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Rent the Runway Membership Review

About Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway membership review

Rent the Runway is no ordinary retail clothing and accessories company. For a discounted price, customers can don designer outfits for a rented period of time. This wardrobe membership service is exclusive to women, and carries notable brands such as Phillip Lim, Giambattista Valli, Polo Ralph Lauren and many more. 

Rent the Runway has been featured in prominent publications such as Vogue, The New Yorker, and Cosmopolitan. The brand has an impressive viewer base of 347K on Instagram. Online attention aside, Is Rent the Runway worth it? 

If you’re curious to know if this company is legitimate or not, then you’re in luck. This Rent the Runway membership review will give you the rundown of their selection, customer reviews, deals, and more to help you make an informed decision.

Overview of Rent the Runway 

Rent the Runway membership review

Rent the Runway was the answer to a very common question for women, why spend hundreds of dollars on clothes you’ll only get to wear once or twice? This ‘aha’ moment spurned over a Thanksgiving party in 2008, where Jenn Hyman, the future founder of Rent the Runway, wondered why her sister spent $2,000 designer dress she bought to go on a wedding when it was sending her further into debt. 

“Wouldn’t it be so much smarter if we could rent designer items rather than purchase them?” Jenn Hyman said. 

With that idea fresh in her head, she returned to Harvard Business School and got her friend Jenny Fleiss on board. Hoping that their pitch would be of interest in the fashion industry, they emailed Diane von Furstenberg, a famous Belgian fashion designer, to see if their idea could be a legitimate business. After some advice, Furstenberg wished them luck and from there, Hyman and Fleiss started their humble beginnings as a fashion rental service. 

Rent the Runway membership review

From starting at a pop up shop at their school campus, to contacting multiple fashion designers, only to get rejected, Rent the Runway hurdled through countless obstacles. However, in 2009 when they officially launched their company, the New York Times ran a cover story about the two co-founders. As a mark of success, the story led 100,000 people to sign up for Rent the Runway. 

“We are changing that by building the world’s first and only ‘closet in the cloud’: a dream closet filled with an infinite selection of designer styles.” Hyman and Fleiss said. 

Before we dive deep into this Rent the Runway membership review, let’s look over some of their pros and cons: 

Pros

  • Customers can rent designer clothing for a fraction of its original retail price 
  • Thousands of items from hundreds of luxury designers to choose from 
  • All memberships include free dry cleaning, free 2 day shipping, member only discounts 
  • Rental insurance provided for subscribers
  • Sustainable and environmentally friendly service

Cons

  • Mixed customer reviews
  • Unclear shipping and returns information page 
  • Drop off locations are only exclusive to the United States 
  • There is no Rent the Runway for men 

How Does Rent the Runway Work?

Rent the Runway membership review

This Rent the Runway membership review found two ways that customers can rent clothing. Buyers can either use their one time rental service or pick from three different plans. For each membership, customers have the standard of picking 4 items each month. They can add extra clothes to their plan if they wish. 

After selecting a plan, customers can choose from Rent the Runway’s expansive collection of designer items. This ranges from activewear, dresses, tops, pants, maternity, wedding and even Gala wear. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin, this brand makes shopping for what you need simple by asking what event you’re dressing for. Subscribers can go from renting a floral Rent the Runway bridesmaid jumpsuit to a sexy body con Rent the Runway wedding dress. 

After choosing four items, the company asks when you’d like your first shipment. They will send your dry-cleaned orders in a reusable garment bag. Customers can own their clothing as long as they want, (if your membership is in good standing) and can send their items back if they wish to receive a new parcel of clothing. 

Once items are returned, Rent the Runway notifies them so they can pick their next 4 items. Subscribers also have the option of purchasing their items if they can’t bear to part with them. If you only need to rent for one occasion only, no worries, this Rent the Runway membership review will outline the basic steps on how to use their service:

  1. Pick a convenient delivery date (the company suggests 1-2 days before your event) and how long you’d like your items for (they offer 4-8 day rentals
  2. When it’s time to return, place your items in the hangers and bag that they came from
  3. Send the bag back using the prepaid shipping label

To ensure the perfect fit, Rent the Runway will send you a backup size. How awesome is that? The company notes that swapping is dependent on the customer’s postal code. You are only shown a selection of pieces available in your area. Now, let’s get the ball rolling and take a look into a selection of their bestsellers. 

