Woot, woot! Back with Rent the Runway and I'm thrilled to be reunited with my closet's best friend. A few weeks ago, I went on a long weekend trip to Ocean City and Dewey Beach (no, I didn't see Biden), and I chose the following pieces for the jaunt. Of course, I brought double what I needed (are you an over packer too?) and the couple who hosted me probably wondered if I thought I was going to the Hamptons instead.
When I got there, I couldn't wait to check out some of my old haunts such as The Original Greene Turtle, The Crabcake Factory, and The Carousel Hotel. The Carousel was always thrilling as a child because they have an indoor ice-skating rink in the center of the hotel, and we used to stay in a room that overlooked it. But the hotel still looks exactly the same, and the rink is so much smaller than I remember... or maybe I'm just that much bigger.
Isn't it funny how our perceptions change as we get older? In college, Taco Bell was the best. But now, it's only the best when I have absolutely no other options.
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 10 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 five items by Busayo Collective, Esteban Cortazar, Haney, Rodebjer, and Saunders Collective arrived fresh from the dry cleaner, on the hanger, and sealed in plastic bags.
Busayo Collective Tie Dye Halter Dress, Retail Value $415, RTR $208
About the designer: Based between Brooklyn and Lagos, clothing label Busayo is the brainchild of lawyer-turned-designer Busayo Olupona. From the start, the designer wanted to integrate traditional Nigerian prints into her collections, specifically adire—a time-honored textile technique. As a result, Busayo has become known, and loved, for its bright, color-infused dresses and high-volume tops.
Why I rented it: I rented a Busayo dress back in April and felt the itch ever since.
How I styled it: It's not supposed to be wrinkled, but I threw it in the rental bag after my trip and forgot I had to take pics of it! So, I wore this dress with the Fendi Fendista (and I even turned it into a clutch), Cocoacentric Chain-Link Dangles, and Jimmy Choo Patent Leather Wedges.
I wore this dress about a half dozen times, like to search for an earring that fell into a fenced-in area full of donkeys, and to meet a friend for a mostly liquid lunch at the Manor Tavern.
Size and fit: I got a 6 and the necktie is a little complicated, but it's also nice that I can adjust it to find the perfect fit. This sleeveless halter dress features a colorful tie dye design, back-zip closure, banded waist, and gently gathered A-line skirt.
Honest review: Minus the wrinkles, it's an amazing dress. Lightweight, colorful, and attractive, but I struggled slightly with the necktie.
Esteban Cortazar Cutout Mini Dress, Retail Value $355, RTR $53
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!
Why I rented it: I wanted a shorter version of the Esteban Cortazar dress I rented a few weeks ago.
How I styled it: The dress speaks for itself, so I wore hoop earrings, a stick-on bra, Ferragamo wedges, and carried the Chanel 19. I wore this dress to my pre-birthday dinner at Davio's Italian Steakhouse.
Size and fit: Perfect for a night out on the town, this sleeveless mini dress in a neon yellow hue features a crew neck, sculptural cutouts, and lots of 80s flare. To keep the cutouts in place on this medium-sized knit dress, I added double-sided tape to my stick-on bra.
Honest review: Omg had I known it was only $53, I might've purchased it! I think I like the shorter version better than the longer one. What do you think?
Haney Olivia Faux Wrap Dress, Retail Value $1,200, RTR $480
About the designer: Where California style meets red carpet glamour, Mary Alice Haney launched her eponymous label with a mission to make every woman feel sexy and glamorous.
In 2013 after years as a celebrity stylist and fashion editor, Mary Alice launched HANEY, a luxury ready-to-wear label, based in downtown Los Angeles, with a clear mission: to bring Hollywood sensibility to every woman. Mary Alice's signature style is a sophisticated sexiness that exudes luxury and confidence and enhances and flatters the figure with impeccable tailoring, luxurious fabrics and luxe embellishments. She has designed dresses that are red carpet - glamorous but still easy and relaxed.
Why I rented it: I wanted something easy, breezy, and beachy.
How I styled it: I wanted it to feel beachy, but a little dressed up so I wore this dress to Jimmy's Dewey and paired it with a Balenciaga City Clutch, Machete Square Hoops, and Robert Clergerie Criss-Cross Slides. I also wore it again to McFaul's IronHorse Tavern where I had a photoshoot in the mirror with my brother.
Size and fit: I got a 6 and it was huge up top. This lightweight silk dress features a colorful kaleidoscope print with a very deep v-neckline, adjustable spaghetti straps, concealed side zip closure, wrap-like waist, and twirl-ready asymmetrical hem.
Honest review: Meh. The reviews said it was oversized, and this dress seems like it was a designer mistake. The bodice is massive, and I had to tape it to my body to keep it in place.
