Rent The Runway Unlimited Subscription Review – August 2017
Rent the Runway is a designer clothing and accessories rental service. Think something like Le Tote, but with higher-end brands like Diane Von Furstenberg, Missoni, Tory Burch, Hervé Léger, and more. Once you’re done with your pieces, you simply return them in good condition using the clever garment-bag-slash-mailing-envelope in which they arrived.
There are two ways to enjoy Rent the Runway. The first way is to do a one-off rental of up to three items for either 4 or 8 days. The other way is to sign up for their the Unlimited subscription—pay a monthly fee, and choose up to 3 items that you can either hold on to or swap out with something new whenever you’d like.
This is a review of the Unlimited subscription ($139 per month).
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Rent the Runway Unlimited
The Cost: The Unlimited subscription is $139 a month. If choose to do a one-off rental, wherein you rent items for a specified number of days, you pay the cost of the items. Returns are free for both options.
The Products: Up to 3 items of high-end designer clothing and accessories
Ships to: U.S.
Good to know: Returns are free and can be dropped off or scheduled through UPS
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
After you sign up for the Unlimited subscription, you’ll be able to add up to three items into your bag and have them shipped to you. When browsing items, make sure the “Unlimited” option under the “Rental Type” section of the left sidebar. Most items on Rent the Runway work with Unlimited subscriptions, but there are some items (super-expensive dresses, bridal pieces, etc.) that don’t.
That said, there are TONS of items to pick from with your Unlimited subscription. Having lots of options is awesome, but finding the perfect piece can be a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. Take my advice:
- Use the filters on the side of the page! It’ll help you from getting overwhelmed.
- In particular, use those size filters, because not everything will be available in every size (either because they don’t offer that size, or because that size is already being rented out).
- Read the customer reviews! I’m always skittish about ordering clothes online, but I was especially worried that my shorter, broader body wasn’t going to work with brands I’ve only seen on waify models in magazines. Seeing reviews (and photos) from people with measurements similar to mine helped me get a better idea of what pieces would work and what wouldn’t.
- Use the heart icon next to each product to mark the items you love. Then, you can go back and see all of those pieces in one place by clicking the heart at the very top right of the page.
- When in doubt, contact the Rent the Runway stylists for advice. I didn’t do that this time around, but after spending, like, an hour looking at dresses, I realized I might’ve benefitted from having some expert recommendations to guide me.
Why is all of this important? Once you put an item in your shopping bag, Rent the Runway only holds it there for 20 minutes before making it available for other customers to rent. If you know exactly what you want, that’s plenty of time. If you’re like me and not super limited in what you’re shopping for, then it’s easy to lose track of time (and your items).
After you’ve picked your pieces and placed your order, you’ll get some emails from Rent the Runway letting you know your order has been confirmed and when it’s shipped out. Shortly thereafter, you’ll get your box! Er, your bag, rather—everything comes shipped inside a big black garment bag that’s folded over itself, zipped shut, and secured.
This month’s order was all about birthday dresses. I turned 30 this month (woohoo!), and I wanted something celebratory and fun to wear out to birthday dinner. Folks who read my reviews on the regular know that I’m pretty much a gray, black, and navy kind of gal in terms of my day-to-day looks, but seeing as though I was welcoming a new decade, I figured I should brighten things up a bit. Hence, there are a lot of big, bold, very atypical Anna colors in this crop of clothes!
Okay, let’s check out these dresses! If you’re interested, I’m usually a size 8 or 10 in dresses—I’m 5′ 3″, I wear a 36B, and usually a size large/10 in jeans and bottoms. Hopefully, that’ll help you understand how these things fit me (and maybe how they’d fit you).
Tibi Red Ruffle Dress, Size 8 – Retail Value $495.00
For the longest time, I’ve kind of rejected the idea of wearing red, since I felt like red items I’d worn in the past were just too harsh against my pale skin and super light eyes. But c’mon. I’m turning 30! What, am I never going to wear red ever? This was the perfect opportunity to experiment with something a little outside my usual comfort zone.
I was actually really pleased with the color! I think it’s the fact that this tone is a little more orangey than blue, so it complements my blue eyes and indoor-kid pale skin rather than muddling it or making it look pinkish by comparison. (These are things I think happens to my skin tone when I’ve worn red before. I’m sure I don’t look nearly that bad in real life, haha. We all have our little hang-ups, don’t we?)
