Last Christmas, I helped my brother decorate a clear ornament with my mother’s vintage marquis cut diamond engagement ring inside to surprise his girlfriend of 6 years. They announced they’d be tying the knot in July 2016 at one of the Isles of Shoals, Star Island.
Now, when a sibling gets married, the pictures last a lifetime. And as a younger sister, you’re in quite a few more pictures than the average guest. So two months before the wedding I started to spend entire Saturdays (Note: Brian is a saint) in search of the perfect dress at designer stores, department stores, and outlet stores. The dresses I found were between $200-$2,000. I liked a lot of the options, but I didn’t love any of them.
A friend suggested I check out Rent the Runway, and I instantly fell in love with both a Badgley Mischka gown and a Marchesa Notte gown (each retailing over $1,000). After another frustrating Saturday spent trying on dresses that were just okay, I finally took the plunge and added my two favorites to the cart. I was nervous not being able to try them on beforehand, so I decided to rent both dresses just in case. I’ve gained a little weight over the past few months, and really wanted something to cover that up.
Both dresses fit perfectly, and thankfully I had a backup size (included with the rental) just in case. All the women (my mom, girlfriends, cousin, etc) liked the Badgley Mischka gown best. The men (Brian, Dad, uncle) liked the Marchesa Notte better. It was a tough decision because I loved them both, but I ended up wearing the Badgley Mischka dress.
While I was twirling around in this beautiful Badgley Mischka dress at the wedding, all I could think of were the closets of gowns purchased for the various proms and cotillions I attended as a teen. I’ve worn them one or two times each, so why would I spend hundreds of dollars on dresses? I would so much rather wear a thousand-dollar couture gown for one day and return it for the cost of buying a fancy BCBG dress.
These days there’s a rental service for just about anything: purses, watches, shoes, jewelry, clothes. Which is perfect if you’re trying a new style, between sizes, or just not a fan of wearing the same thing twice. My Rent the Runway dresses ended up costing roughly $200 for four days, but I’ve now learned they have an Unlimited Program that allows three items for $139 each month.
The whole process was incredibly simple. On the website you can filter by occasion, size, length, color, etc. There’s pictures and reviews from real people who rented the same dress, so you can see it on a range of body types. And having dresses shipped instead of taking the time to pack them for a six-hour plane ride was also quite nice. In fact, the part I probably stressed about most was picking the perfect shoes and accessories (though they offer suggestions on the website). When I was finished, all I had to do was pack the dresses back in the garment bag, lock it, and drop the bag off at a local UPS.
If you’re looking for a dress for a special occasion, use this link for $30 off your first Rent the Runway order!