Rent The Runway: Your Very Own Virtual Carrie Bradshaw's Closet




Have you ever wished for a fantastic full-of-brands wardrobe with fancy dresses, shirts, tops, blazers, shoes, etc.? If yes, then you are in luck. Rent The Runway ("RTR") offers its customers exactly that. The idea is simple: a customer pays a monthly fee and, in return, has access to a wide selection of clothing and accessories to rent.

I was fascinated by the idea and decided to give RTR a try. I will share with you my experiences and observations.

Subscription Plans.


RTR, right now, has two membership plans.


The Update Membership ($89):

Rent up to four items

Swap once a month


The Unlimited Membership ($159):

Rent up to four items

Swap whenever


The Unlimited Option is the most popular, according to RTR, so I signed up for it. It is an expensive option, but it provides the most flexibility. With the Unlimited plan, I got access to hundreds (if not thousands) of items, including bags, accessories, and clothing. Because of the sheer volume of merchandise, I had to come up with a plan of attack to browse the selection effectively. I decided to focus on seasonal clothing, which meant blazers, coats, winter and holiday party dresses.


Prioritize Fresh Drops.


In the beginning, I focused on items that had the most positive reviews and at least four stars ratings. I quickly learned that this approach was not the best. Items I was getting showed signs of wear, which makes sense considering the number of reviews.

I changed my plan and started to focus on weekly fresh drops. This was a little bit risky since there were no reviews or ratings, but I was getting brand new pieces. One time, I got a dress with tags still attached.


Plan Shipments.


Now let us talk about shipping timeframes. If I place my order in the morning, my items get shipped the same day. It takes two days to receive a shipment. But pay attention to holidays that might slow down your delivery, especially if you are planning to wear a piece to an event.

When I get bored with items, it is easy to ship them back (RTR provides a shipping bag and a pre-printed return label). It takes two days for returns to get back to the RTR wear-house. And once my return is processed, I could select new pieces.

So depending on how organized and quick I am, it takes about a week to get new pieces.


Get Informed.


Another essential point to keep in mind is to read the fine print regarding clothes' material. It is crucial to know whether you are getting a dress featuring wool, silk, or cotton. Material's makeup instantly tells me whether an item is season-appropriate and with what I should pair it.

I would also suggest checking out customers' photos to get a better idea of how items fit, drape, and sit.


Plan Ahead.


A good rule that I developed is to check the app regularly, and to "heart" items I find interesting. This process allows me to narrow down my preferences and think ahead about what styles and brands I want to try out next.


Then as soon as my returns get processed, I jump into the "hearted" folder and quickly select new items maximizing my chances of getting my new items shipped the same day. Time is of the essence if you want to get the most out of your money.


Does The Most Expensive Plan Worth It?


As I was enjoying myself wearing endless dresses and new styles, I was pondering the crucial question: Does The Ultimate Plan work for me?

On the one hand, I can wear as many items as I want rocking brands I otherwise would not be able to afford. All pieces come dry cleaned. I do not need to buy a dress for an event that I end up wearing only once. There are certainly many upsides to The Ultimate Plan.

On the other hand, getting new items take about a week. Besides, I want to wear pieces at least twice, if not more. That means I am not returning items for a few weeks. So at best, I can make two or three swaps.

So the answer to my crucial question is a No. I do not think The Ultimate plan works for me. I canceled my subscription.


However, I might sign-up for a cheaper plan that allows a total of four items per month. This plan seems reasonable. I would not have to stress out about being "on the clock" at all times. Yet, I would still be able to experiment with new styles and brands at a reasonable monthly fee.


Sum It Up.


I love RTR's idea. Many people dream of having Carrie Bradshaw's size and quality closet, but not everyone can. RTR gives anyone (willing to pay a subscription fee, of course), a fabulous virtual closet with thousands of options. And if you cannot live without a dress you rented, you can always buy it.

RTR is also helping to reduce fashion's environmental footprint by hopefully curtailing people's desire to buy one-time-use clothing. And since RTR's customers have access to so many pieces, they end up buying fewer items and, in turn, throwing out less.

I hope you enjoyed this post,

Abi


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