You guys may recall about six weeks ago that I asked your input on a very crucial life decision…what to wear to an uber-stylish event Mr. SP and I were attending in New York on Valentine’s weekend. 😉 Goodness knows I have a fair number of dresses in my closet to choose from, but I liked the idea of upping my style-game a bit, and using the opportunity to try something a little different.
I loved this fun skirt option, but most of you agreed it was too Christmasy for February. Then I fell down the rabbit-hole that is Rent the Runway, and suddenly I had more amazing options than I could choose from! For this second installment of Sugarplum Style Tips (a series dedicated to giving your style a little something-something extra), I’m sharing my experience with Rent the Runway.
If you’re not familiar with the dress rental site, let me give you the simple rundown….first you peruse the thousands of styles by over 300 top designers, using the filters to help narrow down your choices. Read the reviews (with photos!) by real-life women to see how your favorites fit and wear before selecting your size…and if you’re still not sure, you get a free second size as back-up!
Then select your timeframe (either 4 or 8 days), rent the dress for a fraction of the cost to buy it, and wait for gorgeousness to appear at your doorstep! Or in my case, delivered to our hotel. The dates of our trip didn’t allow enough time for me to receive the dresses at home before leaving, so I had it shipped to the hotel in New York.
They arrived perfectly laundered in a thick garment bag, complete with instructions for returning, and a pre-paid shipping label. They even cover the cleaning upon return!
I was nervous about the whole thing working right, having never tried Rent the Runway before (nor do I have experience with designer sizing), so of course I’d packed my own dresses as back-up…but as soon as I pulled these beauties out of the bag, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. And then started jumping around like Julia Roberts after her Pretty Woman shopping spree. #minusthewholehookerpart #namethatmovie
Since it was Valentine’s weekend, and I’d waited until last minute to rent, back-up sizes weren’t available in either of my top picks. Fortunately, you’re able to rent a second style for only $32.50, so I grabbed them both and hoped one would fit.
So just how great of a deal is Rent the Runway? Well, I rented two dresses that retail for $1000, for around $100! Granted it’s still $100 spent, and I don’t have a dress to show for it…but I’d likely have spent more than that buying a dress not nearly as spectacular, and might never have worn again.
Plus, it gave me the opportunity to wear and experience dresses well beyond anything I’d ever buy (hello, Halston!!??)! I’d never spend $500-plus on a dress. Ever. But I felt like a million dollars in those dresses that weekend. I may have even shed a tear when I packed them back up.
Both were a little big on me, so the smaller back-up size would have come in handy. But there is such a difference in the construction and material of designer clothes, that they both still fit my frame enough to wear without it being obvious.
* Be realistic and familiar with what styles fit your body…and what shapes you’re comfortable wearing. The downside of the service is you don’t get to try the dress on weeks before your event. (Although, they guarantee you’ll love your dress or they’ll overnight you a new one!)
* Read the real-life reviews, and stylist notes, they are hugely helpful in determining what size you’ll wear.
* Get the free back-up size if available!
* If you’re looking for a specific event, filter the options by your date range so you don’t fall in love with something not available when you need it.
* Don’t wait until the last minute…order as soon as you get an invitation to something fun (wedding, party, showers, etc) for a better chance at securing your favorite style and size.
* While you want to stick with a style and fit you’re confident will work with your body shape, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. After all, it’s not an investment piece you’ll be stuck with in your closet for years to come.
* If your event is out-of-town, have the dresses shipped to you there.
* Sign up for emails even if you don’t have any immediate events…they constantly offer sales and promotions. (If you use my referral link, you’ll get $20 of your first rental. This post is completely unsponsored…anyone can get a referral link to gain credits towards future rentals.)
I absolutely can’t wait for an excuse to rent again…now instead of that familiar pang of uncertainty over what to wear when invited to something fun, I’ll jump at the chance to try a new, amazing, designer dress! I’ve already favorited so many I hope to try in the future. Have you ever used Rent the Runway?