** This Rent the Runway Review was Updated: 4/15/19
I’ve received so many messages and DMs about Rent the Runway over the past few years. While I’ve shared my looks with RTR on the blog, I don’t think I’ve gone into detail about how it works, the best way to find a piece that will fit, and what’s the absolute worst case scenario. So I decided to share a full Rent The Runway review with you, my friends!
I figured I’d break the process down for everyone who’s interested in trying the service in a single post. I like RTR because let’s face it: I’m a fashion blogger, and I tend to wear things only once. And with Rent the Runway, wearing things once is perfectly ok. It’s more economical (and environmentally friendly!) to rent clothes rather than continually buying new pieces for your closet!
While I’ve worked with Rent the Runway before for the blog, this is a straight up honest Rent the Runway review of the service. While there are many pros, I have had a few bumps in the road with renting, so I’m going to lay out the good AND the bad in this post. Plus, stay tuned for an exclusive discount code!
Rent the Runway Review:
What I Use It For
Ok, so typically people think of Rent the Runway being good for fancier dresses, right? Wrong! Rent the Runway has it all: casual outfits, work ensembles, gowns, jumpsuits, coats, bags, jewelry — you name it, you can probably rent it! I love using RTR at Fashion Week, and while I’m traveling, in addition to the weddings and black tie galas I get invited to.
Pick Out a Plan
The coolest thing about RTR is that you can pick out plans tailored to what you need. I’ve been enrolled in their Unlimited program off and on for a little over a year now (I mainly pause it in dead months like January when I don’t have a real reason to leave the house, hah!)
Rent the Runway Unlimited is a monthly subscription where you can rent four items at a time. The best part? You can return and order new items as many times as you like in the month. Sometimes I’ll order a dress for the weekend and return it on Monday, and sometimes I rent a great bag that I’ll keep for weeks. It’s totally up to you how long you want to keep an item for!
I love this plan because since I’m in front of the camera a lot, it helps that I don’t have to repeat any items
Before I had Unlimited, I had a "PRO" membership, which pays for itself if you anticipate renting at least two items/year. It is $29.95/year to waive all shipping and insurance fees on 4 or 8-day rentals for the entire year. You also get a complimentary birthday credit every year with the PRO membership, which is pretty awesome. Shipping and insurance cost $14.95 per order, so if you rent more than two times a year, the pro membership will save you money!
Use the code ‘CHEW50’ for 50% off your first month of Unlimited!
Selecting the Right Item
So: how can you be sure something will fit you properly? For starters, I always read the reviews section of pieces I’m interested in renting. Anyone who rents an item can leave a review and upload photos of themselves wearing the piece. You can also get an idea if an item runs large, small or true to size. If you’re renting a piece from the new arrivals section, there might not be any reviews available yet.
If you’re doing a 4 or 8-day rental, you have the option to pick out a backup size — I always look at the reviews to see if I should size up or down with my backup item. You can also add on a second style for $35 if you’re unsure about a certain item. I usually pick brands that I’ve shopped previously so that I can avoid any issues with the fit — Free People, Alexis, Kate Spade, Milly, and Nicholas are my go-to brands on the website.
Go to a Store if Possible
If I have a special occasion coming up and I need something to fit perfectly, I’ll pop in one of the physical stores in either D.C. or New York so I can try on the different options before renting. You can do same day rentals, or try on dresses in-store and reserve the item for a later date. If you’re unfamiliar with some brands, it’s great to try on the pieces to get an idea of fit before renting. For example, I love renting Nicholas pieces, but I quickly learned during a try on session that those pieces run pretty small — so I always size up when ordering that brand!
When to Rent
It is best to have your items shipped two days before your event starts. For example, if my event is on Saturday, I set my items to ship on a Thursday. If for some reason your item doesn’t fit or if you don’t love what you picked out, you’ll have enough time to call RTR customer service and swap out the item and have another piece overnighted in time for your event.
The Worst Case Scenario
I’ve had a 95% success rate with Rent the Runway, but I have had some major issues with a couple of my orders in the last three years. Sometimes, people return their rentals late or in poor condition, and you find out last minute that RTR will put in a replacement item in its place. To be candid, the "replacement items" never are really what I’m looking for, and I’ve had to swap those out the two times that has happened to me. Rent the Runway is pretty good at letting you swap out a replacement item if you don’t love it.
One time, I was going to a wedding, I had to get a replacement item replaced…and they shipped my dress to the wrong location. Luckily, I have pretty great friends who were able to go to FedEx and drive an hour to deliver the dress to me, and I got the dress about 10 minutes before the wedding started. Needless to say, it was pretty stressful.
While this is only the second time I’ve had an issue that significant in the three years I’ve been using them, I would always have a plan B in place because you never know what will happen!
The Overall Verdict
Overall, I’d recommend the service with confidence for anyone who wants to try it. Just make sure to read reviews on fit, always pick out a backup size and second style, and keep in mind that there’s a very, very small chance that your order might not work out!
The pieces I rent are beyond stunning — often times, I get depressed that I have to give my rentals back. Sometimes I love my rentals so much that I’ll comb through retail stores to see if the pieces I’ve rented are available for sale anywhere (cough cough, like with this dress) so I can own it forever. Alternatively, if you have Unlimited and love a piece, most of the time you can buy the item from RTR at a discounted rate!