12 photos that show how 4 women at Business Insider use Rent the Runway’s ‘Unlimited Swaps’ clothing subscription

Remi (left), Sally (middle), and Mara (right) in outfits from Rent the Runway.

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Remi (left), Sally (middle), and Mara (right) in outfits from Rent the Runway.
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Business Insider

  • Rent the Runway Unlimited Swaps lets subscribers order an endless rotation of designer apparel like clothes, bags, jewelry, and more for $159 per month.
  • Five women on the Insider Reviews team use Rent the Runway Unlimited Swaps in our daily lives. To show you how the service works and what value we personally get out of it, four of us show the outfits we rented over the course of a week.
  • Right now, new subscribers can get $100 off their 60-day trial with the code “RTRINSIDER” at checkout. Each month, you’d get $50 off and pay $109, plus tax.
  • If you’re working from home, here’s how we’re hacking the service for comfy loungewear.
  • You can view RTR’s three membership plans here, and see our list of FAQs at the bottom of this post.

Rent the Runway (RTR) has been dubbed one of the most disruptive companies in the world thanks in large part to its innovative subscription-based model.

Rent the Runway was once the underground life hack for renting a $500 cocktail dress for $75 for a wedding. But as of 2018, its subscription plans – RTR 1 Swap (four items per month, $89), RTR 2 Swaps (eight items per month, $135) and RTR Unlimited Swaps (unlimited rentals of four items at a time, $159) – already account for 75% of its business, according to the company.

Instead of a one-off rental, RTR customers today seek a better, more sustainable alternative to shopping.

On the Insider Reviews team alone, five women typically pay the $159 monthly fee for a Rent the Runway Unlimited Swaps Subscription (below, you can find our personal reviews and pictures of outfits we’ve rented).

And now that the company offers an in-between option with its Swap 2 membership, we’ll be testing and comparing that service in the near future.

Right now, new subscribers can get $100 off their 60-day trial with the code “RTRINSIDER” at checkout. Each month, you would get $50 off and pay $109, plus tax.

How Rent the Runway Unlimited Swaps works

Rent the Runway Unlimited Swaps lets members rent an unlimited amount of designer clothes on a rotating basis every month – ranging from handbags to work clothes to bridesmaids dresses to statement earrings. It’s $159 per month typically, but your first two months right now are each $50 off with the code “RTRINSIDER” at checkout.

Members can pick up to four items per rental and then return pieces whenever they want to swap out for a new style, or just keep them all for the entire month. There’s no set return deadline with the membership, as long as you continue to pay by the month, and you don’t have to wait until you’ve worn all four items to return one of them. All orders have free shipping, the membership includes insurance for minor mishaps and general wear and tear, and RTR takes care of the dry cleaning.

To return an order, members will pop the clothes back into the garment bag they came in, swap in the prepaid return label, and drop the bag to any UPS store or their designated drop-boxes. Once Rent the Runway has received the returns, members are notified that they can make new selections – and they’re directed to a page full of options available for same-day or next-day delivery.

The selection is big – for instance, 31 pages of daytime dresses alone available for delivery to me tomorrow in Manhattan. Members can narrow the options down by size, body type, occasion, color, etc., and they’ll also be able to see which options they’ve previously “hearted” that are now available for delivery. RTR will also curate personalized suggestions they think you’ll like based on your previous rentals.

If you’d like to cancel, you’ll need to email cancel@renttherunway.com. You can hit “pause account” online in the section regarding your membership, but it’ll only pause for one month. Both pausing and canceling it will begin at the end of your payment cycle, when you would have paid for renewal.

Here’s what Rent the Runway Unlimited Swaps is like to use, according to 4 women on our team:


Sally

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Business Insider

The overall retail cost of clothes: $1,740

Left: Mara Hoffman Eliza Sweater, $395 retail

Middle: Sandy Liang Camo Rory Jacket, $595 retail

Right: Monse Inside Out Jeans, $750 retail

I’ve been paying for an RTR subscription since November-ish of 2018 (sometime in early winter, at least), so I’ve used it in all kinds of weather. I love it year-round, honestly – in the winter, I rent cute coats and sweaters, and during the rest of the year, I love using it for flouncy, fun dresses I’d never otherwise buy.

You wouldn’t know it from the clothes I rented, but my closet is almost exclusively made up of neutral black, white, navy, and cream-colored clothing. RTR lets me be a little bolder and more experimental with my choices.

