Rent The Runway Maternity Review
Rent The Runway is a rental service specializing in designer brand clothing, accessories, and handbags. They offer three base plans: Up to 4 items a month (1 shipment) for $89/month, up to 8 items a month (2 shipments) for $135/month, and up to 16 items per month (4 shipments) for $199/month. Sizes range from 00-22 and they offer kids and maternity options, as well as West Elm Home bundles.
I have been a Rent the Runway member on-and-off since 2016 – more on than off – but I was wondering if I should remain a member throughout my first pregnancy. I thought I'd try the 8-item plan from RTR to see what their third-trimester options were like and try to answer the question of whether renting designer maternity clothes is worth it. Read on to learn all about Rent the Runway vs Rent the Runway Maternity and the 8 maternity options I received for November.
About Rent The Runway
The Subscription: Rent The Runway
The Cost: $89/month for up to 4 items a month (1 shipment), $135/month for up to 8 items a month (2 shipments), or $199/month for up to 16 items per month (4 shipments)
What You Get: 4 clothing or accessories at a time with 1, 2, or 4 shipments a month, depending on the plan.
Ships to: The U.S. only, including Hawaii and Alaska.
Good to know: Start your subscription service whenever you want and RTR bills you on the same date every month. You can cancel or pause your subscription at any time.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
Pros & Cons
|Is It Worth It?||
|I'd Recommend Rent The Runway Maternity If You||
How It Works
Rent The Runway allows you to rent 4 items at a time with the ability to add more for a fee. You can choose from a large selection of dresses, pants, outerwear, tops, sweaters, handbags, sunglasses, jewelry, and more. In this article, I'll explore their 8-item plan (normally $135/mo) which allows you to rent 4 items at a time with two shipments within the month.
FYI – As of 9/21/20, RTR Unlimited was discontinued, and Rent the Runway is no longer accepting new Unlimited Swap members and will be discontinuing the Unlimited membership options for existing members in early 2021.
With the new plans, available slots are immediately opened for every item you select for 'return', so you can create your next shipment right away without waiting for RTR to receive your returns. You can schedule your two shipments anytime after your monthly billing date and receive free shipping always.
On the 8-item plan, you have full closet access to all available items on the RTR site, which includes thousands of items with a retail value up to $3,500 from over 700 designers.
The first step to subscribing to Rent The Runway is choosing a plan. For all plans, you can now pick your new shipments before returning the items you have at home by marking which items you’re returning on the RTR site or app. You can schedule your shipment/s or anytime after your monthly billing date and you can keep renting any item/s as long as you want – you just won't have an open spot until you mark as a 'return' or buy it at a members-only discount. Dry cleaning, rental coverage, and two-way shipping are included in all membership plans.
With all plans, you rent 4 items at a time, unless you add on additional spots (more on that later). The key difference between the plans, besides the costs and number of shipments, is the 4-item plan gives you access to the basic closet, which is a curated edit of 450+ designers and thousands of styles up to $350 in retail value, while the 8- and 16-item plan members have full closet access to all available items on the RTR site, which includes thousands of items from over 700 designers including event wear and premium styles with a retail value of up to $3,500.
Once you choose a plan (I went with the most popular 8-item plan for this review), you'll set up an account with all your needed info and be ready to roll!
Before you start renting for the first time, you'll fill out a short questionnaire regarding fit and preferences. Knowing what sizes you wear will help narrow down the pieces in stock that are available to rent. You can edit your fit profile at any time and this will also help RTR recommend sizes for you.
Rent the Runway vs Rent the Runway Unlimited: What's the Difference?
The great thing about Rent the Runway is that you can access the maternity options with any membership plan. That means you can continue to rent non-maternity styles as well as brands that offer maternity sizing. When you filter by maternity, you will see true maternity options as well as non-maternity styles that are "bump-friendly".
You will know if an item is 'true' maternity if it has the word “Maternity” in the style name. For these styles, you can select your pre-pregnancy size, while RTR recommends increasing your size by one or two sizes (depending on your trimester) for non-maternity styles. You can also filter by trimester as you're browsing the site.
The best way to browse Maternity options on RTR is to select “Expecting?” via the size filter and enter your due date, which will personalize your recommendations based on your due date and trimester. To remove this personalization, revisit the size filter, click “I'm Due in X,” and then click “Opt-Out.”
While it's amazing that you can rent maternity clothes with any Rent the Runway membership, you are more limited in your choices when you're pregnant. And the price point for the maternity brands is a lot lower than other designer brands on the site.
