By Natasha Baker
TORONTO (Reuters) - Women with bulging closets who still feel they have nothing to wear can turn to new apps that will help them find designer dresses to rent or to swap clothes with other fashionistas.
Rent the Runway's new iPhone app also lets shoppers take photos of clothes they see in stores and will find similar garments for them to rent.
Jennifer Hyman, the CEO of New York-based company that rents out designer garments and accessories, said the app aims to help women shop and rent clothes more efficiently.
"When you receive an invitation to an event we want them to think, should I wear something I already have, should I buy something new, or should I rent one," she said.
Hyman said the company added the photo feature, which is available only in the United States where the company ships, to make renting an option for women when they are shopping for a dress.
Another iPhone app called 99dresses lets women refresh their wardrobe by swapping clothes, shoes and handbags with other people.
"It's a great way to trade fashion with people you might not normally trade with, like friends of friends, or even strangers," said Nikki Durkin, founder of 99dresses, based in New York City.
Women list their items on the app, along with a photo, size, condition, weight and retail price. The app uses the details to determine the worth of the item in buttons, a virtual currency used in the app.
Users can browse categories, such as outerwear, tops and skirts, to pick items they like. They pay for the cost of shipping the item and 5 percent of its retail value.
Durkin said that the app is geared toward women who purchase trendy items of clothing so they can clean out their closets and make sure the garment is used by another person.
"And if I can get something back in exchange that's cool too," she said.
99dresses, originally released in Australia in 2010 as a website, was relaunched in the United States on the iPhone.
Other apps for buying and selling clothes include Poshmark, Tradesy, for iPhones, along with Threadflip, which also just released an app for the iPad.
Poshmark hosts virtual parties and shopping events around themes such as vintage clothes where fashion lovers meet to buy and sell garments.
All three apps provide pre-paid shipping labels to sellers to simplify selling goods online.
(Editing by Patricia Reaney and Bill Trott)