Many of us have been using Rent the Runway for years. Have a wedding, weekend in Vegas, or bachelorette party coming up? Chances are you’ve been on RTR looking for the perfect dress. It’s a genius service, allowing you to rent a designer dress, wear it to your event, and then easily return it when your night (or weekend) is over. When I discovered RTR was now offering a new service they call “Unlimited” I wanted to learn more and give it a try.
Unlimited is a new offering where you pay a monthly fee of $160, and have access to RTR’s entire catalog of inventory, not just dresses, but separates, handbags and accessories. (They also have a plan called “Updated” for $90 per month and gives you 4 items per month). All the pieces are designer and range is style from wear to work to black tie. You can choose four items at a time, keep them as long as you like, and then send back and bring in more. There’s no limit on how many times you can bring in and send back, hence, “unlimited”.
Since I’m trying to simplify my life and wardrobe as much as possible, and I bore quickly of my clothes, I thought this was a great way to supplement some pieces instead of always buying something new. I’ve been using the service now for four months. Today we’re sharing this review since a few readers have asked about it. These thoughts are my own; this is not a sponsored post.
I broke this down into a list of pros and cons.
Takes some getting used to.
The interface is not intuitive. If you know what you are looking for, it’s much easier but if you are just browsing it’s a bit overwhelming. For the best experience, search by size and style or occasion to see the most relevant-to-you results.
Designer sizing is inconsistent, and all over the place so if you are not familiar with specific brands, it’s hard to predict how they will fit. They also don’t have a huge selection of plus (though they do have some.) I will say that’s not their fault as they are at the mercy of what retailers and designers are producing.
Things run short.
I am 5’10, so having a hard time with length is nothing new to me, but holy cow you guys, some of these dresses are so short they are offensive. Pay attention to the length measurements. (Note: many evening pieces are available with extra length, but not the more casual pieces.)
Hard to style.
It’s nice that each item has multiple photos to show you as many details as possible, but the styling of many of them isn’t very realistic. It’s a bit fashion forward. Most of these pieces work best if you pair them with classic wardrobe basics and let them be the focal point.
Fast returns and shipping.
They process returns and orders quickly so you can get a lot of items each month if you are diligent about getting items back to them. You also don’t have to return everything at once. If you rent a few pieces that really work for you, keep them for longer and return what you don’t need.
Customer photos and reviews.
The community that uses RTR is awesome about providing reviews and photos of what worked and didn’t work for them. Be sure when you are deciding on what to rent that you consider those notes – they are more helpful than the professional photos and description.
If you love something you rented you can buy it at a discount. I rented a sweater for Thanksgiving and to wear for our annual family photo, and I’m going to buy it because I like it so much.
Where was this when I was pregnant??? Perhaps the greatest thing to happen to the modern pregnant woman is the ability to rent your maternity clothes. RTR’s best inventory is in their maternity department, which includes everything from jeans and sweaters to dresses and tunics. If you are expecting this time of year, you’ll get your money’s worth for sure.
Try a trend.
I like that you can try something you may not want to purchase with no risk or loss of budget. I try to bring one “out of my comfort zone” piece per delivery to keep my look interesting. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I don’t feel like I’m wasting time or money.
When it works, it’s fantastic.
My most recent delivery is my best. I brought in four pieces, a black gown for a black tie event I have on Friday, the above-mentioned sweater I’m going to purchase, and two blazers for work, one I’m wearing to speak tomorrow, the other I’m keeping for a few weeks to pair with jeans and boots.
My first two deliveries were underwhelming and I didn’t think I was going to keep my subscription. Once I got a handle on how to navigate their interface and focus on bringing in pieces with a little more strategy, I started to change my mind. When I looked at how much I’ve spent on clothes over the last 12 months, it’s frustrating to feel like I don’t have many options. I realized it was time to change my approach. I’ll continue to invest in better basics, like good jeans, black pants, shoes and, what I would call “anchor items’ but, frankly, clothes are too expensive. As long as I the plan continues to give me a dozen fresh options a month, paying the monthly fee feels like a better use of my money.