Until I discovered Nuuly, I thought clothing rental services were just for people concerned with designer labels, which wasn’t me. But something about Nuuly spoke to me. In industry lingo, I believe that thing is called “the price point.” Six items a month, for $88 a month. It seemed a reasonable enough price to pay for a regular dopamine hit of new clothes. And so I tried it.
I fell in love far faster than I expected. Finally, a way to have this year’s photos look different than last year’s photos, other than my kids being older and my chin being doublier. More than just a marker of time, though, Nuuly felt like an opportunity to reinvent myself, ever so slightly, on a monthly basis.
Back in January, when I thought nothing of spending time inside a crowded, windowless Vegas casino, I strutted around CES in a gold velvet blazer. I will never buy a gold velvet blazer, but the power of this particular gold velvet blazer was knowing that it existed ONLY NOW, only for this particular moment in my life. Then I would move on, to six new items of clothing, and it too would move on, to some other lady at some other conference (or Broadway show, or holiday party, or any of the other things we don’t do anymore).
When COVID hit, though, I thought of canceling. What was the point of renting new clothes or trying on new kinds of swagger if I was just at home with my husband and kids all day? But I resisted. This was a monthly source of joy and variety in my life. Wasn’t this exactly the time to lean into such a thing?
And so I Nuuly’d on.
In May, when I’d spent two months working remotely full-time while also tending to my 2- and 4-year-old daughters who couldn’t do fuck all without adult intervention, I did something wild. I rented a jumpsuit. I had always been wary of jumpsuits, thinking they were too trendy and wouldn’t be flattering. I wouldn’t have dreamt of wearing a jumpsuit to work. The stakes were too high. But now “work” was a collarbone-up experience that didn’t involve a shared bathroom where colleagues might hear me fumbling with buttons for far too long. The jumpsuit would be a little secret between me and my new coworkers, these small helpless children who called it my “jumping suit.”
When I think back on 2020, I will forever remember it as the year that I discovered my love of jumpsuits — a discovery that would not have been possible in a world with legs and would not have been possible without Nuuly. Nuuly gave me not only joy and variety during these grim and monotonous times, but also a means of self-discovery. And for 2020, that ain’t bad. —Samantha Henig