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What Is Rent The Runway? Borrow Designer Duds

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Buying new clothes for events, holidays and even the change of seasons starts to add up quickly. If you’re looking for ways to save money on clothes without sacrificing quality, rentals may be the perfect solution. Rent the Runway is a rental service specializing in high-end designer clothing. You can get a membership plan to rent multiple items every month and supplement your closet with extra items, or you can rent single items without becoming a member. Just a few months ago, in September of 2020, RTR made some pretty big changes to their subscription plans and return service, and you can read about it here.

Rent the Runway lets you borrow between 4 and 16 items a month. All their pieces are high-end designer items, and they’re perfect for special events and holidays. The service isn’t just for formal items, though, and you can find plenty of casual pieces to fill out your wardrobe. If you have limited storage space or want to experiment with bolder styles, you can try this service starting at $89 a month.

Rent The Runway Overview

Rent the Runway has 3 subscription options, and you can choose to get 4 items, 8 items or 16 items a month. Each shipment from RTR includes 4 items packaged in a reusable garment bag. You can keep rentals for as long as you want as long, if you have a membership.


  • High-end items
  • Several different subscription plans
  • Keep items as long as you want

One of the best things about RTR is that all their items are expensive designer items that ordinarily cost hundreds of dollars. You can borrow these clothes for a fraction of the original price, including things that would normally be out of your budget.

RTR offers subscriptions starting at $89, and that option is great for people who need only a few items each month. If you want to shell out $199 a month, you can get up to 16 different items. It all depends on your needs.

As long as you keep up a membership, you can keep items for as long as you want. That means you can make something part of your seasonal wardrobe, and then let it go when you’re tired of the trend or the


  • Basic subscribers only get access to the basic closet
  • Items aren’t available in all sizes

The basic $89 plan only gives you access to the basic RTR closet, which includes items up to $350 retail. Their full closet includes pieces worth up to $3500. To get full access, you need to pay for the $135 plan.

Just because an item is available through the service doesn’t mean it’ll be available in your size. This is a common problem with rental services. Certain sizes tend to be more popular than others, and some designers have a limited sizing range. To avoid the heartbreak of finding the perfect item in the wrong size, you can filter clothes by size.

How does Rent The Runway work?

Rent the Runway lets you borrow designer clothes according to your subscription plan. You can order specific items, and they’ll arrive in reusable garment bags. You can keep each item as long as you want.

RTR currently has 3 subscription plans that let you rent anywhere from 4 to 16 items a month. This subscription structure is new as of September of this year. They’ve closed their previous subscription plans, including the popular Unlimited Swap, to new customers, and they plan to phase it out entirely by 2021.

Once you’ve picked your plan, you can look through their selection. The website has some helpful, very specific filter options, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. You can add specific items to your shipments, so you choose items strategically, according to what you need seasonally or for special occasions.

Another new feature at RTR is the ability to pick out the clothing in your next selection before you mail back your current rentals. This change means there’ll be less time spent waiting for your next delivery of rental clothes.

When you’re done with your items, send them back, including the protective plastic packaging. Rent the Runway will recycle the packaging. They’ll also clean the clothes for you, so you don’t need to worry about cleaning expensive materials or items that require specialty cleaning. They use both wet and dry cleaning, depending on the piece.

Incidental damage and normal wear and tear are covered by your RTR subscription, so you don’t need to worry about loose buttons or stains. If there’s any major damage, though, they’ll charge you the members’ price. They don’t specify what major damage is, but I’m imagining huge tears, burn marks, burst seams, and things of that nature.

Make sure to return your items through FedEx. You can stop by the FedEx store or one of the many dropoff locations, which exist in grocery stores, malls, and more. RTR may charge you the item’s full price if your items are lost due to an incorrect return method.

If you’ve used the service before, you’ll know that RTR used to have customers return items through UPS. They switched to FedEx recently as part of their company overhaul.

How much does Rent The Runway cost?

How much you end up paying each month for Rent the Runway depends on the subscription plan you choose.

Your first month on the basic plan will cost $69 for a trial month, but from then on it will cost $89 a month. The basic tier allows you access to the basic closet, and you get one shipment that includes up to 4 items.

What’s the basic closet? This includes all RTR items worth up to $350 retail. Their full closet includes all clothes, which have retail costs of up to $3500.

The next subscription option is $135 a month for up to 8 items. With this option, you get access to the full RTR closet and 2 shipments of clothing each month.

It costs $199 a month for up to 16 items a month, or 4 clothing shipments a month. This is the highest subscription tier. This subscription also grants you access to their full closet.

Their swap plans, including the Unlimited Swap Plan, don’t exist anymore as of this September. I’ve noticed a lot of subscription companies modifying their plans recently, and RTR is doing so even more dramatically than the others.

If you don’t want to join a subscription plan, you can rent single items without signing up. Prices on individual items vary depending on the date you want to rent them. Single rentals can be anywhere from around $30 to more than $100. In some cases, it might be a better deal just to sign up for a basic subscription and get a few other pieces at the same time.

How do you sign up for Rent The Runway?

When you sign up for Rent the Runway, you’ll first need to decide what plan you want to join and fill out your payment information. Their basic plan is a good place to start, but it does exclude pieces worth over $350. If you want access to their full closet and pricier items, you’ll need to join the 8 item or 16 item plan.

After signing up, you can go through their selection and add items to your favorites to keep track of them.

What brands does Rent The Runway send?

Rent the Runway is known for featuring high-end, designer brands. They carry over 700 brands, and their basic closet includes over 450 designers.

They have young, new designers like Pyer Moss, along with established figures like Rebecca Minkoff, Jill Sander, Haider Ackermann, and Tory Burch. You can see the full list here. This service is a great way to get acquainted with new names in fashion without breaking the bank.

RTR carries a wide size range, from 00 to 22. It can be hard to find designer clothing in plus sizes, so this is a great option for plus size women.

Final Thoughts

Rent the Runway is a rental service for designer clothing of all kinds. This rental service isn’t just for formal clothing, and you can use it to supplement the clothes you already have. RTR will be there whether you need a cocktail dress or a great pair of jeans. It’ll be especially useful if you have limited closet space, are preparing for a series of parties, or are pregnant. The price is a bit higher than other rental services, but each month you can borrow thousands of dollars’ worth of clothes.

I recommend this service to people who love designer clothes and are willing to pay a little extra for quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you cancel Rent The Runway?

To cancel Rent the Runway, you need to contact them via email or over the phone. You can pause your membership online, though, to avoid getting charged for the upcoming month.

When is the billing date for Rent the Runway?

Your billing date will be the same each month, and it’s the date you confirm your membership. You can see your billing date under your account details.

Can you buy clothes from Rent the Runway?

Rent the Runway lets members buy items they rent at a special discount. Non-members can also shop the sale section of their website to find items up to 90% off.

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