A Rent the Runway Unlimited Review

Reviewing Rent the Runway Unlimited and how it works for a size 14/16 woman and the options in plus size and cancellation policies

Last January I went on a girls' trip to Charleston.  One of my friends had this super cute moto jacket.  I asked her where she got it, she said Rent the Runway Unlimited.  She's an attorney and spends most of her week in conservative suits; she found Rent the Runway Unlimited helped her create a fun and stylish weekend wardrobe without her needing to go shopping or be hip on current trends.  Last summer I complimented a friend on her sundress; she said it was from a brand she never heard of but she rented it from Rent the Runway Unlimited and was planning to purchase it because she fell in love with it.  That fall, every time I went to a fashion or influencer event and complimented a friend on their look they'd tell me they rented it from Rent the Runway.  I had been recommending Rent the Runway for years for special events.  Renting a cocktail dress or evening gown is far cheaper than buying one, especially when you likely won't wear it more than once.  However, I was hesitant to try Rent the Runway Unlimited.  I was that weird middle ground between straight and plus sizes and also do better with petite sizes.  Would Rent the Runway work for me?

Personalized lucite clutch from Etsy Josie off the shoulder blue dress from Rent the Runway size 16 as seen on Wardrobe Oxygen

Dress: Josie c/o Rent the Runway Unlimited (16) | Shoes: River Island | Bag: Gift (similar) | Bracelet: c/o cabi (old; similar) | Earrings: Monogram Hoops c/o Jenny Bird

Shop the Look:

My Experience with Rent the Runway Unlimited

For $159 a month, Rent the Runway lets you borrow four items from their ever-changing collection.  Dresses, separates, outerwear, handbags, jewelry… even sunglasses are available.  They offer department store brands mixed with some designer (we're talking Rachel Comey and Tory Burch versus Gucci or Prada) and like the traditional Rent the Runway, customers share extensive reviews, often with photos. This past winter I tried Rent the Runway and canceled after one month.  I had great success with their outerwear – I got amazing coats like this faux fur and bags like this patent leather number.  However, the clothing was difficult – everything was too big or too small and if it fit it usually was for a woman several inches taller.  A mall 14 is far different from a designer 14 which is drastically different from a 14W. I ended up canceling after a few deliveries. Rent the Runway reached out this spring and asked if I'd like to try their program again.  I had seen so many friends my size have success I wondered if my fail was due to my choices not my size.  I was using Rent the Runway Unlimited to find high-end really funky things I would love to own but could never afford.  I decided to use it less like a fantasy rich quirky woman wardrobe and more the way I have recommended the program – a way to add to your wardrobe without purchasing a lot of things.  Items to wear to weddings, to work events, to try out new brands, to add interest to my closet basics.

Personalized lucite clutch from Etsy Blue printed cotton off the shoulder ruffled dress from Josie on Wardrobe Oxygen, over 40 fashion blogger

This dress came in my first spring Rent the Runway Unlimited order.  Josie is the clothing brand by intimates brand Natori, and it's a collection of pieces that are feminine, a touch sexy, with interesting architectural details. I never would have tried this brand, I didn't know it existed and I never would have thought the brand would come in my size (this is a 16).  This is the kind of dress I'd wear to an event, maybe again later in the summer on a date or to a wedding and then never wear it again and regret that I spent so much on it.  Instead, I get to wear it once or twice, send it back, and can even re-rent it later in the season.  And if I decide I do want to keep it, I can purchase it at a discount.

Also in my first order I received a sleeveless shirtdress from J. Crew I had my eye on (got a 16, too big, will re-rent for 14), an orange gauzy off the shoulder dress from Nicholas (went with a 16, should have done 14), and a pink mirror-finish clutch from Rebecca Minkoff (I was considering wearing pink earrings and a pink clutch with a white suit to a conference and didn't own a pink bag).  Unlike the winter where I struggled to find things, this spring I have already “hearted” several items I'd like to try in my future deliveries. I have a three-month free subscription, I'll continue to share what I get from Rent the Runway Unlimited and we'll see if it seems enough of a value to continue my subscription after the free trial.  

