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An Honest Rent The Runway Unlimited Review & Secret Hack

September 11, 2017

This post about RENT THE RUNWAY UNLIMITED may contain referral/affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.Rent-the-runway-unlimited-subscription-review

Where are my outfit repeaters of the world?  I am a self-diagnosed outfit repeater.  My shopping cycle consists of buying something, loving it hard and wanting to wear it all the time. Then just as quickly as I fell in love, I fall out of love and retire the piece towards the back half of my closet.  This cycle is tiring, frustrating, guilt filled and always leaves me disappointing. I was in desperate need of a shopping solution and love designer clothes, but I don’t have the budget for them.  I love the joy and excitement of having something new that I’m really excited to wear out that day.

And then, I found it. Rent The Runway Unlimited.

Most of are already familiar with traditional Rent The Runway and probably even past customers.  We’ve all relied on their handy service to save a buck but look like a million for a wedding, reunion (basically insert any event you want to look amazing at or might see an ex).  But while all of us are familiar with how awesome it feels to rent a $400 designer dress that fits you like a glove, few of us know about the new best-kept secret of Rent The Runway Unlimited.

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and wondered how all those fashion bloggers seem to have a never-ending closet of this seasons designer threads? Rent The Runway Unlimited is exactly how they do it! Earlier this year you had to be on a waitlist to join Rent The Runway Unlimited.  Seriously, it’s that good!  But just recently they have opened it up for any and everyone to join with just a click of a button.  If you’re looking to elevate your style (and possibly even save a lot of money in the process) read on to see exactly how Rent The Runway Unlimited works.

20% Off First Order From Rent the Runway With Code FIRST – DISCOUNT HERE > >

Initially, I thought it was just a service to rent multiple “guest of a wedding” dresses, I was totally wrong.  It’s a service that lets you rent designer everything.  Dresses, skirts, jumpsuits, rompers, jackets, tanks, blouses, handbags, jewelry and more.

How To Have Success “Renting” Designer Clothes – Everything You Need To Know Before Signing Up For Rent The Runway Unlimited

Rent the Runway Unlimited is basically like walking into Neiman Marcus and having someone tell you to go pick out your favorite four things without even thinking about price.  Dresses, tops, jackets, handbags, whatever you want – 4 at a time, your choice, unlimited! If you are doing quick calculations in your head realizing that this might replace/fulfill your dream of having a fashion bloggers closet, keep reading because the details are not too good to be true and I’m going to break down everything you need to know about Rent the Runway Unlimited.

The Basics:

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Price: $159 a month, no contract

What is it: Subscription-based clothing rentals.

What You Get: 4 designers pieces at a time with unlimited exchanges for new pieces.

Is It Just Renting Dresses: NO! Dresses are just the tip of the iceberg in the RTR unlimited closet.  Jackets, coats, handbags, blouses, skirts pants, you name it!

Do I have to exchange all three pieces at once: No. You can exchange them back one by one if you want.

What’s their contract like: Month to month, no extra charges for shipping, dry cleaning or insurance.

Do I have to buy anything or pay a fee if I don’t: Nope, you can strictly rent the clothes but have the option to buy if you end up loving them.  They can be as much as 80% retail which is a huge savings.

Do you have to buy the products: Only if you want to, no fee if you don’t.

Do you have to wash the products: No, they launder everything.

How is the customer support: You get a designated concierge, they have live chat support, and phone support.

