A couple of years ago, I learned of Armoire during an event at women-focused co-working space, The Riveter. Armoire was positioning themselves as a wardrobe rental service for professionals, and while the clothes they had on display didn’t capture me at the time, the concept most definitely did.
Later, I was invited to a launch party for The OULA Company that was launching in the Armoire rental collection. The OULA Company makes fun, colorful floral and abstract patterned dresses that immediately captured my attention. I said yes to the event, and found myself on Capitol Hill to see the garments in person and hear more about Armoire.
The staff encouraged me to join, promising that despite the lack of color my “stylist” automatically assigned me, their service would learn my style over time and recommend things that were more my style. (My “stylist” is actually a computer-generated algorithm, which is one of the things that Armoire prides themselves on. More on that later.) When an offer to sign up for just $49 popped up on Cyber Monday, it was the push I needed to give the service a try.
And what can I say, I’ve been addicted ever since! So why have I stuck with Armoire all of these months? Today I thought I’d give an honest, non-sponsored Armoire review. (Let’s be real, I’m always honest regardless of sponsorship. But, just clarifying here. ;) I pay for this subscription myself.) My referral link, which gives you a $100 discount if you sign up, in this post is the same type of referral credit you would get if you were a fellow subscriber. If the concept of renting your wardrobe sounds interesting, read on!
So, what is Armoire?
One part styling service, one part rental service, this Seattle-based startup is hoping to make women’s lives easier and more stylish with a variety of work-appropriate, casual, dressy and even formal pieces, for the modern woman. After signing up and filling out a style profile, Armoire’s website utilizes a proprietary algorithm to make suggestions for your first case. You select from a variety of pieces to fill the 4 slots you receive in each case. Once you’re happy with your selections, you confirm your case, select the address you want it to be delivered to, and then you wait for your first case to arrive in the mail, as seen above! (If you’re not a fan of waste, you can request to receive minimal packaging, too.)
Shipping is free both ways, and Armoire encourages you to exchange your cases as frequently as you like. Even better? No cleaning necessary! Armoire dry cleans in-house as part of your subscription service.
Once you’re ready for your next case, let Armoire know by logging into their website, then select the items you are returning and review those items. You’ll also have the option to purchase any of your returns from your case if you really can’t part with them! Return your entire case or just a couple of pieces. Then, drop your returns at your local Post Office or in one of the mail drop boxes. In the meantime, they’ll be prepping your next case!
Ok so wait, how much does Armoire cost?
Armoire costs $149 a month. (Sign up with my referral link to get your first month for just $49!) As mentioned, that includes unlimited rentals of four items at a time each month, plus free dry cleaning and shipping as part of your subscription. You can opt to start small with their capsule wardrobe option for $79 a month. You can also save by purchasing a quarterly plan ($399, working out to $133/month) or the semi-annual plan ($699, working out to be $117/month).
Need more? Add on additional space in your case for $20/month for one item, $30 for two additional items, or $50 for three additional items. If you need a break from your subscription, you can just let Armoire know via email, or live chat with someone on their website.
Who is Armoire for?
With brands such as Alice and Olivia, Equipment, French Connection, Yumi Kim, Diane Avon Furstenburg, Theory, Rachel Zoe, and many, many more, contemporary professional women can easily add things to their case and request delivery for pieces that they will love. Armoire’s style profile covers sizes 0-16W for dresses/pants and sizes XS-1X for blouses/tops. If you’re expecting, you can also enter your baby’s due date to receive maternity-friendly pieces.
Armoire’s aesthetic ranges from funky, colorful and hip to a more buttoned-up, tailored professional vibe. The brands are ever-changing, with new contemporary brands like Scotch and Soda and Cupcakes and Cashmere to even more casual and athletic pieces from Adidas, Tory Sport, and Puma. They also have high-end finds from brands like Opening Ceremony, 3.1 Philip Lim, Isabel Marant, Proenza Schouler, Marni, and more.
As I mentioned above, women in the 25-45 age range will probably be most at home with the Armoire service and the styles featured, but it can vary depending on your personal style and clothing needs. The young professional or creative worker will find a variety of options for both work and play. Special event options are available which make it convenient for wedding and event season. Armoire also has a variety of options for women who are expecting, too!
Where does Armoire ship?
Armoire ships to the United States via USPS. Most shipments should arrive between 2-5 days from their Seattle HQ. The closer you live to Seattle, the quicker you’ll receive your package. As someone based in Seattle, there is typically just a day or two between cases. Just be sure to notify that you’ve returned your Armoire package to get your next order super quick.
If you work or visit Downtown Seattle frequently, there are two spots to return and pick up your case, too. Their HQ and styling boutique is in Pioneer Square just a few blocks from the stadiums in the Capitol One Building on 1st across from Elysian Fields. Book an in-person appointment at their styling suite for a monthly, complimentary 45-minute try-on session, or just drop off your returns and pick up your new case. They also offer free pick up at their new spot downtown inside Charles Schwab.
