This R29 fashion editor rented her entire holiday wardrobe

This R29 fashion editor rented her entire holiday wardrobe

This R29 fashion editor rented her entire holiday wardrobe

Holidays are the perfect escape from reality. Not in an unhealthy way that runs away from our problems, but rather a welcome break from our everyday routines. As such, many of us naturally feel the urge to buy new outfits for said holidays – whether it’s a swimsuit for a poolside vacation from one of Instagram’s most hyped brands or a bright red flamenco-style dress for a European getaway.

This is of course nothing new. In 2019, Brits spent over £2 billion on summer holiday outfits they only wore once… and that was before the post-pandemic holiday season. According to Vestiaire Collective, we are buying more than ever before, despite widespread awareness of the climate crisis. The company’s latest report found that apparel consumption is expected to increase by 63% by 2030; meanwhile, we use 40% less of our wardrobes than 10 years ago. Needless to say, buying a week’s worth of brand new holiday outfits (however appropriate for the climate of your destination and your Instagram feed) might not be the most responsible choice.

Therefore, I knew I wouldn’t overhaul my entire wardrobe in preparation for a week-long trip to Portugal this month. As rental fashion became more and more accessible, I decided to rent my entire vacation wardrobe from various rental platforms instead of buying anything new. While rental fashion often feels reserved for wedding guest outfits or formal events, you can actually rent all kinds of clothing and accessories.

From gorgeous silk dresses for nights out in Lisbon to beach accessories for days in the Algarve, my rental passes—all of which fit into my carry-on suitcase—not only made me feel beautiful on vacation, but banished all traces of eco-guilt upon my return. I will say one thing though: renting the entire wardrobe is not cheap. In fact, it’s probably out of reach for most of us. But if you’re looking for a statement dress for a special dinner or a centerpiece to build your wardrobe around, it’s definitely worth considering. Here is my review of the five rental services I used on the trip.

By rotation

One of the more well-known rental platforms in the UK, By Rotation offers peer-to-peer rentals as well as a collection of items managed by the brand’s in-house team. For the purpose of this story, I rented items specifically from By Rotation’s managed collection. I ended up choosing three outfits – a yellow and orange skirt-and-top co-ord from With Jean, a shirt dress/swimsuit from Bamba Swim and a cutout midi dress from Baobab – for a period of 10 days.

Platform: You can browse items from the desktop page, but you can only rent from the app, so keep that in mind while browsing, as my search didn’t feel completely streamlined. Filters made my shopping experience a million times easier as I filtered by size (UK 10-12) which narrowed down my options by a lot. You can also filter by brand, color and shop their curated collections, which include a holiday edit.

Size: Two out of three of the outfits I chose actually fit me. When my items arrived a day before my flight, I discovered that the Baobab dress – which was only available in a UK 10 – was too small for me. The one problem with renting is that you can’t try on your outfits beforehand, so there can sometimes be disappointment in terms of size and fit. I would recommend researching the size of each brand before renting because, as we all know, sizing can really vary by brand and style.

Quality: I love By Rotation’s huge selection of brands and all three dresses arrived in great condition. I only had one problem with loose buttons on my Bamba Swim dress: by the end of the trip, four of the buttons had fallen off (fortunately, I was able to save them and send them back when I returned). The With Jean cord needed a good iron after taking it out of the suitcase, but the Bamba Swim dress was easy to take on and off – I even wore it as an overshirt on the flight to Lisbon.

Prices: £206.30 for three outfits for 10 days including postage, cleaning and service charges. With Jean coord: £65.89 for 10 days, with £27.14 weekly discount. RRP: £150. Bamba swim dress: £57.24 for 10 days, with £24.29 weekly discount. RRP: £160. Baobab Dress: £83.17 total for 10 days, with £42.86 weekly discount. RRP: £260.

Delivery and return: Postage includes delivery only. You must pay to return your items, tracked.

Overall rating: 8/10

HOORAY

HURR is another well-known platform in the UK rental market. It’s also the only platform I tried with a permanent physical space, located in Selfridges in London (By Rotation and Rites also currently have pop-up locations). I rented three items from HURR – a slip dress from Dion Lee, a cutout dress from Bec & Bridge and a satin mini dress from Sau Lee – for a period of 10 days.

Platform: I visited HURR’s Selfridges location to try on items, but I visited their site and requested specific items from their team prior to arrival. As with rotation, HURR offers a mix of peer-to-peer rentals and managed items. I shopped from their managed collection, which had significantly more options than on rotation (you just need to click on the “managed” filter).

Size: Of the seven items I tried on in store (a mix of sizes 10 and 12), only two dresses fit me properly: the Dion Lee slip and the Bec & Bridge dress, both size 12. I chose the Sau Lee dress in a 10 , although it was a bit on the tight side around my chest – I ended up wrapping it up after a delicious seafood dinner in Lisbon! As such, I was very grateful for the trial option here.