Who Is It Good For, Anyone who:

  • Is the type to wear something new over and over and over but then completely tire of it when they fall in love with something else.
  • Is still learning their perfect style and finds themselves shopping and coming home with things that you only wear a few times before feeling like they aren’t a good fit.
  • Works a 9-5 and is tired of your wardrobe being stuck on repeat but only wants to shop for fun non-work clothes.
  • Wants to slash their shopping expenses but still have amazing clothes.
  • Needs the better fit of designer clothes and knows they really are probably too old to keep shopping at some of the stores they frequent.
  • Has tried another clothing subscription service and been underwhelmed.
  • Hates the mall, laundry, cheap clothes, and the feeling of looking at their closet and seeing they have thousands of dollars wasted and nothing to wear.
  • Already uses RentheRunway (it’s like your gateway drug to Unlimited)

20% Off First Order From Rent the Runway With Code FIRST –  DISCOUNT HERE >>

Why I Signed Up and What I Rented

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I first tried Rent the Runway Unlimited in May when I was talking a girls trip to New York.  As a Southern California, work mostly at home, mom of two; my regular rotation of clothes is no match for the Big Apple.  Like most women do before a trip I started online shopping.  I wanted new boots, I wanted a really warm but stylish Jacket, I wanted a sportier jacket – all the sudden I had a $1,000 shopping cart filled with items that would be great for the big city but probably get little wear again. Not to mention that left me negative room to do any shopping while in New York. That’s when I remembered Rent the Runway Unlimited and shifted gears.

Instead of spending a ton of money on clothes that I really only need for my trip, I rented them.  A gorgeous leather piped wool coat, a stylish light wear jacket for hustling around the city, and a beautiful blush blazer for leisurely lunches. If you read on about the “city perks” you’ll see how to doubled my rental that week by exchanges the items I wore the first few days with brand new designer pieces for the second half of the trip. It only took a few days but I knew I was going to be hooked on this fashion lovers dream service.

Details You’ll Only Know If You Tried It

What You Get:

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4 piece that are completely your choice.  Unlike other services, you get to completely customize your order rather than having the order customized for you.  From start to finish you decide everything in the delivery.  If you want 3 dresses, you pick the three dresses and you pick the 3 sizes. If you want a Kate Spade bag, a Free People skirt and a DVF dress, just pick them out, select the sizes and they will be mailed straight to your doorstep. You don’t have to go to the trouble of “swapping” items that they put in there for you.  You get to chose exactly what comes and when it comes.

Order & Delivery:

rent-the-runway-unlimited-mobile rent-the-runway-unlimited-mobile-favorites rent-the-runway-unlimited-mobile-favorites

The website is RenttheRunway and they also have a mobile app by the same name.  Both are very well laid out and it’s easy to filter by style, occasion or even trend.  Everything ships Two Day Air. Once you pick your items expect them to arrive on your doorstep in two business days. The Same timeline applies when you return shipments.  I’m in San Diego and they ship from New Jersey so for east coast people the timeline could be even shorter.  Shipping and insurance are free.  You get to keep the hangars and can just return the clothes inside the blue carrying bag that comes with a pre-printed UPS label.

Top Secret Hack to Get More Styles out of Unlimited

Your first order will ship in one easy to use fabric bag with a pre-addressed label for returning shipping (in the same fabric bag).  If you get your first 4 pieces and simply don’t like one; you can just package it up and return it by itself while you keep the other three pieces.  But, you’ll have two days in transit to RTR and then two days back in transit to be returned to you. So it’s 4 days until you can do your next exchange.

If I am going to the expense to have a 4 item unlimited subscription I want to be able to get as many pieces a month as I can out of the subscription and the downtime in transit almost made me quit a couple months back.  But there is an amazing hack that was a game changer for me. When you first start to return one item in a box, with shipping that you pay (instead of the prepaid shipping) – you’ll keep the fabric bag and your pre-addressed return label for future use.  Once RTR received the item you returned at your own ground shipping expense, they’ll intake it, you’ll pick a replacement piece and they will ship it out in another fabric bag.  Now you have 4 pieces, two fabric shipping bags and two prepaid return address labels.

This simple hack of paying the return shipping one time gives you significantly more flexibility with your exchanges and the ability to get more styles each month with less downtime and little/no waiting on shipments.

