As I prepared to write this review, I casually mentioned to my husband, “There’s definitely a market for something like this. I know I get tired of my clothes after a while.”
“Really?” he replied.
“Oh yeah!” I said. “I mean there are some pieces I really like, but eventually—”
“Kate,” he chuckled. “I was being sarcastic.”
No shame here. Am I right?
A service like Nuuly caters to fashionistas and shopaholics like us, but provides a more sustainable alternative to buying and donating (or worse, tossing). This clothing rental subscription program is the perfect way to stay trendy without contributing to a fast fashion culture.
What is Nuuly?
Nuuly is a clothing rental subscription program that allows you to try unique styles from more than 150 leading brands.
In 2019, Nuuly was founded by URBN, a collection of popular retail brands like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People, to provide customers with “a new way to experience clothing.” The service presents shoppers with an assortment of products, including some third-party labels and hand-picked vintage pieces. Subscribers can rent unique styles at a discounted price, marrying Millennial cravings for variety and sustainability.
How does Nuuly work?
Before subscribing, browse Nuuly’s inventory to make sure the styles suit your tastes. Once you’ve signed up, you can choose six items each month to rent and wear to your heart’s content!
To create your account, you’ll need to provide your name and email address, which automatically signs you up for marketing emails. You can unsubscribe whenever, but check your inbox first, since new users can receive a unique code for $10 off their first month!
The site will also ask for your mobile number. This signs you up for notifications (you can opt out by replying STOP), but it’s also used to verify your account.
Once your account is set up, it’s time to subscribe! Start by adding your billing and shipping information. You’ll be charged for the first month’s subscription fee right away, so you can start shopping immediately.
You can add six items to your bag, but if that’s not enough to satisfy your style cravings, throw in a bonus item for $18 each (choose up to two). Review your order carefully, since you won’t be able to cancel or make changes after it’s been confirmed.
After you’ve placed your order, you can track your package’s status via UPS and receive notifications every step of the way! Nuuly takes up to two business days for processing, followed by three business days for delivery, so you should have your stylish goodies within the week!
With the exception of some oversized pieces, everything comes in a recycled, reusable bag (which you’ll use to return items later). As a side note, Nuuly does not currently ship to PO Boxes, APO/FPO addresses, or outside of the United States.
After your clothes arrive, you have the whole month to try them out. You can also use this time to add new items to your online closet for next month. This won’t guarantee the items will be available when you’re ready to select your next order, so it’s best to add several pieces to your closet so you have plenty to choose from.
When you’re ready to fill your next order, use the “Available Now” toggle to sift through rentable items at that time.
If you decide to keep any of the items, you can visit your Rental History on your My Nuuly page and select “Buy It” to purchase the piece for a discounted price! These items are final sale and can’t be returned.
At the end of your 30 days, toss whatever you don’t want back in the Nuuly bag, put the prepaid return label in the outside pocket, and drop it off at your nearest UPS location. No need for washing or dry cleaning; Nuuly’s got it covered!
Or, if you’re not quite ready to part with the styles, wait a little longer! There are no late fees, so you can technically hang on to the goodies as long as you’d like (however, the prepaid shipping labels do expire after three months). The catch is you won’t receive any new styles until (1) your subscription billing date has passed and (2) every unpurchased piece has made its way back to Nuuly.
How much does Nuuly cost?
For a flat monthly fee of $88 (plus tax, in some states), you can choose six new styles every 30 days. This covers shipping and returns, as well as damages. There are no late fees, and you can pause or cancel your subscription anytime.
Nuuly currently offers just one plan; however, you can rent up to two additional items in your order for $18 each.
To help shoppers get the most out of their subscription, Nuuly offers a variety of special perks, like the following:
Browse before you sign up
If you’re not quite convinced that Nuuly is right for you, take some time to skim the site.
Nuuly organizes products by type — such as jeans, tops, and even jumpsuits and rompers — as well as what’s trending, top-rated, and new in the shop. You can also filter your results by color, occasion, weather, size, and brand.
If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, check out Nuuly “lookbooks,” which are style collections based on current trends and the time of year.
Options for plus, petite, and maternity wear
Standard sizes cover 00-18, petite sizes span 00P-18P, and plus sizes range from 16W-34W. If you’re pregnant, Nuuly also has maternity wear.
If you need a break from your Nuuly subscription, pause for one, two, or three months. When you come back, your profile and closet will be just as you left them!
Unlock Early option
If you want to swap out your Nuuly for a new set of stylish goods, take advantage of the Unlock Early option.
Once UPS scans your return, the “Unlock My Nuuly Now” button will appear on all product pages, so you can get a new bundle immediately! The date you confirm early payment becomes your new billing date each month.
Shop the app
iPhone users can download the Nuuly app to make your shopping experience easy and accessible no matter where you are!
For those of you who worry about wasteful packaging, Nuuly’s garment bags will put your mind at ease! These reusable, recyclable bags are made of post-consumer plastic, eliminating nearly one million single-use plastic bags.
In addition, Nuuly brands use eco-conscious materials, like Tencell and Eurolinen, as well as environmentally friendly cleaning practices.
In fact, the entire premise of this program is to eliminate fast fashion, providing a collective closet for thousands of users, so every item has a longer lifespan!
