• Mama Kate

Rent the Runway: 11 things you should know before you subscribe

Style icons. They come in many forms, from A-list celebrities and fashion models to librarians, and everywhere in between. They exude style and personality, their wardrobes flowing straight from an effervescent fountain of chic. We gravitate toward those whose style vibes match our own, inspired by their bold accessories and uniquely paired outfits. I do, anyway.

My muse de la mode? I found her at my office. I've admired this chick since the first time I saw her... killer style, fantastic blue hair, and a magnetic personality. Plus, she's a total boss.

I complimented her look a few weeks ago - as I have many times before - and that's when she spilled her secret.

Rent. the. Runway.

Rent the Runway, I learned, has an unlimited subscription service where you pay a flat fee every month and can check out up to four pieces at a time. You pick your own pieces (unlike Stitch Fix or the other services that pick for you) and can swap them out as many times as you want.

The unlimited package, she explained, was great for travel - she's had her RTR delivery sent directly to her destination and shipped it all back before she headed home. She loved the option to keep any of the items for as long as she wanted - she'd been holding on to one jacket for a few months and was thinking about buying it (which she could do for a discount as a perk of her RTR membership).

I asked so many questions, and now we're best friends. She went home that day and found me an old referral link that hadn't been used yet... and voila! Here I am trying Rent the Runway for F-R-E-E! (#winning)

So how is it, you ask?

I love it! Mostly.

There are a few downsides, naturally, but I find the pros far outweigh the cons. But you decide for yourself.

Here is everything you need to know about Rent the Runway before you try it:

1. You're going to LOVE taking big risks

When I buy clothes, I’m committing. I have cost-per-wear in mind; if I don’t believe I’ll wear it several times, I simply don’t invest.

Subscription services like Rent the Runway, on the other hand, grant me the freedom to splurge on uber-memorable styles that I know I'd only wear a couple of times. Floral jogger pants with a racing stripe down the side? Send them to me (scroll for proof…). Faux fur multicolor coat... why not? Bodycon dress? Never thought I would have said yes... 2. You'll LOVE getting access to designer labels Dianne Von Furstenberg. Temperley London. Milly. Rag & Bone. Brands I adore but am far too cheap to pay full price for are right at my fingertips. I’ve only been under the RTR spell for a month, but I've already donned over $2,700 in designer merchandise… and haven’t spent a dime. My free trial ends in ten days, but so far, this experience has been well worth the $159 subscription fee. 3. You'll LOVE trying before you buy I usually just buy before I try, but now I can be smarter about shopping. RTR lets me go crazy and try something like these floral jogger pants by The Kooples (don’t mind if I do). When you aren't buying the merchandise, you feel a lot more comfortable trying new brands and styles you'd never given thought to before.

RTR sends return packaging and a pre-printed shipping label with every shipment, so returning your items is as easy as can be. Especially if your office has a UPS drop off box, like mine does.

Hello, Lulu trousers. Love The Kooples, love these joggers.

4. You'll LOVE to see each look on real people Rent the Runway encourages you to review and share pictures of you wearing each piece you rent, so you can flip through real user looks to decide whether that piece will work for you.

Read their honest reviews, decide for yourself if you want to give it a try. 5. You're going to HATE the risk of body odor... The single biggest downside of my RTR subscription has been… the stink.

Yeah, that happened. Only on one of the items, but still. It was pretty bad. Smelling like someone else’s body odor all day? I'm not into that.

6. ...but, you'll LOVE that they ask for product feedback

So the stink experience was bad, but I was reassured when I went to their website to reorder my next four looks. They request feedback on your latest delivery, including quality issues, so I immediately reported the aforementioned stink. I don't know what they do with that information, but I feel better for having shared the feedback. 7. You'll be BUMMED when a style doesn’t hit The second biggest downside of RTR? When a style just doesn’t work on my body. I rented a gorgeous Tara Jarmon wrap dress that looked simply stunning in most people's pictures, but on me? Total circus tent. It ate me alive.

So that was a bummer.

It's also less than ideal when you think a pair of your shoes will work with an outfit and you find out you were wrong. But you won't mind an excuse to buy new shoes...

8. You'll LOVE the option to buy at 75% off retail When a style does hit… I fall in love fast, but fashion lovers need not worry. You can actually buy anything you rent at a sweet discount.

Buying from Rent the Runway is a little bit like buying consignment - you’re getting well-loved pieces, but at prices of 40 to 75% off retail. What a steal! 9. Plus, you gotta LOVE the sustainability of it all! Most RTR shipments arrive in a reusable bag. Any e-commerce company that tries to reduce their carbon footprint with sustainable shipping methods is A+ in my book.

What's more, if you think of the economics of the program, renting means you’re buying less at other retailers (no boxes from them, either).

You’re buying less fast fashion, too (AKA cheap clothes that are made in factories overseas by people who are overworked and underpaid).

Last but not least, you end up wasting fewer clothes. According to RTR’s research, the average woman throws away 82 pounds of clothing a year... seriously? I'm starting to feel better and better about renting my wardrobe.

Read more about RTR’s sustainability here. #RentReduceReuse 10. You'll HATE that changing your membership isn’t super easy… I’m probably going to hang on to my RTR Unlimited membership, but if I did want to cancel or change plans, I’d have to call or email customer service, which gives me icky vibes. As a consumer-driven brand, Rent the Runway can – and certainly should – make customer service easy and accessible for all.

It's easy to sign up, so it should be easy to cancel. 11. Last but not least, you'll LOVE this referral bonus… If you’re convinced and want to try it for yourself, go for it! I'm three weeks in and already sufficiently hooked. I highly recommend you give it a go. Here is a discount link for $30 off your first order: https://rtr.app.link/e/s3MvKEYMMU

Happy renting, friends!

- Mama Kate

Woo me, Jason Wu.

Thick material. Pleats. Sparkles. Loved this DVF skirt!

Someone told me they were enamored by my outfit the other day. Best compliment, ever! Thanks, Prose & Poetry.

#RenttheRunway #RTR #fashion #review #subscriptionservices #style

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