Welcome back! How are you all doing with your New Year's resolutions? I'm still kind of following Keto, but only to be healthier (I love fried chicken, French fries with gravy, and everything Thai), and lower my blood pressure. And well, I briefly fell off the wagon. I met my friend at Tysons Galleria, we had lunch at Cafe NM where I drank a non-alcoholic ginger beer, and then window shopped (daydreamed) at the Bottega, Prada, Celine, and Chanel boutiques. Then, we ducked into the Ritz for a snack, and that's where I fell off and had a glass of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. But I was wearing the RTR Roksanda top, so at least I wasn't dressed like someone who got squashed by a Conestoga Wagon while listening to Of Monsters and Men. Do you think if the settlers had access to Spotify back then, they would've listened to that music genre? Why do I suddenly feel like I'm playing The Oregon Trail?
Anyway, let's move on. Are you ready to pick out my next round of rentals? Since you all did such a fab job last time, I figured it would be fun to play this again. Let me know your faves in the comments below. I've also signed up for the Style Coaching Institute to become a legit, accredited stylist. I want to know everything about styling!
Welcome to What I'm Wearing This Week — Rent the Runway where you can rent and wear designer items by names you know and love, and up-and-coming designers too!
For the newbies to WIWTW, every Friday I’ll take you on a trip through my life (recovered from COVID in March, now fully vaccinated), where I’m going (90% of the places are outside, and I wear a mask), what’s missing in my closet, my current obsessions, what I’m excited to try — and maybe even buy. Well, that's if the price is right!
Rent the Runway is a clothing rental company, but it was the first clothing subscription platform that provided the everyday woman with access to authentic, luxury fashion. Since its launch in 2009, RTR has gone through many iterations, some of which were the result of the pandemic, and now it's also a sustainable resale platform where shoppers can rent, buy, or subscribe to secondhand clothing.
This is a review of the Most Loved Up to 8 Items Per Month plan.
ACTIVE DEAL: Use code NEWYEAR100 to get $100 off 2 months of an 8 item plan
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)
WHAT I RECEIVED
All five of the items by Roksanda, Roland Mouret, Jill Sander, Derek Lam, and Paco Rabanne were fresh from the dry cleaner, on the hangers, and sealed in a plastic bag. I locked MR. HGL out of the other rooms so he had to be involved this time. You'll see him poking around here and there, but mainly hiding underneath the couch.
Derek Lam Camel Multi Sleeveless Dress, Retail Value $1,290
The backstory: You guys chose this item last time I asked for rental help, and I really liked it! I wore it many times, such as to Ted's Bulletin to sip on one of their very yummy, and kind of famous, boozy shakes.
How I styled it: I struggled a bit to find the right look, and after tearing through my closet and realizing I must've chucked all my essentials during my move, I popped over to Amazon and found this slim-fitting, button-down shirt for only $23 and it's a lifesaver. It fit neatly underneath the dress — I think it's more like a pinafore than a dress — then I paired it with the Etsy 4" Obi belt, black tights, and my Kat Maconie Sock boots. I've been wearing them a lot recently because they're really understated, comfortable, and slimming and they're so versatile. She's a British designer with some cheery, whimsical looks! I also carried a Saint Laurent Sac du Jour that I got off eBay for more than half price. I'm an expert at finding great deals on designer resale goods. 🙂
Size and fit: This dress is an item that probably fits a taller person better. In my opinion, you should wear something underneath it as opposed to bare arms. It's an incredibly well-made item that's heavy and textured, but if you wear it alone, it just doesn't make a statement. It's so heavy, and it hangs a bit low. The skirt is full and very twirl-ready! I kind of felt like I was going to a 50s sock hop.
Honest review: I'm torn. Part of me feels like it's an elegant, timeless classic, and the other part feels like I'm going on Romper Room to read books to a room full of kids. Magic Mirror, tell me today, what would Kate Middleton say?
You'll notice I have five items this week and that's because you can add a spot to your shipment for $29. Since this dress was finally available, and the extra spot was 50% off, I added an item.
Paco Rabanne Faux Fur Leopard Print Tailored Coat, Retail Value $1,495
The backstory: I didn't wear it. While I know faux fur is trendy and we all want to save the animals — for decades, my little angora's kin have been tortured to make sweaters, jackets, and scarves — I just can't wrap my head around this faux fur thing. I've had lots of stuffed animals and I simply don't want to look like I'm wearing one of them. I buy vintage fur that's beautiful, and sometimes dry rot and about to fall apart any second, but it's way cheaper than faux and it looks much better.
