An accessory can make an outfit. It can make that same jumpsuit you’ve worn on every vacation you’ve taken for the last year feel new and special.
But as quickly as I’m willing to invest in a new pair of the perfect travel pants, I could never quite bring myself to buy something like a clutch, an accessory I’ve always questioned whether I’d wear again. So when I recently headed off to Mexico, which seemed like the perfect place to tote around a summery bag, I rented one instead.
When you head off on a brand new adventure, you often want to look the part, even going so far as to buy new clothes to fit the destination or to make those Instagram photos even more special (I’m as guilty of that as anyone).
So this time, I thought I’d try something a little different — and a little bit more wallet-friendly. Using Rent the Runway, I was able to borrow a couple summery dresses and the perfect straw clutch for those beachy vibes without actually having to commit to them long term.
Strolling through the quaint streets of Puerto Vallarta recently, I swung my Eugenia Kim black and white clutch from my arm by its geometric wooden handle as I walked through the outdoor market, the bright stalls bursting with colorful bowls begging to be brought home and chic hats to hide you from the unrelenting sun. The pastel green high-low 3.1 Phillip Lim dress I wore swung effortlessly as I walked. It was a style I may not have been drawn to before but was now going to take every ounce of willpower not to keep it.
Later that evening, I changed from the flowy green day dress to a Sea New York black and brown cotton shift. The geometric pattern and a-line cut make for a simple yet elegant look along with my pointy black Rothy’s (I don’t go anywhere without these and if they’re good enough for Meghan Markle, they’re good enough for me).
Strolling the beach at sunset, the sand squishing between my toes and the warm surf lapping against my ankles as the sky lit up with deep shades of orange and pink, I realized I was comfortable. I had chosen dresses that were equal parts style and comfort. What’s more, the act of borrowing clothes had forced me to think about what I wanted to wear, rather than my normal packing strategy of throwing things in at the last minute.
That said, these were not my first picks. In fact, I had gone through round after round of dresses in the two weeks leading up to my trip to pack the perfect outfits for my long weekend in Mexico. While it may not have been the most carefree packing process (I spent a lot of time sorting through many photos and reviews), I think it would likely get easier the more often you rent as you figure out which designers look best on you.
Finally back in my apartment in New York, I pulled the dresses and the clutch out of my suitcase and hesitantly placed them in the Rent the Runway garment bag. I wasn’t confident I wanted to give them up.
Ultimately, renting gave me the chance to try new styles without commitment or overtaxing my bank account. And while those pieces did get returned, there’s always next vacation.
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