- When it comes to clothes, I’m more likely to consider function over fashion.
- I tried a clothing-rental service before an anniversary trip.
- Renting clothes inspired a love I hadn’t previously experienced with fashion.
Where I live, in rural New Hampshire, function trumps fashion.
Rural living is a lot of fun, but it’s also cold, dirty, and muddy. A typical day might include a morning hike, a trip to the gym, or a visit to my mom’s horses. Add in two small kids, and spots, stains, and rips are inevitable.
So I don’t pay too much mind to my clothes. If I’m trying to be fashionable, I might dress up with jeans, riding boots, and a chunky sweater.
I don’t mind this routine, because I’ve never been particularly fond of fashion. As a plus-size kid in the early 2000s, I had a wardrobe consisting of items that fit, rather than clothing that inspired me. Once I became a mom, I focused on the practical. I enjoyed getting dressed up for date nights or special events, but even those outfits fell under the umbrella of New Hampshire chic.
A trip inspired me to reevaluate my fashion
I was fine with this, until my husband and I booked an anniversary trip. We were going to Miami for the weekend, and then on a Virgin cruise. We’d chosen this itinerary because it was fun, sexy, and fashionable — everything our day-to-day lives were not.
Almost immediately after booking the trip, I started worrying about what I would wear. Even I knew that New Hampshire fashion wouldn’t hold up in Miami. At the same time, I didn’t want to buy new clothes for the trip, knowing my opportunities to wear them here at home would be limited at best.
Then my younger sister had an idea: clothing rental. I’d heard of services like Rent the Runway and was intrigued. But I figured I’d never be anywhere dressy enough to need fancy clothes.
Just choosing items was fun
Now I had the perfect excuse to give it a try.
One night, after tucking the kids into bed, I pulled up Rent the Runway. Unfortunately, I found the platform frustrating: It kept showing me items that weren’t available.
Next I looked at Gwynnie Bee, which boasts a large plus-size collection, but the items weren’t speaking to me.
Finally, I ended up on Nuuly, which I had never heard of until that night. I sorted by size and browsed the selection, clicking on clothes I would never wear in my “real life”: a sequined skirt, a silky wrap dress with a high slit, and a crop top with a plunging neckline.
That night, I changed my thinking from “I wish I could pull that off” to “I am going to pull that off.” Shopping online is always a risk, so I had no idea if anything would fit, let alone look good. But I was already having fun.
The clothes I rented boosted my confidence
A few days later, my Nuuly package arrived. I was shocked when everything fit. The only dud was a silky dress that left too little to the imagination, even for Miami. But with five great items, I was suddenly all set for the five nights of my cruise. I packed the rented clothes and set out.
Each day of the vacation, I felt like I was playing dress-up. My husband loved the novelty of each new item, and my confidence skyrocketed when a fashionable couple complimented my outfit while we were out to dinner.
For the first time in my life I was able to just play with fashion. I experimented with putting the items together in different arrangements and finding accessories that would work with each. Since the clothes were rented, I didn’t feel pressure to choose something I would wear often enough to justify the price — I could choose something I would love once and never wear again.
Now I’m back to the cold fall in New Hampshire, but I’m already looking forward to the arrival of my next clothing bundle. I’ve decided the price per month is worth it not just for the clothes but for the playful inspiration and confidence boost that comes wrapped up with them.