In the years that Rent the Runway has been around, I’ve never really felt the need to try it. Sure I’ve seen some of my friends rocking amazing outfits at weddings and watched my favorite instagram influencers share their recent finds. But I never really felt like I wanted to jump on this particular bandwagon. Until I did.
I’ve mentioned more than once recently about my desire to be a bit more sustainable with my fashion choices. While I love a good purging session and find really staying on top of my wardrobe season to season helps, I’m trying my best to be more intentional about what pieces I bring into my closet. Plus, I’m also working towards one big goal over the next year: becoming debt free.
When I first considered Rent The Runway’s unlimited program, it seemed like a good fit. With most of the coupons floating around, you can try one month of unlimited clothes for under $100. And if you’re buying more than 2-3 pieces of clothing a month, the exchange is about even. I decided I would give it a go and see if budgeting a specific amount for rented clothes would help me kick my shopping habit.
Of course this means I also could do a full review for you gals. My list of pros and cons is fairly even for this one. And some of the things that don’t work for me might not be an issue for you. Nevertheless, I wanted to break down everything I think you should know before you sign up. Let’s chat Rent The Runway Unlimited, shall we?
What is Rent The Runway?
Rent the Runway is a company that allows you to rent designer clothes for a much more affordable price. With the original model, you could rent pieces for a couple of days as needed. If you’re going to a wedding or need a last minute party dress, this is a great option. However, they’ve expanded their business model to now included two different monthly rental programs: update & unlimited.
What are the different programs?
RTR Update let’s you rent 4 items per month. It could be any 4 items though. So you could rent a purse, pants, top & earrings if you were looking for a full outfit for a month. Or you could opt for a couple of seasonal pieces to refresh your wardrobe. It’s up to you.
RTR Unlimited let’s you have 4 items out at a time with an unlimited amount per month. There’s no limit to how many swaps you can make per month. Once you’ve worn an item, you can ship it back with the pre-addressed label and choose your next piece once it’s been received. Also, there are more designers available with the unlimited program.
Which one did I try?
I opted to try the Unlimited plan.
What’s the cost?
Rent The Runway Update is currently $69 for a trial month but typically $89 per month. Unlimited is $159 per month with the current promotion taking $80 off for your first two months. If you’d like to use my link, you can get $30 towards your first order.
WHAT’S THE SHIPPING?
Shipping is free for both programs. You get a pouch that looks similar to a garment bag. Everything comes zipped up on hangers with the dry cleaning plastic protecting each one. Once you’re done with your items, you drop it off at UPS and ship it back. Or if you live somewhere that has a Rent The Runway storefront , you can go in an exchange items there.
WHAT DID I LIKE?
The biggest draw to Rent The Runway for me was the designers. Brands like Self Portrait, Draper James and Reformation have all been on my list to try for years. But they definitely aren’t the most affordable. I love that I had access to higher end brands and could try them without worrying about investing in an item that I wouldn’t like a year from now.
Plus, I love that with unlimited you can really keep your clothes on a constant rotation. From the dress I wore for a friend’s birthday dinner to the one I wore for brunch, I was able to try so many different items. And I didn’t have to worry about washing any of them. Dry cleaning and insurance are included in your subscription.
One of the other major perks about having a membership is getting the discount on items you like. If you decide you’ve fallen in love with something you’ve rented, you can keep it and get an amazing deal on the original retail price. I think this is the perfect way to discover new accessories or even your next go to event dress. Who doesn’t love a good deal on a designer item?
WHAT DIDN’T I LIKE?
There’s one big caveat for me that made renting my clothes with Rent The Runway challenging: knowing my size. If you read through reviews and check the details, you can somewhat find out if a piece will fit you. But even doing my due diligence, I sent back more than one item right after I got it because it just didn’t work for me.
I consistently shop with the same brands when I’m buying clothes which means I’ve learned my sizes. I know that while I might be one top size at J Crew, I should probably consider a different one at another store. If you’re renting your clothes from new brands, it’s a lot harder to get it right every time. The learning curve is a bit steeper. And if you’re only trying it for one month, it’s hard to gage your love for the program when clothes don’t fit.
My other one regret was not really getting to try everything I wanted because of availability. There were a couple of items I’d hope to try with the strong potential of buying but they weren’t available to rent. Plus there’s never really a time table of when things will be available again. There’s no waitlist option. So you just have to hope it becomes available eventually or find something else you like instead.
WILL I CONTINUE TO USE IT?
For now, I don’t think it will be a regular in my budget. I sent back at least half of the items I rented without wearing them because they just didn’t work for me. There was at least one outfit I feared I wouldn’t be able to get off after trying it on. Seriously, I had to call my mother in for help. It was a struggle.
I also found I felt more limited in my creativity with clothes than I expected. Because I wanted to make sure I got the most out of my money spent, I always opted to wear the clothes I’d rented even if I’d rather wear something I owned. However, I do think I’d use Rent The Runway for events in the future. You can get more than one size sent when you’re looking to find a speciality outfit so there’s a better chance what I got would fit on the first round.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT TO A FRIEND?
Surprisingly, yes I would recommend Rent The Runway to a friend. I think it’s great for someone who wants to stick to a budget or is looking to go more sustainable with their clothing. I also think it’s great for those who are constantly changing clothing sizes but still want to look cute. If you’re pregnant, postpartum or even those who have weight loss as a goal, Rent The Runway is a great way to rock cute clothes without shelling out tons and tons of money on stuff that won’t fit in a month.
In the month that I had Rent The Runway Unlimited, I rented 8 items. I only used or wore 4 of them. And to be honest, only one of them really fit like a dream. If you do decide to try it, I’d recommend trying on anything you get as soon as it comes in so you can exchange it if it doesn’t. I ended up with 3 shipments over the month because I sent back 2 items at a time.
I know there is jewelry available as an option to rent but I didn’t try it so I can’t speak to the quality. I did, however, attempt to try a purse that I ended up sending back as soon as I got it. All in all, I did enjoy my experience using Rent The Runway unlimited. I’m an incredibly picky clothing shopper and tend to return half of what I buy. So it’s probably more a testament to how picky I am that I only wore a handful of the items I received.
If you are considering it, I think it’s probably worth giving it a shot for 2 months to really get a feel for it. You lose so much time in the turnaround of returning items and getting new ones that 4 weeks isn’t really enough. Looking back I probably should have extended my subscription one more month to really give it a chance.
What about you? Have you tried Rent The Runway? Are you thinking about testing out the update or unlimited program? I’d love to know what you gals think! Be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know. Until next time. Xoxo, Savvy
I do a few sponsored posts but they are limited to maintain the authenticity of © What Savvy Said. Some links in my posts may be affiliate links. This means I receive a small compensation for purchases made through those links. The presence of affiliate links and potential commission compensation are marked with an (*).