I Rented the Runway

It’s becoming impossible to pull off the same dress twice. With the proliferation of shared photos via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. — everyone’s seen it. And though it’s unlikely you’ll be tagged in a “She Wore it Twice!” post in a gossip magazine, your friends WILL notice. Ten years ago, you could rotate the same dress for years among different social circles. Today, not a chance. Many of us had doubled, tripled our wardrobes in college due to the close proximity of suite mates and sorority sisters.  But after graduation, our choices became limited to our own closets.

I had heard of Rent the Runway, but was wary of receiving a dress without having tried it on first and then having to return it immediately after wearing it. Too much pressure. What if it looked nothing like the picture? Was too tight? What if I doused it in wine after a night out? But recently, I put those worries aside. With a week-long work engagement approaching in Las Vegas with many high-profile events, I needed a solution. I didn’t want to empty my checking account on dresses I’d only wear once.

So I did it. I Rented the Runway. I viewed tons of dresses and styles online, but the part that really sucked me in were the personal reviews — and pictures of real women, fellow renters. It’s one thing to see a 6′ tall, 90lb. airbrushed model shot against a green screen. It’s quite another to see  how real women rocked the dress at a wedding, at a party… for their engagement photos. It was so much more intimate, and helpful. I could say “Ok, silver shoes worked better than the black… She wore a size 6 and a red clutch and she looks about the same size as me. And she said to wear a strapless bra with this one.”


I reserved two dresses and they were set to arrive two days before I took off for my work trip. There is a 4-day and an 8-day rental option, the latter a little bit more $$, but when you’re traveling out of town, that’s your safest bet.

While I waited for a courier to deliver my dresses in Manhattan, I received an email that one of my reserved dresses had been returned damaged and that they had personally picked out a nicer dress in a similar style to send me. The curiosity killed me, I was online in seconds to search the name of the dress on their web site. Wow. It was 100x nicer than the original dress I had picked out — and more expensive. But they covered the difference. It’s the dress displayed above.

Both dresses I received came in two sizes. They will include a second size at no charge, which is super smart. Did the dresses look brand smackin’ new? No. They were definitely pre-worn, but in good condition and drycleaned. For night-time events, I think they both worked perfectly. For daytime, I might be a bit more cautious. But I definitely recommend this service and will use it again.

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Here are my tips:

  1. Pick a dress that is less popular. The dresses with the most reviews had obviously been worn the most.
  2. Rent the accessories to go with it, especially a nice clutch.
  3. Order a few dresses for a week-long trip.
  4. If you’re not completely satisfied with anything — call or email Rent the Runway right away. They’re extremely responsive.
  5. Don’t tell everyone you’re wearing “Rent the Runway” like I did. Keep it your little secret.

Kudos Rent the Runway, you’ve made my DigiDay!