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!