Anyway, they failed to mention that it's faux fur in the product description. I wouldn't have ordered it had I known and would've kept my extra spot for something way cooler like a leopard print leather biker jacket.
How I styled it: Tried to button it. Nope. Tried to belt it. Nope. Decided wide open is the best option, but I didn't want to go out looking like a wild leopard who escaped the crib, so I curbed this look.
Size and fit: So, I know we're all like YAY POCKETS, but sometimes they can ruin a piece and make it appear too chunky and misshaped on the hips. That was the case with this coat. In the website images, it looks like a sleek, streamlined design, but not in person. I tried to belt it (too puffy), button it, and finally decided the only way to wear it is wide open which wouldn't work very well since it's in the 30s here right now.
Condition: A bit worn. I know they dry clean after every wear, but that's probably why it's so puffy. A fabric like this can't be cleaned over and over again. Remember how your stuffed animals eventually fell apart after so many hugs and squeezes at night? Same thing.
Honest review: I've had this coat on my heart list, as my dad would say, "Since Hector was a Pup". This gets a big ol' NO from me. Even Mr. HGL was too scared to come out and play. Why is he always silently judging me?
Jil Sander Colorblock Knit Shift Sweater Dress, Retail Value $1,055
The backstory: I wore this comfy knit dress around my apartment building, while I was working at home, and at a family gathering. I just felt like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Woman in public, so I kept this look in the private realm. I was worried a Ghostbuster might attack me on the street with a Proton Pack and then I'd melt into a puddle of fluff.
How I styled it: It's really boxy so I tried to find a way to minimize the puff, but it was too wide for a belt and almost too bulky for a coat. I tried to slim it down with a pair of Coach Over-the-Knee Boots I got at Macy's Herald Square in 2008, Bee Hoop Earrings by Julie Vos, and the Saint Laurent Sac du Jour.
Quick story about Macy's. I worked there as an ad copywriter from 2007 - 2010 and it was a great company! My coworkers became like family, and we used to have the best time together. There was a dive bar down on 14th Street in the East Village called Key Bar that had two for one Delirium Tremens every Wednesday night. It quickly became our Wednesday happy hour spot, and we never stopped at just two — that would be too mature — we'd drink maybe six or eight, and Thursday mornings were never pleasant. Our office was on the 17th floor of the Herald Square store and the elevators were 150 years old, always broken down, and the corporate line to get on went outside and down 34th street.
One Thursday morning was particularly rough for me. I was running a few minutes late, but since I was late, I didn't have to wait for the elevator because everyone was already at their desks. I hopped on and as the door was closing, this very attractive older man stepped on with me. Now, I was probably borderline puking in my bag, so I ignored him and blasted my music. That's when I realized he was trying to talk to me. I shot him this look that basically said, "whatever gramps" and removed my headphones to be somewhat cordial. I don't remember what he said, but I was quite dismissive. Anyway, a few hours later a corporate email was sent around, and it had gramps pic on it. I was dismissive of Terry Lungren who was then the CEO of Macy's. FAIL. Luckily, word never got to my boss who became increasingly frustrated with her team rolling in deathly hungover every Thursday and started threatening to fire us.
You know what they say... the team that drinks together, shares hangovers together!
Size and fit: I got the Medium and it's oversized, thick, and bulky. The dress has pockets and while you can't tell from the pics, they stick out and add weight to an already hefty design. The fabric is really soft, warm, and cozy — it's like wearing a heavy blanket everywhere you go — but it's not very flattering.
Honest review: It's fine as an everyday dress if it's absolutely freezing outside (which it is right now), but not for over $1,000.
Roksanda Aulna Colorblock Silk Top, Retail Value $905
The backstory: I wore this blouse about a half dozen times and I loved it! A few days after Christmas I went with my dad, brother, and sister to the Watershed at Baltimore's famed Cross Street Market to watch the University of Maryland play Virginia Tech in a bowl game (go UMD!). We had some local Guinness Blonde Beers and devoured Maryland crabcakes!
How I styled it: I wore it so many times in so many ways. I paired it with Alice + Olivia Bell Bottom jeans, a pair of suede leggings, and with a fringe leather skirt, I got from The Real Real a few years ago. I topped it off with the vintage mink jacket, Christian Dior sunnies, and the Chanel 19! I also messed around with the scarf a bit and tried out a few different looks. It's quite versatile!
Size and fit: It's a little oversized and the sleeves and scarf are quite long which is why I thought maybe it should've been moved to the front or tied in a knot.
Honest review: Love, love, love. Searching for it on Google.