One thing I love is that RTR users can upload photos of themselves in the clothes they rented and leave reviews about the fit, and you can sort by people who have similar body types to you. I rarely order an item unless I see pictures first because it helps me make a better call about fit. However, I have to say that I hate how the clothing comes wrapped in plastic dry cleaning bags – it’s wasteful and annoying to deal with, but the company says they recycle it for you if you return it to them in your garment shipping bag.

Most importantly, RTR has helped me quit fast fashion and generally shop less. I know I can always find something chic and fun on RTR that feels current and trendy, so I’m much less tempted to pop into Zara. Instead, I spend my money on basics and classics that I’ll wear for a long time.


Mara

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Business Insider

The overall retail cost of clothes: $937

Left: Unreal Fur Natural Faux Fur Delish Jacket, $339 retail

Middle: Polo Ralph Lauren Afton Blazer, $398 retail

Right: Great Jones Black Drape Top, $200 retail

If you had told me pre-RTR that I’d spend $16o on a monthly clothing subscription, I would have laughed. My others are few and unanimously priced under $10: a joint Hulu x Spotify, my favorite publications, and Scribd.

But RTR Unlimited actually winds up saving me money. Instead of spending around $160 on clothes that end up in a donation bin later, I’ve almost entirely stopped shopping. I’ve finally donated drab reserve blouses. Instead of buying to fill gaps in my closet, I rent for them and use the flexibility of the subscription to only buy special pieces that I’ll still want to own in five years. In the end, I have nicer clothes to wear every day, and my non-RTR closet is nicer than I’d be able to afford otherwise. I also get to “shop” habitually (which is a hard habit to break) without contributing to the waste of the fashion industry.

I use Unlimited for everything: memorable sundresses and wedding guest dresses in the summer, expensive trends like a Susan Alexandra purse and adventurous pieces like this Unreal Fur jacket (above), workwear I don’t need to dry clean, statement winter coats, cocktail dresses for date nights, and even relatively affordable names like Reformation and AGOLDE to test drive before I buy.


Remi

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Business Insider

The overall retail cost of clothes: $1,271

Left: Bacon Pink Neon Puffer Jacket, $695 retail

Middle: Sosken Jaden Houndstooth Jacket, $498 retail

Right: Reformation Green Isla Square Neck Top, $78 retail

After hearing so many rave reviews from coworkers and friends, I decided to give Rent the Runway Unlimited a try. The trial was too good of a deal to pass up. After just one month I was sold on paying full price ($160 a month) for the service.

I love shopping and trying new styles, but it can be an expensive habit. And as I learn more about the impact of fast fashion, I’ve been trying to shop less. Not to mention, I don’t have space in my little New York apartment for more clothes. I’m at capacity and I’m not about to pull a Carrie Bradshaw and turn my oven into a shoe rack.

Rent the Runway is the better way to keep your wardrobe constantly fresh. The service has solved my “closet full of clothes but nothing to wear” conundrum by providing me with cute new pieces whenever I want. This winter, I’ve been taking advantage of its selection of fun jackets. I love outerwear, but it tends to be pricy and bulky. Rent the Runway lets me wear coats that I probably wouldn’t buy, whether they’re too bold, trendy, expensive, or what have you. Getting to wear fun statement pieces without the closet commitment is exciting, and makes me want to try things that may be out of my comfort zone, like the hot pink puffer pictured above.

I definitely have had some misses – just like any online shopping experience, sometimes things don’t fit or you end up not liking them in person. But, RTR makes it easy to return and swap out those “meh” pieces for ones you really love. Ultimately I find I save money, get to experiment with my style, and wear pieces that are way out of my budget. Plus, online shopping is a lot more fun when everything costs $0 (sort of).


Jada

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Business Insider

The overall retail cost of clothes: $1,888

Left: ba&sh Navy Lou Coat, $785 retail

Middle: Slate & Willow Ivory Cable Knit Sweater, $138 retail and L.K. Bennett Eleanor Peacoat, $580 retail

Right: Jason Wu Grey Merino Crewneck Sweater, $385 retail

I started using Rent the Runway Unlimited last May after seeing so many teammates use the service, and it’s been one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.

