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What I’m Wearing This Week: Rent the Runway

Mary Zubritsky
ByMary ZubritskyDec 23, 2022 | 9 comments

Rent The Runway
3.7 overall rating
7 Ratings | 3 Reviews

Hard to believe Christmas is on Sunday! Mr. HGL got his holiday haircut, and he's going to hop around the Christmas tree, and I'm ready to hang out with family and friends. It looks like we're going to freeze this weekend and it's times like these that I wish I lived somewhere warm like the Carolinas or Florida.

So, this morning I got word that my trademark will be approved, BUT I have six months to create a statement of use and prove its value. Six months to create a business? Geez! Well, good thing I work best under pressure, and I've got some really smart friends who live for startups, so hopefully we can come up a new retail business model that involves rentals, resale and more! I'm still accepting suggestions and am easy to find on social media channels (if you don't want to comment). 🙂 Too bad Mr. HGL can't help.

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 Ulla Johnson, Patou, Ulla Johnson, and Paco Rabanne arrived fresh from the dry cleaner (they're clean!), on the hanger, and sealed in plastic bags.

THE GOODS 

Ulla Johnson Amelia Blouse, Retail Value $395 RTR $395

 

About the designer: Born and raised in Manhattan, the daughter of archaeologists, Ulla Johnson honed her signature style between the streets of New York and the far-flung destinations of their family travels. Her eponymous line, founded in 1998 just after graduating from college, immediately caught the attention of the fashion press.

Growing from a handful of directional boutiques and with an early endorsement from Barneys New York, Ulla Johnson’s collection has gained a dedicated following and the support of retailers across the US, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She has never wavered in her steadfast attention to the details of construction that have become her hallmark, basing each of her collections on a foundation of natural fibers, beautiful finishing, and ease of fit and form. Ulla lives in Brooklyn with her husband and three children.

How I styled it: I threw on this top to meet my sister to watch the World Cup Final at Patsy's American and I wore it with the Alice + Olivia Frayed Bell Bottom jeans, Kat Maconie Ankle boots, a wool fedora, and a pair of Lele Sadoughi hoops.

Size and fit: I rented the 6 and if it were about an inch shorter in length, it wouldn't have worked on me. This crisp cotton blouse features a boatneck, long parachute sleeves with elasticized cuffs, a smocked bodice, concealed side-zip closure, and tiered ruffled hem.

Condition: Excellent!

Honest review: Lightweight, frilly and fashionable, this versatile blouse is a winner, but not for $395.

Patou Volume Dress, Retail Value $950, RTR $855

 

About the designer: So, I thought Patou was a new designer, and I was so wrong!

Patou is a fashion house created by Jean Patou in 1914. Patou is a century of couture, a revolution in women's fashion (sportswear, swimwear, sunscreen, and the monogram...), iconic ambassadors (Josephine Baker, Mistinguett, Suzanne Lenglen, Louise Brooks), as well as unforgettable perfumes (Joy, 1000), not to mention some of the most renowned designers who took over (Marc Bohan, Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Lacroix ...).

Patou is a renaissance, a new chapter of Patou-à-porter, women’s ready-to-wear with a few accessories here and there, under the artistic direction of Guillaume Henry.

How I styled it: Is it a dress or a tunic? When I put it on, I immediately thought, "I can't wear this, it's way too short!" But then I had a genius idea and I belted it super tightly with the Etsy Obi belt which stretched it out a bit and made it wearable to the new Pendry Hotel at the Wharf and to Enchant.

Well, the joke was on me because we were supposed to go to dinner at Rasika after Enchant, but suddenly there was some holiday party at the Waldorf Astoria for some high society people, and I stumbled in looking like Drunky Smurfette in the world's shortest dress. Needless to say, I didn't make it to dinner because I walked and ran 8 miles on Saturday and drank three large glasses of wine on a totally empty stomach, so once we left the party, I called my $70 Uber and went home to eat Chinese food and watch The White Lotus.

Anyway, I wore it with Sheertex tights (I definitely fell at some point because I now have a golf ball-sized bruise on my knee and they didn't tear), Kat Maconie Sock boots, and the Yves Salomon Shearling jacket.

Size and Fit: RTR sent me the French 40 which is a US 8 and had I sized down, it would've legit been a tunic or a child's dress. This brilliant cotton design features a boatneck, long puffed sleeves with ruffled cuffs, side zip closure, ribbed bodice, and flared hem.

Condition: Excellent.

Honest review: I love this dress so much. When we walked into the party at the Waldorf, so many women in their sequin holiday gowns ran over to compliment me on the design and color, and I felt like I fool because I was drunk and dressed totally inappropriately.

Ulla Johnson Isobel Dress, Retail Value $253, RTR $240

 

How I styled it: I haven't had a chance to wear it yet, but I think it'll be my Christmas dress. I'll wear it with sheer Wolford nylons, Carolina Herrera Point-Toed flats, Lele Sadoughi earrings, and the vintage mink jacket. Maybe I'll belt it too... we'll see. I can't decide if it looks better with or without.

Size and fit: I got the 6 and it's a perfect fit. This gingham-print dress is crafted in cotton and features a slight v-neck, puffed sleeves, a gathered, asymmetrical ruffled bodice, back-zip closure with extra-long pull, and a bias-cut skirt with a handkerchief hem that really needs a slip.

Condition: Like new. I might be the first person to wear it.

Honest review: It's a little lightweight for the freezing cold temps we're expecting this weekend, but it's pretty and festive.