Roland Mouret Amelin Dress, Retail Value $2,165
The backstory: I've always wanted to try a Roland Mouret dress, and I finally got my chance! I didn't get to wear it much though because it's more of a warm-weather dress and it's a bit too fancy for the post-holiday season. I did get to wear it on New Year's Eve, even though we just went to a chain-y local spot.
How I styled it: At first, I tried to wear it with a pair of nude Wolford nylons and a pair of Nicholas Kirkwood flats, but the look was too summery for the winter. Then, I played around a bit more and decided on the same sock boots, black tights, my Audrey-esque hat, and the vintage mink jacket. I felt a little overdressed, but it was NYE.
Size and fit: I got the US 8/UK 12, and it was a perfect fit. The dress features flouncy butterfly sleeves, a slit neckline, and an extra-long, exposed back zipper.
Condition: Just lovely!
Honest review: I love the dress and I'm very happy to know my sizing in Roland Mouret. I will be renting more of his designs once the weather warms up a bit!
DID THEY DELIVER?
- What items were most helpful and versatile to own this week to ensure I got the most out of my rental and completed the look I craved? I wore the Roksanda top about a half dozen times and even went down Mr. HGL's rabbit hole to search for it and purchase it online.
- Did they meet or exceed expectations? RTR almost always exceeds expectations, but they might need to be a little more descriptive in their product descriptions.
- What’s the return process like? Simple! Just place your items in the pre-paid garment bag, slip in the return label, and send it back via UPS!
Let's talk about the holy grail of handbags, the elusive Hermès Birkin. Hermès, which was started in 1801 by Thierry Hermès, is still one of the world's most exclusive, prestigious brands. Hermès sprung onto the scene as a first-class maker of leather harnesses and bridles in Paris and by the early 1900s, they started offering fashion accessories, including handbags and colorful, silk scarves.
The Birkin was designed for and named after actress Jane Birkin. She was grabbing something out of her bag in the overhead bin on an airplane when it tipped over and a bunch of her items fell out onto the floor. She loudly exclaimed that it was impossible to find an elegant carryall that could hold all her essentials. Luckily, Jean-Louis Dumas of Hermès was sitting right near her and granted her wish. In the mid-1980s, the Birkin bag was born.
Back when Hermès launched the Birkin bag, the demand was huge, and you had to be extra special (and rich) to be awarded one. You couldn’t just walk into a boutique and walk out the door with a Birkin — and you still can't. Even clients who've been deemed worthy enough to purchase a Birkin have been limited to the number of bags they can buy within a certain timespan. The exclusivity factor and manufacturing scarcity of both the Birkin and Kelly bags drive the demand and higher prices.
Since 2009, there’s been an increase in production, with nine new leather workshops in France and that means now it’s easier than ever before to score a brand-new Birkin or Kelly in Paris. Additionally, the designer resale or secondary market has made it more accessible, but it comes with a hefty price tag.
Of course, there is nothing like owning a legendary Birkin or Kelly bag, and when it comes to investing in a luxury handbag these two are the best investments you can make since they have a strong history of appreciation. Forget about gold or investing in cryptocurrency, buying a Birkin might sometimes be a safer bet because it rarely loses value — in fact, it might just rise instead! Not only do these bags take almost 48 hours to make, but they often have waitlists that are more than 7 years long.
Well, this begs the question, has the increased supply of Birkins watered down the value and demand of the bags? At the beginning of the pandemic, I would've said yes, but since I closely follow the resale market the exact opposite has proven to be true. Demand has increased, and prices have increased too! In fact, the price of a brand-new Birkin is much less than you'd pay on the resale market.
Right now, a brand-new Birkin's average price is anywhere between $9,750 to $14,000; however, this price does not include limited-edition bags, exotic skins, hardware, hard-to-find materials, and special request pieces. These prices can exceed $200,000 apiece. On the resale market, the average price starts at around $7,000 and goes up to $22,000. Crazy, right?
So, you may be wondering if you can rent a Birkin and the answer is YES, but there are some catches. Vivrelle appears to have access to only three, and as you can imagine they're always rented out. I was also able to find a few on Tulerie, but the prices are absurd. Anyway, I have begun listing my items for rent on Tulerie and I'll let you know when I've completed organizing my virtual closet.
CAN YOU STILL GET THIS BOX IF YOU SIGN UP TODAY? Yes, all these items are still available to rent.
ACTIVE DEAL: Use code NEWYEAR100 to get $100 off 2 months of an 8 item plan
VALUE BREAKDOWN: The Up to 8 Items membership costs $99/month (and goes up to $135/month after the first two months) and so far, I've received styles with a retail value of $28,377!
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