Rent the Runway
Credit: Rent the Runway stock photo

How do these girls do it? You’ve seen them on Instagram, blogs, and reality tv shows. They look fabulous, wearing designer pieces even though many of them are students working retail or have some other obscure jobs (Hello, the “dog – walker” from The Bachelor!). Here’s the secret: you can rent these designer dresses for a fraction of the price. Enter in "Rent the Runway". Now every girl can actually dress just like her Pinterest boards without breaking the bank.

 My wife is able to wear a $1,350 Herve Leger dress to dinner for our wedding anniversary this year on a teacher’s salary. It is red and fabulous and unlike anything else hanging in her closet. She's dying to wear it. 


Vintage Chanel jewelry. Badgley Mischka gowns. Diane Von Furstenberg cocktail dresses. Marchesa handbags. Valentino. Temperly London. Marc Jacobs. Kate Spade. Lilly Pultzer. Have a favorite? You’ll probably be able to find pieces by that designer. Different girls have different styles and I’m happy to tell you that there is something for each of you. And since you’re renting you can experiment a bit! My wife tends to lean toward a more classic look, but she has been eyeing some Moschino pieces for a friend’s bachelorette party.

There are dresses, handbags, jewelry, sunglasses, tops, bottoms, and even outerwear pieces on Rent the Runway. Need a gown for a black tie event or a military ball? There are hundreds. Looking for a little sequined number to wear for a night out on the town? Look no further! Want to test drive that designer handbag before you shell out half of your paycheck?  You’ll be happy that you did (you might even decide to put your money toward renting more bags instead of buying)!

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of designer goods at your fingertips? No need to. You can sort by item type, style, designer, price, color, size, length, sleeve length, and even body type if you want to.

Sizing Concerns

Rent the Runway offers sizes from 0 – 16 and many dresses come in petite or long lengths as well. Despite this great range, my wife was worried about renting a dress and having it not fit. Of course, the creators of this wonderful brainchild were one step ahead of her. You get a second dress shipped to you for free. Wondering how it looks on a woman who is not six feet tall and airbrushed like the models are? Many girls post reviews of how the items fit them with photos, so you will have a pretty good idea of what size you’ll need to order. But, if you’re not sure, you get a second size just in case.

Think you don’t need a second size? Do it anyway. Once, my wife ordered a dress she was really confident would fit and decided she didn’t need the second size. It was free, so she decided to add it just in case. Unfortunately, whoever rented the dress (in her backup size) before her returned it damaged, so it was not available. A customer service agent contacted her right away and offered her an additional dress for free. She was thrilled! She was going to get the original dress she ordered in her size and a different dress to take the place of her backup size. It coincided with our anniversary weekend, so she was thrilled to have two great dresses to take. 

Save More with Coupon Codes

Are you one of those gals who is always concerned about getting the best deal possible? My wife will be the first to admit that she is. One of the best tips she has for all of you budget savvy girls is to sign up for the email list. Occasionally Rent the Runway will email you with coupon codes to make your deal even sweeter. 

Pro Membership Option

You really must go with the Pro membership. For $29.95 a year you get free shipping, insurance (because who wants to drink red wine in a $1,000 rented dress that is not insured?) … AND a free birthday dress (up to a $50 value). The pro membership is really a no-brainer because it is so fabulous. And, I think it’s what my wife is buying for all of her girlfriends for their birthdays this year. (If one of you read this, pretend to be surprised).

Unlimited Option

Think the Pro membership sounded good? Your heart might explode when you hear about Unlimited. It’s like Netflix for your dream clothing. With an Unlimited membership you can keep three items at a time for as long as you want. It could be for a weekend getaway or for six months. An unlimited membership is $99 per month and can be cancelled at any time. Yes, you read that right!

Just think of the possibilities! If you’re like my wife, you start dreaming of travel outfits when you plan vacations. Heading somewhere tropical? You probably want to take some floral maxi dresses. Jetting off to NYC? Stick with classic black pieces or bold silhouettes. With the unlimited membership you could get special pieces for your trip and return them when you’re home.

Have a gala to wear a gown to? Choose a gown, clutch, and jewelry for your next order. Nothing exciting on your calendar? Add that $2,380 jacket to your queue and make your wardrobe exciting.

Bottom Line

If you were on the Bachelor, would you rather bungee jump off a mountain in a third world country or get the Cinderella date with a dress and a private concert? I think most of you would pick the dress and the show. (Hint: If any of you girls reading this ever end up on the Bachelor, tell the producers that you are terrified of champagne and diamonds. I bet you’ll snag the coveted makeover date). Rent the Runway has previously hosted the Cinderella dates on the most loved and hated reality show. Want to experience it yourself? Rent the Runway has showrooms in Vegas, Chicago, Washington DC, and NYC (two locations - Soho and Flatiron). You can book an appointment to try on the dresses so you know exactly what you’ll be getting when you order. The next time my wife is in one of these cities, she will be heading straight to one of these stores so she can plan out her wardrobe for special events for the next few years.