What’s the Difference Between Rent The Runway Update and Rent The Runway Unlimited

The main difference between Rent The Runway Update and Rent The Runway Unlimited is the volume of new item you can borrow from their closet each month. With Rent The Runway Update you will pay only $89 a month and will get 4 self-selected pieces to keep for the month. With Rent The Runway Unlimited, you will pay $159 and get the same initial 4 pieces but you have the ability to swap out those 4 items as many times as you want.

RTR Update: $89 a month / 4 pieces: $22.25 rental fee per piece for the month.

RTR Unlimited: $159 a month / 4 pieces, exchanged 3 times, total pieces rented – 12: $13.25 rent fee per piece for the month

The equations above illustrate that even though Rent The Runway Unlimited is more expensive than Rent The Runway Update you will actually get a better value out of the subscription that allows you to borrow more. If Rent the Runway Unlimited is too cost prohibitive then start with Rent the Runway Update (you can always upgrade up to Unlimited if you want more).

Why I Think This Is Better Than the Other Services

1. Designer Clothes That Look As Beautiful On You As They Do Online

What sets  Rent The Runway Unlimited apart from the competition is the product and the selection.  You have access to Saks and Neiman Marcus designer brands that for most of us are unaffordable.  A common shopping dilemma I have is that I fall in love with styles online and in magazines that are just too expensive for my budget.  I take my caviar dreams and champagne budget over to H&M, Forever21, and Nordstrom Rack to try and find a well-priced alternative to what I really wish I was buying.  I end up with cheap poly blend alternatives that I’ll only keep for a season and never be as satisfied with as the designer version. Now with Rent The Runway unlimited I have access to an endless closet of the clothes I really want but can’t afford.

If you are going to rent clothes you want them to be stand out pieces that don’t look like just another basic I already own.  With other clothing subscriptions, I felt like I was just getting Marshall’s quality clothes that underwhelmed me online and then again when they arrived.  If I’m going to be renting clothes, I want styles that are unobtainable to buy with my current budget.

2. The Selection is Really Endless

Seriously, I dare you to try and not find something you want to rent.

Here is a really important tip that you’ll only know if you are like me and have tried multiple clothing rental subscriptions. The inventory of clothes that is available with Rent The Runway is probably 5-10x greater than the competitors. This is a really important feature that matters a lot when you are in month 2 or 3 or trying to rent around the holidays.

When I used a different subscription company I would go to fill my cart and realize that there was really only 20 tops available to chose from, maybe 40 accessories but no handbags just jewelry.

In contrast, Rent The Runway unlimited has an incredibly robust selection of clothes. There are new arrivals weekly in addition to the thousands of dresses, clothes and accessories (+ designer handbags and clutches).  While some other subscriptions might be less expensive, does it really matter if you can’t find anything you like from their limited selection?

3. You Look Like a Million Bucks But Aren’t Going Broke

While most women hear endless closet of designer clothes and instantly sign up, there is another benefit outside of elevating your style game.  Savings!  This isn’t talked about as much because it’s hard to quantify across all people.

Regardless of your clothing budget, I recommend to everyone that they sign up for the first month to see if they even like the service and process. After that month, they you want to look at how to work it into your budget.  In my case, I have only bought 6 new clothing items for myself since I started Rent the Runway Unlimited in May.  I’ve bought a pair of sneakers, a Patagonia hat, 2 new bikinis, and a new pair of wunderunders. I don’t feel the need to go and shop for new things that aren’t essentials because I have an endless closet of designer clothes at my fingertips.

If I didn’t have Rent The Runway my shopping cycle would look like this: spend hours online putting things in shopping carts that I can’t afford… maybe buying some of them, returning half, keeping half…. wishing I hadn’t taken the tags off two pieces and tiring of them after a few weeks of wearing them hard and hoping no one catches me outfit repeating….. spending god knows how much at Target because the clothes are there an accessible and I just want something “this season”…… still starting at my closet on date night thinking I have nothing to wear.

