When I heard about Rent The Runway and it’s concept of designer gowns at a fraction of the cost, I was ecstatic and intrigued. A sort of Disneyland for Fashionistas or the girlfriend’s closet you could only dream about raiding.
The concept is simple. For $40-$350 plus shipping you can borrow any designer dress of your dreams listed on the website and pretend it’s prom night all over again minus the uncool Flock of Seagulls hairdo. You schedule the dress to arrive a few days before your event. They send you two sizes (alternate size is free) and even have a personal stylist on hand to advise you about the fit of the dress and what to wear if you’re shaped like an apple or a pear.
I settled on a simple Calvin Klein black dress that was originally priced at $1195. Rent the Runway was offering a four to eight day rental for $150. As a backup, I rented a Nicole Miller Lace dress for $75, originally priced $410. The day of my event a giant box was delivered with the RTR logo garment bag in it for me to keep along with a self-sealing pre-addressed mailer for the dress to be sent back in. So Easy! Christmas had arrived in November! I anxiously unzipped the bag and waited to be dazzled.
This was certainly NOT my Cinderella moment.
More like Cruella Deville in last season’s Calvin…and not the cool vintage kind.
The dresses looked like they had been around since Studio 54 era and far from the way they were pictured online. The Calvin Klein apparently came equipped with deodorant at no extra cost…stained from the last person who wore the dress.
Although I’m not a fit model, I generally find dresses true to size and both of these had been stretched and shrunk so many times that they ended up looking more dowdy than dramatic and would more likely be found at Goodwill rather than on anyone’s runway.
I’m up for some recession proof shopping but with Rent The Runway’s discounted designer dresses I ended up looking more like a cheap date.
So this Valentine’s Day, save yourself the wintervention and whatever you do, Don’t Rent (Last seasons) Runway at any price.