On The Fence (Not The Catwalk) Re: Rent The Runway

10 September 2018

In case you didn’t know, there is a Rent The Runway sample sale going on right now. If you are anything like me, and want to actually commit to dresses from Rent The Runway with which you might otherwise only have one-night stands… now is the time to get on one knee and propose—or hop on one leg in a dressing room and try it on. Either way, all this makes me wonder: do I love  Rent The Runway or do I hate it?

The sharing economy is all the rage these days, and we have to give credit to Rent The Runway for being a pioneer of sorts in that respect. It’s a logically sound idea after all. How many times are you going to wear the same dress you wore to that wedding? It’s nearly—gasp—blasphemous to wear the same dress twice to such occasions. So I doubt you would flaunt it at another event where you’ll see the same people you violently elbowed in an effort to catch the bouquet at that last wedding.

When the time came to choose a dress for a black-tie wedding that Saturday, I was delighted to see the Rent The Runway dress selection. I always wanted to wear a Monique Lhuillier gown, and renting one (in two sizes) for $140 seemed like a reasonable price for a dress that retails for $880. What could go wrong? A LOT, apparently.

I ordered the dress and the earrings from Rent The Runway and the following day I actually bought a pair of sandals that matched my evening clutch. When Friday came, the supposed delivery day, I received an email at around 4PM that raised my cortisol levels. The email reported the dress was actually not available in my size after all, but a stylist would choose another one for me so I was (kind of) covered. By 8PM I was still waiting for the surprise dress, so I called Rent The Runway and asked for an update. I was reassured the dress would be delivered within an hour. An hour passed and the dress was still not there.

At this time, my stress was teetering on the edge of a panic attack, so I crossed the street for a spicy margarita to forget my first world (but very serious) problems. When I returned home, the dress was still not there. Finally—at 11:30PM, it arrived. I just breathed a sigh of relief and went to bed without even opening the box.

When I opened the package Saturday morning, the day of the wedding, there was no surprise dress chosen for me by some mystery stylist. All that was there was original dress I’d chosen in its backup size that was too small for me. Panic overwhelmed me and there was not enough spicy margaritas in the world to make me feel better. I called Rent The Runway, and they advised me to go downtown to their store and physically pick up one. Um, the reason I’d ordered from Rent The Runway in the first place was so that I wouldn’t have to do exactly what I was doing right now.

But… here’s the good news: the store personnel was actually great. Both the customer service (Ru?) and the stylist (Mackenzie?) were professional, helpful, and (my perfect counterbalance) very calm. I ended up leaving the place with a better dress than the one I had originally chosen for myself.

So, after this both bad and good experience and then three more that proved to be somewhat similar, I guess I’m giving it yet another go? This weekend I am ordering another dress for a “casual country club look” and I am keeping the fingers crossed (as I type this—so excuse any typos) that it will be here on time.

Regardless of whether another dress fiasco ensues, here’s the takeaway lesson for you. I have placed a total of four Rent The Runway orders so far, and only two were delivered as expected. If you get the four days package, be prepared to receive it at the end of the first day, or on the second day (this is another story for another time). If you are flexible, keep calm, and rent the dress in a way that you are covered for anything that might go wrong because it’s still a great way to be stylish on a budget. Also, this is not based on my personal experience but rather on a stranger’s review; make sure you return everything on time. If you are late or they don’t receive the package, the penalties are such that you end up paying more than if you’d bought the item retail full price. Yikes!

What is your Rent The Runway experience?

Happy shopping,

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Posted by Mirela Gluck at 09:34 AM
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