I think most military spouses and significant others can relate to the excited anticipation surrounding annual military balls, dine outs, and galas. They can also probably relate to the anxiety of trying to look formal and fashionable on the cheap! There are some women in this world who are willing to shell out a few hundred dollars for the perfect gown, but there are others of us who cry invisible tears of both envy and disgust upon seeing a $299 price tag on ~ the perfect dress ~
I got my prom dress on eBay. I got my senior ball gown on super clearance from SimplyDresses. I’m practically a deal-finding diva. But after scouring the internet, Younkers (or Boston Store to some of you folk), Macy’s, and my friends’ closets, I was exhausted and empty handed. The only dresses I could find in my price range (under or around $100) looked like they were straight out of 1999. And as much as I was excited to party like it was 1999, I didn’t really want to look the part. So then I remembered a commercial I’d seen on TV a while back. Something about renting fancy purses on the interwebs. And then I thought, “HEY! Maybe you can do that with dresses!?!?” And I was right.
RentTheRunway.com is a website full of designer gowns that you can rent for
mostly affordable prices. You can filter results by length, formality, color, size, body shape, and probably more things that I’m forgetting. Reviewers can leave photos of themselves wearing the dresses with their personal specs like height, weight, and usual dress size to give prospective renters an idea of how the dress looks in real life. I found this to be invaluable when I was on the hunt for ~ the perfect dress ~. The customer service is great, and stylists will even help you pick out a few options for your event if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the choices.
Each renting purchase comes with two dress sizes of the same style (in dress bags) in order to ensure you get a perfect fit, free insurance, and return postage. For $30 extra, you can throw in another dress in a different style in case you’re extra indecisive. If none of your dresses fit, they’ll overnight you a new one. Rentals are either for four or eight days. The process is exactly as follows:
- Have emotional breakdown about not being able to afford pretty dresses
- Log onto Rent the Runway
- Find a pretty dress
- Rent it
- Rock it
- Put it in the mail in the prepaid bag on the next business day
- Smile because
you just saved 15% or more on car insuranceyou looked amazing in the dress
I scheduled the dress to arrive two days before my event (they recommend one) because I’m a skeptical person by nature, and wanted to have enough time to buy a 1999 dress from Macy’s if necessary. I’m glad I did, because I ended up needing to buy new shoes because the regular length was a little shorter than I was expecting in the particular style I got, and the shoes I brought didn’t really match. No big, because I ended up finding a pair of matching gold heels for $4 at Sears. (I told you I’m a deal-finding diva) They even included a goodie bag in my box with mini beauty products and perfume samples, which I thought was adorable and practical! I don’t know if it was luck that I got it, or what, but it really sealed the deal on my positive experience with the website. I also rented a gorgeous, matching pair of rose gold earrings for an additional $5.
The only cons I can think of are the what-ifs of not being able to try the dress on beforehand, but the website gives clear guidelines on the measurements of each dress, plus the reviews give you an idea of how the dress looks on other people of your body type. I also think the stylists/customer service people can be really useful for determining which sizes and lengths you should rent. I rented a size 4 and size 6 based on the reviews and measurements on the site, and ended up wearing the 4 because it was slightly longer. Overall, I had an amazing experience with Rent the Runway and was able to rock a Badgley Mischka gown with matching earrings for only $72 and change, thanks to a $25 off welcome coupon. I got compliments all night and felt like a million dollars!
I had a great experience with this service and can’t wait to use it again this year!