Rudey's Room

I Rented the Runway and It Rocked


I love dresses.

If you look in my closet, you’ll find mostly dresses (and some skirts).

My mom likes to share that I played in the mud in dresses when I was a little girl. I liked to get dirty, but insisted on wearing a dress.

On a daily basis, I would rummage through my closet and try on outfits. She says I would change dresses multiple times a day (perhaps because I got covered in dirt in the sandbox, but I think I just really liked to play dress up).

The few dresses I decided against wearing that day, I’d throw down the laundry shoot. Clean.

She laughs now, but I’m sure it was a headache then rifling through dirty laundry to find my discarded dresses and hang them up in my closet over and over again. 

What can I say, I like to try on dresses and get fancy.

I think it’s fun to have an occasion to shop for something new to wear and doll up in my best treads.

We had such an event on the docket this summer – a family wedding! My brother-in-law was set to marry his love on August 5th.

I started looking for dresses in late June and early July (mostly online while the girls slept).

I found a few, but none that really turned my head. Plus, we had just moved to a new home and a new state, so I couldn’t justify paying upwards of two hundred dollars for a dress I would wear once. I would tell myself I would wear it again, but the reality is it would find a home in the back of my closet in hopes that one day one of the girls would wear it.

Yet I wasn’t up for shopping my own closetMaybe it was the move, but I craved something new to wear versus a dress I had worn to a wedding five years ago.

I had heard rumblings about renting dresses, but had yet to give Rent the Runway a go. One of my friends tried it to great success a few months ago and raved about her dress.

I decided why not. A family wedding seemed like the perfect time to raid Rent the Runway’s closet. I could rent a designer dress for the weekend and hand it back when I was finished.

Sounded lovely.

And overall, it was. I rented a dress by Shoshanna. It’s called the Estella dress and I rented it in Navy. It retails for $525 and I rented it for just under $100 (which included shipping and insurance).





  • The website is user friendly. You can shop by occasion, style, size, designer, and price. You can browse photos of real people in the dresses and read their comments on sizing and experience.
  • It’s likely cheaper than buying a new high quality dress. I spent approximately $100 for a four-day rental (you can also do an eight-day rental). Rent the Runway sent me three dresses, in two styles. My first choice came in two sizes and my backup dress came in one size.
  • When the event is over, you simply find a UPS box and drop it in. They send you the  pre-made label, so you don’t need to monkey with anything other then finding a UPS box.


  • You rent a dress without trying it on first. That’s unless you live near one of the Rent the Runway stores in Chicago, NYC, San Fran, or DC. I wouldn’t let this dissuade you from trying a rental because you can get a good sense of sizing and style from the pictures and comments from other Rent the Runway users. Yet there’s a risk in renting a dress without trying it on, so renter beware.
  • The turn around time is fast. The dress comes a day or two prior to the event. My dress came mid-day on a Thursday and the wedding was that Saturday. This is a tight turn around if your rental doesn’t suit you or fit you. I suggest that you plan a back-up dress, just in case.

The second con happened to me. I got my two dress styles on Thursday. I tried both dresses on and neither worked.

The first dress was gorgeous, but in the words of my mom, it made me look like Chesty Love. Here’s the link to the dress. I didn’t feel comfortable with my breasts front and center, especially since I was reading Corinthians’, Love is Patient, Love is Kind, at the wedding.

The second dress was also very beautiful and well made. Here’s the link to the dress. I tried it on with high hopes. Nope. It aged me a good five years and added about 10 pounds to my 5′ 4″ frame.

I thought I could perhaps use some fashion tape and place my lady parts into the first one. When I began to fuddle with top, I discovered the wiring was wonky and I was still spilling out of the top.

Neither dress was going to work.

I decided to call Rent the Runway and explain my dilemma – reader at a family wedding, blah de blah blah. The woman I spoke to understood my plight. She directed me to the website and told me to pick out another dress. She gave me her phone number and said to call once I had an alternative. I enlisted Veronica’s help and she picked out the Shoshanna dress.

Rent the Runway footed the cost of an overnight delivery and sent me another dress – in two sizes. I got the dress on Friday afternoon. It looked like it was going to be the winner.

Alas, I couldn’t zip it up on my own and pulled my mom aside for help. It was a sticky zipper, but with a little elbow grease she got me in. On the wedding day, I needed help again, but my mom wasn’t with me. I felt a bit timid, but asked my sister-in-law’s mother-in-law and her daughter, to zip me up. Together they aligned the zipper and with some sweat and is this going to fail? fear, zipped me in. (Last con about wearing a popular rental, over time the zipper can pose a challenge).

This was the dress I ended up wearing for the wedding. (Thanks Ronny – good eye!)




Have you tried Rent the Runway? If yes, what was your experience? If no, would you give it a whirl? I would without reservation use it again.



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