As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, it’s little wonder that many Brits are looking to make savings where they can. A new survey from financial app Revolut has shown that clothes shopping is on the decline, with a 2% reduction of spend across clothing stores in the UK between May and June 2022.
However, it seems that we still want to look our best, but instead of purchasing a new outfit, the nation is turning to clothing rental services, with a massive 105% jump in spend on hired garments between June 2021 and June 2022.
Shoppers are also becoming increasingly aware of the impact of ‘fast fashion’ and are turning their backs on ‘throwaway garments’ in favour of more sustainable options such as hiring clothes.
Even the rich and famous are getting on board with clothing rental. PM’s wife Carrie Johnson opted to rent her wedding dress from My Wardrobe HQ. The dress, designed by Christos Costarellos would have cost £2,586 to purchase – but was £45 a day to rent. TV presenters Laura Whitmore and Holly Willoughby have also been spotted in rental dresses from HURR.
If you are new to renting clothes, you may have a few questions before hiring your first outfit. So, to help you get started, here are some of the most frequent questions our fashion experts are asked:
Can you try garments before you rent?
Most rental sites have a strong emphasis on helping you choose the right size the first time, so you should never feel nervous about asking for exact measurements to ensure the perfect fit.
If you’d feel more comfortable ordering a couple of sizes of the garment so you can see which one fits the best, you will have to pay to rent both items. However, if the items that are not worn are returned with the tags still intact, most rental retailers will offer a credit.
Some rental companies offer pop-up rental shops, where you can physically try on the garment ahead of committing to the rental fee. Follow brands such as Rotaro and By Rotation on Insta to find out where their next pop-up rental shop will be.
Is it only occasionwear you can rent?
While most of us tend to use rental sites to hire a designer dress for a special occasion, there are plenty of other types of clothing and accessories available.
The most popular rental items include party dresses and designer handbags – but there are plenty of people who also choose to rent their wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses instead of purchasing them.
Most rental fashion sites allow customers to shop by category, so if you are looking for a smart suit for work or simply want a pair of designer jeans for your holiday, there are plenty of everyday items to browse.
One of the most rented types of clothing is skiwear – so if you are heading to the slopes for your next holiday, be sure to check out the skiwear shop at By Rotation for everything from moon boots to cosy ski jackets.
Can you rent plus-size clothes?
By Rotation is focused on inclusivity, with dress sizes ranging from UK6 to UK32, while HURR also caters for curvy body types with sizes up to UK32.
Other clothing hire companies are improving their plus-size offering, with sizes from UK6 to UK16 as standard, and a limited range of garments up to UK26.
What happens if I damage a garment?
Accidents happen, and if an item is damaged, you may be concerned that you will be liable for the full retail value to replace the garment.
This isn’t often the case, as most hirers will set a dry-cleaning fee that is payable if the item is returned stained. Small tears and rips can often be repaired, with the cost of repair passed on to the customer.
To protect yourself from having to fork out should an accident occur, some lenders offer insurance against accidental damage – usually for a small fee of £3 per item – which means you will not be liable for any dry-cleaning or tailoring bills.
How do you return items?
The process for returning worn items varies by retailer, so make sure you check before you commit to renting an item. Some companies, such as Hirestreet offer a pre-paid return label so all you have to do is pop the garment in the packaging and drop it off at your nearest post office.
Others do charge postage fees to return the item so remember to factor this in the total cost of the rental. We recommend always sending garments back via tracked postage, so you have proof of when the item was delivered.
Which are the best clothing hire companies?
- Hirestreet: Offering premium brands at an affordable price, Hirestreet wants its customers to experiment with style. The brand attracts those who love fashion yet are environmentally conscious and are focused on working towards a more sustainable future.
- Rotaro: Serving the whole of the UK, Rotaro allows shoppers to browse by occasions such as weddings, festivals, and parties. The gender-inclusive brand also partners with Ecologi, a social enterprise to plant trees and offset carbon.
- HURR: If designer dresses are your thing, then head on over to HURR, where you can grab a £10 discount off your first rental on brands including Alexander McQueen, Moschino, and Tommy Hilfiger.
- By Rotation: With a slightly different spin on renting clothes, By Rotation is a peer-to-peer rental site, where you can hire out your own clothes for others to rent – as well as hire clothes from others. It’s a great side hustle if you want to make a little extra cash – and all you have to do to get started is download the app and sign up!
- Roundabout Rental: This fab rental site is designed for pre-school children and babies. Parents can rent seasonally appropriate collections of organic clothes and switch them for a new batch as often as required.