Tips for Saving Thousands on Designer Clothing

 **This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

I've been using Rent the Runway's Unlimited program for one month now and I love it! You Get unlimited rentals with Rent the Runway's Unlimited subscription for $139/month but there is a code on the site for 20% off your first month, which drops the price to $111.20. I'd heard about Rent the Runway from a friend 6 years ago at a wedding, where I admired her outfit. Flash forward to this month, where I was going to a wedding where that same friend would be attending and wanted to be warm, comfortable, and fashionable. I remembered Rent the Runway and decided to give it a try. I found this beautiful Diane von Furstenberg Blue Purdy Jumpsuit and thought it would be warmer than a short dress (the dress code was cocktail). The reviews said it was comfortable and it really was! I wrote a detailed review here. I heard from people at the wedding that I looked like I belonged on the cover ELLE magazine. So awesome! Especially since I was warm and comfortable too – my primary goals! 🙂 I really hate being cold… Here's the jumpsuit: 

Diane von Furstenberg Blue Purdy Jumpsuit

Anyway, I could have rented the jumpsuit for a standard 4 or 8 days, but after reading about the Rent the Runway's Unlimited program, it made sense to pay a little more so I could have it a few days before the wedding and spend time finding accessories and shoes. My husband also had a holiday party at work the following weekend, and I thought I could wear it there as well. PLUS I'd get to select 2 other pieces for a total of 3 at a time. Here are the gorgeous Ciner Marry Me Teardrop Earrings I chose to wear with the jumpsuit: 

Ciner Marry Me Teardrop Earrings

I felt like a million bucks! I've never worn an outfit that totaled over $700 before! I rented 5 other pieces over the course of January. I tried another size in the jumpsuit, a fur vest, a Kate Spade purse, a warm winter coat, and a cute tweed vest. I rented a total of 7 designer pieces in 30 days, which comes to $15.86 per item. Another way to look at this is dividing the subscription price of the first month ($111.20) by the total retail value of everything I rented ($3,331) to get 3.33%. I paid just 3% of the retail value of these items to rent them! Everything arrived in mint condition and I didn't have any dry cleaning fees like I would have if it was something I owned. I also got to try out different designers and styles, which was really valuable to me. I just cleaned out my closet after Christmas, and I loved how much WASN'T in there! This allowed me to wear new things without storing them. It's genius! Here's what I learned during my first month of Unlimited: 

  1. By reading reviews of women who had a similar body type to mine (reviews state height, weight, body type, and key measurements), I was able to figure out what size to order in almost every case. In the case of the jumpsuit, the 6L fit like a glove everywhere except the torso length was just a little too snug. I could have made it work, but because I had the Unlimited subscription, I had time to send for an 8L which was perfect! Because I could keep 3 items at a time, I kept the earrings and the 6L jumpsuit just in case the 8L didn't arrive in time. I used the first jumpsuit to figure out which shoes to buy. (I sent back a coat that was too short in the sleeves so I could order the 8L jumpsuit, which did arrive in time for the wedding, by the way!)
  2. I liked keeping 1-2 items at a time and having 2-1 in transit to or from Rent the Runway. That way, I always had a great piece at home to wear. You can have 3 items at a time. 
  3. It pays to have basics like black skinny jeans, black boots, and black turtlenecks (this is for winter rentals) so you can rent statement pieces like great coats, ponchos, vests, and furs. 
  4. At first, every time I'd get a new item, I'd send back an old one right away. I'd do it the same day since the UPS Store was right on my way to/from my son's school. Then I realized that with 2-business day UPS shipping, nothing much happens shipping-wise on the weekends and it was usually the same arrival time on the returned item if I dropped something off Friday afternoon or Monday morning. So if I could wear something over the weekend, it made sense to keep it an extra day or two. 
  5. When selecting a new item, I'd first check my calendar and see what events I had coming up and what I might want to wear. I'd also check the weather forecast. If it was going to be a solid week of rain, it didn't make sense to select a wool coat. Instead, I'd choose a vest or top that could be worn under a rain jacket. I kept a list of favorites and could easily search to see if my size was available when it ready to choose something new.
  6. I got to try out styles I'd been wondering about – without buying them first! It's awesome to be able to try something new for a few days before you buy it. I'd been thinking about buying a new handbag with double handles since I thought they looked so cute on everyone else. Guess what? I carried the bag twice before I decided it just wasn't comfortable or efficient enough for me. I have two little boys and I want to be able to hold both of their hands (vs. one and a purse!). I also tried carrying the bag with the shoulder strap, but the handles got in the way. This was really valuable information to have prior to making a buying decision worth hundreds of dollars. So when I do decide to buy, I'm getting a bag that ONLY has a shoulder strap! 🙂
  7. I also tried a fur. I didn't actually know it was real fur until it arrived, but it was a little fox. I felt weird about wearing it. It was super warm and might have been appropriate for a ski weekend at Whistler, but it felt over-the-top for wearing around suburbia. Now I know not to buy real fur, and I probably won't rent it again unless I have a ski weekend planned.
  8. To me, the cost is worth it. At a monthly rate of $139 (or less with new customer codes) that includes shipping, dry cleaning, insurance, and amazing designer pieces, I can have a rotating closet of killer clothes and accessories and feel good about how I look. I had a ton of fun selecting new pieces, tracking arrivals, and wearing new outfits. I didn't have to commit to owning anything, which was really nice for someone who tries to be selective about what I bring into my closet.   

These 8 lessons were gleaned from my first month of using Rent the Runway's Unlimited program. My second month is starting now and I'm excited to see what I'll learn in February. Stay tuned for more product reviews and musings! 


One thought on “Tips for Saving Thousands on Designer Clothing

Leave a comment and share your thoughts!