Last year, with a spring wedding looming, I decided to test out Rent the Runway. I had things I could wear, but I was looking for something different and this seemed like a safe way to experiment (after all I HAD a dress – just not one I really wanted to wear). #everywomansproblem
What is Rent the Runway?
Rent the Runway (RTR) is a site where you can rent a designer dress (and/or jewelry and accessories) for a fraction of the purchase price. They have several different rental options (see more here):
- Pay As You Rent – This is the only option I have tried. Get 4 or 8 day rentals for a fraction of the retail price ($30-$600/rental). The rental prices of my dresses has ranged from $35 – $95. You also get a free back-up size.
- StylePass Subscription – For the woman who wants a new look for every event on her social calendar. Get flat-rate, 4-day rentals: any dress, any time, no exclusions. $65/month for 1 rental per month. Each additional $65. You can skip months.
My First Rental (Finding THE Dress)
When I first visited the Rent the Runway website I was a little overwhelmed. They have a TON of dresses … a TON of beautiful dresses! #toomanydresses
Thank goodness for filters! I mean with so many beautiful dresses you just have to dive in – but filters help. I suggest setting the most important filters first … size and date. This will allow you to only see dresses that will be available in your size for your rental period. No need to find a beautiful dress only to realize you can’t rent it.
There is a host of other filters to help narrow down the perfect choice (price, color, formality/occasion, length, sleeve, body type, embellishments, neckline, and age range). Use the filters to your advantage. If you are well endowed check that option because you will get dresses tailored for that body type. If you know you want a floor length gown no reason to be distracted by all the beautiful short and midi dresses. I also definitely recommend setting the price guidelines, no reason to swoon over a dress only to realizes it rents for three times what you were planning to pay.
The filters are great – but the absolute best resource is the user reviews and photos. These can also be highly entertaining. It makes a world of difference to see real people wearing the dresses from all sorts of angles and read their input on the style and fit of the dress. There will also be useful tips like “it was so tight I couldn’t sit down”, kind of important if your event includes a dinner. The reader reviews can also help you determine if you need to size up or down (I’ve rented four times and was only recommended to size up once – thank goodness I did or I would not have had a dress to wear).
My dress arrived in a folded garment/shipping bag ready to wear. I did need to hang it for a few hours to let the wrinkles fall. Put on your beautiful dress and prepare to receive tons of compliments!
When your rental is done use the same garmet bag you received the dress in to return the dress (unwashed). RTR provides a prepaid label, just insert and drop in the mail (UPS).
Overall, I was very pleased with first my RTR experience. So much so that I have since used it three more times – all with great success!
My Experience @ the Store
Last spring, I was given one day notice to attend a black tie event (a coworker backed out). For this rental, I visited my local RTR store. The store allows you to try on the dresses available as well as choose from items available online. I did not make an appointment but rather walked in, browsed for about 20 minutes and selected 5 dresses to try on. All this while in the midst of a conference call. #multitasking
Luckily for you, I took pictures so I could get a better feel for what the dresses looked like as well as text friends for second opinions. I still had them on my phone even though the event was awhile ago…
Yea? Nay? I don’t think this one even made it to the changing room.
The dress I ultimately picked. It is the only picture I have of the back of it.
I really wanted this dress – primarily because of the pockets – but I didn’t think it was appropriate for my event.
This was a gorgeous dress – on the hanger – on me it looked awkward. And it was a puzzle to get into – it had about 20 snaps and I had to have help to get it on. I knew my husband wasn’t going to be any help at home.
The store was fun because you could try the dresses on but the selection of available dresses was also limited. You can choose to have online dresses shipped to the store to try.
Black Tie Event #2
With two successful rentals under my belt, I felt vey comfortable renting another black tie dress for a gala last month. I chronicled the whole dress and accessory selection on my Instagram – it worked out perfectly. I received so many compliments on this dress. It was gorgeous – so much so, I was sad to send it back!
RTR For Less Formal Events
My last RTR experience was not for a wedding or black tie but my last work trip to Miami. I knew I would be dressed work appropriate during the day but I also knew we would have evening events. Normally I would just wear my suit for the evening but that didn’t seem appropriate in Miami. With little room in my suitcase and lacking suitable options in my closet I turned to RTR. They were running a 3 for 1 deal that I took advantage of. I rented 3 outfits and had them shipped them to my hotel. #packinggenius
I wore two of the three outfits. When the week was done, I placed them back in their garment bag and left them with the concierge to ship back.
I think this is a fabulous service for special occasions but it also works for everyday. The best time to use RTR is when you want something new, special or maybe trendy but don’t want to make a huge investment in money or time to find such a piece. Between the convenience, the service, and the gorgeous dresses, you can’t loose.
Want to try Rent the Runway? Sign up using my referral and you will receive a $30 dollar credit on your first rental. Try Rent the Runway. And if you subscribe to their email list or join their facebook page they frequently send discount codes – especially for last minute rentals (which is how I scored the deal for Miami).
All of the opinions in this post are my own. I was not compensated in anyway for this post or for the dresses I rented. The referral link for new sign-ups that give you a $30 credit also provide credit to me. Thank you! I appreciate the support and I look forward to sharing with you my next rental!