LBD + Cape! (Rent the Runway)

Casey of Dressed to Code wears a smug expression and a one-shoulder, black dress with a cape billowing out behind her. Bold red lipstick and drop earrings add a touch of color and sparkle to this all-black look, which includes pumps, a small satin clutch, and an Apple watch.
My rented dress had a cape. You could say I was feeling pretty smug.

The Backstory

First things first, while this is not a sponsored post, I have included my referral code. That said, this experience was completely inspired by a sponsored collaboration between Julianna of Blush and Camo and Rent the Runway… influencers at work!

You’ve probably been where I was. I had an event coming up. I had a dress I could have worn, but I didn’t feel great about the option. With the event just a few days away, I was scrolling down my Instagram feed and saw Julianna in a Rent the Runway number. I’d heard of RTR before and even looked before, but I hadn’t previously needed a cocktail dress. (Additionally, I’ve also gone up a few sizes since I first looked into the concept, so I’ve actually entered their size ranges.)

It still wasn’t more than vague window shopping until I saw the dress: “Black Drama Cape Shift Dress” by Jill Jill Stuart

Yes, it has a cape. That said, it’s still a LBD conservative enough for my occasion. I know some people think black is boring, but I tend to feel more comfortable and confident in black clothing. Plus, CAPE.

Given my challenges with finding things that fit, I expected to be completely disappointed. However, as I scrolled through the comments, I saw two repeated themes: runs small, and runs short. If you’re a petite on the smaller end of the sizing scale, you know that these two “complaints” can be fantastic news for you. After looking for feedback from women around my size, I decided that there was a reasonable enough chance that the dress could fit to actually rent it.

Casey of Dressed to Code tucks hair behind her right ear, exposing Givenchy drop earrings which add a little more classic drama to an already caped LBD from Rent the Runway. This all-black look rounds out with classic pumps from Banana Republic, a small satin clutch, and an Apple watch.
The classic combination of a little black dress and a bold red lip works for almost any occasion.

The Process

I was pleasantly surprised by the contingency planning built into the Rent the Runway system. As unsure as I was that the dress I’d chosen would fit, I became increasingly confident that RTR would do their best to ensure that I had something to wear for the occasion.

Dress + Dates

The obvious first step is picking a dress and the dates of your rental. Note that the cost of a rental varies not only by the dress but by when and how long you want it. Rentals are offered in 4 or 8 day increments. I selected a 4 day rental from Thursday to Sunday for a Friday event.

Size + Backup Size

Rent the Runway allows you to receive two sizes for the cost of a single rental, and I selected sizes 2 and 4.

Backup Dress(es)

You then have the opportunity choose any number of more expensive styles for an “upgrade” in case something happens to your first choice. I selected this Black Palermo Dress by nha khanh, which lacked the drama (read: cape) of my first choice, but would have been suitable for the occasion. This Gizela Dress by Trina Turk would have been another opportunity for a caped LBD.

Checkout

Checking out was relatively uneventful, but my coupon code required a slightly higher dollar amount. Therefore, I added a pair of simple studs to my cart that got me to that higher dollar amount and dropped the overall price. (A waste on their part if you ask me, but this is one of those occasions where a little math saves you money!) Get my referral code for $30 off your first rental here.

Arrival

Rent the Runway guarantees that your dress will arrive by 8pm on the day you’d selected. My package notification system (not a RTR feature) alerted me that my package had arrived around 1pm. I was simultaneously excited and worried about wrinkles, so I asked my S.O. (who gets home earlier than I do) to pick it up and hang them up. I didn’t need to worry. The dresses arrived in individual plastic bags, fresh from the dry-cleaners and completely wrinkle-free. The pair shipped in a high-quality, zipped carrying case. A similarly nice box, tucked into a special pocket, held the earrings.

