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Are the Clothes and Sneakers You Really Want Too Expensive? Rent Them Instead

Instead of forking over a couple hundred bucks up front for a few items, rent several for a flat monthly fee.

clothes on a hanger
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There is a growing trend in menswear: renting. Services like Rent the Runway have long served women seeking a dress for a special occasion or a blouse and heels to borrow for a few weeks, but emerging sites and well-known brands alike are shifting their focus toward men, who, for example, need suits for formal events and are more inclined to follow streetwear (and splurge on sneakers as a result).

These services aren't, in my opinion, a way to capitalize on a growing consumer base but rather changes in the ways we shop as a whole. There are conflicting data sets aplenty that crown both men and women as the dominant shopper, but one fact remains no matter which end of the gender spectrum you survey: We buy way more when we're online shopping. In fact, an upwards of 64-percent more than we do when we visit a brick-and-mortar. It's oftentimes why brands try to push you to their site to complete your order, rendering their real-life store just a place to try things on and make returns.

Online shopping not only feels less real, but there are oftentimes deals and discounts that reward larger orders — free shipping, price slashes if you spend a certain amount and such. Bulk orders, though, increase the likelihood we, the consumer, are left with items that A.) don't fit, B.) we don't like or C.) we phase out in a month. Rental services can drastically reduce all three occurrences. How? By sending items they can guarantee will fit (or ones that can be swapped out immediately if they don't), letting you test-run an item before you commit to its retail price and letting you come down on the item you're currently infatuated with.

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Seasons
seasons clothing rental
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Seasons offers members access to clothing from brands like Bode, Martine Rose, Aimé Leon Dore, 18East, BrainDead and even The Elder Statesman. Needless to say, Seasons stocks super good stuff but at a discount. You pay for individual pieces each month (up to six at time), and they do sell out — aka enough people haven rented them that the inventory's depleted. (You probably haven't heard that since the days of DVDs, or at your last rental car reservation.)

The $20 a month price is a mere entry fee, and the pieces inside are priced pretty fairly. $80 a month for the new Aimé Leon Dore trench coat? That could be totally worth it for someone wanting to survive winter without splurging on a coat until the sales arrive in spring; or, if you're headed to a big event, something from Bode for just over $100 bucks will tide you over until you can afford something like it. The only rules Seasons' enforces are: don't wash items at home and if you damage something three times, you're done.

Best for: Designer Menswear
Starting at: $20 a month for membership, and you pay for items individually

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KYX
kyx world sneakers
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The theme of these services is accessibility. In an era where hype champions all else, clothes and sneakers sell out fast — or, supply chain issues keep them off shelves forever. For a monthly fee (from $69 to $299), you can rent 1, 2, 3 or 4 pairs (depending on your plan, which range from Level 1 to Level 4) of highly sought after kicks.

Your chosen level dictates a monthly budget, which you can spread out over four pairs if you want or dedicate to one super-rare pair — like Off-White Jordans or a rare pair of Dunks. When you rent your kicks, you get them for a month. Before that month ends you're asked to select the items for your next order. And don't worry about dirtying these, by the way. There's a set of cleaning wipes inside every box and you're asked to give them a once over before returning. BUT, KYX covers the heavy lifting — and at no cost to you. Plus, if you love the kicks you're renting, there's an option to buy them at a discounted price.

Best for: Sneakers
Starting at: $69 a month for 2 pairs; no extra fees

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The Black Tux
black tux
Gear Patrol

The Black Tux lets you rent or buy suits tailored to your unique measurements. First, figure out when your big event is, the brand asks. Your order will be based on it. Essentially, your tuxedo or shirt or suit will ship 21 days before that day; it's guaranteed to arrive at least 10 days in advance so you can flag any issues and get them fixed in time.

Whenever you receive your suit, you have a three-day return window after your event to get it boxed up and back on its way to The Black Tux. That means, if you're headed to a conference you can get a whole week (or close to it) out of your suit. If it's a wedding weekend, you're able to wear the suit, recover the next day and worry about shipping it back once you're home. That's huge.

Best for: Suits and tuxedos
Starting at:
$99 for one suit; no monthly membership fees

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Scotch Select by Scotch and Soda
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Progressive Dutch fashion brand Scotch & Soda offers a rental service called Scotch Select, where some of their most popular styles get offered at a flat monthly fee. For $99 a month, the cost of one sweater alone, you can rent three items and swap them for other ones whenever you want. Meaning, if you're quick, you could rent a dozen pieces in 30 days.

If you've loved your time with a certain style, you can buy it for up to 65-percent off the full retail price. Usually, that's plenty worth it, but you could always return it and rent it a week later if you can't make your mind up.

Best for: Modern menswear
Starting at:
$99 a month for to three items

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Vince Unfold by Vince
vince unfold
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Vince, which is owned by the same parent company as Scotch & Soda, is a bit more luxury leaning. As such, the monthly fee is far higher at $160 dollars (but for four items). The same rules apply: you can swap whenever you want, buy at a discounted price if you please and you never pay for shipping.

Great basics abound on Vince Unfold, and you don't have to pay full retail on layers to brunt the bold winter weather — rent them and then return them when the wind chill rises again.

Best for: Luxury menswear
Starting at:
$160 a month for four items

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