The Bottom Line

I’ve tried almost every clothing subscription out there and this one is by far (like a mile) my absolute favorite.  I’ve been signed up for over 6 months straight with no interest in canceling anytime soon.  If you are like me and comfortable with your closet basics but always wishing you had the perfect outfit for the party, date night, or even a work day, definitely give Rent the Runway Unlimited a try.  Your wallet and your sense of style might even thank you for it!

20% Off First Order From Rent the Runway With Code FIRST –  DISCOUNT HERE >>

 

In Gratitude Legos in my Louis

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19 Comments

  • Reply sonal September 26, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Betsy…I am joining a new firm in downtown Indianapolis and would definitely need to revamp my wardrobe…..and I am too lazy to pick stuff every morning for myself…what would you suggest le tote or rent the runway?

    • Reply Betsy September 27, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      Since it sounds like you are going to be going to the office and needing the rental for work too I would say Rent the Runway! It’s going to give you more professional options and great blazers.

  • Reply abbey November 15, 2017 at 9:14 am

    betsy the shipping hack you mentioned is literally a game changer

    • Reply Betsy November 15, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Right! I was literally in the process of canceling because I was tired of clothes in transit and I thought of it. I asked customer support and they said it is completely fine. Since then it’s been another 3 months, they have added a 4th piece to unlimited and I easily can wear 16+ different pieces in a single month if I want to!

      • Reply Lauren December 4, 2017 at 8:58 pm

        Hey Betsy!! Just signed up and my first shipment is on the way!! I’m so excited about this shipping hack and this may be a dumb question, but I’m wondering what info I need to include with my self-paid shipment back to them. Just my return address or additional info like my acct info? Thanks for any clarification you can offer!

        • Reply Betsy December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm

          Hi Lauren! Excited for you too. When you receive your first shipment you’ll see that each item has a VERY TINY barcode hidden on the clothing label. That’s what they use to scan the items in and associate them with your account and that’s how they will know the item is returning from you. But I like to play it safe and make the employee’s life easier so I provided my account number by way of screenshot with a handwritten note on it, never hurts to be friendly:) I shipped back via 2nd-day air and used UPS. You’ll have the address for return on the pre-paid label from your blue shipping bag so just copy that down when you ship. Keep in mind that items go back to New Jersey and they recycle the plastic clothes protector bags if you want to include that to help protect the garment.

          You only have to ship it back one time to get an extra bag and then you’ll be pretty set. And truthfully, the longer you use the service, the less you find yourself needing to swap as much. In part because you learn what styles suit you so there is less selection error but also because you start to really LOVE the pieces and want to hold on to each for just a little longer. Hope that helps!

    • Reply Betsy December 29, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      So glad that other people appreciate my hack too! I was seconds from canceling and then the solution came to me and I’ve been using it for 8 months straight. Now I just can’t go back to buying clothes I’m going to tire of.

  • Reply Karen Hernandez December 19, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Okay – I’m going to try this hack because I have been very frustrated with all the time that clothes are spent in transit. I have had spotty luck w/r/t receiving damaged or too worn pieces as well as a bunch of sizing issues so have only been able to wear 7 pieces in 1.5 months of membership. Before reading about your hack, I tried to order just one piece, in order to get an extra shipping bag and it wasn’t permitted on RTR. Here’s hoping your hack works, otherwise I am just not sure I can get $159 per month worth out of the unlimited plan

    • Reply Betsy December 29, 2017 at 8:56 pm

      Hi Karen! The hack is a massive gamer changer. This month alone I was able to get 4 new pieces the first week, then two back and two shipped to where I was for the holidays then 2 back and 2 on my doorstep today with another 2 going out tomorrow. I’m able to move so many pieces around it’s hard to track all the use I’m getting out of it:) Hope the hack helps you enjoy the service and get lots of covetable items!

