These Fashion Startups Help You Dress Like an Influencer Without the Debt

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I feel pressure to find a new outfit for every special occasion. Maybe I’m a sucker for social media ads, or perhaps I love clothes and will use any excuse to buy them. Either way, my budget can’t handle all the clothing I wish it could.

That fact inspired me to search for budget-friendly ways to afford the clothes I want. In my research, I found three fashion startups that use innovative strategies to help consumers develop wise shopping habits. Check out the companies below to get serious about sticking to a clothing budget.

1. Reel

I stumbled across Reel in an Instagram ad and was so intrigued that I had to sign up. The premise of Reel is that you don’t have to feel bad about buying things you want if you wait until you can afford them.

It works like this: When you sign up, you link your bank account. Then, you log in to your Reel account and search for items you want to buy. It offers selections from all the major retailers and even has categories such as perfume, accessories, and furniture.

If you find an item you want, you can choose how much to save for it on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Reel automatically will put money from your bank account toward that item, per your parameters. When you save enough for the item, Reel will place the order for you.

“As humans, we’re highly aspirational,” said Reel CEO Daniela Corrente. “We’re constantly struggling between the love of buying things and the guilt of going into debt. I was looking for saving platforms and realized everything that’s out there is saving for retirement or a rainy day but not for tangible things — for the pair of shoes or the bag or things that you want in the short term.”

Corrente most recently used the platform to save for perfume. “If I put $1.00 in a day, in three months when my perfume runs out, I can buy a new perfume,” she explained.

There is one con: The money you put in a savings account with Reel could do more for you if you invested it or left it in a high-interest savings account. If you put your money in an account where it could earn more interest, you’d still save it and potentially be able to make your purchases faster.

2. Trend Pay

Trend Pay has reasonably priced, fashionable clothes you can pay for upfront or in monthly installments.

If you choose monthly installments, you’re technically going into debt since you’ll owe the company money. However, it’s more affordable than credit card debt, and there’s a clear end date for when you’ll fully repay what you owe.

There are no extra fees or interest charges when you divide the price of your item. But if you miss a scheduled payment, Trend Pay automatically will charge your debit or credit card. You also might incur late or failed payment fees in these instances.

If you need a pricier outfit for a wedding, a graduation, or another special occasion, using Trend Pay could be a good way to balance the cost with your other monthly bills instead of taking a large chunk out of your budget at once.

I’ve used Trend Pay, and in my experience, it had excellent customer service. The dress I ordered was snagged when it arrived, and because Trend Pay had no others left in my size, it issued me a full refund and let me keep the dress.

3. Cladwell

Cladwell takes a different approach to dressing in style — helping you spend less by maximizing what you already own.

Through the app, you select clothing items that are similar to what’s in your closet. Then, you add factors you’re planning for, including trips, daily routines, or even the weather. The app then will give you daily outfit ideas based on your needs. Rainy day? It’ll show you combinations in your closet for that. Beach vacation? You’re covered.

“On average, our customers are spending $600 a year on clothes that they would never wear,” said Cladwell founder Blake Smith. “Cladwell enables you to buy fewer, but better, items.”

When you go shopping, you can run your purchases through the app to see how many combinations you can make with the new item and your existing clothes. This process could keep you from spending money on clothes you’ll wear only once. The app also tracks items in your closet that you rarely wear, making it simpler to clean out your closet and sell old clothes.

“There’s a lie in the fashion industry that being fashionable means buying a lot of clothes,” said Smith. “That’s a lie in the same way that being an artist means buying a lot of art. Truly being fashionable is working within the constraints of what you have and creating things that people haven’t thought of.”

Cladwell’s hope is that helping people get savvier about their outfit options will save them from spending too much on clothes, but the app comes at a cost. You can try it free for three days before the price jumps to $7.99 per month.

You don’t need to feel guilty about shopping

Shopping can make you feel guilty if you buy things you can’t afford or get stuck in a retail therapy cycle. Instead, buy clothes within your budget and use a combination of saving, selling, and smart consumer habits to take the guilt out of your purchases.

“The feeling when you buy that pair of shoes and you don’t have to worry about that credit card bill coming in the mail — that’s exciting,” said Corrente. “That’s empowering,”

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

RATES (APR)loan amount
5.99% – 17.88%1 $5,000 to $100,000
5.69% – 35.99% $1,000 to $50,000
6.98% – 35.89%* $1,000 to $50,000
99.00% – 199.00%2 $500 to $4,000
5.99% – 24.99%3 $5,000 to $35,000
5.99% – 29.99%4 $7,500 to $40,000
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1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 17.88% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.49% APR to 14.70% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of November 4, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.49% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.81% plus 3.08% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.
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  3. Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.
  4. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.
  5. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Opploans.

Opploans Disclosures

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Opploans currently operates in these states: . *Approval may take longer if additional verification documents are requested. Not all loan requests are approved. Approval and loan terms vary based on credit determination and state law. Applications processed and approved before 7:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday are typically funded the next business day.

  1. To qualify, a borrower must (i) be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; (ii) reside in a state where OppLoans operates; (iii) have direct deposit; (iv) meet income requirements; (v) be 18 years of age (19 in Alabama); and, (vi) meet verification standards.
  2. NV Residents: The use of high-interest loans services should be used for short-term financial needs only and not as a long-term financial solution. Customers with credit difficulties should seek credit counseling before entering into any loan transaction.

  3. OppLoans performs no credit checks through the three major credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Applicants’ credit scores are provided by Clarity Services, Inc., a credit reporting agency.

  4. Based on customer service ratings on Google and Facebook. Testimonials reflect the individual’s opinion and may not be illustrative of all individual experiences with OppLoans. Check loan reviews.

  5.  

    Rates and terms vary by state.

3 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.

Payoff Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.
4 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.

FreedomPlus Disclosures

  1. All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details. The following limitations, in addition to others, shall apply: FreedomPlus does not arrange loans in: (i) Arizona under $10,500; (ii) Massachusetts under $6,500, (iii) Ohio under $5,500, and (iv) Georgia under $3,500. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. The range of APRs on loans made available through FreedomPlus is 5.99% to a maximum of 29.99%. APR. The APR calculation includes all applicable fees, including the loan origination fee. For Example, a four year $20,000 loan with an interest rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34% would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost payable of $7,948.13. To qualify for a 5.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan for an amount less than $12,000.00, and with a term equal to 24 months. Adding a co-borrower with sufficient income; using at least eighty-five percent (85%) of the loan proceeds to directly pay off qualifying existing debt; or showing proof of sufficient retirement savings, could help you also qualify for the lowest rate available.
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

* Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.98%-35.89%. All personal loans have a 1.5% to 6% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by WebBank, Member FDIC.

** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.

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