A while back I posted about the various clothing rental companies on the market and decided to take a couple of them for a test spin. My first review was of LeTote and recently I tried Rent the Runway Unlimited.
After initially trying to sign up with Rent the Runway this fall I was told there were no spots available due to the busy holiday season. I put the idea on the back burner but was recently offered the first month of Unlimited for $99. So, I decided to pull the trigger once again. As a quick reminder, Rent the Runway provides the following:
- Unlimited Plan: $159/month – 4 pieces per month, can swap any single piece or all four at any time, larger selection of brands available
- Update Plan: $89/month – 4 pieces per month, can not exchange until the next month, limited brands available
- 20% off first month with code FIRSTRTR
- Free shipping both ways
- User selects the items in their virtual closet
- Wide variety of brands including premium labels like Vince, Milly, Joie, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Lily Pulitzer, etc.
- Individual event-specific rentals also available
- May cancel by telephone or email
Rent the Runway definitely has more unique and high-end pieces that I could get excited about. Unfortunately, the week of my first rental, my social calendar was a bit light. Also, it was freezing in Ohio. Again. So I mainly looked for sweaters for daily wear. Below are the pieces I came up with:
Elizabeth & James Green Clayton Sweater – Retail $595
Loved this sweater! The photo doesn’t do it justice but the variations in the green tones are stunning. Soft. Warm. Pilling on this piece was mild-moderate. Definitely noticeable but not enough that I wouldn’t wear it.
Tara Jarmon Aubergine Sweater – Retail $325
The fit on this was a little off for me. The sleeves seemed much more kimono-style than what is shown in the picture. The ribbed knit seemed to hold up better to cleanings and showed no signs of pilling when received.
Bobeau Auggie Duster Cardigan – Retail $98
Lowest end of the products I chose and it showed. Moderately to severely pilled from cleaning and the front placket would no longer hang straight. Felt I could not wear it in the condition received.
Equipment Black Floral Top – Retail $258
Really, really liked this top although the wrist bows kept coming untied! It was also in great condition.
I dropped my return package at UPS early on a Friday morning and did not receive notification that I could select new items until Tuesday afternoon. After the speedy experience with LeTote, this slow transit time really surprises me! For my second shipment I selected the following pieces. Am a bit nervous to try another sweater but, hey, I’m in Northeast Ohio and it’s still friggin’ cold here! They are in route as I write this but I’ll likely not receive them prior to my Friday post time.
- Joie Adrielle Silk Top – Retail $278
- Joie Florence Dot Top – Retail $288
- Vince Fair Isle Sweater – Retail $485
- Lavand Color Block Coat – Retail $246
Sizing on all pieces seemed correct. When ordering, be sure to read the user reviews and detailed information carefully. There can be some great feedback regarding fit.
Merchandise was received in a cloth garment bag, on hangers and covered with dry cleaning bags.
Pros & Cons
- Overall Selection & Availability. Mostly high-end labels with a few moderate brands thrown in. Great jewelry options including a few of my faves: Kendra Scott, Jenny Packham and Alexis Bittar. Cute seasonal handbags. Nicer outerwear selection that helps expand options for those of us that live in super-cold climates. Trend items but also some quality basics. Some pieces retail for thousands so it’s a great chance to try out something super high-end.
- Search Function on Website. Much better than LeTote! Can hone in on color, weather-appropriateness, designer, body type and more. Very easy and efficient to use, much like most online retail store websites. You can also sort your “hearted” items into subcategories which makes for easier ordering.
- Easy. Just stick the enclosed return label in the pocket provided on the garment bag and send.
- Buy at a Discount. As with LeTote, you have the option to buy something you love at a discount. The prices offered on my rental pieces ranged from 40-50% off retail but I did not opt to keep any items.
- The Fun Factor. As noted before, there is a fun factor. It would have been even more fun if the knits had been in better condition. But the assortment of labels and current trend items are great!
- Turnaround Time. Compared to LeTote, the turnaround times were amazingly slow. I placed my initial order on a Thursday evening and did not receive the items until the following Wednesday. Nearly a full week! Additionally, you may not select new pieces until your old one have been actually received whereas LeTote allows you to pick new items once your return has been scanned. On the Unlimited plan, this will severely hamper the number of change-outs you will get in a month.
- Condition of Clothing. Perhaps it was because I went heavy on sweaters but there was definitely a noticeable amount of pilling from the repeated cleanings. The blouse I ordered was in much better condition.
- App. For iPhone only so as a Samsung Galaxy user, I couldn’t try.
I wish I could merge the two programs I tested: LeTote and Rent the Runway. Hands down, RTR has the better product assortment and availability. But the price point is higher and the turn around times are discouragingly slow, especially for the higher cost Unlimited Plan. I’m not sure yet if I’ll renew for a second month but if I don’t, I may give them a second try over the summer. A busier social calendar and having the flexibility to try more items (due to warmer temps) could make it a better fit for the summer season!
If you’d like to give RTR a try, please use my referral link. You will receive $30 off your first order and I will receive $30 when it ships!
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