Rent the Runway vs. Nuuly: Which One Is Better?

Rent the Runway vs. Nuuly

With so many clothing rental options, how do you decide which one is best for you? These two services are great if you like to stand out from the crowd. Nuuly carries brands from stores like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, and you’ll find the latest trends in their selection. Rent the Runway specializes in designer goods, including clothes and accessories. You can supplement your wardrobe with quality, luxurious clothing and even buy things using your member discount.

Nuuly is the best source for trendy clothes in a variety of sizes. They have a great plus-size collection, and they’re constantly updating their stock of clothing to reflect new styles. This is the more affordable option. Rent the Runway lets you rent designer clothes for less, and you can borrow thousands of dollars in clothing every month. If you’re looking for glamour, Rent The Runway is the best rental service available.

How Do They Work

Rent The Runway

When you get started with Rent the Runway, you need to choose a plan. They have three plans available now, and you can choose to rent either 4, 8, or 16 items per month.

After you sign up, you can choose the items you want to rent. Rent The Runway lets you rent 4 items at a time, and they send them in a reusable garment bag via overnight shipping. Everything comes wrapped in plastic and on hangers, just like at the dry cleaners.

Before you choose your rental items, I strongly recommend looking at the customer reviews. You’ll find dozens of reviews on most Rent The Runway items. There’s a great community of people sharing their experiences, pictures, and information about clothing fit. I used customer advice a lot when deciding what size to order, and it always helped. Women’s clothing is so inconsistent when it comes to fit, especially designer clothing.

Nuuly

Even before you sign up for a Nuuly subscription, you can see everything in their selection. Before I signed up, I looked through their clothes and bookmarked a few favorites so I’d be ready when I did get a membership.

Once you pay for your subscription, you can choose up to 6 items for your Nuuly bag. If you see more items you want to rent, you can add up to 2 of them for $18 per piece.

Nuuly doesn’t let you switch your clothes out for new ones within the same month, unfortunately. You can use this as an excuse to get creative and start mixing and matching your rentals with the clothes you already own. This is why I like to get jackets from Nuuly, because I can throw them on over outfits I already know I like.

When your next billing date rolls around, your next Nuuly rental unlocks. You can keep your current items for longer, as long as you’re still subscribed, but otherwise, you can start the rental process again.

You can keep any clothing that you’ve rented, and Nuuly offers some decent discounts on their items. In my experience, their discounts range from about 30% to 60% off.

Pros/Cons

Rent The Runway Pros

The biggest draw to this particular service is their designer items. Whether you like a professional, work-ready look or something more avant garde, you’ll find quality pieces here to fit your style. Rent The Runway carries designers from Haider Ackermann to Pyer Moss to Oscar de la Renta.

If you want to buy anything from Rent The Runway, you’ll get the kind of steep discounts that are rare for designer clothes. You can get clothes that are freshly cleaned and look new at 50% or 60% off. A lot of these clothes are too recent to have made it onto secondhand platforms like Poshmark or Mecari– I know because I checked for a few of my rentals!

I love when rental services let you choose your rentals for yourself. To me, that feature makes a service much more valuable than if they’re choosing from a selection of your favorites. What if I specifically want a black coat one month? I want to know that I’ll get the exact pieces I need.

It’s pretty standard for a rental service to offer free shipping and dry cleaning. It’s probably better for them to clean their own clothes instead of risking people ruining expensive items by cleaning them the wrong way. However, the free insurance for these expensive designer clothes is a big plus! This way, you don’t have to stress over coffee mishaps or small tears.

  • Unique, high-end pieces for every wardrobe
  • Member discount
  • Choose items yourself
  • Free shipping, insurance, and dry cleaning

Rent The Runway Cons

The cheapest, most affordable Rent The Runway subscription only gives you access to their basic closet, which means you can’t rent anything with a retail value over $350. That excludes a lot of fun items like big coats, leather items, and handbags that people are excited to rent.

Rent The Runway gives you a set number of rentals each month depending on your subscription. If you want to add another item in the middle of the month, they’ll charge you an extra $29 per piece.

  • Basic subscription limits your access to items under $300
  • Set number of rentals each month

Nuuly Pros

Nuuly has a great selection of brands, including Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. You can find everything from velvet joggers to work-ready blazers in their selection. They also have a very nice selection of bright faux-fur coats, perfect for winter. This service is heavy on statement pieces, so it’s a good choice if you already have a solid collection of wardrobe staples.

