Friday, March 22, 2019

I Tried Rent the Runway -- with Mixed Results

After two children and countless diets, I have a closet full of dresses ranging from size eight to size 14. I haven't worn my size-eight little black dress in more than a decade, but against all advice from Marie Kondo, it's still hanging in my closet.

With a vacation to California planned, I decided to try Rent the Runway for a fresh slate of spring dresses. Unfortunately, Denver weather interfered in the form of a March blizzard, which closed schools, airports -- and interrupted mail delivery.

After more than an hour on the phone the morning of my departure, it was determined that my package was still sitting at the distribution center instead of on my doorstep. Rent the Runway automatically returned the package, but left the charge on my credit card.

Once we arrived in San Francisco, my hotel turned out to be a few blocks away from a brick-and-mortar Rent the Runway store. I happily tried on dresses, and selected a Draper James A-line dress in size XL for a $30 rental. The transaction at the store ended up being fairly easy, and I just dropped off the dress the next day. I could have kept the dress for four days, but I didn't have time for dry cleaning.

When I got home, I had to spend another 20 minutes on the phone to get the charge on my credit card refunded. All in all, I enjoyed the clothes, but it ended up being quite a hassle for the package that was never delivered. My advice would be to spring for the eight-day rental if you live anywhere with bad weather. I had planned on receiving the package the day before I left, but that might not be the best idea.

The saleslady at the store said Rent the Runway plans on opening on a Texas distribution center soon, which will hopefully make renting clothes easier for fashionistas located West of the Mississippi. Right now, all clothes are shipped from a New Jersey distribution center.

Interested in trying it for yourself? Receive $30 off your first Rent the Runway purchase. (I also receive $30.)

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.