Monday, October 5, 2015

Rent the Runway: The Experience

Even a fashion blogger can feel the panic set in of "what the heck am I going to wear to this?" a few months out from any given event. I try to be budget conscious and avoid buying a new dress for each wedding we attend. But, I just love putting together the perfect wedding-guest/fancy event ensemble! I can't help myself! :-)  In order to save money and be more practical about dress purchases, I started looking into Rent the Runway . What a concept! (Side note: why didn't I  think of this!?)

My darling gal, Mandy (above right)  also rented from RTR for the wedding on Saturday! Find her dress here
My dress (left) can be rented here. My jewelry was Charming Charlie's. The bracelet can be purchased online, and the necklace was on super clearance, but here's a similar one from the J.Crew Outlet. 

Renting a dress is really easy, but it might seem intimidating at first, so I'll give you a run down. (Additionally, the phone app is free and very user friendly! Sometimes they offer 20% simply for downloading and using the application!).  RTR even applies discounts to your first rental-- occasionally up to $35 off!

1. Head over to the site! Rent the Runway
You can choose from hundreds of dresses from all the best designers: Monique Lhuillier, Kate Spade, Shoshanna, BCBG Max Azria, Badgley Mischka, Tibi, Cynthia Rowley, Marchesa Notte, Diane von Furstenberg-- just to name a few!

Below is the first rental I did for our engagement party in Chicago. This dress is no longer available on the site (the engagement party was over a year ago, and they often rotate in new pieces), but here is  a similar dress.

2. You can browse by color, event (black tie, casual, etc.), size, age (this site for all ages, ladies!), length of dress, and price. The coolest part is you could be wearing a $1,200 dress, but renting it for $70!  It feels so luxe! I rented Monique Hluillier dress for an event at my school on Tuesday and extended the 4 day rental to 8 days (for an extra $50 dollars) in order to wear it to my friend's wedding on Saturday! I changed up the jewels and shoes to try to create different looks.

My friend Lauren (left) is wearing another fabulous rental which can be found here
For Tuesday's event, I wore my wedding jewelry (found in my first blog post) and my favorite "teaching" nude pumps: similar here. I can stand all day long in Sofft heels-- they are perfect for teachers!

3. Read the reviews of the dresses you like. The pictures sent in from the customers help so much! You can see their body types and what size the women ordered. There are typically several reviews for each dress with photographs to show you the fit. You can even rent jewelry and handbags to go along with your dress! Some of the more inexpensive rentals start at $30. There are dresses to rent if you're a bridesmaid-- or even a bride-- and others that are perfect for formal dances (homecoming, prom, college formals)! The most expensive rentals I found were $500-600. These dresses retail for $5,000. That might be more your speed if you're heading to the Oscars or Emmys as a seat filler. :)

4. Decide on your favorite dress, and pick the date you'll need it to arrive. I always have it arrive the day before the event (JUST in case-- because they will overnight you a dress if neither size fits!). You can schedule it weeks or months in advance. You pick 2 sizes (I read the reviews and decide whether to go above or below my typical size).

My bachelorette party was glitter themed, and two of my friends ordered the same fabulous dress. Here are Julie and Maria rocking this fully sequined stunner. Similar here and here.


5. Pictured below is how you return your rentals. It's unbelievably convenient! RTR provides you with a dress bag that fully zips. In fact, they even send a little zip tie lock for the zipper! You do not pay for shipping, either. (Bonus: you get to keep the nice hangers they send with the dresses!). Drop the bag into a UPS drop box before noon on the designated return date.

You don't have to worry about dry cleaning-- the company dry cleans for you!  My husband (God bless him!) steamed the size I thought I'd wear, but I ended up wearing the un-steamed size. The dresses weren't wrinkly upon arrival, but I've heard people saying they needed a quick steam. The return label is provided for you-- just stick it in the pocket on the dress bag.

Rent the Runway just opened a store in downtown Chicago! It's the same idea, but without the added steps of shipping anything. SO brilliant! RTR now has stores in NYC, DC, Vegas and Chicago!

Happy renting! Let me know about your experience with Rent the Runway in the comments below.


  1. Love this blog! So detailed!!! Count me in as a loyal follower!!

  2. Oh my goodness, thank you so much! That means the world to me, Sarah!! xxoo

  3. Love this blog! So detailed!!! Count me in as a loyal follower!!

  4. Love RTR! And that Monique Lhuillier dress is fabbbbb.

    1. Thank you so much, Molly!!! Isn't RTR the best? :):)

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