12.09.14Rent the Runway

I mentioned last week that Rob and I were attending his business school’s holiday party, which was “black tie invited.” Since I love dressing up, but never actually have an occasion to wear a long, formal gown, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do so. However, I don’t own a long gown, and I don’t actually need to own a fancy one-time dress. Enter, Rent the Runway.

Rent the Runway is an online destination for access to gorgeous dresses and accessories. “With a revolving roster of over 200 top designers of the season’s hottest dresses and accessories, Rent the Runway is designer fashion delivered to your doorstep for a fraction of the price!”

For me, it’s win-win. Of late, I’ve been attracted to the notion of “access” over “ownership” in many areas of my life (i.e. library books, Uber car service, Spotify over iTunes, etc.), and this is just one way I can reduce the amount of things I own. I pay less than it would cost to buy the item, and I don’t have to make room in my closet to keep a dress I probably won’t ever wear again.

The Rent the Runway process was incredibly smooth. I selected my gown back in November, and, since it was my first rental through the site, I got a $25 discount. I selected the date of my event, and the company ships item(s) to arrive the day prior. Then, all items have to be returned in large pre-paid shipping envelopes four days later at any UPS drop-off. They even take care of dry-cleaning dresses. Pretty simple!

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I was kind of hesitant to pull the trigger with Rent the Runway because women’s dress sizes can be all over the place. But — here are some important factors that made me feel comfortable ordering a dress without ever trying it on:

  1. You automatically get TWO sizes sent to you, and you just wear the one that fits best.
  2. Customer reviews are extremely helpful in seeing how the dresses look on real people. Most reviews include the customer’s self-provided picture of them in the dress, height, weight, normal dress size, size they actually wore, and any other comments.
  3. If you receive your two sizes and neither fits, you can submit a “return for credit” form online within 24 hours of receiving your order OR swap your dress by calling them to overnight a new one to you.

One other note about Rent the Runway’s customer service: the day before my shipment was supposed to arrive, I got an email from the company saying that the necklace I had ordered had been sent back to them by someone else in poor condition and they didn’t want to send me anything that wasn’t just right. They asked me to list my top five alternative options, regardless of rental price (which was great, because I had chosen a very inexpensive necklace to rent), and they would overnight me a new necklace. (If I didn’t respond by 5pm, a stylist would have picked out a similar necklace for me.) My first alternative choice was available, and I gotta say — I loved it way more than my original necklace! I really appreciated their great customer service.

I’m really hoping another black tie event pops up on my radar sooner rather than later!

rent the runway dress

Badgley Mischka Ruby Red Gala Gown

rent the runway necklace

Kate Spade New York Clink Clink Statement Necklace

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