I also loved the ruffles and the general design of the dress. It felt flirty without being too frou frou. Unfortunately, I think my hips were a little too much for this shift dress to handle. I’ve got a bit of an hourglass shape going on, especially on my bottom half, so I’m never that surprised when a narrower or straighter-shaped dress can’t accommodate my hips. Your loss, red dress! We could’ve been great together!
Slate & Willow Emerald Satin Belle Dress, Size 8 – Retail Value $300.00
Consider this dress my safety pick. With its fit-and-flare shape, there was a good chance this dress would fit my hips just fine, and unless the waist was unnaturally narrow, I was pretty certain that I wouldn’t have to give up on this guy because of fit. And I was right! This dress fit like a dream and looked cute as a button (if I do say so myself). I love mid-century, mod-inspired clothing, and this dress definitely fits the bill. I love the little mock turtleneck detail, the crisp seaming, and the pleat running down the front of the dress. Plus, can we talk about the color? I am getting so darn into teal as we creep towards fall, and dresses like this are why. The blue-ish tone and satin shine of this dress were right up my alley. I will say it felt pretty holiday-party-chic rather than end-of-summer-celebration, but I think the right mix of big summer-ish accessories (maybe some giant dangly gold earrings and some white and gold stacked cuff bracelets…) would make this look feel right at home in August.
And, oh yeah, it has pockets. I flipped out (as you can see).
Jill Jill Stuart Pink Two-Toned Popover Gown, Size 8R – Retail Value $318
I had been eyeing this look for a few months now and finally decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. I wasn’t sure how this silhouette would do on me, 1) because my torso is broad (though not busty), so I was worried about how the bodice would fit, and 2) because I’m on the short side, which means the skirt might be longer than I could manage.
But look how nicely it fit! I was shocked at how forgiving this dress was through my hips. And the thickness of the bodice made it so that I could wear this piece sans bra if I wanted. I love the little cutouts on either hip—they’re a little sassy and cool, but not going-out-to-a-club-later sexy. The pink hues both represent a part of the color wheel that I don’t visit very often, but I really loved that coral pink in particular. It’s not the most flattering dress I’ve ever tried on, but it was a lot of fun to drift around in (while wearing heels, of course).
The only bummer about this dress was that the bodice began to pucker a little bit while I steamed it. (If you were thinking some of the dresses looked wrinkly, it’s because I was super gun-shy about steaming after seeing the effects on the bodice.) Steaming is 100% necessary when you take these dresses out of their bundled up garment bag—Rent the Runway even recommends it. But just one or two passes of a just-turned-on steamer made the fabric react in a really odd way that didn’t seem to be going away. Oh no…
Obviously, my first reaction was to panic a bit—was it damaged beyond repair? Was I going to have to pay for the whole dress?
I hopped onto the Rent the Runway customer care chat widget and was relieved to find the person I was chatting with seemed way more relaxed about the situation than I was. She said she’d note that I called in, but her first concern was whether I needed something to replace the dress, rather than penalizing me on a potential damage issue. Lo and behold, I returned the dress with zero consequences—I’m hoping that the Rent the Runway team had a super-smart fix up their sleeves and made the bodice look good as new. Either way, I’m thrilled to have that off my conscience! I felt like I was back in school waiting for a bad report card to arrive!
When you’re finally ready to make your returns, look no further than the front pocket of the garment bag! Rent the Runway gives you everything you need to make your (free!) return, including a shipping label, instructions on how to pack everything up, and a “lock” to use to secure the bag. Once all of your pieces are returned (and remember, with Unlimited, you don’t have to return everything at once), you’ll get an email from Rent the Runway inviting you to come pick something new!
Verdict: I loved this round of Rent the Runway Unlimited items, even if not all of them worked for me. I think it’s obvious that the emerald dress was my hands-down fave, though I probably would’ve strutted around in that two-toned dress had it not had the issues with the bodice. $139 per month sounds like a lot, but if you have at least one fun, fancy event each month, then it’s probably worth it (or more worth it than buying a brand new outfit for each occasion). And hooray for Rent the Runway‘s kind care team! I would never be careless with an item I’m renting, but it’s nice to know that they don’t seem to be frighteningly strict about the condition you return things in!
What do you think about Rent the Runway?