The moment I learned of a new way to dress in designer fashion without paying the designer prices on the “Today” show, I was hooked! RentTheRunway.com launched in 2009 and its concept is amazing. Thanks to this website, average girls like you and I can now have ongoing access to the latest designer fashion without the anxiety of maxing out our credit cards as we collect dress after dress. We simply rent the designer dress we want, then ship it back by the return date.
Setting up an account is free and requires no credit card information. Once you have your profile set up, you just scroll through the designer fashion and select the right piece for you. Rental prices range from $50 to $350, and you can rent a dress for four days or for eight days (for an additional $80). Unsure about sizing? Rent a back-up size for FREE. And if you are still unsure, spend an additional $25 and rent a second dress (with free back-up dress) so you have another option for your event. Note that other fees include a $5 insurance fee per dress and shipping. Also, you can rent accessories at Rent the Runway.
Here is how my Rent the Runway adventure went. First of all, when I set up my profile, I signed up to receive email notices from the website. And in September, Rent the Runway offered first-time renters a special: rent one dress receive a second dress (not back-up dress, we’re talking an entirely different style dress) for FREE. I had two hot events in September that were back to back, so this special offer was especially appealing to me.
When I logged into the site, I used the filters to help me select a dress. I knew I wanted to stay in the $50 rental range, which includes labels such as Nicole Miller, Tibi, and Robert Rodriguez, just to name a few, so I used the pricing filter to help. I also used the filters for size and rental dates. In the end, I chose Halston Heritage’s Multi Night Fever Dress and the Vicious Venom Dress from Shoshanna. Following Rent the Runway’s advice, I selected to have my dresses arrive one day prior to my first event. Both dresses arrived right on time, along with the back-up sizes, all hanging from hangers and protected by garment bags (which I got to keep). Each package contained free sample goodies, too.
I wore the Halston Heritage dress to my first event. While I received many compliments (the print on that dress is simply stunning), I was not completely satisfied with the fit. This certainly is not the fault of Rent the Runway nor Halston, it’s just that I am a petite curvy woman and most designer fashion is cut for tall, skinny women. But nonetheless, it was a pleasure to wear a little Halston to a local Tweetup event.
For Fashion’s Night Out, I wore the Shoshanna dress. I absolutely LOVED the fit and comfort. Shoshanna obviously designs for busty women with hips, and I have a whole new appreciation for the brand. During my bargain shopping excursions, I remain on the hunt for Shoshanna.
My dresses came with an instruction tag that included the “drop in mailbox by” date and return envelopes with affixed shipping postage. I followed the instructions to a tee, expecting an email confirmation that the dresses were received by their due date because my instruction tag said that I would receive such an email. But I never did. Now, I was nervous. I quickly emailed Rent the Runway to confirm that my dresses were received by the required date and 48 hours later I received a friendly email that in fact my dresses had been received in time. Whew! Being that I didn’t want to be charged a late fee, I wish Rent the Runway had sent me that initial confirmation email of their return, or that I could view their return on my account. Unfortunately, no such option like that is available.
So my only negative thing to say about the site is the missing confirmation email and the lack of information when viewing my account. But, overall my experience was good and fun, and I will definitely continue to use Rent the Runway again and again for special events. My blogging and freelance writing has me at all kinds of events, and I can’t repeat the same looks. With Rent the Runway, I’ll never have to.