“Obsessed” would be an understatement. I had always thought that the utility of Rent the Runway (https://www.renttherunway.com/) ended at renting designer gowns for black tie weddings, but Rent the Runway has evolved into something SO much more.
A company truly run by women for women, Rent the Runway has evolved into a full-fledged subscription service, providing a way to rent high-end, everyday designer options without having to break the bank. Here is how it works, in a nutshell:
- Download the app for easy access to over 12,000+ styles
- Choose a subscription that fits your budget
- Pick 4 items per shipment
- Revolve your closet
There are currently 2 subscriptions plans. The least expensive is Rent the Runway Update, which allows you to rent 4 items a month at $89/month (though on promo for $69). While this plan would certainly update your wardrobe while sticking to a budget, it didn’t seem worth it to me. $89 a month was a little bit pricey to only get 4 items every 30 days. Also, the styles available for Rent the Runway Update are pretty restricted – you only have access to about half of the styles you can rent with the more expensive subscription plan.
With that being said, I decided to go with Rent the Runway Unlimited, which has saved my budget and my closet. Rent the Runway Unlimited is $159/month (though you can get $80 off for your first 2 trial months!) and gives you access to an unlimited number of pieces per month. Your selections are also way more expansive than those available with Rent the Runway Update, which is really all it took to convince me that this plan was the right fit. Check out my 4 selections for my first order:
1. Clarice Knit Pleated Skirt by Deby Debo ($132 retail, $30 to rent without subscription)
2. Reach for the Stars Earrings by Erickson Beamon ($478 retail, $75 to rent without subscription)
3. Plaid Samantha Dress by Viva Aviva ($365 retail, $65 to rent without subscription)
4. Cosmic Blue Rounded Coat by Theory ($825 retail, $140 to rent without subscription)
Why I love Rent the Runway Unlimited:
1. Dolla Dolla Bills, Y’all: Do I even have to spell it out?? If I had bought these 4 items at retail price, I would have spent $1,800. If I would have rented each of these items from Rent the Runway without a subscription, I would have spent $310. Instead, I spent only $99 (promo price) and I still have the option to turn these items in for 4 new items as frequently as I want! If you rent 4 items per week (which is totally do-able if you plan things meticulously enough), you end up spending $13.25 per item. Done deal.
2. Revolving Closet: I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to wear something one time and then send it right back to the Rent the Runway warehouse. I have so many items taking up space in my closet that I literally wore one time to that wedding or baby shower and will never wear again. I also have so many items that were trendy for a season, but now could only find purpose as next year’s Halloween costume. Rent the Runway allows you to save closet space and take fashion risks without any true commitment.
3. Designer Digs: I’m sorry, maybe you feel differently – but I am absolutely not paying $825 for a Theory coat, despite the fact that I’ve always wanted one. I used to peruse the Theory section at Bloomingdale’s, wishing I had the courage (and lack of common sense) to blow that type of money on just one trendy item. Rent the Runway Unlimited allows you to constantly stay in designer items without the financial commitment – you pay $1,600 a year to rent an endless amount of items, rather than paying $1,600 for one designer piece and being stuck with the consequences. The subscription even gives you access to vintage Chanel and Givenchy pieces. Ummm, yes please.
4. 200+ Styles Added Per Week: I rest my case.
However, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. There are several things about Rent the Runway that are truly annoying:
1. Lack of Availability: Every week, I make “lists” on the app with all of my “hearted” items that I would want to wear that week. For example, for the week of November 19, I had 100 items that I was interested in renting (of which I could only choose 4). However, when it came time for me to choose items for my shipment, only 16 were available in my size (16!!), meaning that other girls had already swooped in and rented my 84 other favorite items before I had the chance. This is always super disappointing, as there are always just a few items per week that I really have my eye on for certain events.
2. Logistics: As mentioned, even with the Unlimited Plan, you can only have 4 items at your house at a time. Once you’re done wearing an item, you return it to Rent the Runway and, once they receive it, you get a notification that you can now rent something else. However, this process takes several days – the warehouse is close to my house, so it typically takes 1 day for me to return the item and 1 day for them to mail me my new item. However, the shipping is not so reliable – twice now, I’ve ordered my items on Thursday by 3 PM, guaranteeing their arrival on Friday so that I can wear them on the weekend. But both times, the shipping got delayed – this past time, my items made it to my local UPS facility at midnight on Friday. Because Rent the Runway doesn’t ship on the weekends, I have to wait until Monday to get my items, which is super annoying as I could have been utilizing them all weekend. Obviously, the further you are from the warehouse the longer it takes to ship, so I can only imagine the wait times back in Texas!
Despite Rent the Runway’s faults, I will absolutely continue to use the Unlimited plan. Though the subscription is particularly helpful for staying fashionable during wedding season, Rent the Runway has a wide variety of designers fits for work, vacation, and weekends as well, making the subscription worthwhile all year long. Please feel free to comment below with any questions or suggestions – can’t wait to share my future shipments with you guys!
Photos: John Bourgeois, New Hampshire
MUA: Stephanie Ward, Massachusetts