Last weekend I attended a Great Gatsby themed fundraising gala. Now as you may remember most of my clothes come from Ann Taylor or were shot at me by a t-shirt gun at a UConn game so I really struggled to figure out what to wear to this event. Enter Rent the Runway – a fashion app where you can rent a dress for any occasion and send it back when you’re done. I made an executive decision that this did not violate my shopping ban and decided to move forward with a gown rental. I mean, men do this all the time with tuxedos – worth a shot, right?
Pick a Date
To start with this service, you must download an app or go to their website. From there you can either start browsing right away or narrow down a few specific details. I decided to put in as much information as I could so I wouldn’t end up falling in love with a dress I couldn’t get. You can choose a 4 or 8-day rental period. While I only needed it for one night this could come in very handy if you are on vacation and might not be able to get it back in the mail the day after you wear it. Also, by selecting the dates of your event you can make sure the dress is available when you want it. It makes sense to play as far in advance as you can so you have as many options as possible.
Size Matters (when you rent)
After you have selected your dates you can narrow it down even further by picking your sizes. If you are like me you might have a few different sizes that work depending on the brand. I picked two in my search to give me some more options. There are also different lengths and plus sizes for a lot of the available dresses which is AWESOME since you can’t get anything tailored that isn’t yours. Once these filters are added it is time for the fun part – shopping.
The Search Continues
There were so many beautiful dresses that it was hard to narrow down what I wanted. Since the event had a theme I searched for terms that I hoped would generate good results. I tried Gatsby, 20’s, flapper and Great Gatsby with no luck. Finally, I tried Gatsby Party and lots of results appeared. This may run off other people’s saved lists so try a few different terms if you aren’t seeing anything helpful. From there I could see that the dresses were either short with fringe or long with lots of sequins. Thanks to this New England winter covering up as much leg as possible made sense and I went long.
Who Are You Wearing?
You can favorite some of the items you like and go back to them once you have a few picked out. I ended up finding 21 different styles that I really liked. At that point you can compare a few things like prices and reviews to help you make your decision. You can see the designer, the actual price of the dress and the rental price. There are some fantastic designers available like Marchesa, Bagley Mischka and Herve Leger just in case you end up on a Red Carpet. I went with Bagley Mischka because apparently these dudes like bling as much as I do.
A Jury of Your Peers
One of my favorite things about this site is that regular people review the dresses and add photos to show you what it looks like if you don’t happen to be a 5’10” model. I filtered the reviews for someone my height and weight and saw at least 30 different pictures and comments from women with similar measurements. This helped a lot when I was deciding between sizes and regular or petite length. It was also very cool to see pictures of women looking all glamorous and happy! What can I say, I’m a girl’s girl and it was nice that they posted a review to help other people out.
If You Still Feel Nervous…
Once you find that perfect dress you can add a second size for FREE to your order. Like I said sometimes I wear different sizes and designers can be different so I took advantage of this option. After all, I have no idea if Bagley Mischka and Old Navy use the same measurements! Also, if you are completely torn between two amazing dresses you can get a second style for $32.50. This is still better than the price of a dress in most cases since you can easily get 3 sent to your house for under $100. If you are known to spill a drink or two you can get insurance on the dress for $5 as well. Since I was attending an event for my children’s school I took the risk and did not add insurance and made sure to keep my drinks where they belonged (in my hand at all times).
A Final Warning
Returning the dress was easy since you can just ball them up and send them back in the package they provide. Do this right away or you get hit with a $50 late fee and at that point you might as well have bought a dress yourself. I had the dress from Friday to Monday and since UPS was closed Sunday I needed my husband’s help to ship it back by noon. I despise late fees but I also like keeping my job and I didn’t want to miss a meeting because I had to run an errand. Also, there is no way to tag an event so despite your best efforts to look amazing there is a risk that you will end up with the same dress as someone else. (Please add this feature Rent the Runway – it would be so helpful)
A Glamourous Night
The night was everything I’d hoped a Gatsby party would be. With a few finishing touches like this headpiece and shoes I already owned I was ready to go! My son insisted on holding my hand around the house before I left and my fashion critic daughter gave it two very tiny thumbs up. I did look like I stepped right out of Shimmer and Shine so that could have been why. I doubt I will ever buy another fancy dress again with a service like this available. With all the pictures and social media who really wants to wear the same dress twice?
Overall, I highly recommend this service. Have you used it? What did you think – even better comment below with your favorite style!!
Want to try it? Use this link for $30 off your first order!