These Online Stores Make It Easy To Find Chic, Sustainable Wedding Attire

Wedding guest attire is too often worn once and forgotten in the back of a closet. But thanks to the fashion industry's growing sharing economy, you don't have to sacrifice resources for fresh outfits.


Nov. 25 2020, Updated 10:23 a.m. ET

It's no secret that most of us have clothes in our closets that we haven't been worn in years. In fact, one California Closets design expert told The Wall Street Journal that women only wear 20 percent of the items they have in their closets. With numbers like that, why bother owning these pieces at all? In many cases, it has to do with the type of clothes that are in there. Women, for example, generally wear special occasion items less than seven times.

As the fashion industry develops into a more sustainable marketplace, there are more sharing platforms than ever which can come in handy when looking for an outfit that will stand out at special events like weddings. While Rent The Runway has paved the way for this new sharing economy, it is far from the only company that helps people suit up responsibly for their loved ones big day. Below are nine websites that can help you find a new outfit to buy (or borrow!) for your friend's wedding.

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1. The RealReal

Consignment stores can be a treasure trove of hidden vintage gems, but not everyone has access to high-quality, brick-and-mortar locations. The RealReal offers an online platform where users can buy designer pieces and even reconsign them. The site has a team of experts to identify any counterfeit pieces and verify which items are genuine. The RealReal has teamed up with sustainable organizations like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, GOOD+ Foundation, and Stella McCartney to support a circular economy while encouraging people to use high-quality items for a lifetime. Not a bad place to find that perfect vintage clutch for your best friend’s wedding.

2. Poshmark

Poshmark offers all kinds of fashionable items old and new through its app and website. The company boasts more than 25 million items and 5,000 brands, which is ideal if you’re looking for something unique to wear during wedding season. To buy an item, look through the site or get styled with personalized recommendations from Poshmark's on-staff experts. After you’ve danced the night away, it only takes about 60 seconds to list the item back on the site to sell... if you’re ready to part ways with it. For a similar option to buy and sell chic items online, check out Tradesy.

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3. Switch

Have everything lined up for the big event, but just need an extra-special piece to add some sparkle? Switch’s treasure trove of jewelry allows members to style their looks and later swap the pieces out as many times as they’d like. The jewelry membership service offers pieces from designers like Hermes and allows users to purchase a borrowed piece at a discount.

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4. Armarium

Sometimes wedding invitations come with three little words that can trip up guests on a budget: Black Tie Only. Formal dresses are not only rarely worn again, but they can be pricey as well. When you have a string of black tie weddings on your calendar, Armarium is just a click away. The site focuses on lending luxury designer pieces at a fraction of their original price tag. Armarium also offers a "Style Brigade," a team of stylists happy to hop on the phone or meet you in person to help you decide on the perfect luxury outfit.

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5. Rent The Races

If you're planning to attend a European wedding, you may want to top off your outfit with a fascinator. These whimsical pieces, commonly seen perched atop Kate Middleton's head, are not usually worn at American weddings. But if you’d like to borrow one in order to hop aboard the growing fascinator trend stateside, look no further than Rent The Races

Based in Kentucky, the trio of fanciful ladies behind this business initially started the company because of their love of the Kentucky Derby and the traditional fashion behind the event. Elegant hats and fascinators can be rented for a fraction of their retail price on the site. Once worn, toss them into the boxes they arrived in and send them back without having to sacrifice any valuable closet real estate.

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6. Bag Borrow or Steal

Finding the perfect purse for a special occasion can be tricky, but Bag Borrow or Steal offers a wide range of vintage and new options for any type of wedding. The site doesn’t require a membership. Instead, users simply borrow a bag and return it within a month. If you fall in love with a particular clutch or find that you can’t part with a unique handbag, the site lets users buy that new favorite purse at a discount. Bag Borrow or Steal allows users to sell or consign their items, as well.

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7. Style Lend

Looking to borrow something that’s gently used and only a year or two old? Style Lend offers designer dresses, bags, shoes, bottoms, tops, and outerwear that are at least $250 in retail value. The site also allows users to lend pieces and get paid once the item has been approved. Try Couture Collective for similar designer looks.

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8. The Black Tux

While women have to worry about matching their outfits with purses, jewelry and shoes, men also have the challenge of finding the perfect tux. The Black Tux offers men a more sustainable way to get suited up for weddings and special events. The site offers suit options with 100-percent merino wool and 100-percent cotton for their shirts. To get started, just select a style and fit. The suit is delivered two weeks before the event to be tried on and is simply sent back after the wedding.

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9. Fresh Neck

Another option for men, Fresh Neck, offers designer ties, cufflinks, pocket squares, and bow tie rentals. Touted as the Netflix for men’s accessories, this site helps guys try out new things without filling their closet with too many rarely used pieces. The company boasts more than 100 designer brands to pick from and takes care of dry-cleaning any used items to save time and resources.

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