I will admit that at first, I was a bit of a hold out to Rent the Runway. I reasoned that if I really loved something that much, I could just buy it. And you know, re-wear it! And that is still my philosophy (anything I buy, I plan on having for a long time – I am not a big fan of impulse purchases and keep a pretty tightly edited closet).
That being said, last Spring we were doing our podcast live shows and Becca convinced me to sign up for Rent the Runway Unlimited. It was seeing her experience that truly sold me on it. I was going broke buying new dresses. Meanwhile, for each show, she pulled out cute dress after cute dress, all rented on Rent the Runway. And so I signed up.
Now, I don’t know what I did without it! (Disclosure: this is a sponsored post, but I have been a member for more than six months before ever partnering together!) Upon signing up, I felt what I like to call, “drunk with wardrobe power.” Especially for dresses. I go to a lot of events and need to dress up quite a bit, but it’s really great being able to rent something, send it back, and get something “new.” And if I really love something I can hold onto it for a while (currently doing that with one of my fav Saloni dresses).
I’m going to share all the things I love about Rent the Runway (and some of my favorite pieces) but before I do that – if you use my link, and code RTRGRACE you can get $100 off your first 60 day trial!
First of all, here’s how it works!
How does Rent the Runway unlimited work?
It’s easy, fast, and really convenient.
You go onto their site, choose four or more styles at a time per shipment. You can keep your items as long as you’d like, or return right away and choose something else. One thing I started doing upon Becca’s recommendation is trying to always have two pieces, and send two back. That way you always have something new on the way!
When you’re ready for something new, return your styles one at a time or all at once. Dry cleaning, insurance and 2-day shipping is covered by RTR!
Why I love Rent the Runway Unlimited!
It’s a great way to try out new trends and styles. And designers!
An example of this is puff sleeves – I hadn’t been sure I could pull it off and would never have invested in this Kate Spade dress. But it works! Since renting this I’ve been wearing a lot more puff sleeves… sweaters, sweatshirts, etc!
It feels like having a revolving closet, a la Clueless!
They have so many (600+, with more added every week!) incredible designers and styles so there’s something for every mood or occasion. It’s particularly great for months when I have a lot of work events (or podcast live shows as I referenced before). No need to try and buy new dresses for every occasion if I’m going to be photographed a lot.
It’s stress-free and easy.
Everything is dry cleaned, delivered to my door, and ready to go! Get it in 2 days or less. Or go to one of their gorgeous stores in NYC, Chicago, Georgetown, SF and Topanga for an on-the-spot swap and try-on!
When you’re done, just send it back via the pre-paid UPS label that comes with every shipment. OR, speed up return drop-offs in WeWork locations in NYC, D.C., Chicago, LA, San Francisco and Miami.
If you’re so obsessed with something that you can’t let it go, they provide members-only discounts to purchase any rentals you love.
It’s a great value!
I love this stat: the average RTR customer wears $33,000 worth of designer clothing a year, while paying $159 per month (less than that if you use my code!)
This Kate Spade dress is a favorite. I hung onto it for a while as I liked it so much – I only sent it back this week! It was one of those perfect times where I had a fashion week party and didn’t like anything in my closet. Then my RTR order showed up (a day early!) and this dress was inside. (See it “in the wild” below!)
Two other items I really love and have been hanging onto this month are this fun faux fur coat (I love the colorblocking) and this Saloni dress (which I’ve had for wayyyyy too long now but I can’t seem to part with – I may end up buying it!)
And here are a few more items you might remember from my recent outfit diaries! (Rebecca Taylor Dress, Tanya Taylor Blazer, Tanya Taylor Dress!)
And we can’t forget the Retrofete dress that I wore to The Whitney Art Party. This one was so perfect that I considered buying it… but it is so special/memorable that I decided against it. Maybe I will rent it again – it was definitely one of my most favorite things I’ve rented on RTR!
Don’t forget! If you use my link, and code RTRGRACE you can get $100 off your first 60 day trial!
Thank you to Rent the Runway for sponsoring this post! // Photography by Carter Fish.
Curious if you know what RTR does with all the clothes after they are out of season or style? I’ve heard many designer brands burn any returned items so that is why I’m asking how RTR deals with inventory they cannot use any longer
Wondered the same thing, Maureen! I would love to opt for renting, if it actually meant a (slightly more) positive imprint on the planet but with all this shipping back and forth on top of it, I think I rather stick to re-wearing and second hand shops.
However, I can see how it is great for people with jobs like blogging/influencing.
Hey! I just pinged the brand to find out. My hunch is that they sell it at their sample sales. A lot of my friends have gone to sample sales here in the NY area and bought some great things. But I’ve emailed my contact and will get back to you!
Thank you so much Grace!
They sell the items at Nordstrom Rack! (At least in Los Angeles)
yes!!! They just got back to me to tell me that!
Hey! I just heard back from the brand here:
RTR inventory that is no longer in good renting condition is sold on the clearance section of their site. They also recently announced a partnership with Nordstrom Rack called RTR Revive where Nordstrom Rack will be selling RTR’s lightly used inventory. You can read more about it here. https://fashionunited.com/news/fashion/rent-the-runway-announces-rtr-revive-partnership-with-nordstrom/2020011631718
Amazing! Thanks for sharing this Grace!
My hesitation to subscribe to RTR was a concern whether they have options for petites. Do they have options for petites?
Hey! Let me check with the brand for an official answer. Because I have a lot of petite friends who use the service (they just browse by size and then choose more petite friendly styles) but I want to find out if RTR has anything more formal!