Rent the Runway Bridal Review

Rent the Runway membership review
Rent the Runway Bridal

If you walked down the aisle in a princess ball gown wedding dress during the ceremony, chances are that it’ll be hard to bust a move during the reception party. The Metallic Jaipur Sheath dress by Marchesa Notte is the ideal reception dress to slide on when you want to do the cha cha slide. This gown features a sheer, lightweight fabric adorned with a creamy beige lace. You don’t need to worry about accidentally exposing yourself with this dress, as there is a white and gold tulle underlay for some extra coverage. 

This body con, midi length dream is ideal for brides who want to show off their curves. I mean, with a dress like this, only a few would ever opt for a regular cocktail dress for a wedding reception. The Metallic Jaipir Sheath dress ensures that you keep up appearances as the bride with it’s white sheen and lace detail. If you’re the only one in white, make the most out of it. The original retail price for this dress is $795. For one time rental customers can be a Rent the Runway bride for $110 to $125 for 4 days.  

Rent the Runway Maternity Review

Rent the Runway membership review
Rent the Runway Maternity

Take advantage of that pregnant glow and be a stylish mom to be. The Red Ruffle Maternity Dress by Sail to Sable checks all the boxes for the ideal pregnancy outfit. 1) It’s not tight fitting around the stomach 2) you don’t lose your body shape with it’s defined bust area and tie up detail in the front, and 3) It’s fashionable and functional. This hourglass autumn gown is a vibrant apple red, featuring cute little ruffles on the sleeves and neckline. 

This is a great fall dress, as you can wear it with a pair of comfortable nude leggings, booties, a beige trenchcoat and a matching knitted beanie for some extra coziness. Get some errands done, have coffee with a friend, or go out for lunch in this striking Red Ruffle Maternity Dress before baby comes on to the scene. You can borrow this Rent the Runway maternity dress for $45 rather than pay the retail price of $295

Rent the Runway Cocktail Dress Review

Rent the Runway membership review
Rent the Runway Cocktail Dress

While the quintessential night out dress is the lbd (little black dress), there is something to be said about the lgd (little glitter dress). Introducing the Baldwin Mini Dress by Jay Godfrey. This flirty mini dress is adorned in shimmering silver sequins, held together by thin spaghetti straps that cross over in the back. For some extra glamour, this glitzy number features an elegantly draped cowl neckline. 

Not only is this a great night out ensemble, you can consider this a Rent the Runway prom look for later in the night. Pair the Baldwin Mini Dress with black pumps to make your legs look longer and a crystal choker as an added accessory. Tell the host there’s no need to rent a disco ball when you’re already dressed like one. This glam dress is available at retail price for $275 or as a one-time rental ($30-$40) for 4 days. 

Rent the Runway Work From Home Review

Rent the Runway membership review
Rent the Runway Work From Home

Most of us are working from home right now. You may be procrastinating while reading this Rent the Runway membership review (we’re good with that). Many of us have to look sharp in our virtual meetings, so a top like this Layered Polin Top by Kinly strikes the perfect balance between comfort and chic. You can wear sneaky pajamas underneath as well. Or, if dressing up makes you feel a bit more productive in the home office, pair it with some dress pants.

This  Layered Polin Top features a white cotton blouse that’s cropped to show off a light blue vertical striped dress shirt. This peplum top is easy, breezy and fashionable, with its three quarter length sleeves. The light blue portion of the top is very reminiscent of the basic dress shirt you’d find someone wearing at the office. 

Instead of pairing the Layered Polin Top with something corporate like a beige pencil skirt, play it casually with some well fitted black leggings and matching ballet flats. The original retail price for the Layered Polin Top is $218, and it’s available to rent for $35. 

Rent the Runway Plus Size Review

Rent the Runway membership review
Rent the Runway Plus Size

This Caped Carter Sheath by Adrianna Papell is fabulous. This jaw dropping cocktail gown features an alluring cherry red colour, but what makes this dress especially unique is the attached cape covering the back and the arms. It’s like Little Red Riding Hood grew up, leveled up, and became a fashion icon. Serious feminine mystique in this Rent the Runway plus size dress.

I love gowns that are multi-functional. For this Caped Carter Sheath dress, you don’t have to worry about finding a matching coat or cardigan when it’s already built into the dress. Capes make you feel powerful, mysterious and fashion forward. To complete the look, pair this piece with black stilettos and dangling earrings for added glitz. Customers can snatch this Rent the Runway plus size dress at its retail price for $180 or as a one time rental for $35

Rent the Runway Plans

Now that you’ve gotten a taste of the collection in this Rent the Runway membership review, we’ll give you the low-down on the plans.