Moment of Truth

I’ll spare you my nerves and skip to the important part: it fit! I ended up going with the size 2, which was a tad tighter across the hips than I probably would have preferred. However, the size 4 would have revealed my bra at the arm holes. That’s another perk of this dress: I could wear a strapless bra with one shoulder strap on (which is significantly better than fully strapless). The tailoring was incredible, and the fabric was a beautiful weight. While the cape did pull slightly, the snug fit across the bust meant it wasn’t a problem. As I had hoped, the “short” length hit at a flattering height just above the knee.

Casey of Dressed to Code smiles in Givenchy drop earrings with a dramatic Jill Jill Stuart Black Drama Caped Shift Dress from Rent the Runway. This all-black look rounds out with classic black leather pumps from Banana Republic, a small satin clutch with silver hardware, and an Apple watch with black leather and silver band.
The fit wasn’t 100% perfect, but the black color and luxurious fabric were fairly forgiving.

The Cape

In case it wasn’t glaringly obvious, the cape makes this dress. It managed to be a playful element without getting in the way. Simultaneously, the black color kept the dress grounded and sophisticated. I wore my black Canta pumps from Banana Republic but could have also gone with a strappy black dress sandal. While some renters chose a statement necklace, I preferred long, dangling crystal earrings from Givenchy (old). I wore my silver apple watch with the black leather band (no surprise there), and carried a small black-and silver satin clutch (old). (My apologies for the lack of details shots — it was cold!)

Casey of Dressed to Code pairs Givenchy drop earrings with a dramatic Jill Jill Stuart Black Drama Caped Shift Dress from Rent the Runway. This all-black look rounds out with classic black leather pumps from Banana Republic, a small satin clutch with silver hardware, and an Apple watch with black leather and silver band.
This dress may have only been around for the weekend, but these accessories will be with me for many years.

Ready to Rent the Runway for yourself? Get my promo code here.

Would you rent clothing for special occasions? What about on a regular basis? Or would you rather save toward a purchase of your own? Let me know why in the comments below!

 

Dress like the best version of yourself.

– Casey

Thinking Thankful Thoughts After Thanksgiving

Casey of Dressed to Code pairs a swingy black t-shirt dress with blush leather lace-up heeled sandals, a gold and green pendent necklace, and a silver Apple watch.
It was warm and sunny in Southern California for Thanksgiving with family and friends, perfect for pulling out these two pieces.

When you think about it, the combination of Thanksgiving and the following (now overlapping) shopping days is more than a little contradictory. We spend a day thinking about everything we are thankful for and then participate in rampant acts of consumerism. I say we because I also took advantage of the sales to pick up some things I’ve had my eye on. (Spoiler alert: I think all the things I ordered are black tops. Oh, well.)

In the spirit of extending the critical period of thankfulness, I’m going to talk a little about Thanksgiving as everyone else has moved onto Christmas trees.

I’m thankful for things that work out.

We ended up booking last-minute flights to Southern California to join my family for Thanksgiving day. Long story short, our original flight was overbooked. However, if you saw my Instagram post, you also know that we ended up being upgraded to first class. Thanks, Delta! I can now say that I have successfully eaten soup while experiencing turbulence.

I’m thankful for family and friends.

Miraculously, we managed to pull off surprising my dad! Let’s just say that there were several seconds of stunned staring after he opened the door, followed by hugs all around.

On the big day, the house filled up with people, some of whom have been fixtures at the annual event for as long as I can remember. The kids gleefully frolicked in buckets of Legos, and the adults had a good-natured competition between two similar side dishes. I certainly wasn’t complaining about duplicates of sweet potatoes and stuffing, some of my favorites.

Casey of Dressed to Code pairs a swingy black t-shirt dress with blush leather lace-up heeled sandals, a gold and green pendent necklace, and a silver Apple watch.
I ate a lot of pie, but you’d never know with this great dress.

The weather was warm and sunny, so this comfortable, swingy Socialite dress from Nordstrom  was great for the eating marathon. My mom made me a special dairy-free version of her apple pie, which was fantastic. (I think I ate at least 50% of that pie by myself. No regrets.) I was also happy to have an occasion to pull out these Hinge ‘Drea’ sandals again.

