Nuuly vs. Rent the Runway: A Guide to Two of the Top Clothing Rental Services

We walk you through the pros and cons of each brand.

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nuuly vs rent the runway

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As someone who loves fashion but spends most of my days working from home in athleisure, investing in expensive pieces I’ll only wear a few times just doesn’t make sense. But on the rare occasion when I do dress up — an important work meeting, a date night with my husband, or a big city European getaway — I like to look stylish and pulled together. For the past few years, I’ve used clothing rental services like Rent the Runway and Nuuly to augment my capsule wardrobe with everything from oversized tailored coats in winter to boho dresses in summer, plus show-stopping gowns for weddings and work galas. 

Getting monthly deliveries is all the fun of opening presents on holiday mornings — shiny and pretty new things, without the high price tags of shopping retail. From membership plans and costs to must-have designers, customer reviews, and extensive services, here’s everything you need to know about Nuuly vs. Rent the Runway to help you determine which best fits your needs. 

How Does Nuuly Work?

Nuuly has two services: Nuuly Rent, a monthly subscription service, and Nuuly Thrift, a resale marketplace. Nuuly Rent provides customers with access to the latest styles from on-trend brands like Farmo Rio, For Love & Lemons, LoveShackFancy, and Saylor. You can browse the website without signing up for a membership, and it’s easy to search for clothing by designer, item type, and featured categories like “elevated layering” and “the vacation shop” and bookmark any favorites. 

Nuuly rental memberships, which can be paused or canceled at any time, include six items per month, with the option to add on two bonus items per month for a maximum of eight pieces. At the end of the billing period, you can opt to keep any items you like for another month, purchase them for a discount, or swap out for new looks. All memberships include free two-day shipping and returns, and clothing comes freshly dry cleaned in a reusable bag. 

How Does Rent the Runway Work?

Rent the Runway offers both monthly memberships and one-time rentals. Choose from four plans of five, 10, 15, or 20 items per month. The basic, five-spot plan includes one shipment per month of everyday clothing and accessories from designers like Ganni, Maje, Staud, and Ulla Johnson that retail up to $350. With the 10-, 15-, and 20-spot plans, you get two, three, and four monthly shipments of five items each. Plus, those upgraded plans give you access to high-end clothing, accessories, and formalwear from names like Haider Ackermann, Oscar de La Renta, and Zac Posen—​​up to $3,500 in retail value. If you need a few more items per month, you can always adjust your monthly plan and pay extra to add a spot or two.

Nuuly also allows you to keep items until your next shipment unlocks or purchase them at a discount. You can also opt for one-time, four- or eight-day rentals, which are great for special occasions like weddings and cocktail parties. Items arrive freshly dry-cleaned in two to three days (or the date of your choosing with one-time shipments) on hangers in a reusable bag. Members get access to exclusive sales, and you can pause, cancel, or adjust your plan at the end of each month.

Nuuly vs. Rent the Runway: Key Specs


  • Starting price: $88/month
  • Free shipping? Yes
  • Size range: 00–40W
  • Rental period: 1 month
  • Delivery frequency: Monthly
  • Items per shipment: 6
  • Level of customization: Customer can add on items and extend rental period for multiple pieces

Rent the Runway

  • Starting price: $94/month
  • Free shipping? Yes
  • Size range: 00–22W
  • Rental period: 1 month or one-time rentals of 4 and 8 days
  • Delivery frequency: 1–4 times per month
  • Items per shipment: 5
  • Level of customization: Customer can add on items and extend rental period for multiple pieces

How Much Do Nuuly and Rent the Runway Cost?