1 Swap

Rent the Runway membership review

This is Rent the Runway’s most basic rental plan. If you just want to get a feel of this company, I’d suggest that you start off with the 1 Swap Plan. If customers choose this program, they have access to 10000+ styles from 400+ designers which are valued up to $350. Subscribers choose 4 items/month. With a deal like that, you’re bound to feel like a celebrity that owns a giant walk-in closet without the guilt of spending too much money. 

Their monthly shipments are worth up to $1,400. If you decide that this 1 Swap Plan is for you, customers have access to a one month trial for $69. Just think of it, having access to top notch designer brands and paying for a fraction of the cost. Afterwards, buyers are charged $89 a month

2 Swap

Rent the Runway membership review

Let’s say that you’ve done your test run of the basic rental plan and are ready to have more designer pieces in your closet. It’s time to change into the 2 Swap Plan. Within this program, customers can choose 8 designer items/month. They have access to more designer brands and clothing: 15000+ styles from 650+ designers valued at $3,000. Monthly shipments are worth up to $5000.

For the trial run, customers can pay as little as $85 for 2months. That’s an incredibly good deal, since $85 can buy you one designer item while this plan gives you access to 8 rentals. After customers enjoy their 2 Swap Membership Trial, they’re charged $135 monthly. 

Unlimited Swaps

Rent the Runway membership review

Now we’re in the big leagues. The Unlimited Swaps Plan gives customers access to limitless items. This includes 15000+ styles from 650+ designers valued at $3,000 and monthly shipments are worth up to $10000. You could really go down a rabbit hole with all these choices, but that’s where Rent the Runway’s outfit categories come in.

This membership plan costs $159, which is a fairly decent price for having unlimited access. If you’re fully committed to wearing designer clothing all day every day without breaking the bank, let the Unlimited Swaps Plan be your best kept secret. 

Rent the Runway Reviews: What Do Customers Think?

Rent the Runway membership review

This Rent the Runway membership review looked at multiple consumer review websites and found a majority of negative customer experiences. SiteJabber ranks the wardrobe rental company with a 1.4/5 star rating out of 503 reviews. Most customers detail poor customer service and general confusion in charges with differing membership plans.

“The customer experience is awful. The “help” button on the website is merely decorative because they never respond to emails and they are never available on chat.” One Rent the Runway membership review said.

On the Better Business Bureau, Rent the Runway scores a D- with numerous one star customer reviews. Like Trustpilot, most consumers experience detailed bad customer service, specifically in longer than average wait times for responses. Others dealt with problems cancelling their memberships, delayed orders and damaged items.

“Towards the last 2 months of my membership, I was having at least one issue every week: from missing pieces in my shipment, to delayed shipments and no notifications, and ordering an item for an event or weekend that ended up not being available therefore canceled.” One BBB Rent the Runway subscription review read.

Reviews on Rent the Runway’s website and on Influenster tell a completely different story. On Rent the Runway, the subscription service is rated 4.5/5 out of 828,000+ reviews. The brand has the same rating on Influenster out of 225 customer reviews. Subscribers reported being impressed with the good variety and extensive collection of designer clothing. “I rented this dress for some maternity photos and thankfully it came two days before the due date!” One Rent the Runway review said

Is Rent the Runway Worth It?

Rent the Runway membership review

With a name like Rent the Runway, you’d expect open access to designer clothing for a discounted price than originally buying it. For the most part, this wardrobe rental service does offer reasonable prices for the designer items that they offer. I like the mentality of not splurging on things that you may only use once, and going for rental services that are also good for the environment, and for your wallet, for that matter.

From what I’ve gathered from my research, the reviews for Rent the Runway are mixed. While some detail negative experiences with customer experiences, others rate it highly. This Rent the Runway membership review will give a go-ahead towards this rental service, but tread carefully. It’s possible that you may come out of the Rent the Runway experience in a positive light, and it’s also possible that you may run into problems along the way. 

Rent the Runway Promotions & Discounts

Rent the Runway membership review

As of lately, this Rent the Runway membership review found ways that customers can save money through their website: 

  • Rent the Runway promo code Summering for 20% off first Rent the Runway reserve rental, with a free second style or reduced price of one Rent the Runway membership
  • Rent the Runway discount code Summertime for 20% off first Rent the Runway reserve rental, or to reduce the price of one Rent the Runway membership 
  • Rent the Runway coupon code Summerdays reduces the price of one Rent the Runway membership 

There is also a Rent the Runway sale outlet, where customers can get designer items up to 90% off. Buyers can also refer a friend to save some money. They can give friends $30 off their first order and receive $30 when it ships. 

