I Tried Rent the Runway– December 2020

Rent The Runway Review

Clothing rentals are an increasingly popular way to experiment with style and borrow statement pieces instead of buying them. Rent the Runway is one of the most popular rental services, and for good reason. This service lets you rent thousands of dollars of clothes each month with plans starting at $89. Rent The Runway carries a lot of designer brands, and you’ll probably discover some new favorites through this service.

Over a month with Rent the Runway, I borrowed 8 pieces of clothing. I tried out a floral denim jacket, a striped red and orange top, red and black houndstooth pants, a red leather jacket, a velveteen top, a floral dress, and a suit jacket and pants in a metallic fuschia leopard print. It’s hard to pick just one favorite, but I had a lot of fun with the floral denim jacket, because I could wear it anywhere and I got a lot of compliments on it. I recommend Rent The Runway to anyone looking for an affordable way to wear luxury items.

What We Like About Rent The Runway

Rent The Runway Package

Rent the Runway sent my rentals through overnight mail, and this was during the height of the 2020 holidays mail fiasco, so they only took a few days to arrive. Everything comes packed neatly into a reusable shipping bag, and the items are wrapped nicely in plastic and on hangers, ready to be transferred into your closet.

Rent The Runway Garment Bag

If there’s too much to fit into one garment bag, they might send part of your order in a poly mailer bag.

Rent The Runway Shipping Bag

Rent The Runway has a really wide, varied selection of designers and items. No matter what look you’re going for, you’ll find it here. They have classic, elegant clothes, edgy street style, bright and whimsical clothes, and more.

I rented a total of $4,063 worth of clothes over a month. That comes out to about $507 per item, though I know I had items as low as $79 retail and as expensive as $960 retail.

One of my favorite things about Rent the Runway is the number of reviews on the website, and how useful they are. They allow customer photos, and nearly every item has multiple photos of people of all different sizes and body types. It’s a really helpful feature that gives you an idea of what the clothes might look like on you. There’s usually a lot of advice on whether you need to size up or down, too. Since women’s sizes are so wildly different between brands, this is really useful information.

Rent the Runway has a robust accessories section. You can rent handbags, jewelry, sunglasses, bridal accessories, and even home goods. I don’t accessorize very much, so I stuck to clothes, but the option is there for those who want it!

With Rent The Runway, you can order your next bag before you’ve sent back your current one, so you can maximize your time with each order. Be careful about timing, though, so you don’t get charged for late fees.

What We Don’t Like About Rent The Runway

Rent the Runway charges some pretty intense late fees. If you don’t send your items back within 7 days of the due date, they’ll charge you the full members’ price of a rental item, even if they do receive the return.

Rent The Runway uses FedEx as their shipping partner. Unfortunately, FedEx doesn’t offer free home pickups like UPS and USPS do, so returning your orders is less convenient.

Rent the Runway can get pretty pricey, depending on the plan you choose. I can understand why they charge those prices, considering the high-end products and the care involved in keeping them fresh. Even so, this isn’t the best subscription service if you’re looking for the most affordable option.

I have a minor complaint about the plastic covers on each item. They might be useful in travel situations, but otherwise they just don’t feel necessary. I think it would be easy to just skip them and avoid a lot of plastic waste. I wonder if it would be possible for customers to opt out of having plastic wrappers on their clothes, or if it would be a logistical nightmare.

Velvet Seth Top by Heartloom

Velvet Seth Top by Heartloom Front
Velvet Seth Top by Heartloom Side
Velvet Seth Top by Heartloom Back

This red velvet top gave me a medieval feel, with the slight sleeve puff and the ribbed velvet. I ended up wearing this on Christmas, and it was suitably festive. The cutouts at the front and back make this shirt even more visually interesting, if the fabric isn’t enough.

I was worried this would feel cheap in person, like so many velvet or velveteen fabrics do, but I was satisfied with the quality.

Ribbon Waist Dress by Marchesa Notte

Ribbon Waist Dress by Marchesa Notte Front
Ribbon Waist Dress by Marchesa Notte Back

I love any dark florals, like the moody dark blue background of this fabric, and the pink contrasts nicely. The pattern looks very painterly, and you can see the brushstrokes. The gathered layers of this dress are delicate and the effect is really elegant.

I’m not big on dresses, but I thought this dress was so pretty I wanted to try to find somewhere to wear it. Unfortunately, it’s so glamorous that I couldn’t find anywhere to wear it that wouldn’t feel ridiculous!

The fit around the shoulders was strange, at least on me. The sleeves kept sliding down unless I kept my shoulder squared at all times.

