It's Black Fri-YAY and I'm looking for a new perfume, so I spent Sunday at Tyson's Corner sniffing around Sephora and the department stores. My all-time favorite brand is Bond No. 9, but it's too pricey without my former Saks Fifth Avenue discount. Sigh... maybe there's a perfume rental business somewhere out there where each week (or month) I could try something new and then potentially commit to it at a discount.
Anyway, we're on the hunt for a new TV for my mom and haven't decided what to get everyone else. Guess I'll wait and see what pops up online on Cyber Monday too.
WHAT I'M WEARING THIS WEEK: Rent the Runway
Welcome back 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, where I’m going, 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!
For sizing reference, I am 5'11", weigh 140 pounds, and have a 33" inseam.
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.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)
WHAT I RECEIVED
All four items by Esteban Cortazar, Proenza Schouler White Label, Bronx & Banco and Amur arrived fresh from the dry cleaner (they're clean!), on the hanger, and sealed in plastic bags.
Esteban Cortazar Contrast Sweater Dress, Retail Value $325, RTR $325
About the designer: Colombian designer Esteban Cortázar is one of the youngest fashion designers to ever debut at New York Fashion Week. Inspired by his Colombian heritage and Miami upbringing, when he was 13, Cortázar showed his sketches to Todd Oldham who became his mentor. At the age of 18, he began his fashion apprenticeship with Bloomingdale’s which led to him designing his own Bloomingdale's window display in 2002. In 2007, he moved to Paris to become the Creative Director for Emanuel Ungaro but left in 2009 when Lindsay Lohan was appointed co-director. From that point forward, he focused on creating the Esteban Cortazar collection.
After showing Paris Fashion Week, Cortázar's style of slick, sculptural lines full of ease, grace, and flow earned him a cult following. Today his collections are available in over 30 stores worldwide and Rent the Runway!
How I styled it: I rediscovered a pair of Coach over-the-knee boots I purchased back in 2008 (that I can hardly walk in) and I also paired it with black tights, a Kendra Scott necklace, vintage earrings, Yves Salomon Shearling jacket, and the Balenciaga City Graffiti Bag. A little off topic, but the Balenciaga City bags are worth the investment, but don't get the new Neo version... go for the original.
I wore this dress on Thanksgiving Day and we posed with a bottle of Ukrainian vodka that my dad liked a little too much!
Size and fit: I've rented many Estaban Cortázar pieces recently and this may be my least favorite. This contrasting knit dress features a cable knit-like upper with metallic threads, crewneck, long puffed sleeves with ribbed cuffs, open back with keyhole closure, and a fitted skirt.
Honest review: I wasn't expecting the sparkly top portion and the open back is a little too breezy for this time of year. It's slimming and pretty, but far from my favorite piece by Esteban Cortazar.
Proenza Schouler White Label Black Velvet Turtleneck Dress, Retail Value $395, RTR $355
About the designer: Proenza Schouler is a New York-based womenswear and accessories brand founded in 2002 by designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. They met while studying at Parsons School of Design and collaborated on their senior thesis which became their first collection as Proenza Schouler. Named after the designers’ mothers’ maiden names, Proenza Schouler makes luxury fashion for the intelligent, adult, urban woman of today. The work is generally defined by Jack and Lazaro’s use of fine luxury materials, consistently infused with a marked sense of effortlessness and ease. Since its inception, Proenza Schouler has played an important role in reinvigorating American fashion. Awarded the inaugural CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund award in 2004, the emerging brand was quickly established as a leading talent in the industry. Proenza Schouler has won five CFDA awards, including the 2003 Swarovski award for Ready-to-Wear, the 2009 Accessory Designer of the Year award, and the Womenswear Designer of the Year award in 2007, 2011, and 2013.
How I styled it: I wore this dress to McFaul's Ironhorse Tavern on the night before Thanksgiving and paired it with the Kendra Scott Maya necklace, B-low the Belt belt, Capezio fishnet tights, Charlotte Olympia Suede Slingback pumps and a studded Gucci Leather jacket.
Size and fit: This dress reminds me of the 90s song "Black Velvet" and now you probably have it stuck in your head too! I got the medium and aside from the turtleneck being a little snug, this dress fits like a glove. This slim-fitting sheath dress features a rolled neckline, long sleeves, and all-over ruching. It's slightly elasticized so it gently hugs all your curves!
Condition: Great, although it had a slight scent.
Honest review: Cute, comfy, and sexy, this festive velvet dress hugs you in all the right places and gives me curves!
Bronx & Banco Carina Velvet Gown, Retail Value $650, RTR $455
About the designer: Launched in 2009, this Australian label is synonymous with cutting-edge style, vibrant hues, and slick tailoring. From the runway to the real world, the Bronx and Banco DNA reflects the impeccable style of its founder and creative director, Natalie DeBanco. Born in Russia and raised in Australia, Natalie has a love of all things fashion, and she opened up her first boutique at Bondi Beach while she was still in design school. Inspired by travel, exotic locations, unique characters, and city living, Natalie's collections are full of feminine, fun, flamboyant, and flattering silhouettes. She's quickly become a top choice for celebrities on the red carpet and influencers alike.
