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How Clothing Rental Compliments Your Minimalist Lifestyle

Overconsumption is one of the biggest issues in the fashion industry. How can we as consumers find better ways to consume? From creating a capsule wardrobe to clothing rental services, changing the way you get dressed can lead to a more sustainable and less cluttered life, without sacrificing style. 

We recently interviewed Armoire’s own Head of User Experience, Katrina Taylor, and Head of Product, Natasha Gupta, both of whom were members before joining as employees, to hear how renting their clothes has allowed them to lead a more minimalist lifestyle, without a minimalist wardrobe.

Meet Katrina Taylor– a former shopaholic who now has fewer clothes in her closet than her husband!

Q: What was your life like before Armoire?

A: I had a closet jam-packed full of clothing, but always felt like I needed more. I spent a lot of time and money shopping, often on impulse buys that I would wear once or twice (if at all). I’ve always loved fashion – especially bold statement pieces – but those aren’t the most practical things to own. I had tried doing a capsule wardrobe (and purchased a bunch of new pieces to “complete” it), but it never really stuck as I would get bored with wearing the same styles over and over. I never had a problem with purging my closet, but sending huge trash bags full of barely worn clothing to the local thrift store month after month made me feel so guilty. I often wish I could have all of the money back I spent shopping for clothing during the 15 years before rental – I don’t even want to think about how much it would be, but I’m sure it’s a lot!

Q: What is your favorite part about renting your clothes with Armoire?

A: Definitely the variety! I love experimenting with my style and taking fashion risks. I love having something different to wear each time I go to an event, on vacation, or even just out to dinner with my husband. The “old” me did this by purchasing lots (LOTS) of lower-end items all the time. Now, I get even more variety than I’ve had before and the clothing is much more high-end. It’s funny – recently I walked into a store where I used to purchase tons of my clothing and felt like the quality of the garments had gone WAY downhill. Then I realized the quality hadn’t changed at all – I’ve just gotten used to wearing nicer, more high-end brands because of Armoire! It means I can have unlimited options that are higher quality than what I could afford to purchase, all without the jam-packed closet or guilt from money spent on unworn items.

Q: How does Armoire complement a minimalist lifestyle?

A: For me, minimalism is about owning less so I can enjoy more flexibility and experiences. Aside from fashion, I had been living (and loving!) a minimalist lifestyle for several years. Owning less meant my partner and I were spending less time and money on maintaining unnecessary possessions, which gave us more resources for travel, and the flexibility to experience more things every single day. To me, the fun of fashion is the experience of wearing a great outfit – not the financial investment, the maintenance, or the storage. Armoire has really given me a fantasy wardrobe! My experience with fashion has expanded, all while I’m saving time, money, and closet space. I love shocking my friends by showing them my tiny, uncluttered closet. They literally do a double-take and don’t understand how I can always have new outfits with such a teeny tiny closet.

Q: What does a minimalist lifestyle mean to you in regards to clothing?

A: Less time spent on shopping, laundry, returns, closet organization, and trips to the thrift store. Less money on fast fashion or things I’ll only wear once. Less guilt and buyers’ remorse. Fewer carbon emissions. More outfit options. More flexibility. More high-end brands. More joy when I look in my beautifully organized closet, knowing that I can still have entirely new outfits next week. I get to live more, with less.

Q: At what point during your clothing rental experience did you decide to create a capsule wardrobe?

A:  For me, it happened really organically. The more and more I rented, the easier it was to sell or donate items that I wasn’t using anymore. Even the things I had previously really loved weren’t as fun to wear anymore – I would rather dress in something new (to me) that I rent! Over the course of 2 to 3 years, my permanent wardrobe has shrunk to a few basics that I wear over and over with my rented pieces. A few pairs of jeans and leggings, basic black or white tops, and my favorite leather jacket. The more I rented, the easier it became to let go of the pieces that were no longer serving my style needs.

Q: Has clothing rental allowed you to live a freer or less tied down life?

A: I recently moved and was delighted to realize that all of my clothing fit into a single suitcase – it was such a cool moment! My new closet has transparent glass doors, so my wardrobe is permanently on display. It legitimately brings me joy every time I walk by it – it’s so sleek and organized – I actually feel very proud of it, because it’s in such contrast to my old walk-in closet that often looked straight out of an episode of Hoarders!

Q: What was your clothing rental experience like in the beginning vs. now?

