This Changed My Life is an ode to the small, seemingly chill purchases bought by Autostraddle writers and editors this year that made our lives infinitely better. Did these items LITERALLY CHANGE OUR LIFE? No, we’re being gay and dramatic. But perhaps a pair of sunglasses really did change your life — who are we to judge?
Something happened the year I turned 27: I started getting wedding invitations. Before that year, I’d gone to a total of 2 weddings that weren’t for my family. That year alone I attended three. I couldn’t bear to buy new outfits for each of them on top of flights, lodging, etc that came along with each celebration, especially knowing that after I was photographed at the wedding (and probably posted to social media), it’d be a long time before I’d want to wear that same outfit to another friend’s wedding (I’m vain! Sue me!). I’d used Rent the Runway for events before, but always found their catalog overwhelmingly huge and often a little too fancy for my taste.
Enter nuuly, a clothing rental service I was aggressively advertised on Instagram. For $88, I could rent 6 new pieces of clothing and keep them for the whole month. This appealed to me initially because it allowed me much more time to plan than Rent the Runway rentals: I could try on SIX pieces (RTR usually allows for 3 in your rental price — one that’s a duplicate of the item you chose but in a different size just in case, and then an additional different item that occasionally costs extra to rent), and I could receive them weeks in advance, so I had plenty of time to figure out a new plan if somehow none of those worked (RTR offers 4 or 8 day rentals).
To be fair, Rent The Runway also has a monthly subscription, but I’ve always felt that RTR’s selection was more ideal for someone who attends a lot of events or works somewhere that requires dressing up, the site is full of stuff of a little higher polish than I need or in my real life (and it’s slightly more expensive than nuuly). nuuly offers clothing that ran the gamut from event wear to denim to sweatshirts, in a pretty large range of styles (from uber trendy to very classic cuts) and sizes (there are filters for petite, straight and plus sizes, with many pieces offering sizing in all three).
As a person who simply cannot settle on one aesthetic in my life or closet, this service has been a godsend. For weddings, yes, where literally every dress I’ve worn has resulted in at least one (though often MANY) comment about me being one of the best-dressed guests, but also for work, for vacations, and for trying out new trends without feeling as guilty about the impact on the environment or my wallet. If I want to lean into a more femme style this month, or if I want to try a bunch of different new jumpsuits, or if I want to test the new trendy style of jeans in a bunch of different washes: these are now all options for me!
Scrolling through the website every month for the week leading up to my next shipment is like the best kind of online shopping, because I can decide who I want to be for the next month of my life, and there is no harm if one or two of the items in my box don’t end up being my favorite. The pieces come in one small duffel mag mailed to you each month, so I get to have a monthly fashion show for myself when I try everything on, and anything that doesn’t fit or I don’t like can just stay in the duffel until the end of my rental period when I pop it back in a UPS box or drop it at a UPS store.
You can mark things to add to your “closetwp_postswhile scrolling, so I already have fancy dresses set aside for the next time an occasion arises, but also clothes I’ve marked to rent for future concerts or when the weather changes or any other scenario I can imagine needing new and interesting clothes for! When I went to Europe at the beginning of this summer, I built whole looks around the pieces I’d rented from nuuly… and then opted to pay to keep a few of the ones that I’d loved most.
I started a new job this year, and every month I’ve been going into the office, I’ve relied on my nuuly to enhance and supplement my work wardrobe, which is in desperate need of a lift but which I’m always too overwhelmed to actually overhaul! And for the winter months, I rented a bunch of sweaters and long-sleeve shirts to wear in my frigid office and back in my hometown, which I’m always hesitant to actually purchase because it feels impractical to have too many cozy clothes in Los Angeles. Every month feels like a little back to school splurge shopping spree that my grandma used to take me on, but I get to do it over and over again, in a more sustainable and less permanent way.