Rent the Runway Maternity brands include HATCH, Seraphine, Isabella Oliver, ripe, Stowaway, soon Maternity, Rachel Pally, Ingrid & Isabel, and more. There are also options for maternity jeans from brands like 7 For All Mankind, Citizens Of Humanity, PAIGE, DL1961, and Madewell.
Navigating the Website
While you don't have a stylist like other fashion subscription services, you will see personalized recommendations when you log into your account on the desktop or app.
You can also browse everything or narrow your search by the categories or filters located on the left. At the top, you may notice four buttons that also filter things out. It's currently showing me items in my membership (as opposed to one-time rentals), my zip code, my size, and items that are currently available. As you can see, with all the filters along the top, there are only 184 items to choose from currently, which is a lot less than the thousands of styles overall but should be enough to select 4 items to create a shipment. The number and exact items available are constantly changing and I've found that if I don't like my selections I can wait a little bit for different items to become available when I'm in an extra choosy mood.
Other filters for narrowing down your search include filtering by color, formality, and weather. You can select different trimesters for maternity and even different embellishments, say if you're looking for something beaded or something with cutouts.
You can choose to show items that are currently available for your very next shipment. All orders arrive in two days or less! Or you can view all items in your membership, which include styles that are unavailable in your size at the moment while browsing. It can be helpful to use that filter if you just want to see what's out there so you can "heart" it and possibly rent later.
When looking at items, the default is "sort by recommended" but I also like to "sort by newest", which is great if you're worried about items being too worn. I've often received brand new items with tags still attached when I sort by newest or sorting by price (high to low) is great if you're trying to get the most "value" from your membership.
So, next up we have the product page. This is what you'll see when you click on an item. On the left, there will be model photos, and on the right, you have all the designer info, the full price, sizes available, size and fit guides, and product details. RTR makes choosing the right size easy by providing your recommended size based on your fit profile and reviews.
Lower down on the product page, you'll also find ratings, reviews, and sizing comments from other users, which are really helpful in trying to determine your size or whether an item might work for you.
Customizing Your Plan
If you want to rent more than 4 items at a time, you can add as many additional spots as you want for a fee. Members who receive 1 shipment a month can add an extra item to their monthly shipment for $25/mo + tax, while members with 2 or 4 shipments per month can add an extra item to their monthly shipment for $29/mo + tax.
When you add an extra spot (or more than one), this is altering your subscription for all future months. Meaning, next month you'll be charged your normal membership fee + the $25 or $29 for the extra spot moving forward, every month. You can remove extra spots whenever you choose in your Membership Settings. Just be sure to do it before your next billing cycle, to avoid being charged for additional spots the next month.
My Rent the Runway Maternity Shipments for November
Once you choose the four items you want to rent, you'll check out and confirm your shipment. RTR provides you with a delivery date and you'll also get an email with a tracking number once it ships.
Your clothing is delivered in a soft garment bag. In each delivery, you'll find a pre-addressed return card to slide back into the garment bag to send the clothing back when you're done.
The Clothing - First Shipment
NOM Maternity Odette Nursing Maternity Sweater, Size M - Retail Value $124.00
I like the color and the snap buttons along the sleeves but otherwise, this was a pretty 'whatever' sweater. I don't love the wide boat neckline and the material (100% acrylic) wasn't scratchy but wasn't particularly soft either. Also, I don't think this sweater was particularly flattering – it was just ok.
Ingrid & Isabel Plaid Maternity Pants, Size MR - Retail Value $98.00
So, these were great maternity pants. They have the stretchy over-the-bump waistband that's super comfy and the legs had a nice stretch to them as well. The only problem was the short-cropped length didn't work for the chilly November weather.
MONROW Falling Stars Maternity Dress, Size M - Retail Value $205.00
The material of this sweatshirt shift dress was a lot rougher than expected but not in a bad way. I think the stiffness made it more flattering and felt like a towel you might get at a spa, which I kinda like. Someone told me I looked like a birthday balloon in this dress and I think I agree. The pattern on this dress made me happy wearing it and I'd totally rent this one again.
HATCH The Faux Shearling Maternity Coco Coat, One-Size medium - Retail Value $349.00
I'm always dubious of items that are one size but this teddy coat did fit me. At first, I thought it made me look huge but its warmth, softness, and overall coziness won me over. I think it helps to pair it with some compression maternity leggings. It's definitely on trend and a non-pregnant friend even tried it on and said she wanted to get it for herself.
