The Sharing Economy: Renting Luxury

beauty rich brunette woman in luxury interior near empty frames, vintage elegance, gold close up

By Jurissa Ayala

Many women would die to reach into their closets and pull out a new designer garment for every day of the week. But considering today’s unstable economy and the exorbitant prices demanded by high-end brands, this is unrealistic. Luckily, businesses are capitalizing on the public’s desire for luxury apparel. America’s new approach to a sharing economy is via rental.

Eager fashionistas now flock to various websites to borrow high-priced handbags, jewelry, and gowns for a fraction of the retail cost. Each lender comes with its own unique system and policy, but all in all, fashion-hungry women are making out like bandits as they sell, borrow, and buy some of the most coveted pre-used luxury pieces on the market.

Here’s a spotlight on some of the most popular and trusted couture lenders.

Rent the Runway

Never wear the same dress twice.

Rent the Runway is a luxury clothing rental site that hosts an impressive roster of high-end names including Carolina Herrera, Badgley Mischka, Vera Wang, and Narciso Rodriguez. Instead of buying a $695 Halston gown, you can rent it for an incredible $95. Borrowers typically keep items for 4- or 8-day periods.

Rent the Runway requires no subscription fee and offers a convenient backup size absolutely free. Dedicated fashionistas can join the waitlist for RTR’s “Unlimited” program, which is $99/month. With one of the largest dry cleaning operations in America, their experts hand inspect, launder, and steam press every garment that returns to the facility. In all, they’re an efficient rental company specializing in luxury evening wear and special occasion clothing.

Bag Borrow or Steal

Borrow, collect, and share luxury.

People love to mix and match their high-end accessories, but the excessive cost of purchasing a new handbag for every outfit adds up quickly. Bag Borrow or Steal solves the problem, lending customers designer purses for 1-month rental periods at a fraction of the retail cost. Most of their bags fall in the $100-$300 range, and that’s a steal considering their big names like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, and Tory Burch.

Bag Borrow or Steal ensures there are no hidden fees, and they offer a seamless auto-renewal process if you want to keep an item longer than expected. Customers even have the opportunity to buy their beloved vintage, “pre-loved,” or mint designer handbags outright.


Real brides rent real diamonds.

Adorn gained traction after being featured at Kleinfeld, the NYC wedding dress boutique on TLC’s popular show Say Yes to the Dress. The luxury jewelry rental company makes stunning diamonds and jewels accessible to every woman, and it’s simple to browse and reserve a piece from their collection online while planning your wedding or special event.

Rental prices include insurance for Adorn’s authentic stones and metals, all of which are meticulously cleaned and inspected before loaning. The company even supplies a free personal fashion consultant for borrowers. Right now, you can secure a pair of $16,225 diamond chandelier earrings for a measly $210.

Le Tote

Always have something new to wear.

Le Tote is a subscription-based service perfect for self-proclaimed “recessionistas.” Their “boutique in a box” concept is only $49 a month, and renters are allowed any three garments and two accessories at a time. The flat rate provides unlimited access to stylist-chosen luxury apparel from designers in Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Anthropologie, and more.

Unlike other high-end lenders, Le Tote specializes in everyday looks, providing options in the casual to business chic categories. Ladies add jackets, cardigans, necklaces, scarves, and other garments and accessories to their “wish lists.” Best of all, renters pay no shipping or cleaning fees. They can request a new tote at any time, and subscribers can cancel their month-to-month agreements with no penalty.

Lending Luxury

Pick, click, couture at your door.

The stylists at Lending Luxury cater to young, fabulous women who enjoy the socialite lifestyle. The rental site offers straight from the runway looks from Nicole Miller, French Connection, Badgley Mischka, and more. Borrowers enjoy a 5-day rental period, and LL’s unique, flashy dresses are perfect for events like prom, bridal showers, and cocktail parties. A Carmen Marc Valvo gown rents for an unbelievable $125 as opposed to the retail price of $940.

Lending Luxury allows ladies to buy their couture fashions for a fraction of the original cost. While their extravagant looks aren’t for everyday wear, they’re perfect for special occasions. Younger women looking to stand out and diversify their wardrobes love Lending Luxury’s no hassle policy.