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Rent the Runway, Reviewed

When Rent the Runway launched late last year, I was intrigued. Unlike Avelle (a bag rental service, formerly known as Bag, Borrow or Steal), renting special occasion dresses actually makes SENSE to me. While bags are investment purchases and I'll carry the right one for years (hey there, trusty Louis Vuitton Speedy 30!), I have to attend many events on a monthly basis and frankly, I don't want to be seen in the same special occasion dress over and over again.  So, Rent the Runway seemed like a godsend.

Despite my enthusiasm, it took a few months for me to come back around to the site and actually place an order. Last week's Women In Need Gala, honoring Brendan Hoffman, CEO of Lord & Taylor & Cindi Leive, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour Magazine, was the perfect occasion for a test drive as if ANYTHING warrants a new dress, it's a room full of rich men (and, uh, a worthy cause?)

 

 

Choosing a dress was relatively easy.  Rent the Runway has a fantastic mix of young and established designers (think Robert Rodriguez, Proenza Schouler, Tibi + more) and rental fees are affordable - from $50 to $250.  While a few of my choices were unavailable for my chosen date and/or size (understandable, as I doubt if they're able to keep a deep stock), I WAS able to reserve a gorgeous goddess-y Yigal Azrouel frock ($100 rental fee), above.

And I was really looking forward to wearing it until about 2 days before the event, when Rent the Runway called me to communicate two issues with my order:

  • My alternate size was out of stock
  • The first choice size was in "less than pristine" condition

 

While I appreciated the call, I was admittedly non-plussed by the situation and they agreed to cancel the order and credit my card.

Imagine my surprise when a messenger delivery from Rent the Runway arrived just a few hours later.

Despite the effort (which deserves an A+!), the dress arrived in the wrong color and in questionable condition (the fabric is quite delicate and there were several visible pulls.) In addition, the "fit kit," a selling point of the Rent the Runway experience, was not included.

As I was in dire sartorial straits, I wore the Yigal dress anyway and it admittedly garnered a myriad of compliments, even one from Purple Lab creatrix Karen Robinovitz (also known as one of the most stylish women that I know.)

Aside from some flaws in the system and a less-than-stellar experience this go-around, Rent the Runway is a clever solution to that age-old problem, "But what will I wear?"

To become a member, leave a comment below with your email address enabled and I'll shoot you an invite!

1

well glad it somehow worked for you in the end, that's a gorgeous dress! would love an invite to check out the site, dee32485(at)gmail(dot)com thanks!

4/15/10

2

Just sent! Enjoy!

4/15/10

3

Interesting. I've been curious about Rent the Runway for quite some time, but they literally never have my size in any dress I'm interested in -- and the wait time for availability is always at least 2 weeks. Hearing that the dress arrived in less than pristine condition and not even in the right color doesn't really instill much confidence in me, but maybe one of these days I'll give it a shot!

4/16/10

4

i would also love an invite to this site.
my e-mail address is primaballerina_x3@hotmail.com.
thank you!
btw i love reading your blogs.
i made your site my homepage on my laptop :)
<3333

4/16/10

5

You looked Gorg!! Honored to be the most stylish person you know!! Looking forward to more fab times!!!
MWAH!

4/20/10

browni706
6

I've been interested in this site for a while and would like to try it out, if you could send me an invite at browni706@gmail.com, that'd be great, thanks!

4/20/10

Anonymous
7

Hii!! I've been trying to sign up for RTR for a few days now but I haven't got a password yet...help! Send me & invite!! Thanks girl!

4/21/10

Milly2010
8

WOW! Thank you very much for the review! It answered so many questions I had about RTR. Can you please shoot me an invite? camiz311@yahoo.com

4/21/10

Anonymous
9

this place sounds like a good idea. i really need a prom dress so an invite would be much appreciated. thanks!
mjdimuzio@cps.edu

4/28/10

Anonymous
10

I recently rented a "dress" from Rent The Runway. Never again will I make that mistake!

Five weeks before my black-tie office party I chose to rent a dress from Rent The Runway and placed an order for the dress online. For those of you unfamiliar with how Rent The Runway works, you select a dress style that you like, choose two sizes (the one that you think is most likely to fit and another size as a backup in case you guessed wrong), they ship the dress to you for four days, and after you are done using it you mail it back.

All would’ve been fine if the process had it actually worked, but it did not. Instead, the day before my dress was to arrive they called and said that the dress was no longer available. They offered to allow me to pick another dress (“any value”, they said), but I quickly found that their inventory had been depleted and there were only a couple of leftovers remaining. I eventually found a satisfactory dress (trust me, it wouldn’t have been my choice in any less-desperate situation) which ended up being less expensive to rent than the one I had selected before.

If that wasn’t enough – can you believe that they had the audacity to try and fight me on getting a refund for the differences between the dresses? After much haggling I won out, but what a terrible experience overall! I can assure you that I will never do business with this company again.

And too bad for them – I was the person that had agreed to be the guinea pig this year amongst folks at the office. Hope they knew they were writing off 30+ dress rentals (each year) when they decided to screw me!

12/09/10

Anonymous
11

I was delighted to discover Rent the Runway but less than delighted by the results when I chose to order a gown for a black tie event. Two days before the dress was supposed to be delivered, they emailed me to say that my preferred size was not available anymore. Excuse me, what?? I put in my order over a month ago to make sure that it WOULD be available and paid $200. They offered to send me another size instead and assured me that the dress runs true to size. Hello, that doesn't help, being as I ordered the dress IN MY SIZE so if it is true to size then THANK YOU for NOT sending my size... Ridiculous! Never order from Rent the Runway, they don't have their stuff together!

3/12/12

Ilana Nagib
12

I rented a dress for the Inaugural Ball more than a week ago from Rent the Runway. Yesterday, they sent me an e-mail saying that my dress isn't available anymore. Btw, this is a new dress that just came up, and no one never wore. I can't no stop thinking they also rented the dress to someone else, or worst, they took the dress from me to give to someone else. The e-mail was just insensitive. What to do? They offer to send me other dresses to try to repair their mistake. Got the dresses today. Hate them. It is not what I want to use to the ball. Why? Because they didn't have any nice dresses available anymore. I am volunteering all day today, and tomorrow I am gonna have to run to the store to try to buy a dress. I am desperate. I don't recommend their services, and I am never using RTR again.

1/19/13

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