We’ve all experienced those hectic mornings where we can’t figure out what to wear. After yet another early-morning freakout, I decided to give my closet a complete overhaul, eliminating pretty much everything that wasn’t a flattering and versatile basic. I was immediately pleased with my new edited down wardrobe — it was super easy to decide what to wear each morning. But after a few weeks, I started growing tired of wearing the same pieces over and over again, and I felt like I was falling behind on the fashion curve. While I didn’t miss the pieces I donated, I wanted to find a way to breathe new life into the wardrobe essentials I had left.
And rather than buy new pieces I’d be sick of a month later, I decided to give renting clothes a try. I’ve used Rent the Runway several times in the past for special occasions (like when I needed a dress for a wedding that I’d only wear once), but I had always been very curious about the monthly subscription service. The brand offered to let me try Rent the Runway Unlimited, and since two of my friends already couldn’t stop raving about how it had changed the way they shopped, I decided to take the plunge.
How does Rent the Runway Unlimited work?
For $159 a month (the brand comped mine for a month), you can access over 600 designer clothing and accessory brands, like Proenza Schouler, Tibi, See by Chloe, Self-Portrait, and Derek Lam. I was able to select four pieces at a time and swap them out whenever I wanted — an advantage over Rent the Runway Update, which only lets you keep the same four pieces a month (but for $89 per month instead). I was shocked to find out that the average customer wears $33,000 worth of designer clothes in a year but only pays $159 a month, which is a cost savings of just over $31,000 (a.k.a. the price of some Birkin bags).
Delivery time between each of my orders was about two days (but certain cities can actually receive their picks the same day they order them) and each shipment came with a return label already printed, so all I had to do is drop off the provided garment bag full of clothes at my nearest UPS location. But you can also drop it off at any RTR Store or RTR Drop-Off box in WeWork locations across the country. Perhaps best of all, RTR dry cleans each piece before they send it out, so you never have to worry about cleaning the clothes before or after wearing them.
My Rent the Runway experience and tips
While the entire process was a breeze, the toughest part had to be deciding which options to rent! With thousands of stylish dresses, separates, and accessories to choose from, it was hard for me to narrow it down to four pieces at a time. Since I had a wardrobe full of basics, I decided to take this opportunity to experiment with my style. I reached for fashion-forward pieces in bold prints and modern silhouettes, like this Derek Lam printed top and this pink and red MSGM top-handle bag. Before committing to anything, I made sure to look through all the customer reviews for each piece and looked at the photos that other women had uploaded. This not only helped me figure out which size to order, but it also gave me ideas on how to style the clothing and accessories.
I also took my social calendar for the week into account, making sure I rented this flattering Tanya Taylor wrap dress for a baby shower I had that weekend and this trendy See By Chloe midi skirt for a night out with the girls. The one thing that I forgot to check (but should have) was the weather. The day that I planned to wear the above skirt, it ended up being super windy and rainy, thus delaying my outfit schedule. So I would definitely recommend checking the weather first so you can rent appropriately.
While you can technically hold onto your rented items for months at a time — as long as you’re still paying for the monthly service — I was ready for a change almost immediately. So after wearing all four of the pieces, I simply bagged them up and sent them back all at once (although you don’t have to send back all four pieces at one time). Once RTR received my return, which took two days, I was able to start selecting new options for my next round of goodies.
My final verdict on Rent the Runway Unlimited
Honestly, my favorite part of the service was the fact that I was able to easily fill the gaps in my closet for a fraction of the price I would shopping for new pieces. Getting ready in the morning was easier than ever since I had already planned out all of my outfits in advance, and since I was able to swap out items every few days, I never got bored.
Overall I’ve been very pleased with my experience over the past month and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in revamping their wardrobe or trying out new styles without spending a fortune. Using Rent the Runway Unlimited saved me so much time in the mornings — figuring out what to wear every day was a breeze.
Keep reading to see some of my favorite finds available on the monthly service, and if you are interested in trying Rent The Runway for yourself, use our exclusive promo code RENT100, from now until July 31, to get $100 off your first two months of Unlimited.
This article originally appeared on Instyle.com in April 2019.