I have used Rent the Runway off and on and am petite, 5’1″, and I do find it hard to navigate the offerings they have for petites. You can pick your size in your profile, but petite sizing is not an option. I would basically read through all of the reviews looking for people that were similar to my body type to try and assess whether an item would work for me. I also agree with what another comment said regarding them never having my favorite items/picks available in my size, or any size for that matter. I ended up picking things for events/special occasions that I only liked instead of loved and/or ended up with clothes that didn’t fit, and consequently ended up just buying something instead, defeating the purpose of renting. I cancelled my membership recently because of these issues. It seems like if you live in a city with one of the stores/drop-off places, it’s easier to get the styles you want since there are less delays in the shipping/processing part.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience Stephanie! It seems like that’s the best strategy, (which for what it’s worth is what I do too, as a non petite person… I really love that you can see the clothing on a range of heights and body types and always try to find out how an item looks on someone similar to me).
You bring up an interesting point about location, I wonder if it is different in different cities/geographic regions, I hadn’t really thought about that but all my New York based friends who use it (not influencers, stressing that!) really love it! I use UPS as the drop-off in my neighborhood recently closed and the turnaround is still really quick.
Hey! Heard from the brand…
Yes they do! A lot of their dresses and pants come in both long and short. I would also recommend inputting your measurements in the reviews section, it will sort by most relevant to you!
Sounds like a great way to try new clothes and styles! Thanks for the review! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
I have to wonder, as a RTR ambassador, do you get priority when selecting your pieces? I have been a RTR member for years – and I find that the service is getting worse and worse. Although all these new, pretty pieces show up in the “new arrivals” section, I find that they are NEVER available in my size – so I end up selecting pieces that I feel “meh” about. RTR tells me to: (a) check back daily – I do, but it doesn’t make a difference, and also the membership shouldn’t be a full-time job; and, (b) add extra spots when things I like are available – I have done this on occasion, but honestly I don’t think I should have to pay extra to get value out of the service. They really, really, really need to increase their inventory (in terms of the number of pieces in each size, not the selection of pieces) in order to improve availability. Honestly, I get frustrated when I see RTR partnering with influencers to gain more customers – I feel like they should be devoting those resources to improving the service and better serving the customers they already have. Obviously, none of this is your fault, but if you are inclined to relay feedback to RTR, that is what I would say.
Anyways, love you and the blog! xx
That is a great question. I don’t THINK I get priority (I am going to ask the brand if they have a special flag on my account or anything but I don’t think they have the tech to do that!) because I’ve been using the service since June and was a paying member at first and now they comp me as an ambassador. And the experience has not changed at all between the two.
So maybe I am just a popular size (I filter by sizes 6 and 8?) I have gotten frustrated in the past when they haven’t had something I wanted but then I always manage to find SOMETHING I love because they have so many styles! But maybe I’m less picky, ha ha. 😉 Usually I just shop out of “my quick picks.” I also heart things quite a bit and go back and add them when they come back in my size. I have def had a few hit or miss items but wayyyy more hits than misses or things I feel meh about.
Anyway I’m passing your feedback along to the brand as I have always had a really positive experience both before and after becoming an ambassador! My only hiccups have been with shipping as I do not have a doorman and their courier can get creative with where he leaves things… it can be a bit of a scavenger hunt! But that’s another story. I’m sorry that you’ve had a meh experience, mine has truly been so positive both before and after ever working with them!
Thank you for the thoughtful reply and for passing on my feedback!
Hi! RTR just got back to me.
They confirmed what I had thought… we do not get priority when selecting pieces. I relayed your feedback and they did give me some hacks – hope these are helpful!
1.) New arrivals drop first on the app so download it and always check there first.
2.) Try sorting by recommended, even though the newest inventory doesn’t pop up you might be pleasantly surprised with what you find! Plus the older inventory is more likely to have reviews so you can get a better understanding for fit and sizing!
I have been interested in RTR for a while now but am curious how much of a discount they give you to buy the pieces? Like if you kept your adorable Saloni dress what would it cost? Can you purchase items if you rent them or do you have to be a monthly member to do so? Looks like fantastic option instead of buying any formal wear.
Hey! I think it really depends on the item. Only members can purchase items, but the discount ranges. I looked at my dress; if were to buy it it would be $198 but the retail value is $425. Think it depends per item / if it’s out of season (this dress is no longer available anywhere to buy so it’s an older one), and so on and so forth. From what I’ve seen it’s as little as 25% off to as much as 70% off!
So many great finds – love!
Thanks, Jenn! xo
I really like the idea of this, but price-wise it is definitely out of reach for most of the population. I don’t spend anywhere near $150+ on clothes each month, and to pay for that every month would never be in my budget. Usually a one-off rental makes sense, but I can’t see an unlimited subscription being in a regular person’s budget. I would love to see more influencers partnering with companies like ThredUp, which is both sustainable and affordable for more than just influencers.
Hi Emily, Thanks for sharing your perspective! Not everything I feature here is going to be for everyone. I love the service so so much but of course understand price and budget constraints, etc. For me personally RTR is a better and more authentic fit than ThredUp but also understand everyone has different needs, lifestyles, and budgets!
I totally agree with Shauna, they never have my size (4 or 6) in clothing that I want and I was spending way too much time trying to find something I liked that was available. I cancelled after 3 months. Great idea but they need a better site (eg why can’t you get on the wait list for a dress you really want? Who has time to check their website frequently on the off chance the item you want is available?) and more clothing availability. Until then I wont’ be back.
This is definitely an interesting concept.
I do wonder about the wear & tear of these items though – I believe I read a review somewhere a while ago, stating that some of the clothes looked worn. Thanks for sharing your experience Grace!