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Okay friends, let’s get real. I was really excited to share this post with you, because I have now had two successful experiences with Rent the Runway. I was waiting on a few of the photos to come back from the photographer at the Iris Awards so I could include a few and upon seeing them, I just deflated.
I go through cycles with my physical appearance. Cycle one is the everything’s fine cycle. I have never been particularly thrilled with my body (mostly I don’t appreciate it until years later when I see photos and think “What was WRONG with me then? I would trade with that former me any day!” Cycle two is the panicked cycle where I start to feel uncomfortable in my skin, uncomfortable in my clothes, and highly aware of my size. Usually, cycle two hits me out of nowhere when I realize that things are not as they should be. Cycle two is where I shout at photos of myself to “Stand up straight!” and “For goodness sake, find a better angle!”
How did this affect my Rent the Runway experience? This was my second time renting a dress and I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with the process. There are plenty of reviews and photos of the dresses on real people that give me a good idea if this dress will work for me. If a dress doesn’t have many or any reviews, I won’t risk renting it. It’s nice to see the dress on different body styles because often it looks entirely different than it does on the model. I love that you can have a dress sent in two sizes, that you can choose a backup dress for $30 just in case, and that their customer service is A+.
This year I really needed their customer service when my original dress arrived and it didn’t fit in either size. I originally chose the Green Gabi Dress and I still dream about the chance to wear this dress (and order it in the correct size!)
Going back to my previous comments about cycle two, I really was in denial about my size and should have sized up for my spare size. I did not. So, when my original dress arrived and I tried to zip myself in, I realized we had a problem.
I called my daughter upstairs and asked her to help and she couldn’t get the zipper up either, so I need to stop pretending that the issue was simply that I couldn’t get a good angle on the zipper.
“But you look really pretty, mommy.” Seven-year-olds are good for the soul, I’ll tell you what.
I was sweating, 48 hours out from my event, dealing with a zipper that didn’t want to go up OR down at this point, and feeling pretty sorry for myself when I immediately hopped on the phone with Rent the Runway. Well first I sent panicked texts to Wendy. Then I called Rent the Runway. My dress wasn’t available in a bigger size but they sat with me on the phone while I scrolled through the site looking for another dress that might work, while they checked sizes and shipping availability. I finally chose one dress, the Badgley Mischka Natasha Dress and they overnighted it to me. Before 10:00am the next morning, my dress was on my doorstep.
The good news is that the second dress fit in BOTH sizes. The better news is that it garnered compliments all night. I’m not sure what it is about Rent the Runway that pushes me outside of my normal comfort zone, but I’m so happy that I did. Normally, I’m miss little-black-dress, so this sequined number was definitely a change for me, but it was so fun to try something new.
I think the best part is that the commitment level is low. You’re not choosing a dress that you’re hoping to wear again and again to make it worth owning – you’re picking the one dress that you want to wear to this specific event. I still think there is value in owning dresses that you can wear to several events, but if you have something special Rent the Runway lets you wear a dress at a fraction of the original cost.
Now that we’re a few weeks past the event I am able to show myself a little grace. I had so much fun at the Iris awards, both as a nominee for our work in video on Long Story Short and as an attendee who got to see so many of my peers recognized for their hard work. I had a blast sparkling all night long and solidified my love for Rent the Runway and their killer business model. I can already feel myself slipping back into cycle one. It’s easy to be hard on yourself, and it’s hard to write a post about renting pretty dresses while also trying to remind yourself that your value isn’t wrapped up in your appearance. I don’t have a perfect way to wrap this up, because loving yourself is always a work in progress. I’m working on it, friends.