I always have a hard time spending money on nice clothes, especially when I know that they may not be worn more than a handful of times. Whether it be for special occasions, vacations, or just passing trends of a season, I’m sure you can find a few things in your closet that may have been better off rented than purchased.
You may have heard of Rent the Runway, a service that lets you rent designer clothing for way less than the sticker price. It’s a concept that I love, because not only do you get to save money but you’re able to refresh your wardrobe without overstuffing your closet with forgotten styles. With Rent the Runway, you can either go into one of their storefronts (only in California, DC, Chicago and New York) or browse online for the clothes, accessories, or handbags you want to rent. You can order things a-la-carte, or you can join one of their monthly plans that lets you choose several styles for one flat fee, and if you end up loving something you rented, you have the option to purchase it at a discounted rate..
I recently tried out a month of their Unlimited plan, which I think gives you the most bang for your buck. On the Unlimited plan, you’re able to rent 4 styles at once. You can rotate out the pieces at much as you want as long as your plan is active. For example, you can send back two items immediately and get two new styles, or you can keep one item for literally months at a time while rotating through the other three. Unlimited comes with free 2-day shipping and dry cleaning, plus you can pause or cancel your membership anytime with no strings attached. Return shipping is free and they include pre-labelled bags.
The Unlimited plan costs $159 per month. The more you swap, the more you stretch your dollar, but even if you keep all four items for a whole month, it averages to just under $40 per style. So here’s the thing, right off the bat: I don’t know if I would keep up this membership year-round, but it would be incredibly handy during the holidays, for wedding season, or if I knew I had special events coming up that I didn’t want to outfit-repeat for. A full party outfit can easily run you about $40-100 depending on where you shop (and I’m usually in the racks of TJ Maxx!) So already this seems like a much more economical choice, even if you do it for just one month.
For my shipment, I didn’t have anything too specific in mind in terms of where I’d be wearing my picks. And of course, I was subjected to the availability of styles in my size. While browsing, I thought this would be a great way to try out some trendy styles that I’m not sure if I would want to invest in if I can’t pull them off. First up, I ordered something a little more fancy: the Watters Blush Aldridge Gown ($295 retail). I figured that this was a must, because formal wear is probably what the site is used for most.
This is a beautiful flowy floor length gown that has an off the shoulder neckline and was available in three lengths: Petite, Regular & Long. However, in size 8, there was only a regular in stock, so that’s what I’m rocking here. It’s a bit long on me, but I’m also not wearing heels underneath. This dress would be perfect for wedding guests or formal nights out. I absolutely loved the silhouette, and it hugged all the right curves while staying breezy.
Next up, I wanted to try the popular puffer coat trend for winter. I ordered this Free People Heidi Ski Puffer Coat ($129 retail). This would be perfect if you’re going on vacation to a cold climate but you normally don’t need such an intense jacket, or just to keep for the season until it gets warmer! This jacket had a vintage vibe with the color blocking on the back, with two convenient zipper pockets in front. It closes all the way up the neck with a hidden zipper underneath buttons, or wear it slightly open for a collar effect. I ordered a size Large according to the sizing chart, but it was really roomy inside. I guess they’re factoring in space for layering sweaters, but I think I could have sized down to a Medium.
My last two pieces were on the casual side— another outerwear piece and a pair of jeans! I was super excited about this Royan Metallic Jacket from Elizabeth and James ($695 retail) because it was the most expensive designer piece in my shipment, and also I’ve never tried anything from the Olsen Twins’ clothing line! This jacket is also slightly puffy in the bomber style and has a shiny metallic outer fabric to make a statement. I ordered a size Large– again, probably could have sized down. This is the perfect example of something I’d want to try on and wear in an Instagram pic, but would never shell out the money or even wear it regularly.
On the bottom, I’ve got on the La Vie Rebecca Taylor Emilie High Waisted Jeans ($195 retail). These had a really interesting shape to them that I’ve never tried before… definitely a pin-up, verging on mom jeans, vibe. They’re fitted and high at the waist, tapered at the ankle, with more room in the thighs and knees for a pin-leg effect. I ordered a size 29 and was most nervous about this pick because there were no reviews prior to my shipment. But, the size chart didn’t do me wrong– they fit like a glove around my waist.
Like I said earlier, if you decide you love something after renting it, you’re able to purchase an item for a discount. If you do so, a spot opens up so you can rent something new. I didn’t choose to purchase anything, and I also didn’t have time to do any swaps before the holidays, so everything is going back in the pre-labelled return bags once the month is over. Overall, I think this service would be super helpful for seasons at a time, but I wouldn’t continue it year-round. I don’t buy myself enough clothes for this to really save me money on everyday outfits. Vacations, reunions, weddings, and other party seasons will definitely lead me to Rent the Runway in the future.
Have you tried Rent the Runway? What was your experience?