How I styled it: I paired it with a pair of Lele Sadoughi Jet Crystal Lily Earrings, Wolford Tights, Twinset Platform pumps, the Chanel 19, and a vintage mink jacket that I had to sew before I walked out the door because it's dry rot!
I wore it to the Salamander Resort in Middleburg and then afterwards to a Martini Madness party at an old farmhouse in Delaplane.
Size and fit: I got the 6 and this velvet gown with crystal leaf designs is fitted, but stretchy and surprisingly comfortable. Featuring 80s-style shoulder pads, a plunging neckline, puffed sleeves, a belted waist, back-zip closure, and a sky-high slit, this stunner is the perfect choice for a black-tie affair.
Honest review: Wow, what a gorgeous dress! It's a total showstopper and it's comfortable and classy too.
Amur Akila Sweater Dress, Retail Value $498, RTR $498
About the designer: After graduating from the University of Buenos Aires, Sofia Shannon moved back to New York City where she worked for fashion houses like Ronny Kobo and Cynthia Rowley. Soon after she started the sustainable fashion brand, Amur, with the concept that great style does not have to negatively impact our environment and design can strike a balance between beauty and good intentions.
Amur’s commitment to sustainability goes down to the fiber itself and she works closely with suppliers to source and create one-of-a-kind fabrics and designs that are as luxurious as they are conscientious.
How I styled it: Since the colors speak for themselves, I wore a pair of Calzedonia tights, gold-tone hoop earrings, the Yves Salomon shearling jacket, and the Saint Laurent Sac de Jour and Plein Sud over-the-knee boots.
Size and fit: I got the size 6 and I really struggled to get it over my head! If you rent this dress, make sure you do your makeup afterward. Crafted of merino wool, this brilliantly color-blocked sweater dress features a ribbed turtleneck, long sleeves with ribbed cuffs, and a ribbed waist.
Honest review: I love 60s fashion, and this dress reminds me of something Twiggy would've worn. The colors are so vivid and eye-catching, I had women stop me at the mall to ask me where I bought it. It's cozy and toasty and I think it may be one of the best sweater dresses for the winter.
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? The Bronx & Banco dress was such a hit at the martini party, and I also got a ton of wear out of the Amur dress, so it's really hard to say!
- Did they meet or exceed expectations? Yay, RTR is back. They exceeded expectations this week.
- 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. You can also drop it off at one of their exclusive drop-off points in some of the major cities.
I've been invited to Art Basel in Miami in less than two weeks, and I can't make up my mind! I wouldn't fly down until Thursday night (after work) and I'd have to work remote that Friday, but I can't decide if it's worth it. On one hand, it's an awesome opportunity and I've always wanted to go, but on the other hand, I'm so old and grumpy these days, I don't think I can hang with the party crowd anymore! I'd be able to find some great pieces to wear thanks to RTR and it would be fun to share my experiences (and photos) at these events, but I go to bed at 9:30pm most nights and I'd be staying in a mansion on the beach with some serious party animals and I'd never be able to sleep.
Reminds me of the summer in 2010 when I dropped $2,500 to share a den—which meant sleeping on the floor on an air mattress—in a mansion in East Hampton. $2,500 was a LOT of money for me to spend for 6 weekends in the Hamptons, but I had just gone through a breakup that drug on for 8 long years and I needed to have fun. I shared the house with a few of my friends, but then they invited friends who had friends and then we suddenly had a DJ in our living room blasting music at 4:30am. Delirious, I asked everyone to leave so I could go to sleep, but they wouldn't go anywhere, and the DJ kept playing.
So, I did what any cool chick would do and called the cops on my friends at 5am. I was in such a bad mood, I skipped Sunday brunch and a beach party, and instead took the first Hampton Jitney back to NYC. About 45 minutes into our journey, some a$$hole guy in a Corvette cut off the bus which caused the bus driver to swerve and roll down an embankment right onto a fire hydrant. I was at the window right next to the hydrant, and when it broke open, the water started spraying out onto the bus and all over me.
The cops showed up like 30 minutes later, but we weren't allowed to go anywhere until a full investigation was complete. Needless to say, I didn't get home until 5pm because we then got stuck in the Hamptons exodus traffic. Sigh... I did not get much use out of the share house after that because I was traumatized by the experience, and it was a complete waste of money.
Here are two pics from that weekend.
Ugh, a share house with a bunch of drunk and drugged out people during Art Basel now sounds like a terrible idea. Maybe I'll skip and stay home with Mr. HGL or just get my own hotel room. Party girl Mary has officially exited the building.
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 $88,657!
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