Nuuly Plans & Pricing

  • Base plan: 6 items per month for $88 per month; free shipping and returns

Rent the Runway Plans & Pricing

  • Basic closet: 5 items per month for $94 per month; free shipping and returns
  • Expanded closet (2 shipments): 10 items per month (5 in each box) for $155 per month; free shipping and returns
  • Expanded closet (3 shipments): 15 items per month (5 in each box) for $193 per month; free shipping and returns
  • Expanded closet (4 shipments): 20 items per month (5 in each box) for $235 per month; free shipping and returns

Nuuly Reviews

Fans of URBN—which includes the brands Anthropologie, Free People, and Urban Outfitters—will like Nuuly clothing, because these labels make up more than half of the available rentals. While Nuuly has a smaller selection of items than Rent the Runway, it’s a great option for trendy, casual pieces like slouchy blazers, cut-out mini dresses, and colorful jumpsuits and rompers. The website and app are both easy to navigate, and the pre-curated edits for style inspiration. And at just $88 a month, the price is great for six new pieces a month, especially with the option to add one or two more as needed.

Customers also give Nuuly high marks for its varied selection, affordability, and on-trend pieces. However, a few reviewers mention that some of the clothing can look worn and others wish there were more options to pick from. Also note that customer service does not have a live chat, so you’ll have to send a text or online message or wait on the phone to address any issues with your order.



Rent the Runway Reviews

Rent the Runway’s plans have evolved over the past few years, from one-time special occasion rentals to several multi-item monthly membership tiers. The wide range of designers and the option to choose short-term rentals ensure that users won’t waste a monthly spot on a cocktail dress worn only once or a heavy statement coat for a short winter vacation. The flexible membership also makes it easy for customers to pause their membership and keep existing items for half the cost. 

Some caveats with Rent the Runway are the swaps. Previously, the service allowed customers on an unlimited plan to swap out pieces as often as they liked—perfect if the initial size wasn’t the perfect fit. Now, there are no complimentary swaps for sizing included in membership plans. Instead, each plan has a set number of swaps, or customers can add-on on spot to try a new size for an additional fee. Though reviews are often accompanied by customer images and can be sorted by age, size, and body type for customers to use as a reference when finding pieces that fit their styles and body types. 

According to Rent the Runway reviews, other customers also enjoy the wide range of styles and customer reviews with images. They also praise the service’s affordability and high quality, and most have had good interactions with customer service representatives. Others say they wish there were more sizes and styles available and that occasionally, the service will make last-minute swaps without notifying customers. Popular items also tend to “sell out” quickly, which can prevent customers from making their first-pick choices in rentals. 

Pros and Cons



  • Inclusive size range (00–40W) makes it accessible to more customers
  • Monthly rental membership ($88 for six items) is affordable
  • Varied collection of fun, trendy items
  • Clothing arrives in a reusable bag without excess waste


  • Can only swap clothing once a month
  • Plan maxes out at six items per month
  • No one-time rentals

Rent the Runway


  • Access to clothing and accessories from over 800 high-end designers
  • Can opt for multiple shipments per month
  • Offers short-term rentals for special occasions and one-off events
  • Customer service available seven days a week


  • Basic, five-plan subscription doesn’t give customers access to more expensive items
  • Sizes only extend to 22W
  • Limited availability of certain sizes and styles
rent the runway

Rent the Runway

Alternatives to Nuuly and Rent the Runway

Nuuly and Rent the Runway are just two of several clothing rental services that make it easy to regularly refresh your wardrobe. Choosing an alternative to these companies depends on your budget, style, size, and needs. Size inclusivity varies from service to service, as well as options like maternity clothing, athleisure, and accessories. Also, factor in the cost per item, the number of items in each shipment, and the types of brands the service carries. Some companies even give you access to a personal stylist who selects looks for each delivery, while others let you choose your own clothing, depending on availability. Here are some alternatives to consider. 


