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Road Test: Renting an "It" Bag Via Bag, Borrow or Steal

01/19/2007 at 12:14 PM ET

I may have been able to afford Ashlee Simpson’s Free People tunic, but her $1700 quilted Balenciaga purse is a whole different story. But thanks to Bag, Borrow or Steal, I was able to rent that exact bag for a week during the holidays. Here’s how it works: There are hundreds of designer bags and fine jewelry to choose from for weekly or monthly rentals. You can become a member for $5 a month, which gives you steep discounts on the four levels of rentals: Couture, Diva, Princess, or Trendsetter — member rentals range from $6 a week to $275 a month. When carrying my “borrowed” Balenciaga, I was convinced that everything I wore looked better, and despite my paranoia that I was going to irrepairably damage the bag, it came through without a scratch. Best of all, I was only out $80, which is a lot easier to swallow than $1700. Next up on my list is the buttery-soft Chanel tote that I have been lusting after. Note of caution: you can’t pre-reserve so leave yourself a little time cushion to get in your bag if you need it for a special occasion. The hottest “It Bags” can be waitlisted for several weeks. Even with a little lag time, why buy when you can rent? — Melissa Liebling-Goldberg

See more of Melissa’s webshopping picks in the new issue of PEOPLE’s StyleWatch, on sale now.

Photo: Courtesy of Bag, Borrow or Steal

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Showing 18 comments

Lauren on

This is a ridiculous idea. If you can’t afford it don’t try to wear it. And heaven forbid you lose the thing or it gets stolen what happens then. Just save your pennies and buy yourself a coach or Doone & Bourke from Macy’s or Bloomingdales, their high end bags but not insanely priced.

Sarah on

I love the site and the concept. I have a bunch of nice bags, but I really only want to spend a lot of money on the classics. For the trendier pieces, it’s the perfect way to have them for the season, without breaking the bank. Then, I just trade them in…

C on

Why even waste your money renting one of these bags, so someone in the mall, at work, or picking up the kids from school happens to notice you’re carrying a $1700 handbag? Puhleeze!!!! Maybe my friends and I just aren’t that shallow that we care about each other’s handbags. Target and H&M sell cute ones for a fraction of the cost and they can be tossed or donated once they go out of style.

Charla Dickenson on

I guess not wasting money is a good thing. This concept kind of baffles me though, in the sense that my hubby and I like to rent things that matter, like our APARTMENT. You know I’m a girlie girl and I like my purses. I’m not some out of touch preechy type who doesn’t know the fun aof shopping. I have been lucky to travel and live all over Africa, Europe and North America and a lot of my clothes and accessories come from all my travels. I really do, as a small part of the big picture, enjoy fashion. But I spend well and find what others would call crazy bargain prices for gorgeous fashions. I’m just instantly turned off by anything that is overly or INSANELY priced. When I think of women who are into all this designer stuff it relly reminds me of Cinderella’s ugly step sisters. In this world there are all these incredible natural beauties, and I mean really socially gorgeous people, and they don’t have anything designer but they dress impecably, on a respectful budget, and they turn heads like nothing else. They are true fashion icons. I just can’t imagine feeling that a super-expensive purse would make me look or feel good. I don’t think a big price tag and designer labels has anything to do with true and stunning fashion. If you really feel you need a designer big bucks purse this is a somewhat less ridiculous option than buying it. For those who do want it I think they need to take a break from shopping and do some introspection and ask hmmmm … am I overcompensating for something?

j on

i think it’s a genius idea!! however i prefer to actually buy these bags on my own. if you can afford it and it’s what you like i say go for it. we all have our own ‘things’–be it handbags, shoes, travel, good food and wine, or all of the above!!! ;)

Janelle Smith on

I agree Sarah. LOVE this company! Saw them on Rachel Ray. What a great idea!

Kristen on

I would rent a car, but not a purse. If I can’t afford it, I can always get a knock off, or a bag similar to it,that
looks just as nice.

Jackson on

Well, this is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of. I’ve heard of a lot of Rent-to-Own stuff but never purses, etc. I’ll just save my money and buy one of my own!

