This past weekend I had the pleasure of testing out Rent the Runway’s Style Studio in SOHO, and it was delightful. Rent the Runway speaks to my soul as a fashion enthusiast who has neither a Sugar Daddy, nor a rich regular dad, nor a 6 figure salary (yet). This innovative brand combines luxury fashion with technology to make quality clothing accessible to a larger number of consumers (albeit for a brief rental period). The process of renting the runway is quite simple:
- Shop the user-friendly website which gives you the option of shopping current designer styles based on event. You also have the option of shopping in the store, or on their mobile app.
- Choose your size. Let me tell you a secret. I don’t believe in shopping online unless it’s absolutely necessary, because 9 times out 10 whatever I order does not fit me, and I have to go through all the first world trouble of sending it back. RTR will send you an additional backup size for free and a second style for an additional $32.50.. They’ll even overnight another size if the one your ordered doesn’t fit.
- Select a time frame. You choose the rental period of either 4 days or 8 days, and the date of arrival. Returns are free, dry cleaning is included in the cost, and insurance for your rental is a whopping $5.
- P.S. They now have an unlimited option whereby you pay $139 per month to get 3 initial designer pieces to keep for as long as you want. Then, when you’re ready you can swap the items out for something new. Shipping is free both ways, and they handle the dry cleaning on the unlimited plan as well.
So, now that you are caught up on how it works online, let me give you the tea on the Style Studio. Senior Stylist Asia Jones emailed me beforehand to get my sizes, what I’m shopping for, and get an overall feel for what we would be doing on the day of our appointment. Asia declined to be photographed, but follow her on Instagram. Her style is so dope, so I knew I was in good hands. The studio space is open and airy with a minimalist glam feel. Think Ikea meets CB2 meets Z Gallerie. A huge mood board at the entrance serves for instant inspiration for possible looks, and long tables of accessories face the curtain covered dressing rooms. An array of Essie nail polishes adorn the walls in a small office-like space, along with a collection of Spanx (insert praise dance here) and magazines for inspo. Sounds of Adele and the like set a chill and relaxed mood.
Asia offered us champagne to sip while we waited for her to prepare my dressing room with the pieces she already pulled for me. Dude, she had me at hello with the free bubbly. Judge me, but I felt luxurious as hell. The process of choosing the best look was really seamless thanks to her easy going personality, the fact that she really paid attention to what I told her about my body type, and her fashion knowledge.
My mom has always instilled in me the importance of buying quality (not necessarily designer) pieces. It may cost you more, but it’s worth it! Quality clothing fits better, lasts longer, and is a smarter investment. I tried on a strapless dress (which you will see in the next post) that actually fit. That’s major for me, because I often look like a linebacker turned drag performer in strapless anything. Quality makes a huge freaking difference. If you aren’t convinced, go try on a dress at H&M, and then try on a similar dress by the designer from which the look was stolen. The difference will astound you. “Well, okay, you make a good point, but how am I supposed to pay for better quality when there’s Forever 21?,” you may be asking yourself because I’m not there with you. A few things:
If there is a trendy look you are dying to try, then rent it so it will fit you better, and you’ll have a better experience. Let’s be real. If you put it on social media you’re probably not going to wear it again anyway, so why not? (Except me. I will re-wear the hell out of something and dare somebody to call me out about it.)
There are these things called investment pieces. These are quality, evergreen (they will never go out of style) pieces that should fit you well so you can wear them year after year. It’s okay to save up for these pieces. It’s okay to buy these pieces off-season. It’s okay to fight someone at a designer sample sale for these pieces, just as long as the bail money is less than what you would’ve paid full price for the piece.
Designer does not always equate to quality, and quality does not always equate to designer. I wrote a piece on how to test the quality of your clothing here for your reference.
In summation, Rent the Runway is a blessing for fashion girls who are trying to build their credit score, and who don’t want to become scammers like some of your favorite reality tv stars. If ever you are in New York, check out the style studio! I loved my experience there, and will be using them more often. Check the next article for the looks I chose for a corporate Holiday party during my style session.