I’m 5’8″ and for years, I struggled to find clothes that fit me in Asia. A $66-a-month clothing rental service helps me serve looks without breaking the bank. – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

I’m 5’8″ and for years, I struggled to find clothes that fit me in Asia. A $66-a-month clothing rental service helps me serve looks without breaking the bank.

Style Theory box with three dresses

Nidhi Pandurangi

I discovered a clothing rental service in Singapore after the lockdown.
For about $66 a month, I can rent up to six outfits.
Although the experience has been hit and miss, it’s made me more conscientious about my shopping.

When I was 26, I packed up my life in London and flew almost 14 hours to Singapore.

While looking forward to my new life, I was particularly excited to visit the 171 malls packed into the less than 300 square miles of the island.

Imagine my surprise — nay, shock — when I discovered that very few of the thousands of stores here carried clothes appropriate for my height and body shape. 

Two stats I must disclose here. I am 5 feet, 8 inches tall, and I wear large-sized clothing.

Shopping in stores was a humbling experience. The average woman in this country stands 5 feet, 3 inches tall, making me an outlier, size-wise. The shirts I picked fit me perfectly lengthwise but wouldn’t button across my chest. Cute summer dresses that I thought were knee-skimming turned out to be too short.

Seeing my clothes hang in the wardrobe for months during the lockdown was depressing

I’d heard about clothing rental services before — Rent the Runway has been around since 2009. But I was continents away from this service, which operates only in the US.

After Singapore’s pandemic lockdowns, a friend and I sat talking about all the cute outfits that had hung unused in our wardrobes over the past months. She said she wanted to cut back on shopping and try Style Theory, a local clothing-rental service that operates in Singapore and Indonesia.

My accountant’s brain made me immediately whip out my phone to look at my banking app. I knew I was spending a lot on clothes, but I deliberately did not keep a strict record.

What I found next shocked me.

I was averaging about $300 a month — or $3,600 a year — on clothes, shoes and bags. The average American spent about $1,700 on apparel in 2021, so I was an outlier here, too.

You can stretch six outfits over four weekends with careful planning

Style Theory clothing rental box

Nidhi Pandurangi

In August 2020, I decided to sign up for Style Theory.

For 89 Singapore dollars, or about $66, you get two boxes a month, three outfits per box. You can also upsize your box: S$149 a month gets you 12 rentable outfits.

Compared to what I was spending before, that seemed like a bargain. 

This is how it works: You key in your measurements on the app. I found this super helpful because I am not a uniform size across brands. The app then shows you clothes suited to your body. 

You pick the items you want, schedule a delivery, and get a box within days.

While I’ve intermittently used the service for about three years, I only properly started renting in April.

Previously, I struggled to find outfits for my size that were available for renting. But over time, I’ve noticed more and more options showing up in my sizes.

A spokesperson for Style Theory confirmed my hypothesis. The company’s current inventory primarily caters to small, medium, and large sizes, the spokesperson said, but they are planning to add more size-inclusive brands.

“Some of our plus-size employees who previously found our inventory unsuitable have noticed significant improvements, with more items available for rent,” the spokesperson said.  

My most recent box was a victim of a fat-finger error

My most recent box arrived on August 24. My husband and I decided to celebrate his birthday with a staycation at Capella Singapore, a five-star hotel.

I wanted to pick three wrap dresses for the weekend. But, I messed up. In my haste to get a delivery scheduled, I realized — when my box arrived — that I’d picked two of the same dress. 

Style Theory clothing rental box

Nidhi Pandurangi

It turned out to be a good thing because while both the dresses were tagged as “large,” the one on the right fit me better.

I loved the color of the dress and the length was just right. The bright motifs also popped against a grey and rainy day in the city. 

Style Theory clothing rental box

Nidhi Pandurangi

Sadly, the other dress I’d ordered was not to my liking. The length was off, and the color did not pop as well as I’d hoped.

Being a wrap-around dress, at the very least it accommodated the extensive buffet breakfast on Sunday.

Style Theory clothing rental box

Nidhi Pandurangi

Though I’ve had some goof ups and misfits with the rented outfits, I think I’ll continue renting.

While it’s been easy on the pocket, the best benefit I’ve seen is to my shopping habits.

It’s not that I don’t shop at all anymore — that was never my goal in the first place. Instead, it’s that I’ve become more mindful of the clothes I buy now and pause to ask myself, “Do I really need this? I have a box coming soon.”

Read the original article on Business Insider
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