Buying vs. Renting – When it makes sense to not buy clothes

Hey there. I know this topic may be met with a whole lot of skepticism and outright scorn, but as in all my articles, I ask you, my faithful readers, to keep an open mind to what you are about to read.

People are familiar with the availability and practicality of renting/leasing items such as houses, cars, boats, office buildings, tools, textbooks. However, mention the concept of renting clothing and you will be met with ‘Are you serious right now?’ stares.  In the situations below, I will use the same item of clothing to illustrate when it may make better economic sense to rent clothes instead of buying them.

(1) You intend to wear this item only once in your life – The wedding dress. Most brides will gasp loudly at the suggestion to rent their wedding dress, because on their special day, they want to be the only one in their dress. However, if you are on a tight budget you may want to consider that if you did not get your dress custom made, but bought it at a bridal store or any other retail store, more than likely, you are not the only one with that dress! There are usually thousands of the same dress being sold around the country and around the world. What makes you look special on that day is not only the dress you wear, but your jewelry or other accessories, hairstyle, make up, confident swagger and smile.

(2) Big-ticket items may be much more economical to rent instead of buy. A wedding dress may cost $5,000 to buy, but less than $500 to rent.  There are many clothing rental stores and online sites and that shows that renting clothing is not such an abnormal thing to do. Check out some clothing rental sites for bridal and non-bridal styles here: GlamourDress, Style Lend, Rent The Runway, Poshare.

(3) You won’t have to take up in-demand real estate for items you don’t wear regularly. In-demand real estate when talking about clothes are spaces such as your closet, dresser, under the bed, or additional storage facilities for which you have to pay a recurring fee. For example in many geographical locations, living quarters are so small that they don’t include a closet in any room. In such a space, you are already at a disadvantage and have to get really creative about storage space for your everyday clothes. Why stress out about where to store one-time wear items?

(4) Maintaining them for years will be more expensive than renting for a short period of time.

 – After that special day, where are you going to store this item? If a wedding dress is not stored at proper temperatures and in appropriate packaging, it can become discolored, eaten by moths and other insects or even start disintegrating.

Before you decide to buy and keep a wedding dress, ask yourself why you want to keep a high priced, high maintenance item of clothing you don’t intend to wear again.

– Are you saving it for your daughter? Do you have a daughter? Are you sure you will have a daughter… you may end up with only sons.

– The daughter you may have one day, may not want to get married or she may want to wear a non-traditional wedding outfit (a swimsuit, a black dress, a tuxedo or blue jeans and a white T-shirt… I’ve been to weddings where the brides wore these outfits to the ceremony to take their vows!).

– The style of your wedding dress may be one your daughter does not want to wear. Do not guilt her into wearing your dress because you have always dreamed of seeing her walk down the aisle in your dress… it’s her wedding, not yours, even if you are paying for it.

I am not advocating that you must never buy an item that you want to; it’s your money! I am merely suggesting that if you intend on purchasing a big-ticket, one-time-use item, especially if you are on a budget, consider if renting will be a better option for you. After all, you will get the use of the item without having the burden of storage and maintenance after the event.

If you need a stylist for your wedding or other special occasion, or to help you create/update your wardrobe, leave a message on the Contact page If there are any topics you want to see covered, please email me at jmarie@gillian-j.com. Until next time,

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