  • Starting Price: $79/month
  • Free Shipping? Yes 
  • Size Range: 0–24W

Both a personal shopping service and clothing rental service, Armoire carries a selection of maternity and other clothing in sizes 0 to 24W from designer names like Nicole Miller, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Yumi Kim. Take an online quiz or book a free virtual session with a stylist to assess your aesthetic, lifestyle, and fit needs prior to your first shipment. Membership plans start at four items for $79 per month ($69 per month for the first month) and top out at $249 per month ($139 for the first month) for six items at a time and unlimited swaps. All plans include personal styling, dry cleaning, and two-to-three-day shipping and can be paused or canceled at any time. You also have the option to purchase any pieces you want to keep for a discount. 

Vince Unfold

  • Starting Price: $160/month
  • Free Shipping? Yes 
  • Size Range: 00–24

Get access to curated items from the luxury clothing brand with its rental service, Vince Unfold. Choose from cozy cashmere sweaters, minimalist dresses, and sophisticated high-waisted satin trousers, then add ten items to your personal “closet.” Vince Unfold will send four of those to you each month for a membership fee of $160, which includes unlimited swaps, as well as dry-cleaning and shipping. Love your looks? You can purchase anything you like for a fraction of retail cost. 

Le Tote

  • Starting Price: $59/month
  • Free Shipping? Yes 
  • Size Range: 0–16W

Get clothing and accessories from trendy brands like Free People, Kate Spade, Rebecca Minkoff, and Vince Camuto with Le Tote. After taking an online styling quiz, browse the website by size, color, designer, weather, and other filters to select your favorites, or search themed edits like “RSVP-Ready” for special occasions and “The New 9 to 5” for sophisticated workwear. Each tote comes with three to four clothing items and two accessories, and you can swap anything that doesn’t work within 48 hours and keep what you like for 50 percent off retail price. 

Final Thoughts

Choosing a clothing rental service is as personal as choosing the perfect item of clothing: it’s not one-size fits all. Rent the Runway is a great option for people looking for a large range of mid- to high-end designers, several items per month, and a variety of looks and accessories. With more inclusive sizing, Nuuly Rent is a good fit for those wanting more casual, bold everyday clothing with a slightly lower price tag. Whichever service is right for you often comes down to personal taste, budget, and styling needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Much Do Clothing Rental Services Cost per Month?

    The monthly cost of a clothing rental service depends on the number of items you receive and the frequency of shipments. Plans with four to six items can be as affordable as $59 per month, while more items and unlimited swaps or shipments can cost up to $200 per month. Most services offer a base plan with the flexibility to add on items for additional fees as it suits your needs and budget.

  • Is the Customer in Charge of Laundering Rented Clothing?

    Because rented clothing is worn by multiple customers, items require cleaning between uses. But no need to find a dry cleaner or laundry service; rental clothing companies include the price of washing and pressing clothes in their membership fees. When you’re done with items, just drop in the pre-paid bag or box and return — no cleaning necessary.

  • What Happens If You Ruin a Rented Item?

    With items changing hands several times, clothing rental services account for general wear and tear in their pieces. While you likely won’t be charged for something minor like a missing button or small snag, you could be charged up to full retail value for the piece if you ruin an item by ripping it or spilling something on it. Make sure to treat clothing with care while it's in your possession. 

  • How Sustainable Is the Practice of Clothing Rentals?

    Renting clothes is often touted as an eco-friendly choice compared to producing a new item of clothing, which requires more resources like energy and water and produces more carbon emissions. And given that nearly 66 percent of all textiles end up in landfills, renting something that’s been worn multiple times is a better choice than buying something you will wear once and then discard. However, clothing rental services use services like shipping and local transport as well as frequent dry cleaning, which studies have shown make it a less sustainable option than purchasing new items. The best way to practice sustainable shopping? Supplementing upcycled clothing and high-quality wardrobe staples that you wear frequently with occasional rentals.

InStyle uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Boston University of Public Health. “The Aftermath of Fast Fashion.”

  2. Environmental Research Letters. "Innovative recycling or extended use? Comparing the global warming potential of different ownership and end-of-life scenarios for textiles."

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