After the Wardrobe Experiment

You would think that a former Fashion Designer would run at full speed back to her fun clothes after 30 days of Uniform Dressing, right? I did not! My static wardrobe is just too easy and takes so little thought and is definitely a step up from the yoga clothes. I have been just throwing it on and happy to do it. In South Charlotte you always run into someone you know and it saves me those embarrassing excuses I posted about in Day 29! I have also had my fill of fun occasions to dress up for: CJ’s birthday, my birthday, preschool graduation, and dinner out with friends. Rent the Runway has been a great help with all those occasions.

I think Rent the Runway is a great concept: for $130 a month you can wear as many new dresses as you can fit into the roundtrip shipping window. If you’re really on top of it and schedule well (getting the things you have worn back to UPS right away), you could have max 12 new looks a month. I am not that organized (ha!) but also I am super-picky about the way things fit. In no small part because determining the exact fit of clothes was a central part of my professional life for so long – it was on me to “own” the fit of each piece I designed. That’s a critical part of the Fashion Design process that gets very little attention outside of the industry: everyone focuses on the “brush to paper” element of the process (“creative design” in industry jargon), but if you can’t produce the design to fit on actual bodies … and that means producing 10,000 or 100,000 of them, in various sizes … then you have a loser, not a winner. That process of taking the creative design and making a saleable product that is able to be produced in high volumes (generally by overseas factories, language and cultural barriers included) is called “technical design.” I spent a lot of time in both creative and technical, so when it comes to my clothes fitting just so, that’s pretty much how my brain is wired to work.

At least three things went back unworn because I did not like the fit. There’s also the fact that if I really love the way something fits, I am going to wear it more than once. It’s great for the crazy months (like our May) when you have multiple events that you need to look fabulous for. I had that great neutral platform sandal that works with almost every dress. So I am not having to reinvent the wheel as far as shoes are concerned either. Pretty much a no brainer.

Rent the Runway also will give you a discount on purchasing worn items as well. That is a nice little perk, because I can wear an item, think I look fabulous, feel fabulous in it. The moment of truth: I see a picture and immediately am horrified – hate the outfit and never want to wear it again! So it is with great satisfaction knowing I can just send it back as a part of the plan. This does happen more than I would like to admit! But some of them are just right, and having the option to buy the piece at a reasonable price is very handy because once in a while you have a total winner on your hands.

Right now styles are very flowy and less tailored … many are short. Or the skin tight middy-pencil look. Even though I love these looks, these are not great looks on me since I hate my legs and flowy makes me look 5x my size. Why is this? Well, to pull off flowy, the parts that are showing have to be super skinny. How to compensate when your eye says “tent,” “sack,” “side of a bus”? The skinny parts that show remind your eye this it’s just not true – there is a skinny person hiding behind the side of the bus. Flowy is a great look for the “apple” shape that gains in the middle, not great for the hour-glass or the pear. The pencil dress is a great look for the hour glass figure if you feel comfortable wearing it, but I am a product of the eighties (the waif generation) so I am not super comfortable showing off my curvy figure. Even when I look in the mirror and Baby Got Back or Brick House plays in my head, I just can’t get over it!

This recently happened in my happy place, Anthropologie. I saw a display with a very flowy handkerchief top over a double layer stretch rib pencil tank dress. I thought “that could be cute: the top would cover the junk in the trunk and my butt-thighs.” Much to my chagrin, a full size moo moo was needed to cover the pencil dress. Mental note: those absolutely do not work for me.

More great things about Rent the Runway: you can order more than one size to make sure it fits (very smart: helps get past that internet clothes shopping hesitation). You can also click on pictures to see how other fellow renters look in the outfit you are considering. This may be helpful to most people but for me, it will ruin the dress in my mind if I see someone else in it. It’s that whole “oh my gosh, three other people in the room are wearing my same dress,” thing I just can’t get past. I think if I was famous and someone did that “who wore it better than me” thing I may be traumatized for life. Another good reason for not being famous (no risk there, ha!). So I happily choose not to press that particular button on the website and imagine I am the only one wearing these cute dresses. That is until my friend (you know who you are) calls me to shop Rent the Runway together … there is no doubt with a glass of wine, we will end up Fashion Policing those “who wore it” pics and even compare our own!

So after a little time renting, I am having fun and I would recommend it for those months with busy social calendars, or if you have gained or lost a little weight and are not ready to take the plunge into the next size! Rent away friends! Tell them I sent you!

For the record, the static wardrobe is still holding strong and is my absolute go-to most daytime hours!

Also for the record, Rent the Runway is not paying me … yet. Forward my blogs around and maybe they’ll catch wind of it and pick me up! J

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