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Nuuly Review: Is it worth it to subscribe?

In a Nuuly rental at a rehearsal dinner

Looking for an honest Nuuly review? I’ve used the service for about six months now, and our relationship is still going strong, which is saying something. Overall, I’ve found this clothing rental service to be good enough to keep using it, but it’s also not without its flaws.

If you’re considering a clothing rental or subscription, here’s why I chose Nuuly, how it works, what I like about it, and what I don’t.

Nuuly review: Why I tried it

After spending the years of 2020-2022 mostly in leggings in my home office, I felt like once the pandemic started to wind down I quite literally had nothing to wear. Two years of not shopping for work clothes or going out outfits and my closet was like museum of outdated denim styles.

Quite frankly, it was overwhelming knowing where to start with my wardrobe – I felt like I needed new everything, but didn’t have the time or money to replace everything I needed.

Couple that with the fact that I’m a mom of three, and have no time to shop, and no time to really research where all the cools are shopping these days. And then there’s the issue of sustainability. I’ve started to feel pretty bad about buying fast fashion items on the regular, or purchasing an outfit for an event that I only wear once.

Nuuly solves a lot of those issues because it offers a curated selection of items from trendy brands like Maeve, Anna Sui, and Free People.

How does Nuuly work and how much does Nuuly cost?

It costs $89 to rent six items per month from Nuuly. The website is like any other shopping site, where you browse by category, style, size, etc. to find the things you like, then you add them to your cart (or, if you like them but aren’t sure about them or want to save them for the future, you can add them to your closet for later). When you’ve picked the six items you want to rent, you check out, and the box (which is more of a bag, really) is sent to your house, usually within two business days.

The clothes come folded in a resealable nylon bag that’s shaped like a box. The box also contains the return shipping label. When you get the items, some are new with tags, and others have been worn.

Then, you try on the clothes, wear the clothes, wash the clothes, etc., just like you would if you owned them.

At the end of the month, you send the items back in the nylon bag, and pick out six new items. Or, if you fall in love with something and have to have it, you can keep the items for a discount (usually 20-40% depending on the item).

If you want more than six items, you can also pay extra for two additional items, for a total of eight. Each extra item is $20.

Nuuly review: What I like about it

I loved this Farm Rio top, but never would have bought it

The thing I like best about Nuuly is that each month, I look at my calendar and see what I have coming up, and then order outfits accordingly. If I have a work even, or wedding, or vacation, or my kids birthday party, etc., I pick out things specifically for those events, which is great. I don’t have to go shopping for each event, and I also don’t have to relegate myself to wearing the same clothes over and over again.

I also love that the site has all sorts of brands I might not have tried or thought to try. I tend to stick to my go-to retailers when I shop because I have limited time and know what brands fit and have things I like. Nuuly has things I like from all kinds of brands, and things I would never have known I liked because I wouldn’t have found them on my own.

Similarly, I feel like I get to push the boundaries on my personal style a bit. When I buy something, I tend to be practical. I.e. will I wear it all the time? Does it go with at least X other things in my closet? When I’m renting something, I don’t have to worry about those practical things. It’s like dating for fun vs marrying for keeps. I can wear something once and send it back, so I can choose things that might not be in my style lane, because I’m not paying a ton for them or keeping them forever.

I also like the price. For $89, I could barely buy a shirt. But instead, I get six things to choose from.

The fact that I get to send things back after a month is also great. At first I was worried I would feel like I wasn’t investing in my wardrobe, but what I’ve realized about myself is that I tend to get sick of things quickly, so by the time a month rolls around, I’ve usually worn each item 2-5 times, and I’m sort of done with it anyway. So, I send it back and get new stuff.

Last but certainly not least, I like that my impact on the environment is less. It’s a lot more wasteful to order a bunch of items from various retailers, who ship them to me in 6 separate boxes, wear each thing a few times, let them sit in the back of my closet for a year, and eventually throw them out than it is to order one box from Nuuly and pass the items on to someone else when I’m done.

Nuuly review: What I don’t like about it

To give you my totally honest Nuuly review, there are also some things I don’t love about the service. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies.

The first thing I don’t like is that sometimes, the clothes I get look, well, worn. I know it’s a rental service so I’m not always getting the first wear on something, and most often the clothes are in great shape. But there have been a handful of times when I haven’t worn something because it looked a little faded or pilly, not like something I’d just bought.

The second is that sometimes the item that I want isn’t available. Again, another hard truth about sharing clothes with other people, is that you have to share them. Sometimes I’ll save an item that I like, and when it comes time to order my next Nuuly, it’s not available.

The third is that sometimes I feel like I’ve already rented everything I like. This tends to happen towards the end of the season – i.e. I started my Nuuly subscription in May, and by August, I felt like I’d already rented all of the good dresses. Now that it’s winter, through, I do feel like there is more variety to choose from, because in the summer I pretty much only wear dresses.

Finally, sometimes it feels like a lot of the items are geared towards a slightly younger audience. I’m in my mid-30s, and a lot of clothes feel like they’d be better suited to a mid-late 20 something. I still manage to find things I like, but there is a smaller selection.

Nuuly review: My verdict

Overall, I am very happy with the Nuuly service. I’ve used it for 10 months now, and haven’t thought about stopping the service. I almost always find outfits I’m excited about, and I love that I get to try new brands.