This New Fashion App Is Like Rent The Runway, But Cool

If you’ve ever desperately searched for a dress last minute for a prom, a wedding, or a special event, you’ve probably perused Rent The Runway.

No offense to anyone who swears by Rent The Runway, but their selection has never been my style. Every time I search their pages and pages of dresses, I find myself thinking that their style is more in line with my mom’s than mine. It’s not that the dresses aren’t cute, some are alright, I’ve just always dressed a bit more wild, or edgy, and I like to show a lot of skin. Besides, why pay $100 or more to borrow a dress that will look like everyone else’s?

No matter how boring or basic Rent The Runway’s selection is, you can’t deny that they’re convenient. Showing up at an event looking like Taylor Swift pre-Anna Wintour makeover is at least better than wearing the same thing you wore to a formal last weekend and already Instagrammed.

But there’s a new rental app called Armarium that, although it’s pricier than RTR, has way cooler options.

If Rent The Runway is Kate Middleton, Armarium is Rihanna. Alexandra Lind Rose and Trisha Gregory, who were friends first, business partners second, came together to create Armarium after styling VIPs together at Ferragamo for years.

They decided slightly more broke women deserve to feel the magic of getting dressed in something fancy, too, so they started a business to give everyone more access to designer clothes that don’t look like they came from Loft.

Granted, most dresses on Armarium still cost a renter upwards of $150 for just three days of wear. But considering what the dresses would retail at in Barney’s or Bergdorf’s, it’s a steal. Besides, Trisha knows that for her customer, time is money, and just like Trisha and Alexandra, Armarium’s customer is a girl boss.

An additional benefit of Armarium’s services that could possibly justify the price tag is their personal styling and wardrobe consultation with their experienced stylists. Armarium boasts stylists that have dressed major celebrities or worked at magazines like Nylon and Vogue, all with a minimum of five years experience.

The app launched privately in April, and I had the chance to try Armarium for myself in early June. The app was easy and awesome, which is exactly how I felt when I seductively slid into the cut-out Mugler dress I had picked out for myself that weekend.

I rented the Anndra Neen Nazar Cage Clutch, a Mugler Cutout Dress With Metal Attachings, and Alessandra Rich Pearl Heart & Bow Earrings.

The package was dropped at my apartment building the day before the event I was planning on wearing the dress to, and luckily, it fit! The only mishap was that I was sent the wrong pair of earrings, but considering how amazing the dress and bag was, I could live with it. The risqué dress also came with a slip underneath, which was a pleasant surprise so that now I could be a little less sexy if I wanted to (spoiler: I didn’t want to be less sexy).

The Mugler dress and me feeling fabulous

I had an awesome weekend feeling like I was the type of women who would afford and rock a $3,775 dress, and I got a ridiculous amount of compliments. While compliments are always welcome, it was slightly awkward when someone asked me where I got the dress. I had the option to either lie and sound braggadocios, or tell the truth and sound less glam for it. When Sunday came along, I was sad to say goodbye and felt a little bit like Cinderella when her carriage turns back into a pumpkin, but I got over it and made my boyfriend carry the box to the post office because I didn’t feel like scheduling a pick-up.

I’m not the only one who’s been pleased with my Armarium experience, but unlike me (who couldn’t even normally afford to rent the Mugler dress, let alone buy it), many women are repeat customers, with the Armarium’s average customer return rate hovering around 30%.

Obviously these repeat customers are at a very different income level and live a very different lifestyle than I do, which probably explains why Armarium is setting up a pop-up shop in the Hamptons this summer and not in my neighborhood.

Trying out Armarium as a journalist was awesome, but if I was just a plain old customer, there’s no way I could’ve shelled out the $450 that it cost to rent the dress. $450 is only a little bit less than what I currently pay monthly for rent, and to pay that for something I wouldn’t even get to keep sounds outrageous to me. Maybe if I had a sugar daddy, or mistakenly got invited to The Met Ball.

Instead, when I have a formal event I’ll likely browse the Nasty Gal sale section, check out a consignment shop, or call up my BFF that’s my size. But, when I’m older, have my bank account in order, and have tons of fabulous events to attend (because that’s what everyone dreams of), Armarium seems like an awesome way to snag a one-night-stand of a knockout dress that you can guarantee nobody else will be wearing.

Like Trisha said, it’s kind of like being a celebrity borrowing a dress for a red carpet even – except you still have to pay for it.

“So often people see high-priced runway pieces they would love to wear for that one special occasion, but might not have the budget to actually purchase,” explains Trisha. “With Armarium, that once-in-a-lifetime is now not out of reach.”

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