A: I still remember the first time I worked up the courage to rent my clothing. And yes, I say courage because it took me almost a year to actually get the nerve to try it! What if the dress didn’t fit? What if I didn’t like it? What if I spilled on it? In hindsight, I wish I would have jumped in head first as in that year alone, I likely would have saved SO much money in shopping bills! Since renting with Armoire, I have saved $81,772 from renting clothes. The money I’ve saved is really astounding. Less shopping meant more contributions to my travel fund – my husband and I are sailing the Greek islands for two weeks this fall, which feels like a much better investment than impulse buying dresses!

Meet Natasha Gupta– the traveling connoisseur, and capsule wardrobe expert.

Q: What was your life like before Armoire?

A: Before Armoire, I was an avid shopper with the equivalent of 90 medium-sized boxes of clothes (this was measured upon my move from New York City to Seattle in 2017). I loved fashion – keeping up with trends and looking stylish gave me the confidence to tackle things fearlessly at work and in my personal life, and ‘retail therapy’ was a phrase I often used to chase the thrill of this feeling by purchasing new clothes. However, I often found myself with at least 80% of my clothes never being worn or only worn 1 to 2 times then eventually throwing them away when I realized owning them added to clutter in my space. I felt frustrated by the money I wasted purchasing clothes I barely wore, and guilty when most of them ended up being trashed after I gained a deep appreciation for the environment around me. I felt overwhelmed by the upkeep of educating myself on what styles would best suit me in a very oversaturated market of content and product. I was told that my closet should feel like my own personal boutique of items I love the most, but I didn’t know how to live this way in practice.

Q: What is your favorite part about Armoire?

A: I love that I no longer own 90 boxes of clothes. After moving, I have just enough to fill 5 small suitcases of basics or items I know I’ll wear more than 4 or 5 times. My state of mind is clearer because I have less clutter in my closet, more disposable income, and feel less guilt overall about hurting the environment. ‘Retail therapy’ now means it’s time to swap items in my current case for some new ones! Just as fun, but now more convenient and sustainable.

Q: How does Armoire & a minimalist lifestyle align with each other?

A: When I first heard the term ‘minimalist’ from a friend a few years ago, I was told it was a term given to people who strive to only use things that serve a purpose. As I internalized this term, I realized the part of my life that included the most mediocre, material things with the least purpose was my large overwhelming wardrobe of clothes – the majority rarely worn or still with tags. What purpose did they serve me? Armoire gave me a way to own only the clothes that I REALLY love and believe will serve my lifestyle needs in the long-term, and then rent the things that satisfy my desire to stay fashionable and feel confident on a daily basis.

Q: How do you define a minimalist lifestyle in regards to clothing?

A: To me this means having a minimalist wardrobe. It means that all clothing you wear serves a purpose – the items you own and the items you rent. It means you own a capsule wardrobe of just the items you love the most – your ‘can’t live withouts’, not an overwhelming wardrobe of ‘can’t live withouts’, and ‘I just want this for this season to look stylish’. A minimalist wardrobe is stress-free, easy, and sustainable. 

Q: At what point during your clothing rental experience did you decide to create a capsule wardrobe?

A: After about 2 months of using Armoire, rental became a habit for me. It was a scary change at first, but I quickly realized that I was only wearing 20% of the items from my own personal wardrobe, and styling them with statement pieces I rented from Armoire. 80% of the clothes in my closet were left unused, yet I was wearing more unique combinations of clothing than ever because of my new shared virtual closet. Armoire gave me confidence that I could live stylishly without owning so much. I was motivated to donate the clothes that didn’t bring me joy and instead create a capsule wardrobe of the pieces I loved the most. Now I style these with my favorite rotation of Armoire pieces so that each outfit I wear can still feel new and fresh.

Q: With clothing rental, what are you free from that previously tied you down with your old wardrobe?A: I am free from spending time wondering what to wear when I pack – I make sure my upcoming case is filled just with items I know I’ll use for my next month. I have more disposable income to spend on experiences and travel. I feel less stressed about moving frequently because I have less to move. I have more time to focus on the things that matter most to me in my life, like my career, relationships, and exploring the world’s beautiful nature.

Natasha and Katrina have both found ways to live larger in their lives by parting with the clothes that were weighing them down. Neither of them had to give up their style, instead, they were able to maximize it.

Check our a few of our favorite items to compliment a less cluttered closet.

Ready to maximize your capsule wardrobe? Take our 5-minute style quiz to get started!


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