Have you ever wished you could wear a really great designer dress to an event, but either didn’t have, or didn’t want to spend the dough on something you’re not likely to wear again? I have. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve spent a large sum of money on a dress or outfit, only to wear it once, then it hangs in my closet for years until I give it away. Ugggghhhh…
My other “thing” is shoes. I seriously have a thing for shoes. I’ve worked extra hours, eaten ramen noodles or generic Tuna Helper for weeks, just to save enough money to buy a pair of Louboutins. But, my Louboutins and Giuseppe Zanottis are only kitten heels. I’m 5’9”, so I don’t normally wear very high heels, and I LOVE my flip-flops. So, believe me, I’ve learned my lesson after having to sell or donate my other designer shoes that had higher heels!
But, there’s still that part of me that adores the way a pair of stilettos look, especially since designers have gotten SO creative lately! When I got the opportunity to try out Style Lend, a designer rental service, I was really excited! Not only did they allow me to take their site and service for a “test drive,” but they generously allowed my cousin, Ella, to try them out, too. (HUGE thanks to Ella for agreeing to be part of this post!*)
So, how does it work? Well, it’s super easy! You search their website, and find what you like for your occasion, event, or just because. You can rent an item for either 7 days or 14 days, so click the item and check the availability. Style Lend will ship the item to you, and they include a prepaid label/envelope for you to ship the item back. That’s it, easy-peasy!
Shipping is $9, which includes both ways. Even if your item arrives early (mine arrived 2 days early), you still get to keep the item for the entire rental period you selected. You don’t have to worry about dry-cleaning, this is taken care of for you. There is also a $5 insurance fee with each item, so no worries about minor issues that may occur. (Just don’t abuse the item, lose it, or let it get stolen!)
Ella selected a sleek black dress by Rachel Zoe. The dress itself is stunning, but even more so on Ella, who would look gorgeous even in a potato sack! She decided to go with this dress as opposed to something that fit her daily dress code because she had already gotten a few new outfiits for work.
I decided to try out a pair of stilettos because super-duper high heels aren’t something I would spend the money on purchasing. I found a gorgeous pair of Brian Atwood (my fave shoe designer) heels in fuschia and red. I decided that oh yes, they shall be mine… at least for a week, anyway!
The website was pretty simple to use, however, the search process could use some improvements. For example, the only size you can search by is whole dress sizes, such as 4, 6, 8, 10, etc. When searching for pants or shoes, the sizing function does not change. I also could not find a way to change the rental date once I had an item in my cart. Finally, when checking out, it kept telling me to “select payment method,” but there was nothing to actually select.
Ella, who is younger, and more technologically advanced than me, had fewer problems with checking out. I had a missed call from her, and then got a message saying she at first she was confused about a promotional code, but then got it figured out very quickly.
The only other negative about Style Lend was the packaging. Style Lend consists of various people, just like you and me, who lend out their designer goods. The shoes I chose were shipped in a Tyvek envelope. That’s right, an envelope. Being a shoe addict, I have ordered many, many, many (many) shoes, and there have been times when they arrived damaged if not packaged appropriately. I’m talking serious damage like broken heels, soles completely bent, etc.
I do realize that Style Lend items are insured in case of damage. But, lenders can request their items back at any time, and I would be very disappointed if one of my items were damaged due to improper packaging. For clothing items, I think an envelope is okay. But, there is no reason a handbag or pair of shoes valued at $500-$1000, or more, can’t be packaged in a box.
The positives far outweigh the negatives, though, and the negatives are easily worked around. For example, when searching for shoes, I wear a size 10, so I selected the size 10 dress size. With Style Lend being fairly new, I must say that it has been an outstanding experience. One of the most exciting things is that even over the past couple weeks, every time I log in, there are new items available. So, they’re always updating choices, which is perfect for those of us who always want something new and different.
The service was impeccable. As soon as I selected the item and placed my order, I received a confirmation email. I also received an email when the shoes shipped, so I knew when to expect them. They even arrived a couple days early, so I could enjoy them longer. Also, they went the extra mile and there was a “thank you” note included. It was a very easy and pleasant process.
The Rachel Zoe dress Ella chose fit her perfectly, and she loved the experience. She got to try out a dress she really liked, that she normally wouldn’t purchase due to her dress code. Although, I really think she should buy a dress like this, because it was SO stunning on her!
The Brian Atwood shoes I chose fit perfectly as well, and they were fabulously fun looking! Unfortunately, I could not walk in them- I could barely even stand in them! There is no way I could be a “star” because I would not fit in with the well-heeled women on the red carpet…lol! So, instead of taking pics of wearing the shoes with a cute outfit, I had to put them on while sitting, and take a picture of just my feet. This is EXACTLY why I LOVE the concept of Style Lend!
The best part about Style Lend is that Ella and I got to try out items we normally wouldn’t buy. Ella got to experience a dress that she wouldn’t be able to wear daily. I got to experience a pair of shoes that I didn’t know if I would be able to walk in. We were both able to “try before we buy,” so no need to spend a ton of money on something that will only be worn once, or on something that I can’t walk in!
If you’re in need of something for an occasion, or even just to experience new and different fashion, I highly recommend checking out StyleLend.com. You won’t be disappointed!
*Photos of Ella by Dallas Mattern