My Rent the Runway Experience
The dress section of my closest consists of many professional dresses, maxi dresses, and date-night dresses. One section that is completely empty? Black tie or black-tie optional. When my husband mentioned we were invited to the Nebraska Barristers' Ball and it was black-tie optional, I knew I finally had a good reason to try out Rent the Runway (plus keep reading to find out how you can save $30 on your first rental!).
Rent the Runway is a service that lets you rent designer clothes for a fraction of the retail price. When I first heard about them, they were only doing one-time rentals, but they've now expanded to a monthly subscription and unlimited rentals. They also rent everything, from black tie gowns to workwear and accessories. It's truly brilliant, especially when you want to wear something special without having to shell out big bucks or make extra space in your closet for a dress you'll likely only wear once.
Picking the Dresses
I spent probably two hours browsing the site and marking my favorite dresses. Part of that browsing included looking at the reviews. This is the most helpful part of the service and of the process as a whole: the reviews. A lot of them are very in-depth, and they explain everything from the women's bust size, height, and weight to how the dress fit and felt throughout the event they wore it to. Based on some of the reviews, I nixed certain dresses I had marked as favorites, so if you're in the market for renting a dress from Rent the Runway, definitely take time to read through the reviews.
You pick your favorite dress in two sizes to be sent to you, along with a backup dress at no additional charge. You can pick how long your rental is; mine was a four-day rental, so the dresses arrived Friday and was returned Monday. After your order is placed, you then pick a few extra dresses you'd be willing to try in case one of your top choices isn't available. My top pick actually wasn't available, so I was sent this dress in addition to my other top choice.
Wearing the Dress
The dresses arrived right on time the day before the event in separate plastic dress bags and hangers, and both were breathtaking. It was incredibly fun to try on the dresses, knowing that I'd have the option of wearing either if they both fit. The embroidered dress, unfortunately, didn't suit my body type, so I opted for the navy dress with the lace insert (which was surprisingly comfortable).
Isn't my date handsome?
Returning the Dresses
Rent the Runway sends a few reminder emails with instructions on when and how to return the dresses. Included in the original box was a bubble envelope with a pre-paid return label on it. (Included in the cost of the rental are the shipping and return shipping fees and materials.) I stuffed all three dresses into the envelope and dropped it off at my local UPS dropbox. Easy as pie!
All in all, I really enjoyed my first Rent the Runway experience. It was incredibly convenient and easy on the wallet (especially considering I had the option of wearing two dresses when I could have spent twice as much on one at a department store or boutique I'd only end up wearing once). If you have a wedding, a baby shower, or maybe a special anniversary coming up, I'd highly recommend giving Rent the Runway a try. I also have a $30 off coupon for you when you place your first order—click here for more information!