits for all occasions from black tie to street style chic. You select your size, rental period (choose from 4 to 16 days) and delivery date, then head to the check out. If you are unsure of the size or style your can return the items with the ribbons and tags on and receive rental credit for next time.
Like other services, you can pay for insurance which will protect you against small spillages, which is inevitable at a wedding, particularly when you stand around eating mini burger canapés with only one hand (why is this a thing!?).
The items come in resealable packaging with a returns label so you can pack everything off at the end of your event. What’s more, you don’t even need to wash any of the clothes – they do that for you!
Style: High street fashion
3. My Wardrobe HQ
The one you’ve all been waiting for – the one that gave Bo Jo’s missus her wedding dress. My Wardrobe HQ is the one that gave Carrie her bell-sleeved, embellished tulle gown by Greek designer Christos Costarellos for just £45 a day. Safe to say their Instagram and website is now plastered with pictures of that dress. We imagine their sales have done pretty well in light of the whole thing.
Their list of designers is ridiculously long. All the big names are there: Roland Mouret, Roberto Cavalli, Rupert Sanderson, Ralph Lauren… and that’s just the Rs. You can also buy some of the pieces at hugely discounted rates. Great for your wardrobe, terrible for the bank balance.
Style: Designer labels, high street prices
Start scrolling through the Hurr collection of pre-loved pieces and add them to your basket (designers include Maje, Fendi and Marni). The fee covers next day delivery, eco-friendly dry cleaning, and damage protection. Last minute requests are their thing, so if you find yourself in a panic a few nights before a big event (maybe like Carrie did but for all the wrong reasons), just take a look on line and you’ll be put at ease straight away.
What’s more, this website is actually really useful for lenders too. So if you have a stash of super nice dresses in your house (lucky you), and you’re not going to wear them anymore, you can list them on the website to make a quick buck or two.
Style: For a sustainable style
Tamsin and Natalie are two friends and the fashion-obsessed founders of Onloan. They have a shared mission to reduce waste, curate brilliant independent designers and reignite a love of clothes without the guilt. So that means not spending £300 on that frock for your cousin’s wedding that doesn’t even fit properly. Designers include Farm Rio, Hayley Menzies and Joseph.
This website works with a monthly fee. You can either get two items a month at £69 or four items at £99. And within this fee you’ll receive items worth up to £1,000. You’ll also just look blooming lovely every time you leave the house. It makes a difference to the jogging bottoms and t-shirts of the past year. Go on, treat yourself.
Style: Independent designers
It’s not all about dresses you know. Accessories are equally as important, which is what Cocoon knows all too well. The focus for them is entirely on your arm candy.
Much the same as the other websites you choose your membership plan (in this case you can pay monthly or quarterly). They’ll ship the bag and then do monthly swaps or if you like the bag a lot, you can hold on to it for up to three months.
Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Chloe… the gang’s all there. Just avoid make-up, perfumes, ink, Sainsbury’s sandwiches, juice cartons, lipstick and pens like the plague. Because you’ll be paying for the repairs…
Style: Bags, bags and more bags
7. By Rotation
By Rotation is one of the few companies that rents pre-loved garments on an app, making it super easy and flexible. It sets itself apart by being a purely peer-to-peer platform.
Founder Eshita Kabra-Davies started the brand with the planet at the forefront of her mind. When on her honeymoon to Rajasthan, India, she saw the devastating effects of fast fashion and wanted to redress the balance but also remain close to one of her biggest passions: fashion. By Rotation aims to be not just an app, but a planet-conscious community. Both lenders and renters can get involved renting their wares and giving them a new home for a couple of days. Brands include Whistles, Ted Baker and Chi Chi London.
Style: Fashion but on an app
8. Endless Wardrobe
Rent, buy new, or buy nearly new. That’s the slogan for Endless Wardrobe and covers all bases for your shopping addiction. They offer free delivery, free returns, and full refunds given on unworn items.
Simply choose your rental period and select your dates (which you can do this right up until midday the day before). Then it’ll be delivered straight to your door by courier, within a 1-hour delivery slot.
All rentals are covered for damages, so that slosh of red wine is totally fine. You can then buy it if you want, and they’ll discount the rental price if you do! Their nearly-new, pre-loved offering consists of pre-rented items in excellent condition with at least a 20% discount. Brands include Alexa Chung, Free People and Whistles.
Style: Try before you buy