How to Sign Up for Rent the Runway

Customers can easily create an account by simply clicking the sign in button on the RenttheRunway.com or choosing a membership plan. From there, you can add in your payment information and select when you’d like your first shipment. 

Rent the Runway Stores

Rent the Runway review

You may be wondering, how many Rent the Runway stores are there? Because of COVID 19, Rent the Runway had to close five of their locations in the States. There only remains one head office in New York City, where it’s used solely as a drop off return service. 

Rent the Runway does not intend to reopen their stores in the future. In the past, these shops were used by customers to try on their rental clothing. Their California store is temporarily closed while locations in San Francisco, Washington DC and Chicago are permanently closed

A full list of their locations are available online. Before, customers could find a store nearest to them through Rent the Runway’s drop box locator on their webpage. This Rent the Runway membership review will still give you a list of their store locations, which include: Rent the Runway NYC, Rent the Runway Chicago, Rent the Runway Boston, Rent the Runway DC, Rent the Runway SF., Rent the Runway Georgetown, Rent the Runway Los Angeles, Rent the Runway Dallas, and Rent the Runway Topanga.

FAQ

What happens if Rent the Runway doesn’t fit?

Rent the Runway offers store credit if none of the dresses in your order fit. To receive a credit, go to the “Orders” section on your Rent the Runway account and fill out our Return for Fit request form.

What happens if you ruin a Rent the Runway dress? 

If a dress is damaged or goes missing due to a shipping error, the renter is liable for the dress. In addition to a $50-a-day late fee, Rent the Runway charges up to 200% of the full retail cost of each dress rented. So be careful! 

How long can you pause Rent the Runway?

Rent the Runway lets subscribers pause their membership for up to 3 months. You can send all your pieces back, pause, and start up again within that time frame. It’s a good way to save a bit of money if you don’t mind taking a bit of a break from designer items.

How do you cancel Rent the Runway?

If customers wish to cancel their memberships, they simply need to call Rent the Runway customer service or shoot them an email (refer to the next section). Upon cancellation, buyers must return their items before the end of the current billing period noted in their account settings to avoid any late charges.

If you want to pause your current membership, all you need to do is go into the ‘membership setting’ in your account and choose either ‘pause with items at home’ or ‘pause without items.’ By pausing your account instead of canceling, customers can still have access to their members only discount of 25% on 4 or 8 day reserve rentals. 

Buyers are able to extend their pause (with or without items) in their account for one month at a time, up to 3 months. 

What is Rent the Runway’s Shipping Policy?

Rent the Runway is currently only available in the United States. Shipping costs are automatically charged by the company to ensure customers’ items arrive to them on their rental delivery date. Here is a list of their shipping options in the US:

  • Standard: $10 
  • Manhattan Same Day: $10 
  • Non-Manhattan Next Day: $10
  • Manhattan Saturday Delivery: $10 
  • Non-Manhattan Saturday Delivery: $35

Customers are able to see where their purchases are through a given tracking number from the ‘order tracking’ link on each item they’ve requested. Orders will ship in 1-2 days before your rental date begins. 

How do you return Rent the Runway dresses? 

There are two ways that customers can return their items: online or using their drop off service. Buyers can return their order via the carrier specified on their shipping label, or they can go to their local drop off store. Customers must package their rentals in the reusable bag it was sealed in. All memberships include a free two day shipping for returns, so whew, no extra costs there. 

Intimates are non refundable or exchangeable. Members do not have to return all of their items at the same time with Unlimited Swaps, as they can return as many pieces as they want when they want. 

How to Contact Rent the Runway  

If you’ve got any questions that weren’t addressed in this Rent the Runway membership review, you can contact the company through:

  • Rent the Runway phone number: [email protected]
  • Rent the Runway chat on their website 
  • Their Twitter @RTRHelp 
  • Rent the Runway hours include (Monday-Friday: 9am-8pm EST, Saturday & Sunday: 9am-3pm EST)
  • If you’re looking into Rent the Runway jobs, you can access their Rent the Runway careers page on their website. 

If you’re not sold on Rent the Runway, check out these designer clothing memberships: Wantable and Gwynnie Bee.

Maybe a subscription isn’t right for you. Discover these resell platforms for luxury fashion:

Farfetch

Rebag

The Luxury Closet

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