Analiese Balzer by Tanya Taylor

Analiese Balzer by Tanya Taylor Front
Analiese Balzer by Tanya Taylor Back
Analiese Balzer by Tanya Taylor Outside
Analiese Balzer by Tanya Taylor Stitching

This suit jacket has a boxy fit, but it’s still glamorous and flattering. I sized down, to avoid too much of an oversized look. I actually love how it looks from behind! The shoulder padding is perfect, in my opinion: definitely giving me squarer shoulders than I have, but avoiding an 80s linebacker look.

I wore this on my birthday, and I was able to get a nice shot of it on a (completely deserted) parking structure rooftop! Yes, that is a face mask you see in my hand…

I noticed the jacket still had the vent stitched closed. Personally, I’m a big proponent of cutting open jacket pockets and cutting the vent stitching open, so the jacket can move naturally. I didn’t want to mess with this rental, though.

Madden Pants by Tanya Taylor

Madden Pants by Tanya Taylor Front

There’s a lot going on with these pants– metallic, cropped, and flared. They sound ridiculous, and maybe they kind of are, but they’re so much fun to wear! The material is much softer than you’d think, without the scratchy, crunchy feel you get from lamé. They have large pockets, which is always a plus when it comes to women’s clothing. The fit felt true to size.

My only gripe is that the waistband had marks in it from the hanger clips. I think Rent The Runway should invest in some hangers with softer clips to avoid marking up delicate fabrics!

Red Baby Jane Jacket by Veda

Red Baby Jane Jacket by Veda Front
Red Baby Jane Jacket by Veda Side
Red Baby Jane Jacket by Veda Back

This striking red leather jacket was a lot of fun to wear. It’s a thinner, softer leather than I usually go for, but it’s probably more flattering because the material hugs your body more closely. I liked the crop cut, but it meant I had to wear it with high-waisted pants to avoid it looking awkward.

I sized up for this one, per the reviews, but it still felt snug around the bust.

I only wore this once, even though I’m a leather jacket obsessive, because it had a really strong smell like a mix of leather and air freshener. I’m not too sensitive to smells, but it did start to give me a headache. Hopefully that’s not true of all their leather goods.

Multi-Stripe Knit Sweater by Tory Sport

Multi-Stripe Knit Sweater by Tory Sport Front
Multi-Stripe Knit Sweater by Tory Sport Back

The cut of this orange and red sweater is pretty flattering despite the bold horizontal stripes! I love the warm colors.

I got a lot of compliments on this shirt, and a few people told me it reminded them of shirts they had in the 1970s. There’s a matching skirt available on Rent The Runway, and if you want a really striking look, you can rent the full set.

This fabric is stretchy but still holds its shape, so it fits nicely.

Patina 2 Pants by Trina Turk

Patina 2 Pants by Trina Turk Front
Patina 2 Pants by Trina Turk Back
Patina 2 Pants by Trina Turk Side

I love the vintage look of these black and red houndstooth pants. I like Trina Turk’s usual psychedelic designs, but through Rent The Runway I discovered that they’re also making some retro-looking suits. In case you can’t tell from the clothes I chose here, I love both suits and retro vibes!

These pants were a little damp when they arrived in my package, and I can only assume they were packaged just after cleaning.

Blue Floral Denim Jacket by MSGM

Blue Floral Denim Jacket by MSGM Front
Blue Floral Denim Jacket by MSGM Back

This printed denim is such a bright, cheery piece, and it goes with everything. I practically live in denim jackets, so I had to try this printed one. The denim is sturdy and high-quality, and the oversized fit is just right. It has interior pockets and large outer pockets, so I didn’t even carry a purse when I wore this.

I even got a compliment on this at FedEx while I was dropping off my previous Rent The Runway bag!

Final Thoughts

I liked Rent the Runway even more than I expected to, honestly. I’m kind of picky when it comes to clothes, so a lot of rental services aren’t quite right for me. Rent The Runway carries so many brands and items that I had a hard time narrowing down my Favorites section and finalizing my rentals.

Rent the Runway is perfect if you have a unique sense of style and want access to luxury brands without having to pay huge amounts of money. It’s a great source of conversation pieces that you might not necessarily want in your closet. Even if your style, like mine, is less traditionally glamorous, you’ll still find a lot to work with from Rent The Runway.

I recommend the 8 item monthly plan, because it gives you access to the full Rent The Runway closet, and it’s enough to try a lot of styles. The 16 item plan would be excessive for my needs, but I think it would work for someone who supplements their usual wardrobe with lots of rentals.

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