AB on

I think the idea is lame. If people can’t afford the bag, why should they have it? I hate the sense of entitlement that people feel towards things like this. Why is it so wrong that it’s “exclusive” to certain people who have the money to burn. Buy something that is cute within your price range!

This site is an accetable “scam” as well. Saving your own money for awhile is, in my opinion, more cost effective than spending $275/month for any kind of half way decent bag.

j on

to those who buy knock offs: DON’T and instead educate yourselves on the subject: it supports terrorism and child labor!!!!!!!!
why would you even WANT something fake anyway?! save for the real deal or do w/out.

Elda on

No, no and no!!!

KT fr Cda on

Personally, if you spend that much money on a purse, then I’d really like to know how can you pay for that and your mortgage/rent, bills etc. Do you not have kids? Only people that are rich if you ask me. That is a ridiculous amount to spend on a purse. They get marked or scratched so easily. Who would want to rent something that is used. Did you know that purses are a very germy thing that can make you very sick? Cause most woman put their purses on the bathroom floor or the carseat or on the floor of a car, and then go to a restaurant and then put it on the table. Gross but true. How many of you put your purses on the counter. Makes you wonder where did the person put that purse b4 you got it??I rather spend $15 for a purse and spend the rest on my bills and then have the money left over to spend on my kids. You all can defend yourselves and say owning a $1700 purse is worth it. You can say all that you want but you won’t change my mind. That is a waste of money.

Kristen on

Well J, you can just keep your opinion’s to yourself.
If I’m not there watching who put my bag together, than it’s none of my business, and can buy what I want. Second,
you don’t even know where all the real ones all come from
so spare me with the dramatics.

Caty on

concerning the fact that you could support child labor by buying knock offs, please be aware of the fact that almost every multinational company in the us (clothing, sportswear, footwear) is selling products that have been manufactured in poor countries. so next time you put on your tennis shoes (not necessarily your knock off purse) remember that a small child was paid 50 cents to make it.

KC on

This is the dumbest thing I have heard in a long time, and people who keep saying it’s the best thing (Elisabeth Hasselback “The View”) are silly!Buy the time you pay you all the membership fee you can buy a nice purse If you can’t afford the a bag that usually means:

You don’t need it
You are not a Celeb and therfore you can’t act like one
Save your money and buy it yourself ( yeah a season late but if you want it, then it won’t matter)
Wait for a really good sale

Why would I want someone elses purse ( that I have to give back anyway), even worse they have jewlery on the site now?Why on earth do I want some random ladies pierced?earrings? GROSS!

SD on

I can not believe some of this absolute IGNORANCE that I am reading. Knock off’s are made by children who work more than you will your entire life. Children who have nothing, give everything, and still come out with nothing. I am absolutely disgusted by the amount of people out there who do not educate themselves, nor do they care about the human race. Put that money towards a donation to a school that can feed a child or allow them to attend. What is our world coming to?…..so sad

Alexandra on

It’s not just knockoffs that are made by impoverished children, it’s virtually everything. Unless a designer is explicit to the market that they are an ethical manufacturer of goods, you can bet that they’re taking unfair advantage of people who desperately need the money.

Want a great bag? Sew it yourself. It’s not complicated, and it’s infinitely more satisfying.

Kristin on

I have used Bag, Borrow, or Steal a couple of times and thought it was great (a great way to have a bag coordinate with an outfit for a special occasion/vacation for little money)…until I was on vacation and had my purse and wallet stolen from my rental car while I was unloading my luggage at a hotel! Bag, Borrow, or Steal’s optional insurance only covers wear and damage, not loss or theft. This was the first time I ever had anything stolen (of course) and their policy is for the customer to pay for replacement. Right now I am in the midst of talking to my insurance company to see if they will cover part of the costs. Basically, I still think the concept is a good idea for those who like handbags/jewelry and want to be able to have different looks and don’t care about owning the items. Just be aware that they hold the customer responsible for payment if the rented items are lost or stolen.

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