Since then, I’ve rented cute dresses and skirts in the spring and summer, fancy white dresses for events in the lead-up to my wedding, casual beach dresses for my honeymoon, bags that retail for $600+, and fun coats during fall and winter. I like that the service lets me expand my wardrobe and play around with my personal style without spending a ton of money. I wear the things I rent at least twice before returning it for something else, though I did carry a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag for a whole month before returning it only to rent another one in a different color.

The monthly $160 fee is pricey upfront, but for the value of items I’m able to rent, it’s definitely worth it for me. If I were to calculate the retail values of just the items I rented before my wedding, it would definitely be more than $160. In fact, if you aren’t sure how much value you’d get from the service, I’d suggest trying it out during a month or two where you have a series of events coming up like during wedding season or the holidays.

For the first month or so, I had a lot more misses than hits because I couldn’t figure out the right sizes for the pieces I was renting. The clothing descriptions aren’t detailed at all and provide super-basic information like the fabric or length of a dress or skirt (and sometimes, not even that), so scrolling through past RTR renters’ photos and reviews were immensely helpful, and I eventually figured out the right sizes.

There are a lot of clothes and accessories, so definitely use the filters to avoid getting overwhelmed. At the very least, I’ll normally filter by my size, the earliest date available for delivery, color, and length if it’s a dress or skirt and sleeve length if it’s a top or sweater.


FAQs for RTR Unlimited Swaps:

What is RTR Unlimited Swaps?

RTR Unlimited Swaps is the company’s premium membership option. Members pay $159 per month for unlimited rentals of RTR clothes, keeping as many as four items at home at a time.

How much does RTR Unlimited Swaps cost?

RTR Unlimited Swaps is $159 per month.

Right now, new subscribers can get $100 off their 60-day trial with the code “RTRINSIDER” at checkout. Each month, you’ll get $50 off and pay $109, plus tax.

How does RTR Unlimited Swaps work?

Rent the Runway Unlimited Swaps ($159/month) lets members rent an unlimited amount of designer clothes on a rotating basis every month – ranging from handbags to work clothes to bridesmaids dresses to statement earrings.

Members can pick up to four items per rental and then return pieces whenever they want to swap out for a new style, or just keep them all for the entire month. There’s no set return deadline with the membership, as long as you continue to pay by the month, and you don’t have to wait until you’ve worn all four items to return one of them.

All orders have free shipping, the membership includes insurance for minor mishaps and general wear and tear, and RTR takes care of the dry cleaning.

Can I buy an RTR dress I rented through Unlimited Swaps?

Yes. To purchase a piece you have at home, sign in to your account on the app or on your computer. You’ll see the pieces you have at home at the top of your homepage. Click “Buy Now” below the piece you’d like to make yours.

Once you opt to buy something, your card will be charged, and RTR will open up the reservation spot in your queue so you can order something new.

Can you pause RTR Unlimited Swaps?

You can hit “pause account” online in your account online and it will confirm that you’re account has been paused. To cancel, you’ll need to email cancel@renttherunway.com. Both will take into effect at the end of your payment cycle.

Is RTR taking any extra precautions during concerns over COVID-19?

Find the company’s official statement below:

All our garments, accessories, hangers, and all packaging are thoroughly cleaned each time they are returned to us.

According to Harvard Health, there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted from soft surfaces like fabric or carpet to humans. In addition, our cleaning agents and practices are designed to kill viruses such as the common cold and flu. While scientific information is still developing, we have no reason to believe that our processes are ineffective against COVID-19.

The teams in our fulfillment centers use a variety of techniques to ensure that each garment is thoroughly cleaned, steamed and pressed, inspected for quality, and carefully packaged so that it arrives ready to wear. All garments go through a wet or dry cleaning process. They also go through an additional steaming process which heats items to between 248°F and 302°F with the exception of faux fur, select outerwear, leather, and faux leather garments, which still go through our standard cleaning processes. According to the CDC, flu viruses are killed by heat above 167°F. Every garment is then enclosed in plastic for protection and cleanliness, which we ask customers to return for recycling.

Find out more in the company’s own FAQs to address any questions you may have about their cleaning processes.

Can you cancel your membership if you’re not using it during COIVD-19?

As of now, this process hasn’t changed. You can pause it for one month in your account settings or email cancel@renttherunway.com to cancel it for longer than one month or indefinitely. The company will not prorate your membership, so we recommend cancelling at the end of the month, just before your next month gets charged.