The incredible speed to which I can borrow and return pieces has kept me a very happy customer! As a blogger, it has helped me keep my wardrobe fresh and work on new projects (such as my workwear series, coming soon!) without spending a small fortune. And when traveling, it allows me to have a fresh new wardrobe without spending anything extra. Also, I can drop my case back in the mail before I leave my destination so my suitcase is much lighter!
Why is Armoire so beneficial?
That’s going to depend on your exact needs, but here are some reasons I’ve found subscribing to Armoire to be beneficial!
- To save money
- To save time on shopping
- To prepare for an occasion (great for holiday events, weddings, those who attend special events for work frequently such as bloggers, press, sales professionals, public relations, and more)
- To try new and unique brands
- To try new trends
- To have a higher quality wardrobe without the expense
- It’s more sustainable than buying new clothing
- Dry cleaning is taken care of
- To curb the shopping habit or desire to shop (just request a new case instead!)
- To transition between careers (going from a business casual to a formal office, for instance)
Speaking of unique brands…
Armoire has many brands that I’d never heard of before, including the brand that I mentioned earlier, The OULA Company. They offer a variety of options from small, up-and-coming, eco-conscious, and sustainable brands. Here are some of the ones I’ve seen & tried!
- Amur: focuses on creating clothing out of environmentally conscientious fabrics, including organic and natural fabrics, reclaimed textiles, or trims made by artisans in developing worlds
- Amour Vert: creates exclusive fabrics like mulberry silk and beechwood fabric that are completely organic and made using non-toxic dyes
- Zuri: a Kenyan brand known for making bold African print dresses offers it’s women free childcare during work hours through a program called SOKO, and a program to help women make and sell reusable sanitary pads
- LACAUSA: LA-based LACAUSA makes quality garments under ethical conditions.
- The OULA Company: Owner and designer Erika Massaquoi says that OULA is about embracing freedom and creativity. Her pieces are inspired by the vintage style from the 1960s and fashion ethos of the 1970s. Think easy tunics, dramatic skirts, caftan inspired dresses, and bold prints.
- Prima Dona: Created by bosslady Dona Sarkar, a friend of Armoire. She spent countless hours and journeyed around the world in search of the perfect fabrics for her hand-cut and stitched bespoke pieces. Each piece in the collection available to rent was designed specifically for Armoire.
As a blogger, the pressure to shop, shop, shop and always be wearing something new and different is real. But honestly, I know non-bloggers who feel the pressure to keep up with the Joneses, too. For that reason, and many others mentioned above, I love Armoire.
I’ve saved a small fortune in clothing over the past several months, contributed less waste to the landfill because of fast fashion purchases, and have discovered new brands that I now love. Not only that, but I’ve been able to try out new things I wouldn’t have thought to try just because I could try them for free as part of my subscription. And don’t get me wrong, not everything I’ve rented has worked out for me. Many pieces go unworn and returned, but that’s the nice thing; it’s not taking up a place in my closet, making me feel guilty for purchasing it. Instead, it gets sent off to someone else to try!
So what’s not to like about Armoire?
Of course, nothing in this world is perfect. Armoire is no different. Here are a few things to note about Armoire!
Armoire is an innovative start-up that is constantly evolving. One of their main goals is to help you save time by using an algorithm to provide items that you’ll love. The only problem for those who like curating their own wardrobe is that you are confined by what is offered to you in your closet, or that you have favorited in the past. I recommend favoriting as many pieces as you can that you think you might wear so you always have more options!
Because these are rentals and are not owned by you (unless you decide to purchase the item, of course!) you cannot alter any of the items you rent. You might have to get creative with safety pins, double stick tape, and layering pieces if something doesn’t fit just right.
FOMO: Can’t save things others have borrowed
Right now, Armoire doesn’t offer a “save” feature for items that your friends have rented from Armoire. I got my friend Megan hooked on Armoire and we’re always eyeing what each other gets!
As mentioned, Armoire is based here in Seattle. Those of us who are local are at an advantage because we can visit in person to pick up and return items as well as make appointments for in-person styling sessions. Those who aren’t local can make chat appointments, but it’s not quite the same.
Clothing is typically from a past season
This may be a blogger-only problem, but if people asked where to buy your outfit on a regular basis, you might get tired of explaining that it’s no longer available. I’ve found most pieces that I borrow at Armoire are at the end of the current season (currently on sale or clearance), or are from a year or two ago and no longer available.
Peak rental periods
While I like my subscription most of the time, there were a few instances this summer where I was recommended sweaters and coats on the hottest days of the year. This was frustrating, and I assume it was because everyone was experiencing a heatwave and the demand for summer pieces was high. I’ve also noticed that if I return after a long weekend, I’ll have fewer options available to me so I try to return mid-week and before the weekend.
Whew! That was a lot of information about Armoire, but I hope it was helpful to those who have been curious about how I’ve been renting clothes and remixing my wardrobe so frequently over the past several months. Ultimately, this subscription rental service has been a huge game changer and I’ve really enjoyed wearing so many new garments over the past 8 or so months.
Have you tried a clothing rental subscription service? Have you heard of Armoire? I’d love to hear about your experience, and if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments!