When I found out that my cousin’s wedding this month was going to be black-tie optional, I have to admit I panicked. I don’t have dresses that formal, and the last thing I wanted to do was shell out big bucks for a fancy dress I’ll probably never wear again. The worst part? At almost 10 months postpartum, my body is still changing, and what fits me today will likely not fit me in a few months.
I thought about trying to find a cheap, nondescript dress that I could dress up with some fun jewelry, but that still involved buying something I will probably never wear again. Plus, the idea of wearing something boring and nondescript has never appealed to me. So I decided to do something a little bit more daring: rent a dress from Rent the Runway.
Rent the Runway is a website that offers designer dress and accessory rentals for a fraction of the retail price. There are lots of dress rentals for new moms that will help you look your best just months after giving birth! You can search by designer, event, neckline, hemline, sleeve length, age … you name it! After you pick your dress, you select either a 4- or 8- day rental. Rent the Runway recommends that you have your dress arrive 1-2 days before the event. Go to your event, wear your dress, receive a million compliments about having an incredible designer dress that probably nobody else at your event is wearing, and enjoy! Then, after your event is over, slip the dress into the pre-paid envelope included in the original delivery and stick it back in the mail. No dry-cleaning, no hassle. Worried about sizing? Rent the Runway will send a backup size for free, and a secondary dress rental for only an additional $25.
The hardest part about using Rent the Runway is picking out a dress! They are all so fabulous, but I had a few guidelines when looking for a dress:
1. The dress must be comfortable and easy to move in – not too form-fitting because I know I would be self-conscious in a tighter dress.
2. I must be able to wear a regular bra. It’s easy to fall in love with interesting cutouts and necklines, but honestly I find it really annoying when I can’t wear a regular bra with a dress. I don’t think I’m alone in this! Case in point: I have a great casual strapless dress I haven’t worn yet this summer because I don’t want to go buy a strapless bra.
3. The dress has to be interesting! It’s far too easy for me to feel comfortable in a gorgeous little black dress, but since I am shopping in Rent the Runway’s closet, I really want to find something fun and interesting and, well, preferably sparkly. Because I love sparkly!
I narrowed it down to 6 dresses:
1. Herve Leger Berry Ombre Shoulder Dress- 4-day rental $150 (retail $1,590). I am in LOVE with this dress. It’s daring, interesting, beautiful, and sexy. Unfortunately, it goes against my first two guidelines. I think the dress is too form-fitting for me to feel comfortable, and I can’t wear a regular bra. Boo.
2. Shoshanna Primary Lace Dress- 4-day rental $65 (retail $385). I love this dress – the color is gorgeous and the intricate lace details are breathtaking. This dress meets all three of my guidelines and I love it!
3. Halston Heritage Lights of Ioannina Maxi - 4-day rental $100 (retail $594). This dress is different than anything I’ve seen. Wearing a maxi to a formal event is a little out of my comfort zone, especially since I never know what kind of shoes to wear, but the dress meets all of my guidelines and I love the color and pattern.
4. Diane von Furstenberg Magnetic Attraction Dress - 4-day rental $125 (retail $698). This dress is fun, sexy, sparkly and I love it. However, I’m a little worried it might be a bit too short. Also, thanks to my bigger postpartum bust, I tend to look better in v-neck necklines so I’m a bit concerned about the high boatneck.
5. Badgley Mischka Green Royal Standard Dress- 4-day rental $65 (retail $360). I love the silhouette of this dress – it’s exactly what I’m looking for. I think this dress is gorgeous, but maybe a little too boring?
6. Badgley Mischka Midnight Glamour Dress - 4-day rental $75 (retail $395). This dress meets all of my guidelines and oh, the sparkles! I love that it’s navy, not black, which makes the dress even more interesting. Gorgeous.
So, which dress did I choose? It took me over a month to make a decision, and every time I was about to pull the trigger, I’d have to look through page after page after page of gorgeous dresses *just* so I could make sure I was making the right choice.
In the end, I decided to reserve the Badgley Mischka Midnight Glamour Dress!
I am so in love with this dress! I think that the cut is super flattering, and it’s a dress I’ll feel comfortable in no matter what my size and shape. What I especially love about Rent the Runway is that when you click on a dress, you can access a gallery full of photos of other women who rented the dress. These women list their weight, height, bust size, normal dress size, and which size dress they wore so that you can get an accurate idea of which size dress to rent. It’s so refreshing to be able to see these gorgeous designer dresses on regular women with regular shapes and sizes (unlike the model above!).
The wedding is Saturday, August 24th, so I arranged for the dress to be delivered on Thursday, August 22nd. Stay tuned – I can’t wait to share my Rent the Runway experience and share photos of the dress!
In the meantime, Rent the Runway is having a huge clearance sale! This is your chance to make some of these designer beauties your own!
Have you ever tried a dress rental service? We love that Rent the Runway offers dress rentals for new moms!
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