So you’re throwing a big party for your 30th birthday and want to look absolutely chic. Maybe you’ve been invited to a charity event and want to look stunning for the photographers. Is your wedding around the corner? Prom? Sorority ball? Whatever your age or stage in life, there are many opportunities throughout the year to get dolled-up. Honestly, if you ask me, there aren’t enough excuses in a woman’s life to don a full-length gown, but regardless, women frequently find themselves in need of a fashion-forward thrust in order to make a statement at some arrangement or event.
Unfortunately the fashion world hasn’t fully received the message that the higher demand for dresses should equal a drop in prices. In fact, wedding gowns, bridesmaid’s dresses, prom dresses and evening gowns can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars without trying. With that being said, many women are opting for a shift in the dress-purchasing paradigm and renting their duds instead.
1. Why Dress Rentals?
There are several reasons why renting a dress for your occasion may be a better option than buying one. One pro is that renting a dress, or entire outfit if need be, is cheaper than buying a garment from the same designer. Oh wait; did I just use the “d” word?
2. Can You Rent Designer Dresses?
Designer items are some of the most sought after things in the modern world, and getting your hands on designer prom dresses or designer cocktail dresses becomes much easier if renting is an option. Of course, some of you may have a walk-in closet full of Giorgio Armani and Jimmy Choo, and if that’s the case, you probably don’t need this article very much. Also, I’d like to come raid your closet ASAP. But, if you’re like me and the millions of other normal girls and women who don’t get to sport designer merch on the regular, the fact that you can rent designer dresses online makes dressing to the nines in high-fashion more than just a pipe dream.
3. Dresses for Rent: Are There Risks?
You know the old saying, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”? Well, dress rentals for special occasions can fall into that category if you don’t know what you’re looking for. If you’re making your dress rental online, check for customer reviews and website verification before sending your money to anyone you don’t know or trust. A web service like Rent the Runway has an excellent track record. Below is a sample online review.
Another risk when renting items for such a low cost (sometimes only 10% of the retail price) is the temptation to splurge with all the money you’ve saved. Of course, it’s your money and by all means honey, if you can make it rain with no worries, go for it. But if you’re renting your dress or outfit because saving money is something that would really help you, try to avoid falling into the pit of spending what you’ve saved on tons of other rentable goodies. (trust me, I know it’s hard. Be strong!)
Sizing is another thing to be mindful of, particularly if you decide to rent designer clothes. Some online dress rental boutiques such as Rent the Runway, allow you to rent more than one size at the same price. But if that isn’t an option, I’d probably get a size or two bigger than you may normally go for, just in case. Consider renting a backup dress in another size in case the first one doesn’t fit. Having your measurements taken before renting will go a long way towards being sure your dress is the right size when it arrives and many online dress rental sites will have an advisor available to ask your questions about sizing.
Many online dress rental sites also host a plethora of designer shoes, handbags and jewelry, so be sure you know your size in these areas as well. Shoes can be a bit tricky, depending on the design and designer. For example, I normally wear a size 8 in comfortable, everyday shoes, but often find myself fitting into a size 10 in heels. Don’t hesitate to email the customer service line or directly contact the owner of the store or boutique you rent with to ask about sizing. You may be saving yourself some serious tears by making sure those strappy little heels are the right size for your prom dress.
4. What About the Cost of Renting a Dress?
I’ve mentioned that renting your dress, outfit, shoes and other items will save you a lot of money versus buying similar items of the same quality. But how much can you really save? The answer to that question is quite simply: A lot.
Growing up, my sister and I did beauty pageants year after year, and my mother nearly always rented our gowns. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much money she was actually saving. Dresses that normally retail for $600.00 or more can be rented and shipped straight to your front door for as little as $75.00. That’s a little over 12% of the retail cost. If you’ve got a bit more wiggle room in your budget, you can rent dresses that retail for over $3000.00 for about $400.00.
There are dress rentals online in every price point, every cut, every color, shape and size. So why not open a new window (figuratively and also in your internet browser) and take a peek. You might just be surprised at some of the great deals and amazing things you’ll find!