Saunders Collective Floral Mesh Dress, Retail Value $360, RTR $162
About the designer: Jonathan Saunders is a Scottish fashion designer known for his skill at print and compelling use of color. Saunders studied product design as Glasgow School of Art, a Master's in Fashion at Central Saint Martins, London, followed by a renowned career in fashion under his eponymous line. Within two days of his graduation show Saunders was commissioned to design prints for Alexander McQueen and produced a bird-of-paradise print for McQueen's 2003 collection.
Saunders made his debut at London Fashion Week in September 2003. British Vogue featured one of Saunders' designs on the cover of the January 2004 issue, and Harrods and Harvey Nichols placed orders for his designs.
In 2017, he shut down his fashion label, and later designed an exclusive line for Rent the Runway.
Why I rented it: Looked like a cool dress that would be perfect for a night out at a beach bar.
How I styled it: My sister took me to see Goo Goo Dolls and OAR at Merriweather Post Pavillion and since it was so sticky and hot, I decided to wear this dress because it's so lightweight! To the concert, I wore flip flops (because it was muddy) and slung the Chanel 19 Crossbody around my body. When I wore it out to dinner with my family, I added a belt, chain-link earrings and necklace, and Ferragamo Wedges.
The show was great! I've always felt the lyrics to most Goo Goo Dolls songs, and we had a blast with our singalongs. We only stayed halfway through OAR's set (they're from Maryland, so they were the bigger draw) because we didn't want to be stuck in traffic and bounced to hit this awesome Thai restaurant called Dok Khao that we found on Google Maps!
Size and fit: I got a 6 and it's true to size, if not a little roomy. This sleeveless dress is crafted in floral-printed, breezy mesh and features a round neckline, back-zip closure, ruched bodice and hips, and double side-slit hem. It's also lined, but it's still a little sheer and the lining stops right under your butt so get ready for a peep show!
Honest review: Lightweight, breezy, and perfect for the summer!
Rodebjer Bologna Rihad Dress, Retail Value $685, RTR $617
About the designer: Rodebjer makes fashion with wit, heart and conscience. A well-considered uniform, respectful of women’s day-to-day existence and of the planet she inhabits, to be worn today, tomorrow and far into the future.
Founded in New York in 2000, Carin Rodebjer set out not with a business plan but with a philosophy rooted in feminist and environmental values. Since then, Rodebjer has grown steadily, becoming a cult staple for women on the move who find comfort in the brands draped caftans, jaunty tailoring and iconic prints.
Since day one, Rodebjer has committed itself to foster mindful consumption habits, presenting collections that are lasting in both quality and style. Implementing more sustainable and responsible practices, fabrics and initiatives in order to improve and extend each garments life and limit the impact our business has on the environment.
Why I rented it: I wanted something 80s-inspired to see an 80s cover band.
How I styled it: I wore this dress to see The Legwarmers at Bottle & Cork in Dewey Beach, and on my birthday! I wore the dress with a Kendra Scott necklace, hoop earrings, Nicholas Kirkwood Block-Heeled Sandals, and a vintage Chanel bag.
I also wore it for some delicious crabcakes at Pappas Restaurant, which is famous for having some of the best Maryland crabcakes ever. And while Marylanders have their own favorite places for crabcakes (you cannot find a legit Maryland crabcakes outside of Maryland, unless you make it yourself), Oprah named their crabcakes one of her favorite things in 2015.
Size and fit: This strapless silk dress with a brilliant print features a sweetheart neckline, structured bodice, back-zip closure, self-tie sash at the waist, and a smocked back. I got a medium and it was a little big up top, but not enough to fall down while I was dancing.
Honest review: Perfect for the concert and perfect for my birthday! Love, love, love!
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 got a lot of wear out of all the dresses but wore the Saunders Collective and Busayo the most.
- Did they meet or exceed expectations? They 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.
I've subscribed to RTR for two years, and I feel like I'm running out of clothing options. So many of the items I really wanted to try still aren't available, but I discovered if I reserve and pay in advance, I have a much better chance of securing them in the future. But that makes me wonder if some of the pieces are specifically added for that reason, and if so, how does that benefit those of us who subscribe?
Now we're heading into the Fall season, and while it doesn't really get cold here until November, it's almost time to layer up and switch back to separates like pants, blazers, jackets, and sweaters. I know many of you are sick of seeing little dresses (I'm sick of them too), so I'll start ordering more separates as soon as it makes sense.
I ordered a pair of Cynthia Rowley pants I've had my eyes on for over a year for next week's review, but it's way too hot to wear them out right now. You may have also noticed that pants tend to be a little too short on me, and if they don't list the inseam, I have no way of knowing if they'll be long enough. I really wish these companies would list measurements!
Anyway, I will have some good news to share at next week's review, so stay tuned and have a great weekend every bun!
VALUE BREAKDOWN: The 10 Items a Month membership costs $104/month and goes up to $152/month after the first 3 months) and so far, I've received styles with a retail value of $137,645.
Do you subscribe to Rent the Runway? Let us know what you think down below!