By Lauren Krause, @Lwkrause
10:44 AM CST, November 19, 2013
With holiday parties and social events on the rise, the hunt for the perfect outfit, or several, can get downright expensive. After the shopping high fades, the guilt of overspending generally follows and that shirt you called a "must-have" has disappeared to the back of the closet. Next time, how about renting instead? More companies have started to recognize the efficiency and cost-saving efforts of renting clothes online.
Rent the Runway
Likely the most recognizable rental site, Rent the Runway rents designer dresses and outfits with an occasion in mind.
Pros: In addition to free dry cleaning and postage, the site offers outfits from more than 95 designers in a range of sizes.
Cons: The more expensive the dress, the higher the rental price. So a $1,200 gown could cost you $250 for a four-day rental.
Bag, Borrow or Steal
Jennifer Hudson's character in the "Sex and the City" movie explained it best: "It's like Netflix for purses."
Pros: Thousands of choices, free shipping, plus jewelry and accessories.
Cons: Most high-end designers--think Chanel or Louis Vuitton--cost about $200 or more for a monthly rental.
Different from one-and-done rentals, this site offers complete, everyday outfits that you can wear as long or little as you want. For $49 a month, you will receive a tote filled with a minimum of three garments and two accessories catered to your personal style.
Pros: There's no limit to the number of garments you can receive per month, plus free shipping and cleaning.
Cons: The price is a bit steep if you only rent one tote per month, and there's a $5 fee if an item is stained or missing a button.
Men can rent designer ties, cufflinks, pocket squares and bow ties for a monthly membership fee.
Pros: There are three options to choose from--silver, gold and platinum--but all options offer unlimited monthly rentals and zero late fees. Silver starts at $20 a month and includes designers such as Michael Kors and Calvin Klein.
Cons: None that we can see.
For women in constant search of the next statement necklace, this site sends you three pieces of designer jewelry as often as you would like.
Pros: Designers include House of Harlow 1960, David Aubrey, Gorjana and Ted Rossi.
Cons: The six- and 12-month memberships require you to pay $100 and $180 upfront.
This accessories rental site is geared toward brides planning their weddings.
Pros: Rent replicas of the diamond drop earrings that Kate Middleton wore for her wedding. To help save on big-day stress, all of the jewelry is insured.
Cons: A 5 percent security deposit is required to rent.
Similar to Fresh Neck, this site rents mens accessories. However, rentals are based on the number of items per month versus a monthly fee of unlimited rentals.
Pros: You can exchange one item at a time or all at once, plus free postage.
Cons: The cufflinks collection is rather limited.
The Frock Shop
Just as men rent tuxes for special occasions, this Chicago-based service rents evening and cocktail dresses for women.
Pros: The average price to rent a cocktail dress is $50, or you can opt for an unlimited monthly membership for $99. Chicago residents can stop by a local showroom in Pilsen at 2150 S. Canalport Ave. on Thursdays and Saturdays for "Chicago Try On."
Cons: Dress sales only occur twice a year, so if you're in love with your rental , you'll have to wait to buy.
Lauren Krause is a RedEye special contributor.
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