The Clothing - Second Shipment
Seraphine Odette Maternity Poncho, Size S-M - Retail Value $135.00
I'm not really into ponchos but I loved the rich navy color of this one. I feel like any poncho could be a maternity poncho and if anything, this poncho was maybe a little short to really cover the bump well. Also, the inside is grey but it's not reversible, which I think is a definite missed opportunity.
Seraphine Taupe Anna Maternity Puffer Coat, Size 6 - Retail Value $259.00
When I couldn't get my winter parka to close, I knew I needed to try renting a maternity parka. This one was perfect. It's lightweight but warm and easy to zip up. The sides also expand when you need more space. You can also roll up the hood and zip it away if you prefer not to have it out. I didn't take a good photo of it but there's a nice faux fur lining on the inside of the collar, which is a nice touch.
Isabella Oliver Danielle Maternity Sweater, Size 2 - Retail Value $149.00
This sweater is quite thin, almost sheer, but it's a nice layering piece. It's long enough to cover the bump easily and I also appreciated the extra-long sleeves. I definitely got a lot of wear out of this great, basic item and it's something that I should probably have in my wardrobe if I didn't just rely on renting all the time.
HATCH Cord Maternity Overalls, Size 1R - Retail Value $278.00
I wouldn't usually wear overalls but they really work during pregnancy. These are the softest cord overalls ever – like the material is unexpectedly soft and the color is great too! I would never buy these overalls, especially at that price but that's the great thing about renting and being able to wear things you wouldn't usually buy or could even afford.
When you're ready for your next shipment, you mark the items that you're returning as 'return' in your account and you can then select your next items immediately. You don't have to return all the items in your shipment if you want to continue renting them, just don't mark them as 'return' and that spot won't become available.
To return, simply reuse the garment bag the items came in. Be sure to include the hangers if you can since they are reused and will cut down on waste, along with any dust bags your accessories came in. You should also return the plastic bags that the items came in, as they will be recycled as well. Zip everything up and tuck the included return label in the clear outer pocket of the bag.
You can return your order via the carrier specified on your shipping label, or by scanning and returning your items at one of the RTR Drop-off Box locations.
Rating Items and Reporting Quality Issues
After you return items, Rent The Runway really wants you to rate the pieces. They'll ask how many times you wore it. If you click "Didn't Wear It", they want to know why. If it's a fit issue, they'll want a little more detail, presumably to improve their fit algorithm. Here is where you are able to report any issues as well.
If you fall in love with an item, you can purchase it at a members-only discounted price. You can purchase an item you have at home or you can also buy items without renting them first if you are a member. Be warned that the discount is based on demand for an item and it can change at any time. So, if you see a price you like for an item you want to buy, you should grab it while you can.
Laundering & Damaged Items
No need to launder anything after wearing. Simply send it back in the pre-paid garment bag and they'll take care of the cleaning. Every rental is thoroughly cleaned and inspected to make sure they're in like-new condition and ready to wear. Learn more about RTR's cleaning process here.
As far as normal wear and tear, you're covered with insurance for small stains and damage. Anything "major" will need to be paid for though.
From Rent The Runway:
We understand that some wear and tear may be inevitable. Insurance is included with our memberships and with any 4 or 8-day Reserve rental we include a $5 insurance fee to cover minor stains and damage. However, significant damage, loss of the item, and theft aren't covered under the wear and tear fees. If the item is damaged beyond repair or never returned, you will be charged the retail price of the item.
Canceling or Pausing Rent The Runway
It's really easy to pause your membership. You can pause for a month by selecting a pause option in your Membership Settings and keep extending for as long as you'd like. You can return your rentals and pause payments or you can hold onto your 4 items and pay $39 a month to keep just those items.
It's not difficult to cancel your membership but you do have to email or call to cancel.
So, is Rent The Runway Maternity Worth it?
Are designer clothes necessary during pregnancy? No, of course not! But pregnancy is a time to treat yourself if you can – at least that's what everyone keeps telling me and wearing nice clothes, whether for a special occasion, every day, or a virtual baby shower, is definitely a treat.
Rent The Runway normally costs $135/month for up to 8 items and I received $1,597 worth of premium maternity items to wear during the month of November. That's an average of $199.63 per item, which is still well over the amount I'd usually spend on a single item of clothing, and this way there's no buyer's remorse.
I didn't set out to only rent the most expensive items and while the average cost for the maternity options is lower than what I would usually rent from RTR, I still think it's worth it. Especially, since you only need maternity clothes for a short time, it's great to try different styles and return them when you no longer need them rather than investing in a whole new wardrobe for a limited time.
I think Rent the Runway Maternity is worth it! But what do you think? Let me know in the comments below.