UP pilot program
Currently, the UP membership program is only available in select areas, but if you have a chance to try it, the perks are extensive — discounts at brands like Anthropologie and Free People, $10 off your Nuuly subscription fee every month, and more.
My experience researching Nuuly
Since I work from home (and currently wear secondhand sweatshirts and yoga pants most days), Nuuly’s membership fee was a little more than I could rationalize — although I was certainly tempted. The textures, colors, prints, and patterns are so playful and unique that I couldn’t help but “oooh” and “aaah” amid the scrolling.
While I did create an account, I stopped short of sharing my credit card info, since Nuuly automatically charges for the first month when you subscribe. The site was easy to navigate, and the sign-up process was straightforward and intuitive. Once you’ve built your account, you can create a comprehensive profile with your height, weight, size preferences, and even your body type (such as “pear,” “apple,” and “straight”).
However, my favorite feature on Nuuly’s site was the level of detail provided for each product.
In my experience, shopping online is always a bit of a gamble. Fortunately, Nuuly provides thorough descriptions for every item, and customer reviews reveal how each item fits women of varying heights, sizes, and body types.
If my office wasn’t within walking distance of my bed, I’d be staring out the window right now waiting for my Nuuly to arrive.
Who is Nuuly best for?
If you want a clothing subscription that helps you keep up with the trends, Nuuly is a great option! Use their lookbooks to see what’s in vogue, then test out bold statement pieces for a fraction of what you’d spend to purchase them off the rack.
Those who want to broaden their style
Nuuly’s inventory is bold and beautiful, so if you’re stuck in a rut with your clothing preferences, this service may be the perfect way to step outside your comfort zone.
Who shouldn’t use Nuuly?
If your favorite places to shop are thrift stores or the clearance rack at Target, Nuuly may not be a great fit. While $88 is a phenomenal price for renting multiple items that retail for hundreds of dollars each, the sticker price you may pay to purchase an item will be steeper than your norm.
Those who don’t know their style preferences
Nuuly has hundreds of stunning pieces for shoppers to sift through, but those who aren’t sure what they like may feel overwhelmed. It’s also good to have a general idea of what sizes, cuts, and colors you prefer, since you won’t be able to exchange an item after adding it to your Nuuly.
Pros & cons
- Shop before you subscribe — Browse Nuuly’s inventory before you commit to the membership fee.
- Petite, plus, and maternity options — Nuuly offers stylish items for women of all shapes and sizes.
- No additional fees — At Nuuly, there are no late fees, damage fees, shipping fees, etc.
- Can’t swap sizes — If you find your clothes are too small or big, you’ll have to wait for your next bundle to try a different size.
- Purchased items can’t be returned — Once you’ve claimed an item to keep, you can’t change your mind.
Nuuly vs. their competitors
|Nuuly||Rent the Runway||Armoire||Le Tote|
|Cost||$88 monthly for six items ($18 for optional bonus items, max of two)||$89 monthly for four items, $135 for eight items, or $199 for 16 items; one-time rentals are also available (prices vary)||$79 monthly for four items, $119 for seven items, or $249 per month for unlimited items and cases||$59 monthly for five items, $89 for eight items, or $109 for 10 items; unlimited boxes with four items each for $79; maternity wear plans range from $79-119; additional plans with accessories are available|
|Fees||No hidden fees||Restocking fee, potential late fees, and potential fees for failing to return any garment bags or accessory bags||Users charged 80% of the retail price for irreplaceable damages, lost items, or stolen items||$5 insurance fee covers repairable damages|
|Current promotion||$78 membership fee for new subscribers for their first month||$69 trial month for four items; $99 membership fee for eight items each month for two months; $139 membership fee for 16 items each month for two months||$49 trial month for four items; 59 trial month for seven items; $99 trial month (for two months) for unlimited items and cases||Receive $25 purchase credit when you refer a friend who becomes a paid subscriber (friend receives a 14-day sample tote)|
Rent the Runway
Rent the Runway is Nuuly’s largest competitor. The company was founded in 2009 and launched their monthly subscription program in 2016.
While their memberships are a touch pricier than Nuuly ($89 per month for four items, versus $88 for six), Rent the Runway offers a wider selection and more flexible options, including one-time rentals.
Armoire is a rising star in the clothing rental space, run almost exclusively by women. The company arrived on the scene in 2016 and offers products from a number of top designers like Paige, Tahari, and Scotch & Soda.
Plans range from $79 for four items monthly all the way up to $249 for as many items as you want, as often as you want!
Founded in 2012, Le Tote provides a cheaper alternative to the options listed above. In addition to their unlimited plan for $79 a month (multiple boxes with four items each), Le Tote offers plans that include accessories as well as those specifically for pregnant shoppers.
Unfortunately, Le Tote declared bankruptcy in 2020, so their future is not quite as bright as their competitors.
For the frugal and the fashion-forward, Nuuly provides a unique shopping experience, where you can rent new, trending styles every month.
Nuuly updates their clothing selection weekly, with items from leading retailers like Anthropologie and Free People, as well as up-and-coming designers. Every piece is creative and playful, so you can be a little more daring with your style without dropping thousands of dollars on new jackets and jeans or committing to a piece you may only wear once.
- Treat Yourself Without Guilt: Our Guide To Shopping Ethically
- Stitch Fix vs. Le Tote: Which Subscription Clothing Service Is Worth The Cost?