I used to think I possessed a little something called "style," but these days my daily fits consist of sweats, bike shorts, old oversized T-shirts, and my trusted Harry Styles sweatshirt. Though dressing for comfort is something I've grown fond of during the pandemic, I am deeply in a style rut. So when I got the chance to try out Armoire ($69 and up), a clothing subscription company, I was excited to go back to the old days, when I used to actually get dressed.
To begin, I took a short style quiz that was aimed to help them better suggest pieces I might like. It only took five minutes, and it asked about the types of pieces I'm drawn to (tailored trousers), what I wear a lot (Breton stripes), what I would never wear (paisley), as well as questions on my size in everything from pants to dresses to bras.
There were 75 items recommended to me after finished the quiz, and as I sorted through them, I was quick to notice that many were designer pieces, ranging in value from $100 to $500. Most were high-end pieces that I definitely wouldn't be buying willy nilly, and as I clicked through the them, I felt an old but familiar sizzle of excitement. The prospect of trying on these colorful clothes reminded me of how much I missed playing dress up.
After an hour or so of thoroughly searching through the website (the search function isn't that great once you look beyond what's recommended to you) I made my selections. I chose a pink Scotch & Soda jacket, an indigo Yumi Kim wrap dress, a Union Jack Boden sweater, a patterned Diane Von Furstenberg jumpsuit, an orange BLDWN sweater, and a French Connection maxi dress (is it obvious I was trying to summon Fall?). It ended up being $1,687 worth of clothes for the price of the $249 unlimited monthly subscription (they have other subscription options that allow 4-7 pieces at different price points).
The fact that I was renting instead of buying made me pass over safe pieces that I would typically pick out. I didn't have to think about whether something would work well with the rest of my wardrobe or if it was a color I would usually wear (I'm looking at you, orange sweater). Instead, I went a little bit wild and picked colors and patterns that I could probably never justify buying. And you know what, it was exciting! I felt like instead of being my usual, practical self I could be adventurous because I wasn't committed to buying something for my forever wardrobe.
Figuring out sizing was a bit intimidating since each brand seems to have its own size guide, and I was worried I'd "waste" one of my picks if something didn't fit. But I did my best to look at reviews for sizing clues, and the perks of the unlimited package meant I could always swap an item if needed.
In the end, I lucked out, four out of six items fit me really well, and it felt invigorating to add new items to my wardrobe. However, the excitement was fairly short-lived, since I found I didn't wear the pieces as much as I'd hoped. Maybe it's the ongoing pandemic, work from home, or an underlying reluctance to abandon my sweatpants, but I really didn't wear the clothes I'd rented. Mostly because I didn't really wear proper clothes at all. I also didn't exchange the clothes for new pieces, since constant trips to the post office are too cumbersome for my current lifestyle.
If you work in an office, have an event coming up, or like to mix up your style, you'll have a lot of fun with Armoire. Funnily enough, I did end up keeping one piece — they have a rent-to-buy program, so you can purchase your rented items at a discount. The piece I incorporated into my wardrobe was the Union Jack sweater from Boden, which I'd loved since I first saw it on their website, and it was the piece that most felt like it fit in with my existing wardrobe, the piece I'd felt least impulsive renting.
I'm really thankful that I was able to try out Armoire. Though it doesn't seem highly practical at this point in my life when I'm not leaving the house as often, it did reignite my love for fashion and remind me of the power a cute outfit has to change how you feel about your day. It gave me the creative spark to shop my closet again and the motivation to begin dressing, even if I'm the only person who sees my OOTD.