Rent the Runway Unlimited Promo Code

The lovely people of Rent the Runway Unlimited is offering $100 off new subscribers’ 60-Day Trial of Unlimited ($50 off each month) using code RTRDC22F051Click this link and use AGARY50 at checkout to get 50% off your first month!

Rent the Runway Unlimited FAQ

Tell me about the shipping and returns.

When you schedule an RTR delivery you get it super quick.  Once I got it next day, the other times it was there in two days. The delivery arrives in a canvas garment bag that zips up to be a package the size of a traditional shipping box.  Unzip, clothing is on hangers covered with dry cleaning bags.  bags and accessories are in dust bags or small accessory boxes.  The garment bag has a loop to hang it off a hook, it has little mesh pouches to hold small accessories and also has your return label. When finished wearing all the pieces, pack them back up, slip the mailing label in the clear pocket on the front and drop the bag off at a UPS drop-off. 

What if I want to cancel?

A lot of subscription programs make it nearly impossible to cancel.  I found it relatively easy with Rent the Runway Unlimited.  I used their contact form and let them know I wanted to cancel.  They replied the same day.  Of course, they asked why and offered solutions (visit the Georgetown store, try it another month, etc.) but when I stated no, I wanted to cancel they did it right away same day. 

Can you order more than one size?

When you sign up with Rent the Runway Unlimited they will ask you what sizes you wear most often. Searches will provide only those sizes and when they are in stock, but you can adjust the filter. Also, once you pick an item you can pick whatever size you desire.  And yes, you can order two or even three of the same item in different sizes. Just know that they all count as a piece in your four-piece delivery. 

Can you get fancy dresses through Rent the Runway Unlimted?

Yep! RTR Unlimited also has the evening gowns, the sparkly clutches, and the pretty jewelry to have you look fab for a cocktail party or gala as well as for work or brunch with your friends.

Do you need to clean items before returning them?

Nope, RTR will take care of cleaning.  However, you need to return items in wearable condition.  They know accidents happen and account for them, but if something is damaged let them know before you send it back.

Do you get clothes that smell like another person?

I've now tried three clothing rental programs, and the other person smell is real and gross.  Sometimes it's perfume, sometimes it's B.O., sometimes it's a super strong detergent. I've only received one thing that smelled a bit like perfume, everything else has been fine. One time I got a large suede tote and it was shoved in a too-small dist bag causing it to have a crease and not hang properly.  However, more than that I get items still with the tags on them that I'm the first wearer of the garment. In general, I find the condition of the items I've rented far better than the other two clothing rental companies I've tried.

I'm plus size, will Rent the Runway Unlimited work for me?

Rent the Runway Unlimited only goes up to a size 22. They seem to be working hard to improve their plus size offerings as it's way better than when I tried it a few months ago.  Back in the winter, if you got into plus sizes you went from fancy brands to basic mall brands.  From a dress that retails for $350 to one that retails for $45. What's the point of renting clothing when the rental fee isn't much less than buying the items outright?  However, this spring in size 22 offerings I see multiple styles from brands like Tanya Taylor, Unreal Fur, Badgley Mischka, Jason Wu, Amanda Uprichard, Christian Siriano, The Kooples, and Jay Godfrey. 

While I did receive a three-month subscription to Rent the Runway Unlimited for free, I was not asked to write this post nor will be paid for it.  All thoughts are honest and my own. There are affiliate links in this post; if you click on a link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission.

20 Comments

  1. Katie
    May 14, 2019 / 2:20 pm

    I’m curious about the discount you get when you decide to purchase the item. Any insight?

    • May 14, 2019 / 2:58 pm

      It looks as though the discount is dependant on how old/previous season the item. I currently have 4 things at home, one I can buy for 30% off, one for 60% off, and the other two (new releases) for 10% off.