Quality: The Bec & Bridge dress already pooled a lot when I tried it on, but it wasn’t incredibly noticeable. Both the Sau Lee and Dion Lee dresses were in fantastic condition – I was actually the first customer to rent the latter.

Prices: £280.64 for three dresses for 10 days. Dion Lee Dress: £146.25 for 10 days. RRP: £682. Bec & Bridge Dress: £59.75 for 10 days. RRP: £250. Sau Lee dress: £74.64 for 10 days. RRP: £331.

Delivery and return: Postage includes delivery only. You must pay to return your items, tracked.

Overall rating: 8/10

DCEY

DCEY comes from Turkey and was launched in the UK earlier this year. The platform offers rentals from luxury brands including Cult Gaia, Staud and Rejina Pyo as well as its in-house brand, DCEY. You can hire casual wear, formal wear and a wide selection of statement bags and jewellery. I rented four accessories – a pearl clutch from Tiana Bags, an oversized beach bag from Poppy Lissiman, a hat from Celia B and a pair of palm tree earrings from Mercedes Salazar – all for a period of 10 days.

Platform: I especially loved the selection of accessories that DCEY offers, from many brands I hadn’t heard of as well. When it comes to bags, renting can be a lot of fun as it allows you to wear a statement piece that you wouldn’t necessarily buy, or to try one on before investing. I also liked that there was an option to rent for 16 days, which is perfect for longer trips or just to have an item for a longer period of time. My only problem was that a couple of days before I was supposed to receive my items, I received an email saying that the earrings I ordered could not be delivered. The brand offered to send an alternative, a free rental or a full refund.

Size: Not applicable as I did not order clothes.

Quality: Everything arrived in perfect condition – even the clutch bag, despite its intricate beading. I used both bags almost every day, including the Poppy Lissiman tote as my personal item on the plane and my everyday beach bag. These were the hardest to keep clean and I took extra precautions by putting all liquids in their own bags inside the bags, and trying to place the bags on chairs, tables or rugs rather than the ground.

Prices: £137 for four accessories for 10 days. Tiana Bags Clutch: £50 for 10 days, including £5 damage cover. RRP: £150. Poppy Lissiman Bag: £28 for 10 days, including £3 damage cover. RRP: £108. Celia B hat: £31 for 10 days, including £3 damage cover. RRP: £115. Mercedes Salazar Earrings: £28 for 10 days, including £3 damage cover. RRP: £166.

Delivery and return: Postage includes delivery and return. A return slip and packing bag are included.

Overall rating: 9/10

Rites

Rites is a luxury platform for rental and resale and offers a smaller selection of goods. They stock dresses, accessories, tops and bottoms from brands such as Rixo, Reformation, Prada and Ganni, and hire prices start as low as £17. I rented a cut-out mini dress from Aje and a top and skirt co-ord from Self-Portrait for a period of 10 days.

Platform: Can only be purchased from their website and I liked how simple and aesthetically pleasing the platform is. From curated edits and a variety of filters to detailed product descriptions, the shopping experience feels closer to that of a traditional e-commerce platform rather than a rental site.

Size: I ordered both items in a size 12 and they fit perfectly.

Quality: Both items arrived in perfect condition, although they were on the thicker side, which I overlooked when I ordered. Since they took up a lot of space in my suitcase, I decided to only pack the Aje dress for my trip.

Prices: £189 for two items for 10 days, including £7 delivery charge. Aje dress: £100 for 10 days, including (optional) £5 damage fee. RRP: £450. Self Portrait Coordination: £82 for 10 days, including (optional) £5 damage charge. RRP: £380.

Delivery and return: Postage includes delivery only. You must pay to return your items, tracked.

Overall rating: 10/10

Rotary

Rotaro is another platform that also offers both rental and on-site resale. Available brands include Rat & Boa, Cecilie Bahnsen, Peachy Den and Jacquemus. All deliveries are carbon neutral, packaging is recyclable and laundry is environmentally friendly. I rented a mini dress from Monika the Label and a skirt from Rejina Pyo for a period of 10 days.

Platform: I love the sheer amount of products on this site and there is a wide range of styles and sizes too. You can get a Tommy Hilfiger activewear set, a statement jacket and a designer dress in one order. However, I still struggled to find outfits for my holiday that were available and in my size.

Size: Unfortunately, both items I chose were ill-fitting – the dress, which I got in a large, was too long, and the skirt, in a UK 12, was too short.

Quality: The dress came in excellent quality while the Rejina Pyo skirt had some loose seams along the hem. I only wore the skirt once on the beach as it was too short to wear elsewhere.

Prices: £74 for two items for 12 days, including £8 delivery charge. Monika the Label dress: £19 for 12 days. RRP: £150. Rejina Pyo Skirt: £47 for 12 days. RRP: £295.

Delivery and return: Postage includes delivery and return. A return slip and packing bag are included.

Overall rating: 7/10

Editor’s Note: All credits in this piece were provided for the purposes of this review.

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