Renting Designer Dresses – My Rent the Runway Review

Renting designer dresses with Rent the Runway
Susana Monaco dress (similar) | Thrifted duster | Sam Edelman pumps (similar) The Sak vintage tote

Happy New Year everyone! I, for one, am super excited for 2019. I just feel like there’s going to be a really good year! Jeff and I didn’t go crazy with the NYE celebration this year – we’ve been keeping our energy focused on the upcoming move. (Still lots to do!) We decided to go out to a very nice steak dinner and then have a quiet evening at home. Even though we weren’t going to a big party or event, I still wanted to dress up fancy though! However, I’m trying not to accumulate more stuff, and I certainly don’t want to drop a lot of money on a dress right now. So I decided to pull the trigger on something I’ve been considering for a while – renting a dress from Rent the Runway!

I’ve never used a clothing rental service before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. And I know that many of you are curious about how it works too – so here’s my review of Rent the Runway.

red Susana Monaco dress from Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway is exactly as it sounds – it’s a clothing rental service for higher end designer brand clothing. I personally did not know that you can rent more than dresses and gowns – they have a wide variety of different clothing you can rent, including plus size and maternity clothing. As someone who suffered through both pregnancies in really ugly maternity clothing, I think this is a brilliant idea.

There are a few options for renting – you can rent a garment at a time, like I did, or you can purchase a subscription plan which allows you to “check out” a certain number of rental garments at a time. There are two tiers of the subscription plan –

The Rent the Runway Update plan

-costs $89 a month($69 for the first trial month), and allows you to have 4 items out at a time. You can swap one item a month if you don’t like something.

The Rent the Runway Unlimited plan

-costs $159 a month ($99 for the first trial month) and allows you to have 4 items at a time on constant rotation – unlimited swaps! This plan also supposedly comes with a larger selection of designers to choose from.

Both plans come with free 2 day shipping, free garment cleaning (you don’t clean them before you send back) and free damage insurance. Both plans are also commitment free – you can cancel at any time.

I didn’t opt for a subscription – I got what’s called the Pro plan, which is $30 a year and allows you to have free shipping on a-la-carte rentals. I figured that I may rent a dress a few times a year for events, and $30 is worth free shipping now and in the future! You also get a $30 rental credit during your birthday month with the Pro plan. I also got 20% off my first rental. AND I got to choose a second “backup” rental dress for free. (Although the selection for the backup dresses is fairly narrow, they are still nice.)

So all in all, it seemed like a pretty good deal. I ended up paying $63 to rent 2 dresses for a 4 day time period. One additional nice feature is that my “main” dress came with a backup size – you get to pick the next size up or down to ensure that your dress will fit. I really like this as fashion sizing can be kind of arbitrary.

Sequined Badgley Mischka dress

The dresses I chose were a Badgley Mischka sequined dress in a champagne color, and a red Susana Monaco bodycon dress with off the shoulder sleeves.

Since I now had 2 cute dresses to wear and the shipping information stated they would arrive on Friday, I decided to plan a photoshoot for the blog and Instagram. May as well get as much mileage out of these rental dresses as possible!

However, much to my annoyance, there was a shipping error and my dresses were delayed one day. Luckily, Jeff is my photographer so we just moved my photoshoot from Saturday to Sunday, but that situation would have been a lot more stressful if I had either planned to wear them to an event, or if I had hired a photographer. I would definitely account for some shipping leeway if you need a garment for a specific date!

When the dresses arrived, I was surprised to find a black garment bag on my porch – as if a dry cleaner had dropped off an order. I somehow expected that they would be packaged in a box or some kind of protective packaging. The garment bag zipped open with no locking device of any kind – someone could have easily taken a dress out. Also, the garment bag is not in any way weather protected. I’ve has mail delivery people leave packages at the bottom of my steps. It makes me nervous to have hundreds of dollars of designer garments just sitting outside like that, fairly unprotected. So if I order again, I will make sure I’m home to receive the mail right away.

Sequined dress and ankle boots

The dresses were nicely packaged inside the garment bag, each on a hanger and covered with a clear garment bag. They were in nice condition – the interior lining of the Badgley Mischka dresses showed some slight wear – pilling and a few snags – but the sequins were all secured, zipper worked well, and no snags or threadbare appearance to the outside. The red Susana Monaco dress was in excellent condition. One interesting thing I did notice was that the colors were slightly different between the two sizes of sequined Badgley Mischka dresses. Just a slight variation, but one dress was a little more warm, gold toned and one was a little more muted.

I’m glad I got to choose two sizes of the Badgley Mischka dress, because I have definitely gained a few pounds in 2018 and the smaller size would have been a little snug! The red dress was a stretch knit fabric and fit perfectly.

I wore both dresses for our Sunday photoshoot, and the sequined Badgley Mischka for our dinner on Monday night.

Both dresses were very well made, fit great, and felt like higher-end garments. The Badgley Mischka dress was extremely comfortable and flattering! The Susana Monaco dress would have been perfect – except for the fold-over sleeves. In the online photos, it shows the model wearing the sleeves perfectly folded down for an elegant and glam off the shoulder look. However, when I tried to do that, the top would not stay down. It might be because I have way larger boobs than the model – but I had to have Jeff fix the top down for me (impossible to do by myself) and then be very careful not to move my arms when posing for photos. It looked lovely in pictures, but I simply could not have worn it to any event. It is a photo shoot only dress!

Otherwise, I did love it. The fabric was very high quality and flattering – I think I will try this designer again, but with a different sleeve/neckline.

Badgley Mischka sequined dress

For both my photoshoot, which was outdoors at Santana Row in San Jose, as well as my dinner date, I got lots of compliments in the dresses! They are both very eye catching and lovely in person. I felt extremely luxe walking around in expensive designer clothing!

Overall I can say I’m very happy with my rentals. Any time you’re trying a garment sight-unseen, there can be fit issues, so I’m not particularly mad about the sleeve issue on the red dress. I think Rent the Runway is a great option for sourcing beautiful designer clothing for events or photo shoots. I will definitely use the service again – I am considering a subscription plan. I think it would be very valuable for shooting trend outfits for the blog, having chic seasonal clothing that I don’t have to store, or just wearing something new each month. I probably spend a similar amount on clothing each month, so it would be worth trying financially. However, if you don’t shop that often, it’s still a great option for a once a year event rental!

If you’re thinking of trying the service out, sign up through my link! If you end up renting, I get credits to use towards my own rentals – and I can happily put them to good use!

I’m already eyeing a few winter jackets for Colorado!

Please let me know if you have any questions about my Rent the Runway experience – I’d love to answer them!

Cheers – Rachel

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2 responses to “Renting Designer Dresses – My Rent the Runway Review”

  1. JD says:

    Love the dresses and the post! Keep it up!

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