  • Reply G Elizabeth December 29, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    I’m going on my 5th out of 5 weddings this year. December was a very busy month for me so I decided to Rent the Runway and try their subscription process. I overall, after my experience, would advise you that it is not worth the money. My number one issue was with shipping. This being the holiday season, shipments were ALWAYS late and especially the day of traveling, causing me to have to stay HOURS waiting for a simple shipment before I could leave and destroyed plans that were the whole intent of this shipment. I thought after the first time I would give it another chance and just plan ahead. When customer service seemed to be helping me when I mentioned my experience they didn’t even take into consideration to do next day air or arrival by 3 pm. So, instead, I waited until 11:30pm at night to receive my shipment for the last wedding. I completely ruined my night and unfortunately never plan to rent the runway ever again due to lack of clarity and consideration. If you pay for a service, I think the least they could do is ensure you get it first thing the next day? That is quality customer service. Not what they are currently offering.

    • Reply Betsy December 29, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      Sorry to hear you had trouble with the shipments. That’s part of why I like the unlimited service. I had a weekend away where I didn’t want to rely on just 1 dress and then time the shipment’s arrival and return. I tried unlimited instead so that I could have my options come well enough in advance that I knew if they would work and had time to match accessories. I think the last time I used unlimited for a weekend away I got the “main event” dress, a clutch, a skirt for brunch the next morning and even a jacket as part of a casual outfit for check-in day. So many more options and way less stress than a single item rental. You might want to try unlimited instead it if you find yourself in another 5 weddings for 2018:)

  • Reply Jamie January 10, 2018 at 12:24 am

    Hi! Have you tried shipping/return in a different state? Like living in VA but while on vacay, ship/return in Chicago. TIA!

    • Reply Betsy January 10, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      Yes! I used the service when I was in New York and shipped the items back from my hotel. Also, check out if they have a Rent the Runway store in Chicago. They did in New York so partway through my trip I swapped my pieces for different ones from the store. Hope that helps!

  • Reply Kirsten January 28, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    I have unlimited, but it wouldn’t be worth it if I didn’t have a local store that I could return to. Doing everything by UPS means 1 week (plus) to return and then 1 week wait for item to arrive. Also, beware that expensive clothes tend to run smaller, so if you are a 12+, your selection will be limited b/c RTR carries more smaller sizes and also b/c some items just don’t come in sizes large enough to fit.

    The GREAT thing about unlimited is that you don’t have to worry about what to wear for date night – you always have something new and cute to wear. Also great for work where it feels like I wear the same thing over and over.

    • Reply Betsy January 29, 2018 at 10:11 am

      Hi Kirsten! I almost quit for the same reason but then I discovered the brilliant two bag hack! Did you see that in the post above? It literally ensures that I never get stuck waiting on clothes to arrive and always have some in my closet while some are just in the two-day transit. PS- How lucky are you to have the added bonus of dropping at the store whenever you want!

  • Reply Lee Ann Swanson February 17, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Can you use a UPS drop box after you do the initial “hack?” There are drop boxes closer to me than the store.
    Thank you for the hacking information! Just received my first unlimited shipment and I love all the pieces!

    • Reply Betsy February 17, 2018 at 5:58 pm

      Yes! Your return label should be for UPS and you can give it to a carrier or drop it at a UPS store or box.

  • Reply mitchgasm February 22, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Hi Betsy! Thank you for your article, I’m considering joining the unlimited and found it super helpful! Quick question, not sure if you know the answer, but when you first sign up do you HAVE to select 4 items at once? Could you select maybe 2-3 get the garment bag, then order the rest of your items and have them come in a 2nd bag? I’m not a member yet so I’m not sure if that’s even feasible. Just trying to make the most outta my bucks! Thank you!

    • Reply Betsy February 22, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      I’m not positive but I think the very first time you need to pick all 4 pieces. But in the last month or so, I think they have switched away from the garment bag. My last shipment came in a box and then I just had a regular bubble mailer to use to return the clothes. Even if you have to ship back once on your own dime I think it would only be about $10 and then forever after you’ll have multiple pre-paids return to return piece by piece if you want. Hope that helps!

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