Paco Rabanne Black Floral Midi Dress, Retail Value $1,220, RTR $1,159

 

About the designer: Francisco Rabaneda Cuervo, more commonly known as Paco Rabanne, is a Spanish fashion designer of Basque origin who became known as an enfant terrible of the 1960s French fashion world. Rabanne's father, a Republican Colonel, was executed by Francoist troops during the Spanish Civil War and his mother was the chief seamstress at Cristóbal Balenciaga's first couture house in Donostia, Basque Country. She moved Rabanne's family when he opened Balenciaga in Paris in 1937, due to the Spanish Civil War.

Rabanne started his career in fashion by creating jewelry for Givenchy, Dior, and Balenciaga and founded his own fashion house in 1966. He used unconventional materials such as metal, paper, and plastic for his metal couture and flamboyant designs. Rabanne is known for the green costume worn by Jane Fonda in the 1968 science-fiction film Barbarella. In 1968, he launched Rabanne perfumes.

How I styled it: This dress is surprisingly heavy, but the weight of the fabric drags it down a little bit, so I couldn't decide if it needed a belt. I wore this dress with a pair of vintage earrings, a vintage belt from Etsy and the Twin Set Platform pumps.

Size and fit: I got a US 6, and this floral print dress is surprisingly comfy like a nightgown, and kind of looks like one too. This stretchy jersey dress features a high collar with pussy bow, structured shoulders, front-button closure, a gathered bodice, long sleeves with flared cuffs, and a handkerchief hem.

Condition: Excellent.

Honest review: I love all the Paco Rabanne dresses I've rented so far, but this one looks a little like a Halloween costume.

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? Despite being super short, I got a ton of wear out of the Smurfette dress and the Ulla Johnson blouse too.
  • Did they meet or exceed expectations? RTR exceeded expectations. 
  • 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. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Sometimes I just don't know what goes through my mind when I order clothes. I guess I'd be a little more strategic if I were paying for it myself, but I tend to rent items I wouldn't normally purchase, or new styles, colors or designs I'm curious to try. My least favorite item this week was the gingham dress because it looks a little Amish to me, and I used to go up to Lancaster, PA with my parents when I was little. I think I might have to run out to Target or Nordstrom Rack to find a slip before I wear it because it's see-through!

I'll probably skip next week... I need to play catch-up with clothes and I won't have anywhere to take pics. It's hard to write about items when I haven't had a chance to wear them out and I've got Armoire's items waiting for me.

If you celebrate, we wish you a very Merry Christmas weekend! Mr. HGL is hating his festive scarf, so I'm glad I got a pic of him in it before he tore it to shreds.

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 $94,577.

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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9 comments

Marina

Three days of freezing temperatures in Tampa, Florida, Mary. Wearing layers for Xmas as our blood is thin down here. Liked the Patou. Shades of Romeo and Juliet. Side note…got Joy when I was 17 as a gift from a guy and it still brings back memories.

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Mary Zubritsky

Hi Marina! Hope you didn’t get stranded anywhere. My brother had quite a difficult time getting home from Vegas, but it looks like anyone who took SW encountered a nightmare! I’m so surprised I had never heard of Patou before. Guess I need to return my fashion girl crown!

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Mary L.

Ok, so the blue dress looks hideous in the first photo with no styling, but I actually think it looks really snazzy with the black tights and belt. But then, I am from the Midwest.

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Mary Zubritsky

XD too funny! I looked soooo out of place at the event.

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Jody E

Merry Christmas to you Mary. Keep at it and in six months you will have that business plan.
Smurfs gave me a giggle but I love that blue on you.

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Mary Zubritsky

Merry Christmas, Jody!

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Kittie

Long time reader, first time commenter! I’m interested to hear what you say when you take a pause, maybe you can update us. I was a heavy RTR’r pre-covid when I worked in an office at one of the most fashionable companies on the planet, and lived in NYC. Like you said, I found I was renting things that I wouldn’t normally buy. And also…things that didn’t always fit well. But I’d wear them because I felt obligated to. I wasn’t thinking with my brain when I was getting dressed anymore, and looking back it was one of my most unfashionable periods. Not being in the office and moving out of NYC, I stopped doing it and honestly I am so much better off. My style has improved so much- it’s back to being sophisticated and simple, with pieces that fit right and don’t need a lot of egregious accessorizing i.e. the belting–which has to stop! I’ve been much more thoughtful about putting outfits together which is so much fun. I get my fix now from browsing and hearting items on my favorite shopping sites (Frankie Shop, Net, Shopbop), and if it goes on sale I can consider buying it. I’m thinking about switching to an accessory rental place, like Switch or Vivrelle- so buying my clothes, but renting the occasional fun accessory or bag to make it slightly different but NOT over doing it. Would love to hear a review on those.

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Mary Zubritsky

HI Kittie! I must admit, I don’t always wear the outfits in public the same way I do in the pics. I tend to like things a little less glitzy (maybe the word is tacky) and I prefer more classic looks, but with rentals I get to explore and try new things. And like you, I also worked in fashion and if you had a chip on your nail polish or you were in flats, the girls would ask if you were sick! So crazy. I’d remove my heels as soon as I got to my desk and throw on bedroom slippers. 🙂 I love playing the heart game on RTR and stalking pieces to see just how low the price will drop. And I also really want to review Stitch and Vivrelle. I know MSA has reached out to them in the past, but we haven’t gotten a response. Too bad I don’t know anyone there.

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Kittie

Our EIC wouldn’t let us wear nail polish so that wasn’t a problem! Surprisingly, she hates it.

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