I’m thankful for safe travels.

There are so many things I could list specifically, but most of all, I’m glad for this trip. I’m glad to have traveled safely, seen people (and pets) I care about, and had the means to do so. It’s so important to realize every day what privileges we have in this world. I have people who love me and a roof over my head, for starters.

I’m thankful for my homes.

My childhood home will always be home to me, but I’m also grateful for my new home here in Seattle. I have a warm and welcoming place with a person I love, and I’m excited to start new traditions together.

Casey of Dressed to Code pairs a swingy black t-shirt dress with a gold and green pendent necklace, and a silver Apple watch for a casual warm-weather Thanksgiving outfit.
This necklace is a costume piece from my great-grandmother, so it was a way to incorporate a little bit of family into my outfit.

Moving forward in the holiday season, I’m aiming to continue the spirit of Thanksgiving. I want to stop and appreciate what I have and who I love. After all, thankfulness, togetherness, and joyfulness comprise the essence of holiday magic.

What are you thankful for every day?

“It’s not enough to love if you don’t also appreciate.”

-Casey

Find Out What’s on My Intentional Wardrobe Wishlist

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber, Madewell Quincy Wash 8" Skinny Jeans, Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots from Nordstrom, and Apple Milanese Loop Watch.
In my signature black and denim, this is one of those outfits that feels like a better version of myself.

I made my pledge to focus my purchases on building an intentional wardrobe, and today I’m sharing more of my own process with you, along with two of my recent finds. Many bloggers are calling this a capsule-style wardrobe, but right now I’m more focused on cultivating a more intentional basis for my wardrobe.

If you haven’t read the other post yet, start at the beginning: Start Building A Wardrobe.

0. I put down the card and stepped away from the checkout.

I’m not the most impulsive shopper (I may even be too hesitant to hand over the money) to begin with, so this part was fairly easy for me.

1. I figured out what I like.

Trends may change, but you already know I’m drawn to black and denim looks. I’m also visually drawn to lighter colored clothing, but I tend to default toward black when buying.

Outfits that inspire me tend to contain staple colors: black, white, greys, tans, and denim blues. For accessories, I want to expand to black and cognac. See my vision here.

2. I made a list!

This is the stage that I’m sharing with you today. I’m still playing around with exactly how much I’d like, but I have a good foundational list started.

Note that this is a relatively casual list and does not include business formal workwear.

Tops

  1. Short Sleeve Tees
    • Black
    • White
    • Tan
    • Heathered Grey
    • Black & White Stripe
  2. Long Sleeve Tees
    • Black
    • Heathered Grey
    • Black & White Stripe
  3. Button Front Shirts
    • Chambray
    • White
  4. Pullover Sweaters
    • Black
    • Grey
    • Tan
  5. Cardigan Sweaters
    • Grey
    • Tan
    • Black & Grey

Dresses

  1. Black T-shirt Dress*
  2. Black Maxi Dress

Pants

  1. Dark Skinny Jeans
  2. Medium Skinny Jeans
  3. Black Chinos
  4. Black Leggings*
  5. Tan/Grey Skinny Pants
  6. Flared Jeans?
  7. Tights
    • Black Sheer Tights*
    • Black Opaque Tights*
    • Black Fleece-lined Tights*
    • Colorful Opaque Tights

Skirts

  1. Black Faux Leather Skirt
  2. Black Maxi Skirt

Outerwear

  1. Colorful Raincoat
  2. Black Shell
  3. Black Bomber
  4. Grey or Tan Trench
  5. Black Wool Coat

Shoes

  1. Black Riding Boots
  2. Black Chelsea Boots
  3. Black Flats
  4. Cognac Booties
  5. Nude Sandals
  6. Rain Boots

Accessories

  1. Scarves
    • Blanket Scarf
    • Colorful Scarf
    • Black/Grey Scarf
  2. Bags
    • Black Crossbody Purse
    • Cognac Tote
  3. Belts
    • Black & Silver*
    • Black & Gold
    • Cognac & Gold
  4. Other
    • Black Gloves*
    • Black Sunglasses
    • Black Wool Hat

Therefore, with this list, the total numbers of items in each categories are as follows:

  • Tops: 16
    • Tees: 8
    • Shirts: 2
    • Sweaters: 6
  • Dresses: 2
  • Bottoms: 8
    • Pants/Leggings/Tights: 10
    • Skirts: 2
  • Outerwear: 5
  • Shoes: 6
  • Accessories: 11

Altogether, that’s 31 articles of clothing, 6 pairs of shoes, and 11 accessories. Total, that’s 48 pieces!

