If you haven’t heard of Rent the Runway, we must fix that right away. RTR is an online service that has been growing rapidly, which provides designer dress rentals at affordable prices. Many times we only end up wearing dresses once. I know I fall victim to this all the time. I avoid repeating dresses to different events because there are already pictures of me in the dress either with my friends, family or even on my blog. Social media is so prevalent in our lives now that everyone knows when you wore that exact dress. RTR takes all the stress out of this by allowing you to rent dresses of all styles for 4 or 8 day time periods. Whether you’re going to a charity event, a wedding or, even a vacation RTR has you covered. Once you’re done, you can send it back to them and they handle the dry cleaning ofr you. So simple it almost seems too good to be true. The service has become so successful that it has started offering out designer clothing rentals as well.
I’ve always been hesitant to use Rent the Runway for a few reasons. I’ve always been nervous about the fit. At 5’0, I’m shorter than the norm and almost everything I buy needs to be hemmed. I’ve also worried about the dress arriving and not being in good condition after being worn multiple times. Another fear of mine was the arrival of the dress. For a 4 day weekend rental, the dress is promised to be delivered the night before the event (Friday night if your event is Saturday). What if the dress didn’t get to me on time? What if I am left with nothing to wear? These are all the thoughts that have coursed through my mind when I have weighed my options in the past. I just had my doubts. Nevertheless, a situation arose where it was necessary for give it a try. A few weeks before my friend’s September wedding, I was on the hunt for the perfect dress. A few minutes into my search, I found “the one!” Unfortunately, when I went to snag it Nordstrom’s website told me it was back ordered until October 16th. Considering the wedding I was attending was actually on September 16th, I was shit out of luck. After a couple of more days of thorough searching, I decided that I didn’t love anything enough to want to purchase it. That’s when I decided to turn to Rent the Runway.
The process is simple. All you need to do is select the day of your event and whether you would like a 4 or 8 day rental. After that, you can select what type of event you are going to attend and your size so the website can help narrow down the choices to what is actually available in your size that would best fit for your event. I went with a 4 day rental and was greeted by tons of choices on the site. I decided to stay away from any long type of gowns and stick strictly to cocktail dresses to avoid any hemming issues. After looking at a few pages of dresses, I stumbled upon the Parker ‘Caddie’ dress. This dress was perfect for what I was looking for; nothing too sparkly or showy, and pretty in an understated way with a neutral color. I wanted a dress to go with my black accessories and found the perfect match. Not to mention, I love the brand Parker. The best part was that the dress retails for $398 but I rented it for less than $85 (new customers received 15% off their first rental). RTR allows you to order a back up size at no additional cost to avoid any last minute fit issues.
I will admit I still had reservations. Just because something technically fits you in size, does not mean you like how it looks on your body. I was concerned that despite having two sizes I just might not genuinely like the dress that I ordered when it was on me. The dresses arrived in a garment bag to my apartment Friday afternoon,as promised, and were both in great condition. With the exception of a pull or two at the bottom, you would have no idea these were ever worn. I chose the dress that had the best fit and was satisfied with my decision. Was it any different than wearing a dress I had purchased for myself? I did notice that I was more conscious at the wedding of spilling on my dress than if it was something I purchased myself. For those of you who know me, you know I am truly a klutz. But hey, I guess it’s not a bad thing I was more careful than usual! I was paranoid about racking up any unnecessary charges for damages to the dress.
Once the wedding was over, all I had to do was switch the shipping labels and head to the UPS store and drop it off. It was so simple and easy it’s almost too good to be true. If you do use Rent the Runway, definitely make sure beforehand that you are able to return the dress to UPS on the last day of your rental. Each day it is late incurs a $50 fee because you are impacting the rental of the girl who ordered it next. Overall, I would recommend this service to anybody looking for something in a pinch or who is not ready to commit to a purchase. RTR makes it a lot more affordable to dress designer so it’s definitely a great option to consider if you want to save money on a piece with a hefty price tag. I will not pretend that there is no chance something could have gone wrong. The dress could have arrived late and ruined my whole weekend. Or, it could have looked terrible and I would have wasted money on a dress I would never end up wearing since I couldn’t try it on before buying it. Still, I had a good experience this time around and am definitely willing to try it again.
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