To rent or to buy, that is the question that often conflicts us when standing with a big ticket item at a store. There is no doubt that we covet these luxury items, but often our pockets aren’t deep enough or we have trouble justifying the purchase if we don’t see ourselves wearing it often. From designer bags to high-end clothing and accessories, what price tag are we willing to spend to own these high-end goods? Perhaps renting instead of buying could be the answer to always having a fashion forward wardrobe without spending big bucks.

In an effort to provide the masses with access to designer pieces, several companies now offer a rental option. One of the most well-known sites, Rent-the-Runway, allows consumers the opportunity to borrow clothing and other high-priced items for a short period of time without the guilt of a large price tag. Ideal for special occasions in which most women prefer to wear something only once, this service provides the alternative to making that extravagant purchase that may later come with buyer’s remorse.

Taking the renting trend a step further, additional companies have followed suit offering similar services and expanding their stock to include handbags, shoes, etc. There’s a site that not only provides a rental service, but actually selects the items for you. LeTote.com is a new company that first requires you to recruit people to sign up online before they allow you to use the service. After signing up online, you then receive a phone call from a fashion consultant asking specific questions pertaining to your style interests. The consultant then pulls together a “tote” of goods that they feel would appeal to you based on the style assessment. In doing this, their goal is to introduce you to additional items that you wouldn’t normally select for yourself in hopes to expand your fashion horizons.

Moving beyond fashion, the beauty industry recently hopped on board with the launch of a subscription nail polish rental service called Lacquerous. Direct access to a large supply of bottles from high-end brands like Chanel, Tom Ford, NARS, and Dior can be at your fingertips by way of an envelope, every month. For a monthly fee, consumers can “try” on about four different colors each month for the cost of one bottle.

With fashion and now beauty, why not enjoy a part-time love affair with a luxury item without the full-time commitment?

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