Nuuly sends their packages in a reusable, branded bag without any tissue wrap or plastic bags. It’s still very exciting to get their packages, and they show that rental services can easily cut down on waste.

Nuuly has the widest size range I’ve seen anywhere, including clothing rentals specifically geared toward plus-size women. They offer sizes from 00 to 40W, and they really do carry items in all those sizes. They have petite sizes from 00 to 16, and a maternity section of trendy clothes with flowy, loose waistlines.

With Nuuly, you can choose specific items to rent each month. A lot of other rentals will just choose items from your favorites, but Nuuly gives you total control over the final selection. This makes it a lot easier to plan outfits!

  • Fun, modern clothing selection
  • Reusable bag and no excess packaging
  • Lots of sizes available
  • Choose your own items

Nuuly Cons

Nuuly only gives you 6 items to last for the whole month. On one hand, it challenges you to choose pieces you can integrate into your wardrobe more than once, to get the most out of your subscription. I still wish they’d let you switch out your items for new ones at least once, though. The free dry cleaning and laundering they offer is more of a benefit when you’re getting fresh clothes on a regular basis.

Nuuly will sometimes run out of an item they’ve already promised you, and they’ll have to make a sudden substitution. When this happened to me, they chose a blouse with a similar color and style to the one I originally wanted. To make up for it, they gave me credit for a free bonus item.

  • Only 6 items a month
  • Sometimes make unexpected item substitutions

How Much Do They Cost

Nuuly is about the same price as the basic Rent The Runway subscription. The other Rent The Runway plans are more expensive, but they also let you rent more clothes than a Nuuly subscription, and the clothes are higher-end.

Rent The Runway

Rent the Runway has three subscription tiers. They used to have an unlimited plan, but they phased it out at the end of 2020.

The first tier is $89 a month, where you get 4 items from the basic closet. That means you’ll have access to the less formal pieces under $350.

If you want to rent from the full closet, you can try the next tier, which gives you 8 items a month for $135. In this tier, you get two shipments per month. This is the tier I personally recommend, because you get complete access but it’s not an overwhelming amount of clothes.

The highest subscription tier gives you 16 rental items a month for $199. This isn’t the most affordable option, but it’s perfect if you want to supplement your personal closet with a lot of rentals each month. With this option, you can wear designer rentals almost every day of the work week.

Nuuly

Nuuly has a pretty straightforward subscription plan. It’s $88 for 6 items a month, which means it’s roughly $14.67 for each rental item. If 6 items isn’t enough for you, you can add up to 2 bonus items for $18 each.

Nuuly tends to give out free bonus items often, both as a reward and to make up for inconveniences.

What Style Of Clothes Do You Get?

Nuuly has lots of stylish mid-range clothes, and they have a great selection of plus size clothing. Rent the Runway carries only designer brands, and you’ll find casual clothes right alongside formal outfits and sparkling dresses.

Rent The Runway

Rent the Runway is unique because it carries more than 700 designer brands. They carry sizes from size 0 to 22, so it’s plus-size friendly. Rent The Runway lets you borrow high-end clothes from a wide range of designers. You can find classic brands like Coach, and new ones like MSGM.

Rent The Runway caters to lots of different styles. You can find some very avant-garde clothes, clothes that reflect current trends, and clothes with a timeless appeal. It all depends on what you want from the service.

Nuuly

Nuuly’s clothes are trendy, fun, and from recognizable brands. They carry Anthropologie brands and Urban Outfitter brands, so fans of those stores will like this service. They have lots of statement pieces that might be too flashy for a permanent spot in your closet.

If you love trendy clothes but want to keep your closet minimal, you should give Nuuly a try. They do a great job of stocking clothes that are eye-catching and capture the most recent styles.

Final Thoughts

I love both of these services, but they serve very different purposes.

Nuuly is great for trendy clothes and statement pieces, with an overall more casual feel than Rent The Runway. This service focuses on mid-range brands, and you can easily use them to add excitement to your usual wardrobe. If you want to join in on impractical trends, you can try them out with Nuuly and then return them when you’re done.

Rent the Runway is the perfect solution for when you need something to wear to glamorous events. If you’re a glamorous person in general, you might be interested in keeping up a subscription for months. There’s no cheaper way to wear so many luxury items, and if you find a keeper, you can expect a significant discount on your purchase.

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