I confess, I am not a fan of shopping. Trolling through clothes on display at the store is like torture to me. The only time I am half way decent at the act of shopping is when I have a purpose… like getting ready for a trip or an event. Then I can kind of rise to the occasion as there is a goal in mind. I am better at most things if they involve a purpose, but that is fodder for another post.
As it turns out clothes are not an optional item; the acquisition and maintenance of them is required for living. But intrigued was I when my niece Abigail told me about Rent the Runway. Rent the Runway had been on my radar as a place for renting dresses for fancy outings like benefits and weddings. What I did not realize is that they had expanded their line to include almost everything one needs in a wardrobe besides shoes! Well. Well. Well. Interesting concept.
Upon further exploration I discovered Rent the Runway Unlimited. For $159 per month I could have a steady stream of 4 items of clothing or accessories shipped back and forth in garment bags via UPS. Think of it as Netflix circa 2006 (when CD’s arrived in little red packages). You could have 3 movies at any time and as soon as you returned one of the little red packages you could place an order for a new one. Same deal with Rent the Runway.
You select your pieces on the website and voilà, they show up at your door within 2 days. The returns are easy, too. Just zip them back in the bag and drop at any UPS Store, UPS Drop Box (or leave with your doorman if you have one). And I love that there is no cardboard to throw away!
This only works if you actually return the clothing on a very regular basis. I learned quickly that getting two black bags in operation would accelerate my ins and outs. Don’t handcuff yourself to the whole order. If one of the items does not work – ship it right back and fill that spot with something else!
Not every piece has been a hit, but enough of them have been to keep me on board. It has been lots of fun to experiment with clothing styles that are not exactly me, but perhaps a cooler and more fashionable version of me and I’ve gotten the compliments to prove it.
The service is completely tailored to the personality of the purposeful shopper. Off for a ski weekend? Cue the sweaters and coats. A week coming up with three evenings out? Bring on the dresses and handbags. A benefit for your son’s school? Hello cocktail dresses and earrings.
If you happen to live in NYC (or Chicago, DC, San Francisco or Topanga) and you want to look extra special, included in your Unlimited Membership is one trip per month to the RTR Flagship store to pow wow with a personal stylist. I did not know that this excellent feature was free until I was actually in the store. (There is a $30 fee for non members.) I had the best time with the stylists and my fellow rent the runway unlimited members. It was like a shopping party! They would have given me prosecco, but it was 9am so I declined. The fitting rooms are light and bright with tables at the center of the room that conveniently house accessories which you can immediately begin trying on to jazz up your new outfit.
My stylist pinpointed the exact right dress (I hope) for my event and my styling team (including the lovely mother/daughter pair from Australia who happened to be there at the same time) pinpointed the perfect earrings and bag to complete my “look” (as fashionable people like to say). As the price is fixed there is no up-selling or worry that the salesperson favors the dress for it’s price instead of it’s purpose. They are just as happy if you choose the $100 dollar dress as the $1000 dollar dress as long as you are happy. Here’s me and my new friend being happy.
The dress, bag and earrings do tie up three spots for the next 10 days, but as the event is on Friday I will be popping my rented items back into the black bag on Saturday and be getting three new items in the mail by Tuesday.
Another key feature from a convenience and cost savings benefit is you don’t incur the dry cleaning costs. They handle that for you! So you wear and you wear and you wear your new favorite shirt and you mail it back. You can even re-rent the same shirt or if you really have to have it, you can buy it at a discounted price.
No surprise here, the ever thrifty husband is also a fan. He was skeptical at first, but last night the words “Did you find a nice dress to rent?” came out of his mouth. He looked pretty happy when I answered in the affirmative. I say grab your credit card and give it a whirl! RTR is offering the first month of an Unlimited subscription for just $99 right now. You can always cancel after the first month if you hate it. If you want to try it and save both of us some money, feel free to use my code. There is also an $89/month option that includes just 4 pieces per month instead of rotating items in and out of 4 slots. OR, if you need an item for a special occasion, you can rent by the piece.
Stacie’s side note: I am one month in and I love it! It takes the guess work out of getting dressed for work every morning. I have my outfits planned as soon as that black bag arrives at my doorstep. Tip – select lots of pieces in your favorites file on the site so that you can make a quick pick and speed up the turn around process.