Events can be long, exhausting affairs. Almonds and jelly beans are a girl's best friend.
Are we that flush and dropping $800 on an outfit for a luncheon is the norm? Of course, darling. We also bath in champagne and light our cigars with hundred dollar bills.
Hell no. No, no, no. This is not Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous...more like, Lifestyles of People Who Shop at Costco (with Coupons).
I didn't buy my outfit. I rented it.
Yup, rented it - for $90. $75 for the dress, $15 for the necklace.
Same for the Gala dress I wore back in March. A Carmen Marc Valvo gown that retails for $1275, I wore for $140.
My dear friend Tiffany first told me about Rent the Runway back in February. She showed up for a fun night in Vegas wearing an amazing blue dress with a darling scalloped edge. Super cute and it fit her like a glove. When I complimented her, she told me with a giggle that she had rented it. Initially, I was confused. What if you spill on the dress? How much does it cost to return it? What if you order a dress and it doesn't fit?
She patiently gave me the deets: you browse through as many dresses as you'd like on their website or app (www.renttherunway). There are also two stores in the US where you can actually go in and try on dresses - one in NYC and one here in Vegas (what an incredible stroke of luck!). The pop-up store at the Cosmopolitan doesn't have a huge inventory, but it does have incredibly helpful employees called "Go-to Gal" that style you from head to toe. Kind of like a best friend, but more honest.
The website is organized by event - Black Tie, Cocktail, Bridal (bridal?? That's so smart!), Daytime, Beach, City, and Get Recommendations. As you read the reviews on each dress, you can also see real people (with real heights and weights listed) offering their own experiences. Like with the Carmen Marc Valvo gown - it runs short. Even though I'm only 5'6" (and essentially the standard height for women), I ordered a long AND made sure to pair it with two inch heels, not sky-high 4"-5" ones. And it worked out just right, as the hem gently grazed the top of my foot. For the Theia dress, the back was completely open. Aside from my cringe-worthy racer-back tan lines from running (whoops), I knew I would have to wear a strapless bra to make it work. It was nice to know what to expect before the dress arrived.
Back in March, with Gala just a few weeks away, I drove down the to Strip to check it out. Locals get an additional 20% off if you come in on Monday nights. I love a good discount, and this just kept getting better. My Go-to Gal patiently worked with me to try on as many dresses as she could carry - and even then, when I couldn't find anything I liked in the store, she sat down with me and scrolled through the website, pointing out dresses that would work with my body shape. We nixed every strapless, one-shoulder and unstructured dress on the page; super model proportions, I do not have. But she didn't make me feel self-conscious or embarrassed. If anything, I walked out after selecting my dress feeling as my dress was just right. And it was.
Once you've selected your dress, they send you two sizes, just in case. (Whew!) It arrives two days before your event and you ship it back in the pre-paid envelope. If your event is on a Saturday, the dress will arrive Thursday night and you'll put it in the mail on Monday morning. Easy-peasy. Also factored into the cost of the rental is dress insurance, so stains, normal wear, and the cost of dry cleaning is already taken care of. I don't know what happens if you trash the dress...but we are all ladies here, right? No one is going to trash their dress...
When my Gala gown arrived, it fit beautifully but there was a serious rip in the delicate gold overlay, right on my right thigh. It wasn't noticeable unless you looked closely, but I was worried a long night out would make the rip bigger, especially as I sat down. I frantically emailed the company and got an immediate response -- they would ship a brand-new dress to me overnight, arriving on Saturday morning, no questions asked.
Sure enough, when I opened the door that morning, my brand-spanking-new dress was waiting for me. The dress was so pretty my only regret was that I couldn't buy it too.
Ditto for the accessories. The Kate Spade Solarium Bib Necklace from the May Luncheon was so gorgeous that I just had to wear it again. So I paired it with my Mother's Day dress this past Sunday.
A friend once counted the number of dresses in my closet - it was over 80. (and this was several years ago...). I don't need any more dresses. Purchasing a dress - and wearing it only once or twice - is a giant gut punch to the budget. But renting them? I could get away with that. More room in the closet, no old gowns collecting dust. And best of all, I can wear something new for every event!
I just signed up for their PRO service - for $29 a year, I get free shipping and insurance on all rentals, including a FREE dress for my birthday! What?? I don't really celebrate my birthday, but now that I get to wear a pretty (new-ish) dress? Well, looks like the celebration just got a little bit bigger. I have four months to pick out the perfect outfit...
Have you tried Rent the Runway? Did you love it? Comment below as I would love to hear your experience. And just to be clear, this was not a sponsored post. I just feel the need to share this since dressing up is fun, regardless of how old you are.