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Rent the Runway – My Honest, (Almost) Six-Month Review

Mary Zubritsky
ByMary ZubritskyFeb 21, 2022 | 8 comments

Rent The Runway
3.7 overall rating
7 Ratings | 3 Reviews

Since I'm waiting for my next shipment to unlock, let's discuss Rent the Runway! You know what I find odd? How many people still haven't heard of Rent the Runway. I hopped on the bandwagon as soon as they launched in 2009, but now that they've been around for 13 years and they're a publicly-traded company, it's surprising how many women ask about my outfits and have never heard of RTR.

But you know what I also find odd. Just how obsessed I was with this company back then. I applied and got denied and was crushed, and even gave them ideas for free. I'm going through Gmail right now and here is a screenshot of some of the ideas I had brainstormed for them in 2012.

So, as you can tell, I've been one of their biggest fans, and working for their corporation would've been a dream come true. Well, instead of snagging a job at RTR, I worked as a copywriter at Victoria's Secret for about a year and a half, and I always wanted VS on my resume too. Maybe next week I'll tell you some of their secrets.

What is Rent the Runway?

Um, only like my favorite thing ever... aside from Mr. HGL!

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.

ACTIVE DEAL: Limited Time Only! Get your 1st & 2nd months of 8 items/month for $99 (regularly $135/month)
CODE: GETDRESSED

Rent the Runway Pros

Extensive List of Designers

When I started reviewing for RTR, I couldn't believe I suddenly had access to designers like Monse, Khaite, RED Valentino, and Rosetta Getty. You can find almost everyone and everything at RTR, aside from the top-tier luxury brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes. But honestly, RTR's long list of designers (in the hundreds) makes you feel like you're sitting front row at New York Fashion Week, and instead of wishing you could afford what's sashaying past you on the runway, you can hop online and try it for yourself.

Convenience

While we were all stuck home for a bit during the pandemic, once the world started opening up, RTR made "shopping" so easy! You hop online or get on the app, heart your favorite items, add them to your bag, and then sit back and wait for their arrival. Once you're finished, simply seal them back up in the bag they arrived in, affix the return label, and send back to RTR! And what's even better, if you're going on vacation, you don't even need to worry about packing and lugging your RTR items with you. They will ship it to your hotel or resort and then you can ship it back when you're about to head home. Easy, right?

Affordability

In the next section, I'll talk about the very high resale price of their items, but right now I want to discuss how affordable I think it is to rent clothing from RTR. If you splurge on the 8 or 16 items per month plan, you get instant access to top designers and pieces that can retail for over $2,000 each. Many of you may disagree with my rationale here and that's OK, but pre-pandemic I was out and about all the time and I bought new-to-me dresses and accessories off designer resale sites at least twice a month. I was able to justify it because I was gainfully employed, going out often, and um... Alexander McQueen for under $150? What a find! So, I kept shopping and buying with the plan to resell the items for a profit, but that never happened. Eventually, I just sold everything or dropped it off at The Salvation Army for someone to gleefully discover. I wasn't going out anymore so what was the point in having a closet full of dresses? Besides, I'd tire of each piece after maybe three wears and it would rot in the back of my closet.

With RTR, I can rent these items and send them back once I'm ready for something new. It's a revolving closet full of designer clothes that I don't have to clean, repair, or worry about wearing on social media again and again. And while to some, it may seem like a complete waste of money to rent something, send it back, and essentially have nothing to show for the money you spent, are we really going to replenish our wardrobes again after the past two years? I probably won't. Sure, I'll still buy something amazing here and there and I won't rent items like thongs or socks, but if you love fashion and you're a bit of a social butterfly, it really does make dollars and cents.

Self-Discovery

Last week I mentioned that I never wore pink until I started with RTR. I spent 14 years in Manhattan and my closet was full of black (I used to say: black like my soul) because it went with everything. I didn't really think about how the color black does absolutely nothing for my skin tone, my blue eyes, or my hair color (my natural hair color is almost black, but I started dying it four years ago because of greys) — to me, black was the ultimate color and that was it. Now, I look back at old pics and think about how washed out I always looked, and while at times it was because I refused to go out in the sun due to my fear of wrinkles, now I realize it's because my choice of color did nothing for me. But since I suddenly have the option of trying every color under the sun, I can see the difference and how certain colors work and don't work. What a discovery!

Additionally, we all get stuck in style ruts where we stick with one style, item, or trend because we think that's what works best for us, and that's not always true. Let's be honest here, skinny jeans don't look great on everyone and neither do bell-bottoms. You've got to avoid trends and find something that works best for you and your body type.

