4 of the Best Clothing Subscription Services That Make Shopping Easy 

Woman wearing a dress

By Tricia McKinnon and Emily McCullough

More and more retailers are getting into the business of subscription clothing services. There are various models but customers either pay per box of clothing they receive or a reoccurring fee.  With the amount of clothing merchandise online exploding over the last decade consumers have more choice than ever but they also have more choice than ever.  While choice adds variety it can also make the process of shopping for clothing more time consuming and harder to find the right outfit.  

The benefit of many subscription clothing services is that the company offering the service does the work for you.  Instead of having to scroll endlessly, looking for the perfect white t-shirt on your favourite retailer’ site (as I did recently) why not have your go-to brand do the work for you.  As the amount of merchandise online continues to grow retailers that can help customers create a highly curated and edited look will provide a compelling offering to time starved customers who want to look great without having to invest too much time to make that happen.  Two retailers that are focused on this are Walmart and Under Armour.

American Eagle and Rent-the-Runway have a different subscription model where customers can rent clothing.  This enables customers that want the convenience of fast fashion but with more variety to change their clothing frequently.  Here’s a closer look at each of these subscription clothing services.

1. For the first time Walmart has entered the subscription clothing business in April of this year with a subscription service targeted at kids.  In partnership with KIDBOX customers complete a quiz to get started with the service.  This is a clever way to obtain deeper customer data such as the child’s style, size and favourite colours. Unlike Stitch Fix which offers a similar service there is no styling fee. Stylists choose from clothing from more than 120 brands and based on data from the quiz they select four to five curated items for each box.  The clothing costs $48 which is 50% of the full price of the merchandise.  Customers can choose to receive the box on demand or can have it delivered to them up to six times per year. Any clothing that is unwanted can be returned and shipping is free for both deliveries and returns.  

This initiative is part of Walmart’s efforts to continue to build its eCommerce and fashion businesses in an effort to compete better against Amazon. Walmart’s partnership with KIDBOX enables it to get its feet wet in the subscription box business while having KIDBOX manage logistics.  For each KIDBOX that is purchased clothing is donated to a child in need.

2. In November of 2017 Under Armour launched ArmourBox a subscription clothing service.  Customers of this service receive 4-6 clothing items every 30, 60 or 90 days.  Customers must complete a questionnaire outlining their style preferences as well the types of activities they engage in.  Customers are not charged a monthly subscription fee and receive a 20% discount on all of the items they choose to keep. They can also return any items they do not wish to keep.

3. American Eagle Outfitters is one of the retailers that is participating in the rental clothing trend. It launched “Style Drop” in January of 2019, a subscription service where customers can participate with four easy steps – Browse, Rent, Return, Repeat for a monthly fee of $49.95. For that fee customers get three items per month, unlimited exchanges, free shipping, and free dry cleaning. If the customer decides to keep an item, they can purchase the item at a discount of 25% or more. “Express Style Trial”, recently launched by clothing company Express is a similar service.

4. Rent the Runway has a platform where customers rent high-quality designer pieces.  It has two main plans.  One for $89 per month and one for $159 per month. The difference between the plans is that under the cheaper plan customers can get four items per month and can have one item swap per month.  With the more expensive plan customers can receive unlimited items and unlimited swaps of items.  The fee includes shipping, dry cleaning and insurance. Insurance covers even a simple stain the customer may get when wearing the clothing. 89% of Rent the Runway’s members report saving time and money on clothing and 71% of members report finding a new fashion designer through the process. Rent the Runway launched 10 years ago and was valued at $1 billion by the spring of 2019.


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