  2. May 3, 2019 / 11:49 am

    That one shoulder dress looks fabulous Ally!
    I have never rented anything to wear, the most i’ve done is borrowed. Maybe its something i would consider if the mail worked here.

    • May 3, 2019 / 6:43 pm

      It’s a great way to spend less and reduce your clothing footprint!

  3. Chris
    May 3, 2019 / 5:41 am

    You look so good in that dress Allie. At the same time, I understand that it would not have the wide usage that some other, calmer dresses would have. Renting it seems ideal.

    • May 3, 2019 / 6:44 pm

      Exactly, this is the kind of dress where renting is awesome!

  4. Karin
    May 1, 2019 / 11:53 am

    The attorney from the Charleston trip with the moto jacket writing here!!! For maybe the last 18 months, I’ve done rent the runway update. I get 4 pieces at a time and I can only swap them once a month, which is a cheaper plan than unlimited. I don’t have time to constantly shop for new items so once a month is perfect for me. I’ve also gotten used to the brands and can almost always get the size I know that fits me. I’m not plus size (but am petite), and I typically seek dresses that have a little give. I’d highly recommend rent the runway. Alison, I bet after 3 months you’ll have your sizes down pat! That’s an adorable flower dress!

    • May 1, 2019 / 12:22 pm

      Hey there Karin! Thank you so much for chiming in and thanks for the details on the update feature. That’s a pretty cool alternative! Thank you!

      • Susan
        May 2, 2019 / 8:11 pm

        Cute dress! I’ve done RTR Update on and off for several months. It adds some variety to my neutral basics and I get to wear brands that are outside of my budget. The challenges I’ve had is that often the items I “hearted” aren’t available and lately I’ve noticed a trend to less expensive brands (J. Crew and their new in-house brand Slate and Willow, for example).

  5. Lauren W
    May 1, 2019 / 10:49 am

    I’ve been using unlimited for about 6 months now. I love it. I find that if I spend time each week (usually while I’m watching TV) sorting through the “new arrivals” on the app and hearting things, then, when it’s time to add something new to my closet, I can do it pretty quickly by just filtering by my hearts. I love it for bags as well. I usually hold onto one for about a month and then swap it out.

    • May 1, 2019 / 12:47 pm

      That’s what I’m finding, it’s worth it to scan every so often and create a bunch of hearted items to return to. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  6. Melly
    May 1, 2019 / 10:24 am

    Thanks so much for this review! My body has changed so much lately, and my lovingly curated wardrobe just isn’t working anymore. This seems like a good option to start over with new styles!

  7. May 1, 2019 / 8:50 am

    I’ve heard so much about clothing rental companies, specifically, this one and I have to say it seems very intriguing to me. I don’t think we have this kind of thing in my country but I’m hoping someone thinks of doing it because I think it’s an amazing idea.

    • May 1, 2019 / 12:50 pm

      It’s doing so well here I can see it expanding to other countries in the near future!

  8. Trixie
    May 1, 2019 / 8:18 am

    I wish Rent The Runway offered petites. It is impossible to make a gown work if you are a petite. Also, the proportions are just off! Armholes, darts, waist bands, etc.

    Can you use some of your influence to urge them to do something???!!!

    Love the dress!

    • karen
      May 1, 2019 / 10:27 am

      You make an excellent point about petite sizing.

    • May 1, 2019 / 10:37 am

      I fully agree. There are many styles (hello any pants or maxi dresses and fitted styles with a defined waist location) I just KNOW won’t work and I’m 5’3″. I feel for those shorter. I could see as they get bigger that they would include it. Ann Taylor’s rental program also needs petites!

    • Karin
      May 1, 2019 / 1:41 pm

      Actually, on long gowns you can order a short size. They do all the hemming. I think RTR is great for petites. I’m 5’3” and I have a lot of luck with the proportions.

      • Susan
        May 1, 2019 / 3:28 pm

        Really? who knew! I never heard about this…great news!

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