3. I can now check off what pieces I already have and are in good condition.

I’ve starred (*) the pieces that I’ve already checked off my list above. You can see some of those pieces in prior posts:

  • Black short-sleeve tee, dark skinny jeans, and nude sandals here
  • Rain boots and black and grey draped cardigan here
  • Medium skinny jeans here
  • Black leather skirt and black crossbody bag here
  • Colorful raincoat here

4. Now it’s time to be patient and keep looking!

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber, Madewell Quincy Wash 8" Skinny Jeans, Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots from Nordstrom, and Apple Milanese Loop Watch on Casey of Dressed to Code.
This new favorite outfit ecompasses several elements on my wardrobe wishlist, which is a good sign that I’m headed in the right direction!

The Morley Hat

I finally made it over to Moorea Seal’s gorgeous store in Belltown. If you aren’t in the vicinity, you can still shop her store online here.

Because I have a pretty tiny head, I’d all but given up on checking the wool hat off my wardrobe wishlist. Cue the Moorea Seal store, where I couldn’t help but try on this Morley hat. Imagine my delight when I was informed that it was adjustable!

The Morley hat comes in five colors, including grey and burgundy. There is a ribbon inside the brim of the hat that you can tighten and secure with velcro. However, I pinned mine with a small safety pin for extra security, and it’s nice and snug. I wouldn’t want this beautiful, handmade piece to blow away!

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber and black shell from Banana Republic on Casey of Dressed to Code.
The best part of this gorgeous hat is that it’s adjustable. That means that I don’t need to hold it on.

Satin Bomber

This satin bomber was an Abercrombie piece that I initially tried on when I bought my faux leather skirt. However, I watched and waited until it went on sale before pouncing. Score!

This is more of a juniors’ fit, so the jacket is very petite-friendly and would be cropped on someone with a longer torso. I’m wearing a size XS for reference. This is not, by any means, a winter jacket, as it has the thickness of two layers of satin. That said, I’m enamored of the luxurious feel and dressed-up, dressed-down combination of the satin fabric and bomber shape. The cuffs are a thick, soft knit.

My biggest complaint by far about this jacket is that the pocket zippers are upside down! That’s right, they zip up to open and down to close. While it doesn’t sound like a big deal, it has been throwing me off. The pockets could also be bigger – I don’t think an iPhone 7 would fit! I also think that the jacket would have a cleaner look if the main zipper had a sleeker zipper.

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber, Madewell Quincy Wash 8" Skinny Jeans, Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots from Nordstrom, and Apple Milanese Loop Watch on Casey of Dressed to Code.
One day, I’ll find my replacement pair of black leather riding boots. Until then, I’m wearing these Hunter rain boots.

Top

This top is my shell from Banana Republic. Find a longer description here.

Jeans

These are my Madewell 8″ skinny jeans in Quincy wash. Read more about them here.

Rain Boots

These are my Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots in black, which I snagged during Nordstrom’s annual sale. Find a glossy version here or read more about mine here.

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber, Madewell Quincy Wash 8" Skinny Jeans, Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots from Nordstrom, and Apple Milanese Loop Watch on Casey of Dressed to Code.
Your wardrobe should put a smile on your face and help you stand a little taller (high heels optional).

What’s on your wardrobe wishlist? Let me know in the comments below!

To quote Albert Einstein, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

-Casey

 UPDATE: I will keep an updated version of this wishlist, complete with links, here.