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July 31, 2018

Is Rent the Runway Unlimited really worth it?

We tried this service for a month and here's our assessment

Fashion Trends
Rent the Runway Provided by Rent the Runway /for PhillyVoice

Rent the Runway is an online service that provides designer dress and accessory rentals.

Most of us are familiar with Rent the Runway for special-occasion attire, where you can rent high-end clothes from the world’s top designers. But did you know about Rent the Runway Unlimited?

Basically, for $159 a month, you can enjoy a “limitless” wardrobe, renting out up to four items at a time with the ability to swap things out whenever you want. (This includes clothing as well as purses and accessories). You also get free dry cleaning on everything and free UPS shipping, plus insurance.

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With the amount of money most of us spend on dry cleaning alone (along with impulse fashion purchases that never leave our closets), Rent the Runway Unlimited seems like every fashionista’s dream come true.

After months of sitting on the fence, I decided to give Rent the Runway Unlimited a try. Here’s what I learned:

 • It’s a great way to break out of your style comfort zone.

Most people don’t have the funds to invest in fashion fads that are here today and gone tomorrow, so being able to rent is a great option. One of the first pieces I picked out were denim culottes from Derek Lam — something I never would have even picked up off the rack. Matched with an array of both dressy tops and even some casual t-shirts, however, I didn’t realize how versatile these culottes could be, and found them to be a refreshing twist to a classic denim look.

Provided by Rent the Runway /for PhillyVoice

Derek Lam culottes

• Trying on new designers is a breeze.

Who really has time to go shopping these days? Not me. So when I do venture out into the retail jungle, I tend to seek out clothing brands I’m already familiar with in terms of fit. With more than 450 designers in their collection, Rent the Runway Unlimited is a great way to feel out how different designers fit you. It’s really expanded my fashion palette for my body type.

• If you love an item, you can buy it.

Of course, there are some things you won’t want to send back, and, in my case, the Kate Spade New York Mariella dress was at the top of the list. Turns out, you can choose to buy your favorite looks from Rent the Runway Unlimited at a discount. Because I loved the dress so much while renting it, I knew I’d continue to make use of it once I made the purchase. It’s almost like I did my fashion due diligence before fully committing the investment. Shopping doesn’t get smarter than this.

Provided by Rent the Runway /for PhillyVoice

A dress from Rent the Runway Unlimited.

• Shipping items back and forth isn’t as awful as it sounds.

I thought that shipping items back and forth multiple times a month would be a hassle, but Rent the Runway Unlimited makes it super easy. You’re given a prepaid mailing label and a special bag to safely transport the clothing, so it’s pretty seamless. Then you just drop it off at UPS drop box and voila! Your closet has room for more fashion finds. I rarely need to go to the dry cleaners now, so it doesn't take any more time out of my day.

Provided by Rent the Runway /for PhillyVoice

With Rent the Runway, you can rent for weddings, black-tie events, cocktail parties, a night out, or even just to go to work.

• It actually reduces waste.

Even if you donate your clothes, so much of it still ends up in a landfill. According to Rent the Runway, the average American throws away 82 pounds of clothing per year. When I first heard about this service, I saw it as an frivolous expense. Now, I see the clothing-sharing model as a viable way to help the environment.

Overall, I think Rent the Runway Unlimited is a great alternative to constantly buying clothes you may never wear. However, if you’re the kind of person who rarely buys new clothes, then maybe this isn’t for you. It’s all about your priorities and if being polished and put together is one of them — Rent the Runway Unlimited is a no-brainer.

You can find out more here.