Pretty much every time someone compliments my wardrobe, I reply, “Thanks! It’s rented.” Many people have been asking me how being an Unlimited member of Rent the Runway works, and I’ve had a couple requests to blog about it, so here goes…
First off, this whole “renting designer clothing” thing started when I went to Vegas to see Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga (read about it here). You can’t just show up wearing any old thing for that kind of show. Then I rented a couple more times for weddings, but pretty soon I did the math and thought, Why am I buying dresses that I don’t wear very often when I could rent them for way less money on the regular?
As a refresher, renttherunway.com is where you can basically rent amazing designer clothing & accessories. And now that I’ve rented close to 100 items, I can tell you with authority that designer dresses are of a far higher quality. The other dresses in my closet are secretly crying.
After being stuck on the Rent the Runway Unlimited waitlist for many months, I finally became a subscriber about a year ago. How does it work? Every month I pay a fee, and then I get to have any three items at a time. Many people balk at paying $100 month, but we don’t have cable and I consider that a trade off. I also haven’t purchased a new dress or jacket since January.
However, there is SO much to know about this service to make Unlimited actually worth the money and time. Here are my LPTs:
PROBLEM: Their shipping is through UPS and it’s terrible. In theory, things should take 2 days to get to you, and 2 days to get sent back. I’ve discovered UPS often doesn’t pick up their shipments on time, or they delay expected delivery dates. SOLUTION: The only thing I’ve found is to drop off my stuff off at a reputable UPS store with an earlier pick-up time. This took some detective work to discover.
PROBLEM: The people at RTR clearly don’t work weekends. When my shipment gets received on Friday, nothing gets processed until Monday. If there’s a holiday on Monday, they don’t work that either. This includes customer service. SOLUTION: I ship my items back typically on Monday morning to maximize their business hours.
PROBLEM: Sometimes things don’t fit, and then you have to send it back and go through the shipping/processing nightmare. SOLUTION: I read the user reviews/photos like crazy. I also stick with a lot of the same styles or designers. It’s designer, which means everything runs small and it’s not worth your money to order the size you think you should wear.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like the service (obviously) and plan on continuing my membership – it’s just that as it’s in it’s newer stages (I was one of the first!), I think they have a lot of kinks to work out of the system. (Namely, getting someone to work on weekends.)
Being an Unlimited member means you don’t have to worry about which day to send things back. For November, I hung onto a “fall” coat for most of the month, and then traded it in for a warmer “winter” coat this week.
Either way, I’m totally a fan of renting high quality, designer clothing. It adds a touch of class to my ridiculous and not very classy lifestyle…like when I hit Sauvie’s Island after an important meeting.