CW39's Maria Sotolongo relies on Rent the Runway for a constantly evolving designer wardrobe.

Maria Sotolongo knows a thing or two about the necessity of a good wardrobe. She got her start in TV at just 19 years old, and after taking off 10 years to live the mom life, she’s been back in front of the camera as meteorologist for the CW39 morning show Morning Dose.

So what's the number-one question any on-air personality gets asked through social media or email? “Where did you get that shirt, dress, outfit?” Sotolongo knew this going into her job on Morning Dose, and even with a wardrobe budget she knew finding something new and different to wear every day was going to be difficult. 

“All the clothes I owned when I started at CW39 were donations, because I lost everything during Hurricane Harvey. I knew I had to do some major shopping, but with all of my money going into repairing our house, it was going to be hard,” Sotolongo says. “Luckily, a friend in Los Angeles who also works in TV mentioned that I should try Rent the Runway. That was it—not only was my wardrobe problem solved, but I was instantly hooked. Honestly, I don’t know if I will go back to buying regular retail for this type of clothing. It's just so easy to save money and time, not to mention the fact that it's a more eco-conscious way to shop.”

Rent the Runway started out with just formal gowns and dresses, but has now expanded to everything from work and vacation attire to accessories and maternity wear, and the newest addition—a robust athleisure department—will get you through your casual weekend needs.  

After using the service for more than a year, Maria is a self-proclaimed “RTR expert.” She dished on her best tips and tricks on how to get the most out of the RTR's Unlimited Plan ($159/month for four items at a time—keep them as long as you want, and swap any number anytime).

Reviews. Are. Key.

Reading the reviews before renting is a must, and to all the people who take time out of their day to leave a detailed review with a photo: thank you! Take complete advantage of the body type information with each review, which really helps so much with knowing how something will fit. Once you rent from different brands and designers a bit more frequently you’ll recognize how each fits your body, but in the beginning, those reviews are everything. 

12 p.m. is your new best friend.

Renting and returning before 12 p.m. will ensure that your clothes are received and processed more quickly, which means you’ll get your new rentals faster. Even better: There's now a RTR facility in Arlington, so Texas girls have a fast track. We used to have to ship all the way to New Jersey, but not anymore.

Order in twos, not fours.

RTR Unlimited lets you have four items at a time, but it’s best to rent in twos. This makes it easier to always have a rotation of new clothes—instead of waiting four days to wear everything and then return, you only have to wait two. 

Step out of your comfort zone.

Renting clothes instead of buying them is the best way to step out of your comfort zone and try things you wouldn’t typically wear. New colors and styles can be tempting, and the best part is there's no commitment. So if that yellow jumpsuit makes you look like Big Bird, you can ship it back—no questions asked. 

Like it? Buy it! 

If you fall in love with something you’ve rented and the thought of shipping it back makes your heart ache, you can simply buy it—and, even better, at a deeply discounted price. RTR offers great deals on a lot of their rentals through the "Keep it Forever" perk for Unlimited and Update members, but also through their Online Sample Sale

Give yourself a pat on the back.

Who doesn’t love getting new clothes every few days? But by renting instead of buying, you’re saving money, time, and environmental resources, and being more responsible with your wardrobe is really something to feel good about. With all the money you save you can add to your shoe and accessory collection, or even better: your bank account.

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