That “New Clothes” Feeling at a Fraction of the Cost
Lately, I’ve noticed an uptick in compliments on my clothing. I was feeling blah about my wardrobe and generally-slipping fashion sensibilities. I blame the pandemic and then a pregnancy for not buying any decent clothes for two years, and then BAM, back to real life and I have nothing to wear.
I’m also very particular about how clothes fit me, and I have expensive taste. I’m self-employed and sometimes work from home but I often have client meetings and events to attend as well. When I recently purchased a pair of new black work pants from Banana Republic, I resigned myself to the fact that certain business casual items are just going to cost me about 100 bucks minimum. Well-fitting dresses or special events items would be even more than that.
My frugal side dislikes this, and I also worry that I won’t wear “special pieces” enough to make them count. Then I have to consider selling them or donating them after a while, and it all gets to be too much.
A Shopping Alternative
Then I found a great solution to this shopping problem. I wanted new clothes and the ability to find items that fit me well and felt great on. But I didn’t want the hefty price tags or the long-term commitment. After getting many ads for Rent the Runway, a friend advised me on how she used the program for work clothes and even during her maternity season! I knew of RTR for specialty items like evening and cocktail dresses, but wasn’t familiar with their everyday wear.
How It Works.
You pick your program based on your monthly clothing needs. The lowest package is $94 per month and includes 5 items that you can select from their basic wardrobe which includes more casual and work-wear items. The “Most Loved” package is the one that I use, which includes 10 items (you swap out 5 at a time within 2 shipments) during the month and includes the full wardrobe, which has accessories like handbags and some jewelry too. This package is $144 per month. The biggest package is 15 items per month (within 3 shipments) and is $193 per month. All of these have discounted introductory offers to try them out and no contract holding you in. You can browse items online or using the app and heart your favorite pieces, categorize them, and plan ahead for special events or needs. You can review How it Works and also still have the option for special one-time rental only pieces.
How I Use Rent the Runway
Each month I think a little bit ahead and determine if I want general work clothes, fun summer dresses for travel or events, or work casual blouses or blazers. I usually pick a mix of these items or throw in a handbag for fun. I recently went on a beach trip and added two really fun beach-appropriate dresses that were great for vacation. Sometimes I use my 5 items just for work wear. (I’m in marketing and have enough photo and video moments, I’m even going to write this off! Ask your CPA if you’re self-employed!) There are sizes available from 0 to 22. My favorite part about shopping RTR is seeing photo reviews of real people wearing the items. This helps me determine if I’ll like the cut, need to size up or down, and think it’s appropriate for how I’m planning to wear it.
There have been 2 or 3 items I didn’t wear just because I didn’t have the need during that 2-week duration. But overall, I have really loved most of the items I ordered. I have considered purchasing a few pieces (you always have the option to purchase at a reduced cost) but haven’t kept anything yet. I’m more excited to see what items I’ll chose for myself during my next shipment. It’s easy to send back your items in the bag and shipping label provided for you. Your next batch comes within 2-3 days typically. You can choose denim, loungewear, cocktail, work attire, vacation, black tie, the list goes on. My biggest needs are weekend dresses that are pretty casual and work clothes, so that’s the domain where I usually stay.
To Rent or Not to Rent
I would definitely recommend this service because it satiates that new clothes feeling with great feeling items in nice fabrics that fit well. For me, it’s about the same cost of purchasing 1-2 decent clothing items per month. So overall, I do think I’m spending a lot less. Wearing each item, enjoying it, and then sending it on its merry way is working out just fine for me. (No washing or dry cleaning required because they handle that for you, too.) If you’re considering giving RTR a try, I would encourage you to explore it for yourself. You can cancel anytime, and if you message me I can even send you a discount code to get started! Happy Shopping!