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

It’s All There in Black and White Striped

Simple, minimalist, classic, striped, black, white, denim, striped, wool hat, chelsea boots, outfit, idea, inspiration, looks, red, lipstick, lip, lips, bomber, satin, jacket, apple watch, Casey, Dressed to Code.
I’ve crossed short sleeve striped shirt off my intentional wardrobe wishlist with this 100% cotton score.
This classic, minimalist look on Casey of Dressed to code pairs a satin bomber jacket from Abercrombie, black wool Morley hat from Moorea Seal, Madewell whisper cotton crewneck tee in hardy stripe, and 8" skinny jeans for the best outfit inspiration.
There’s something about a black and white striped shirt and a red lip for that classic French outfit inspiration.
This classic, minimalist look on Casey of Dressed to code pairs a satin bomber jacket from Abercrombie, black wool Morley hat from Moorea Seal, Madewell whisper cotton crewneck tee in hardy stripe, 8" skinny jeans, and black leather chelsea boots for the best outfit inspiration.
This look is mostly Madewell, with the exception of the Abercrombie bomber and Moorea Seal hat.
This classic, minimalist look on Casey of Dressed to code pairs a satin bomber jacket from Abercrombie, black wool Morley hat from Moorea Seal, Madewell whisper cotton crewneck tee in hardy stripe, 8" skinny jeans, and black leather chelsea boots for the best outfit inspiration.
Because it’s getting cold in Seattle, I zip my jackets all the way up more often than not.
This classic, minimalist look on Casey of Dressed to code pairs a satin bomber jacket from Abercrombie, black wool Morley hat from Moorea Seal, Madewell whisper cotton crewneck tee in hardy stripe, 8" skinny jeans, and black leather chelsea boots for the best outfit inspiration.
Additionally, I wear a belt with my jeans, a black leather hand-me-down from my mother. Thanks, Mom.
This classic, minimalist look on Casey of Dressed to code pairs a satin bomber jacket from Abercrombie, black wool Morley hat from Moorea Seal, Madewell whisper cotton crewneck tee in hardy stripe, 8" skinny jeans, and black leather chelsea boots for the best outfit inspiration.
Altogether, I’m please with how my intentional wardrobe is allowing me to create more outfits I love.

Intentional Wardrobe Update

This striped cotton tee is another item I can happily check off my intentional wardrobe wishlist. The further I get into the list, the easier it becomes to throw together memorable outfits. As much as I expected shopping carefully and strategically to produce a more cohesive closet, I underestimated the impact of sitting down and thinking through how I want to visually represent myself  long term. If your shopping history has been anything like mine, you have traditionally assembled your closet a few items at a time, maybe with more thought given to a particular outfit for a special occasion. While I’ve never been one for drawers of unworn clothes, the overall amalgamation left me with that nothing-to-wear feeling more times than I’d like to admit. Now, I find myself in that position less and less, usually when I should throw in a load of laundry. Long story short, I’m very happy with how this experiment is going.

If you’re looking to get started on an intentional wardrobe of your own, start here.

Striped Cotton Tee

Of my Black Friday/Thanksgiving sales purchases, this Madewell whisper cotton crewneck tee in hardy stripe was the first to arrive. For reference, I’m wearing a size XXS. Even as I’ve admired striped shirts from afar, finding one that wasn’t too-tight or transparent in the white stripes took time. Fundamentally, this shirt is the same style as my grey t-shirt, with the curved hem and luxurious cotton feel. (Although it wasn’t on the wishlist, I couldn’t resist ordering a whisper cotton crewneck tee in ‘cabernet’ for under $15.)

Unfortunately, the second item to arrive wasn’t the cozy-cool sweatshirt I was hoping it would be. (No fuzzy lining!) For that reason and the fact that it was really cropped, you won’t see me rocking this mockneck sweatshirt anytime soon. Oh well. You win some, you lose some, and you thank goodness for free returns!

What was your best Black Friday find? Let me know in the comments!

“Be many things, but most of all, be yourself.”

-Casey

 

 

Be Bold in a Blue Romper

ASTR deep V romper with Hinge Drea Peep Toe Sandals in blush leather.
Occasionally, you find that piece that begs you to be a little bolder.

This is one of those looks that turns heads. The compliments come pouring in (some more welcome than others), and you stand up a little straighter.

Romper

I’m an advocate for trying things on, as they often look very different on the rack than on your body. I picked up this ASTR romper at Nordstrom and knew I wanted to buy it the second I put it on.

First, finding rompers for a petite frame can be difficult, and this fit me like it was made for me. The waist hit where it should, the crotch wasn’t too low, and the shoulders were narrow enough.

Secondly, the color was bold, although not quite as vivid as photographed. The Nordstrom photos do a better job of capturing this lively blue-with-a-hint-of-periwinkle color ASTR is calling Bright Blue.

Third, the sleeves were fun. They are full length but slit open from just above the elbow for a fun, floaty effect. It’s not particularly practical (I’m certainly not cooking with them!) but adds to the knockout feeling I had while wearing this.

ASTR deep V romper with Hinge Drea Peep Toe Sandals in blush leather.
This piece might have been a little outside my comfort zone, but it’s great to try something new on occasion — you might just love it!

There was just one problem: The V-neck. Online, this is listed as the Deep V-Neck Pleated Front Romper, and the neckline was certainly plunging. Much of my bra was exposed, and I wasn’t about to rely on fashion tape.

Solution number one would have been to simply wear something I was willing to show off, like a camisole or lacy bralette top. Black, white, and nude are obvious choices, but one of my favorite aspects of the look was the clean neckline.

Instead, I went with a needle and thread! With a fair amount of pinching and turning, I saw that the loose, flowing fabric would help disguise my alteration. Additionally, the open back meant that I could pinch together the front and not worry about the bust becoming too tight. Ultimately, the back is now more open that it was before (showing a little more of my nude bra in the back), but it was a fairly safe alteration to make. I ended up stitching up 3-4 inches, and you wouldn’t notice unless you knew to look (and got inappropriately close to my bust). The result is a more wearable deep V that maintains the same clean lines.

ASTR deep V romper with a bright red lip.
Would you suspect that I’d altered the neckline if I hadn’t told you?

Sandals

One of the other great things about a romper over a dress is that you can have a shorter length without worrying about gusts of wind. That means legs for miles. In taking advantage of the last few warm days, I opted for my blush-toned Hinge Drea Peep-Toe Leather Sandals. (As it gets cooler, I’ll switch to tights and booties.) As the outfit that already had enough bold color going on (just look at that red lip), a nude shoe was a good choice.

Accessories

On another occasion, I paired this romper with sparklier accessories, but I had recently received this delicate silver dot necklace from Silver Cup Studio on Etsy and was having fun pairing it with a range of looks.  The necklace pairs well with a pair of silver button studs I picked up at Macy’s last year.

Have you ever taken a risk and pushed your fashion boundaries? Did it feel like a new you or like dressing up in someone else’s clothes? Share your story below!

Do a happy dance; you’re worth it!

Casey