So, there are quite a lot of reviews out there about Rent The Runway and now, Rent The Runway Unlimited! I had heard amazing things about it from my friends, but had never really had the chance to try it. Truth be told, I have not always been considered “plus-size” but I always had a tough time fitting in designer wear and formal gowns. They really aren’t made for women with curves, and it always proved tough for events and heck, even prom.
Rent The Runway Unlimited was more than just dresses you could wear to events: it’s tops, skirts, pants, dresses, and even handbags. So, being a blogger and also being someone who attends a ton of weekly events, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out and see what it was really all about. I also wanted to give an honest review of what it’s like for curvier and plus women to try out this service, and if it’s really worth your money.
I tried out the service for 2 months and am sharing a bunch of different looks below, including some handbags I rented. I will also be going more in-depth on sizing, but for now will cover some of the basics.
If you don’t feel like reading this entire post, scroll to the bottom for my final thoughts and my plus size review.
Let’s start with the basics:
*$159/month (plus taxes)
*No contracts: month-to-month payment and super easy to cancel on the phone
*You do not pay extra for shipping, cleaning, or insurance
*You can have 4 styles out at a time and they rotate
*You can swap out as many items as you like during the month, but you can only have 4 pieces at a time
*Pieces can be returned via mail, at the store, or a WeWork drop off location (more on this later)
*If you really like the piece, you can buy it at a discounted cost off retail
How You Choose Your Items:
When it’s time to pick your items, your page will look like this. It will show items based on the next available ship date. You can change or alter that date, but I do recommend doing it as soon as possible. You can also sort by size, which will help narrow down your choices. Since I tend to run multiple sizes in designer brands, I opted for two.
Fun tip: it will also show you brands with different sizing (I.E. XS-XL) and recommend pieces to you based on that. It would always recommend pieces to me in the L or XL category. It just depends on how the brand categorizes the sizing.
The one frustrating part about this is that you can only add 4 items to your cart at a time and then it prompts you to check out. You can “heart” items and save them for later, but I ran into the constant issue of my “hearted” items never being available at a later date. So I had a ton of tabs open at a time and then would narrow it down from there. If you look above the “sort by”section, you can see the “My RTR” section where you can choose your hearts and find pieces that way as well.
Once your order has been placed, this is what you screen will look like. It will tell you whether pieces have shipped, been returned, or if you can choose a new item.
One Piece from Unlimited
Skirt DVF (wearing size L- Runs Big)
Wearing one piece from Unlimited
Pants Tanya Taylor (wearing size 14)
Wearing Rebecca Minkoff (size 14R)
I am 5’4″ish and it barely touched the ground with flats on. If you are taller and curvier, I would recommend long.
Wearing Keepsake (Wearing size XL)
Shipping & Returns
So, I will be honest… returns weren’t as bad for me as some of the other reviews I had read. Rent The Runway has a partnership with WeWork and in select cities, you can drop off your items at a WeWork location and get an immediate opening in your closet.
Each WeWorkThe kiosk looks like this….
The scanner on the left is where you scan each item you are dropping off. Each item has a small barcode on it, which you honestly don’t even see until you need to scan it! You scan the barcode and it automatically returns your item and opens that slot (or slots) in your closet. My only drawback of this method was that the WeWork is only open on weekdays from 9-6, so you could only return during those hours. There is a first set of doors, which lock when the businesses inside leave. So… don’t be like me and try to return on a national holiday. I ended up waiting outside until someone buzzed into the building, then ran in to use the scanner haha!
I am sure you are thinking… why didn’t she just go to the store. I drive and there is zeroooo parking near the store and I did not want to walk or pay for parking with all that stuff in my hand.
If you don’t have the option of a store or WeWork, you will have to mail pieces back and wait for them to be scanned in, in order to receive an opening in your closet.
The app will also give you the nearest dropoff locations. In my case: 1 is the RTR store and 2 is the WeWork scanner location. Otherwise, it will guide you to your nearest UPS.
Let’s talk shipping…
They sent an email recently, stating that they were changing their shipping guidelines and trying to make it faster. In all honesty, it is complete hit or miss. Some weeks I got my shipment in two day, other times not so lucky. My last order is what took the longest. I ordered a new shipment on Friday January 4th, and it did not come until January 10th. In normal terms, that is not that long, but when you are paying for a service to deliver clothes, that is honestly a week lost just from shipping.
Wearing Marchesa Notte (size 16) – this dress runs sooo small and is honestly not very comfortable
The size 16 barely fit
Black Halo (wearing size 16) – also runs very small
I was going to opt for a 14, but ordered the 16 since the 14 was out. The 16 barely zipper and was quite tight.
Top MSGM (wearing size L) | | Skirt Tory Burch (size 14)
Loved the sweater but didn’t love the skirt. It had some major issues with the pockets sticking out and to laying flat. Also, the material was not very comfortable and looked quite washed out.
Let’s Talk Plus Size
I am sure so many of you came here for this part and wondered what took so long! Either way, I had to run through the basics and cover everything, just so you knew how it all worked and whether it was easy or not.
This is just a quick comparison of a straight size options versus “plus”. The straight (I chose 8 & 10 here) gives you 67 pages of options, whereas the 14 & 16 only gives you 23 pages of results. While 23 is a lot, it is still a bit limiting. Now, this is by no means the fault of RTR. A lot of these brands and a lot of designer brands in general do not offer plus options or even options for curvier women. For some of these brands, I had to size up and it still did not fit. While the options are limited, there are still a lot, and for the most part, most pieces fit as expected or fit true to size.
I will however say that I am on the border of straight and plus and can fit into both categories within brands. This is my take from someone who wear a 12/14 and sometimes a 16. I did see options for pieces above a 16, but please do know it is a bit more limiting.
I actually was able to speak with a person who works with the brand while attending the event and voiced my concerns about it preemptively, before actually trying the service at all. She told me that it was also a concern for RTR and they had already voiced that opinion to brands as well. They said they are working with brands to make pieces in larger sizes that may be exclusive to RTR as well! So, here is to hoping!
Pros & Cons of using the service
*There are a lot of options to choose from.
* The Returns in Chicago are fairly easy (minus a few hiccups).
* You can rent handbags.
*The number of pieces is unlimited, so you can keep one piece as long as you have the service.
*The retail buying option is really nice and offers a huge discount on some pieces.
*The staff is super friendly and helpful and I have never waited to speak with someone.
*None of my pieces were ever damaged.
*The reviews give you a really good indication of sizing.
*The shipping time can be a bit long.
*The returns can be tougher if you are not near a WeWork or RTR store.
*The range for plus-size is still a bit limited.
*The designer pieces are not designed for curvy bodies.
Would I continue the service?
Yes, absolutely. It does have some drawbacks and some hiccups, but overall I really do enjoy using it!