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What I’m Wearing This Week: Rent the Runway

Mary Zubritsky
ByMary ZubritskyJan 14, 2022 | 17 comments

Rent The Runway
3.7 overall rating
7 Ratings | 3 Reviews

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
CODE: NEWYEAR100 

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.

THE GOODS 

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. 

Condition: Great.

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.

Condition: Great.

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.

Condition: Perfect.

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! 

FINAL THOUGHTS

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.

Hermès Birkin 30 via LePrix

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?

Hermes Birkin

Image via Tulerie

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.

Hoppily, Mr. HGL graced us with his presence.

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
CODE: NEWYEAR100

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!

Do you subscribe to Rent the Runway? Let us know what you think down below!

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Choose from thousands of designer clothes and accessories. Try new styles and trends for any occasion. Mail everything back for free via UPS. We handle the dry cleaning. RTR offers both one-time, on-demand rentals as well as an unlimited rental that charges a monthly fee.
Mary Zubritsky
Mary Zubritsky
If shopping were an Olympic sport, I’d be a gold medalist. And while my bank account often feels the crunch, I just can’t stop buying secondhand clothing and accessories, under-the-radar designer goods, stuffed animal unicorns (I have about 75), and toys for my pet bunny rabbit. After 20 years of city slicking in NYC and DC, I now have a car and love to tour the Virginia countryside looking for vintage shops, undiscovered wineries and breweries, historic sites, and Thai restaurants—I’m addicted to Thai food. I never leave home without a spare phone charger because I love horror movies and therefore have an irrational fear of being stranded somewhere with a dead battery.

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17 comments

Tony

Love your moxie and your posts. You seem very sincere and honest. I really enjoy your posts.

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Mary Zubritsky

Thank you. I’m lucky I get to do what I love… write and explore fashion!

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Marina

The Mouret dress is Easter Bunny time, but totally beautiful and flattering.

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Mary Zubritsky

Ha yes, that’s exactly what the bunny said too 😉

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LuAnne Dupon

My picks for you are 1,6,9,11. I think you would rock all these outfits. Fridays are now my favourite MSA posting day as I LOVE your reviews!!!

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Mary Zubritsky

Thank you, Luanne! I love your British English (favourite). I miss London so, so, so much!

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Claudia

I found a fake Birkin at a Brooklyn flea market circa 2005-2006 for $25. The seller claimed it was real but of course that was impossible. Nevertheless, for a brief moment in time I allowed myself to believe that I had found the secondary bag market holy grail. I bought it, figuring it would be the closest I’d ever come to the real thing. I wore it self-consciously for one day before sadly realizing that it was totally impractical for my lifestyle. I later learned that Jane Birkin wound up not actually liking it all that much in practice—there’s a BBC article about it—and that kind of cured me of the dream. I wound up giving it to Goodwill so that someone else could have the thrill of possibly finding a thrift Birkin.

I vote for 1, 6, and 7!

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Mary Zubritsky

Kind of like how the bags you find on the streets around Canal Street just magically fell off the back of the truck on their way to Bergdorf’s? I briefly believed that too and thought my LV Pochette was real. Silly rabbit!

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April

I love that silk top on you, I think you look incredible in bright shades ❤️

My picks for next time: 1,8,9

I enjoy when you mention local haunts I used to visit too. I always loved the tortilla soup at NW Cafe.

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Mary Zubritsky

Thank you! I’m starting to move towards brighter colors. At some point I’ve gotta kick these greys and blacks to the curb and brighten up!

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Amy

2, 5, 7, 10!

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Mary Zubritsky

Yes, yes, yes! I want that heart dress for V-Day, even though it’ll probably be spent at a Thai restaurant!

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Snow

First things first. Mary, your hair! It looks soooo good. Beautiful! Second, I wish MSA would allow their pics to be enlarged (or is it just my phone?!) It’s hard to see details on my itty bitty phone 😋
Third, totally agree with you about that faux coat/stuffed animal. Are there shoulder pads in there? I remember my mom wearing those when I was younger and they always confused me (along with her banana clip 😝). Or you could be like me and have well defined shoulders 💪 (yes, it’s an arm lol).
Ok, I’m going to submit my choices. 1, 5, and 9 are speaking to me. ☺️ Love this post, Mary, and your stories!

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Mary Zubritsky

Hey, Snow! I noticed the same thing and not sure how to fix that! Yes, there were some pretty serious, 80s-style shoulder pads in there. Just wait until you see the jeans I got for next round. They remind me of the 80s too!

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Ander

Can we please stop with words like “flattering” and “slimming” already? Bodies don’t need to be changed. No one needs to fit into society’s thin/white ideal of “beauty.” Diet culture is a predatory, capitalist, racist, industry that takes advantage of (primarily) women and we don’t need to perpetuate it with reviews suggesting that our bodies need to be slimmed

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Dana

I agree wholeheartedly that diet culture is toxic and damaging – though current beauty standards tend to be more extreme than the “thin” ideal – how many of us could meet the “slim thick” ideal of a teensy waist and generous rear? But on the other hand I think that people can strive to look the way they wish. If they want to be thin, I think it’s okay. They don’t need to explain themselves and they shouldn’t be criticized for it.

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Mary Zubritsky

I hate diets. I love Popeye’s six-piece spicy chicken tenders with mashed potatoes and BBQ sauce. The only reason I’m trying to be healthier is because my average blood pressure is around 155/90 and my family has a history of Graves’ disease, strokes and heart attacks. And sometimes doctors won’t let me leave their office until my pressure goes down. I may be naturally tall and thin, but not without health concerns.