Rent the Runway has revolutionized retail by allowing women to rent, instead of buy, unique luxury pieces. A designer apparel and accessories rental site, the company offers clothing for all occasions, with items from more than 400 designers including Alexander Wang, Badgley Mishka, and Jason Wu. With two subscription plans (unlimited and flat-rate rentals) in addition to renting on a one-off basis, RTR can fit any budget.
The Rental Plans
RTR offers three plan options: Unlimited, which allows you to keep three items at a time for as long as you like from a select catalog ($139/month); Style Pass, which allows you one four-day rental each month ($65/month); and regular rental, where you borrow items individually for four or eight days (priced per item).
The perfect plan for you depends on your lifestyle and budget. Since I wanted to rent items for work and weekends, I got the Unlimited subscription for a year. The catalog of Unlimited items is constantly updated with new arrivals, so you can always wear the latest trends without spending too much on clothes you wouldn’t wear after the current season. I was able to rent everything from formal wear for charity events to casual pieces for the weekends. I would definitely recommend Unlimited to young professionals who want to add an edge to their business casual outfits. This plan can also be a fun wardrobe supplement to the extremely style-conscious college student.
If you consistently find that you need one rental each month, the Style Pass would be the best plan for you. Style Pass is the newest of the three payment plans.
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Regular rental is also always an option, and has universal appeal to any woman who wants an outfit for a special event that she’ll only wear once. It lets you wear the designer outfit you want at a fraction of the price it would cost to purchase each piece.
The Clothing Collection
RTR’s collection includes casual wear, work attire, and dresses for all events from weddings to cocktail parties, black tie galas, and more. Collections are seasonally curated, so RTR may recommend iridescent dresses for New Year’s Eve parties in December and floral maxis for summer weddings. For customers’ convenience, everything can be filtered by formality and occasion too.
The Unlimited plan lets you pick from a selected collection of each season’s outfits in all these categories. I was particularly pleased with the distinct designs of fall jackets that Unlimited included last year. Although RTR has been adding more formal dresses to its Unlimited inventory, there is a greater variety of formal wear with regular rentals, so I still found myself getting regular rentals while on the plan.
As opposed to one-off rentals that are scheduled for an exact date, Unlimited rentals can be ordered and returned at your convenience. During my trial, it took RTR an average of two days to process, ship, and deliver an Unlimited order, with the same time span for returns.
Sizing can be tricky if you’re between sizes—not to mention that size often varies by brand. To ease your uncertainties, RTR offers a free backup size for one-off rentals. (This isn’t offered for Unlimited, but you can simply mail back and reorder a different size.) Moreover, RTR is opening brick and mortar locations. If you live by one of the few stores in Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City, San Francisco, Topanga, or Washington, D.C., you can stop by to try on your picks before finalizing the rental.
I was constantly delighted by the possibility of “shopping” RTR’s endless closet. Subscribing to Unlimited was perfect for adding style to my wardrobe without the clutter of purchased clothes that would be quickly tossed aside at the end of each season. I ended my subscription during the winter months due to the lack of weather appropriate choices on RTR, but can definitely see myself using RTR’s services once it’s warm again.