Thursday, August 2, 2012

Where to Shop: Rent The Runway

Like most people, I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.  For example, I love stalking people I went to high school with and sharing their overly candid updates with friends, but I hate seeing pictures of that coworker I kinda have a thing for repeatedly posing with some blond chick.  Seriously, who is this bitch and how does she get her hair so shiny?

Another problematic aspect of Facebook is the extent to which it puts your life- and the contents of your closet- on display.  If you wear the same green shirt to two events that later yield 30 tagged photos on Facebook, it's going to appear to your 600 friends that this shirt is, in fact, the only item of clothing that you own and that you possibly only take it off to shower.  This is particularly an issue at events that call for formal clothing, at least for those of us who are still waiting for takers on that "Seeking Sugar Daddy" Craigslist ad and don't have a closet full of Balenciaga to choose from.

Enter Rent the Runway

Upon discovering Rent the Runway, I promptly wasted three hours of a work day (sorry, colleagues) by browsing the selection for two dresses to wear to upcoming weddings.  RTR allows you to rent high-end designer (read: $$$) dresses and accessories at a low cost; simply choose your dress, your size (plus a backup size, free of charge), the four or eight days you want to rent for, and RTR will mail your dresses, carefully packed and ready to wear.  The return process is even easier- just put your items in the included envelope and deposit them in the closest mailbox.  Excellent for lazy folks like me who avoid the post office at all costs.

Madeleine Stowe as Victoria Grayson
When selecting my dresses, I briefly considered going the Victoria Grayson route with Herve Leger, until I realized that I'd need to do some serious juice fasting if I was going to sport a skin tight bandage dress and not look with child.  Which brings me to...



By now, most of us know what styles look good on us and what styles do not.  Before choosing your dress from RTR, look at old pictures or think back to your favorite outfits and consider what elements they have in common.  It may seem obvious, but if you're self-conscious about broad shoulders and typically shy away from sleeveless dresses, do not be distracted by that shiny pink sleeveless number that looks so good online.  Go with a style that you know will work for your body type and one that will make you feel confident instead of uncomfortable.  For me, that meant Herve Leger wasn't in the cards, but this pretty Tracy Reese number was.


The customer reviews are often very helpful in narrowing down which sizes are likely to fit you, as reviewers frequently leave pictures of the dress they wore, along with the size, and their height, weight, and bust size.  However, RTR allows you free access to their team of stylists, who can address any specific questions or concerns you may have.  Taking their advice, I ordered my backup dress one size up rather than one size down- which was a good call, as that's the size I ended up wearing. 


RTR has a large selection of styles and sizes, but the pickins get slim if you wait until a week or two before you need your dress to select it.  The earlier you reserve, the wider the selection.  


If your dresses arrive and don't fit or you simply don't like them, no worries: pop 'em back in the mailbox within 24 hours and RTR will refund your purchase minus the cost of shipping.  Having a backup dress will save you a frantic last minute trip to Bloomingdale's and subsequent meltdown in the dressing room.

After all, the last thing you need is to be sporting red eyes and a puffy face in the three Facebook albums you'll be tagged in the next day.  

1 comment:

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