Home > Spring 2011 ready-to-wear
Recently, I tried Rent the Runway (www.renttherunway.com), the online designer dress rental service. Thought you might be curious about the experience, so here’s what’s up.
How it Works
There are many different ways to browse Rent the Runway, by size, occasion, color, and date availability, (among others). After selecting a look or looks, decide if you want to rent for 4 or 8 days. Rental fees range from $50 to $200, not including shipping. You get to pick a back-up size for free. Yes, that’s right — same dress, two sizes, no extra charge, just in case.
RTR sent me an email with tracking information so I could follow the progress of the package. Seeing as I was relying on my selections for a mayjah event, I found this feature soothing.
The dresses arrived on hangers, wrapped in plastic, inside a RTR reusable garment bag. There was a cute thank you card and samples of useful products like antiperspirant remover. The package also included return shipping envelopes (USPS) with shipping labels, proper postage, and return address labels affixed.
I chose Helmut Lang and Halston Heritage, and neither disappointed. The quality of the Helmut Lang was far superior to the Halston Heritage (janky zipper, oversize beltloops), but the smaller size of both selections fit, and overall I was delighted. The duet of dresses were unequivocal crowd-pleasers.
Pros and Cons
I recommend investigating RTR for the following reasons. First, wouldn’t you rather support actual designers than down-market designer knock-offs? Seriously, our designer friends need our help in these dire economic times where fashion houses are feeling the hurt. If you can’t afford to invest in the real thing, at least you can support these artists by renting the genuine article.Second, how often are you really going to want to re-wear cocktail looks? RTR allows you to keep it fresh without accumulating a lot of stuff you probably won’t wear very often. It also allows you to experiment with trends without steep financial commitment.My criticisms are as follows. The selection of designers is not as high-end as I would like, and there isn’t enough variety. They pretty much just have dresses and accessories, no jackets, pants, or suits. I would also like more fashion-forward and avant-garde selections.
One word of advice, you really need a strong sense of your body, clothing fabrication, and what flatters you. If you’re relying on wearing a dress to a big event, you better be damn sure it fits. Can you look at photos and know how a garment will look on you? Some people have this skill, some people don’t. Which are you? This talent alone will make or break your experience with RTR.
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