In the past six months, I've had no choice but to look at myself in some of these pictures and think, "wow, that design doesn't work for me at all!" I've had the amazing opportunity to try other styles, and break free from my rut. It's been thrilling to discover new pieces and rediscover myself too.

The Mood Boost

We all love receiving packages, and, in many ways, it's been one of our greatest (and sometimes only) joy throughout the pandemic. It feels like you're a kid again when you get to scroll through thousands of items, pick your faves, wait for them to arrive, and try them on. What's not to love?

I've mentioned this in the past and I'll say it again, when you feel like you look good, you feel even better. I know some of you are rolling your eyes right now, but after the past two years of doom and gloom, we could all use a little (or a big) pick-me-up!

Rent the Runway Cons

Missing Measurements

No two people are built alike, and while I'm much taller than the average woman, I'm not model thin. I'm athletic with swimmer's shoulders, a really wide ribcage, almost no waist (my grandmother used to say I looked like a ruler), very long legs and arms. As you've noticed, a lot of items are quite short on me which I'm not complaining about, but it's a fact. We're all built differently... my sister takes after my mom's Irish side and she's a lot shorter than me, curvy, and has huge boobs. We've never been able to share clothes!

My point is, having measurements for each item (including different sizes) would be a lifesaver. It would help us understand whether the item will fit us properly and help save time and frustration. Now, I know doing this for every single item is so time-consuming and tedious (I had to personally measure each piece we listed on Saks Off Fifth), but in the end, it can help RTR save money too. Returns are expensive, tears are expensive, and time is money. Just listing the size range and the model's height isn't enough.

Limited Stock

I understand supply and demand, baby, but there are items on my heart list that have never been available. What's the secret and how do I get in on it? Is there a VIP list I've been excluded from or what? Some of the items I've been stalking out are things I don't think many other women would want to wear on their Zoom calls or might be a bit over-the-top for post-holiday, pandemic style. I guess that's where the option of reserving in advance for specific dates becomes useful, but that's just pricey. Maybe they should create a VIP option and a loyalty program like I had suggested in my interview back in 2012. Or perhaps they should order a few extra pieces per item.

Very High Resale Prices

I've mentioned my obsession with The RealReal and one of the reasons I'm such a huge fan is you can score top designer items that retail for over $1,000 each for under $100. I often mention that studded Gucci leather jacket that retailed for $6,000 and I found for under $300 in like-new condition. The deals on TRR's resale are incredible — the deals on RTR's resale are not. If a dress has been worn over 30 times and the retail value is $965, the resale price should not be $915! How can an item that's been worn and washed over and over again only be discounted by like 5%? That's not a deal! That's fashion robbery.

My Top 5 Favorite RTR Looks

I've been looking at old pics, and while there were some hits, there have also been a few misses too. I've chosen these items because I would love to rent them again.

Final Thoughts

Hey, I know RTR isn't for everyone and there aren't that many people who get this excited about clothes, but even if I weren't getting paid to write these reviews, I would still subscribe to RTR. I'd probably just subscribe to the 4 items per month plan... until the world is fully open and I have more places to go!


What were some of your favorite RTR outfits? Let me know in the comments!

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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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8 comments

AH

I love your RTR posts as I absolutely adore clothes! I wish I knew about RTR when I had more of a social life and when I wasn’t so plus size lol. I live my life vicariously through your posts and I hope they continue for a long time. I’m a long time MSA user, but tbh since things have changed so much, your posts/reviews are one of the few things that still has me coming back to read. Also a big animal lover so some photobombs of Mr HGL are always a fun surprise! Your career sounds like a blissful dream to me, as I always wanted a career in fashion (I was a mechanical engineer for Toyota instead lol. I am sure it wasn’t as glamorous as I envision it (like taking ALL those measurements omgosh), but I do love your story times and I fully read that gmail list of ideas.

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Mary Zubritsky

Thank you! My life is and has always been a bit different from most people’s.

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Lisa B

Every Friday I look forward to having my first cocktail and reading your weekly fashion journey. I am still all in for the kilt! Keep the reviews up, I can’t wait to see the next batch of fantastic!

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Mary Zubritsky

I had too many of those last night…

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Jody E

Wow. Time flies. I still love the kilt! I enjoyed the post as always.

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Mary Zubritsky

And the kilt is still over $1,000 😝

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Jody E

Well boo. That is not good.

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