This one's for all my ladies. Hands up if you've got a slew of dresses you've worn once. You know, like that one you got for your pal's wedding last year. It was pricey but it was so darling you knew you'd wear it again. How could you not, right? But then some of the same folks were going to be at the next wedding... and at that New Year's bash too. So alas, there it hangs. Poor, pretty, unworn dress.
I'm guilty as anyone when it comes to this particular wardrobe pickle: I've got a sisterhood of hardly worn dresses hanging in my closet and they rarely see the light of day. They cost me a pretty penny too. But now that whole sitch is totally avoidable thanks to an Canadian company I stumbled on called Rent Frock Repeat.
Rent Frock Repeat offers high-end designer dresses and gowns for a fraction of the price -- because they're available for rent, not for purchase. Basically they're like Bag Borrow or Steal for your closet instead of your handbag collection. Their high quality dresses are available in sizes 0-24, and they also have options for petites and tall women. The dresses retail for anywhere from $400 up to $3000, but you can rent them for a 4-day stretch for $50 and up. Smart, right? I first heard of RfR a while back and was intrigued, but they were online only and slipped out of my mind.
But the other day I was walking through the Market on my way to the North Dal shopping night, and I discovered Rent Frock Repeat now has a flagship showroom on Murray Street! When did that happen?! I had to check it out. I booked an appointment and prepared to get my frock on.
When I arrived, my stylist Camille greeted me with a smile and welcomed me in. She told me that RfR fittings are private, so I'd have her undivided attention for the next hour. Really? I can't remember the last time I had dedicated service like that. Anywhere. She offered my choice of beverage and brought me to the spacious fitting area at the rear of the showroom.
Earlier in the day RfR had sent me a quick online survey asking about my upcoming events, personal style, favourite designers and so forth, and based on my answers Camille already had a collection of dresses at the ready. Talk about efficient! She took measurements to determine my size in each of their design lines, then asked my shoe size and brought me some heels to try on with my frocks. Off we went!
The first thing that struck me about my fitting with Camille: she really IS a stylist. RfR doesn't simply hire sales staff and call them stylists for show, this gal had skills. With each dress I tried on, Camille offered practical yet fashion-forward advice on corresponding undergarments (they carry Spanx and fashion tape!), jewellery, belts, and shoes, and she had all of the above on hand to play with. I tried mini, midi, and tea-length cocktail dresses, and even a few floor-length gowns because what the hey, right? Camille counseled me on which lengths and styles worked best for my height and body shape, and because I'm petite she also explained which shoe choices would offer different effects (lengthening the legs, etc.).
Much to my surprise, I learned I can actually wear many more styles than I thought: Camille presented me with a floor-length, black sequined, super-fitted mermaid gown with a slit up to there. Now, this here pear-shaped gal would never have had the cahonies if left to her own devices, but with a bit of encouragement I slipped in on... and HOLY CRAP. I loved it. It was a total Jessica Rabbit dress and now I'm scheming up an event just so I have a reason to wear it. Camille, I bow down. Your styling chops are next level.
The other part of the equation? This stunner of a dress by Badgley Mischka retails for $1200. $1200!! At that price I'm obviously never buying it unless my money tree (finally) starts growing. But to rent it through RfR was only $175, AND that includes dry cleaning after I return it. Are you even kidding me right now? I've had drycleaners charge me $75 to launder simpler (and much cheaper) cocktail dresses, and for $175 I get to wear an intricate sequined gown and not worry about cleaning it? Sold. Er, rented.
Here's my freakum dress:
STRAPLESS EBONY SEQUIN GOWN BY BADGLEY MISCHKA, RENTS FOR $175 (RETAIL $1200)
Over the course of my fitting I tried on a wide range of styles, and with each one Camille noted down my reaction, comments, and best size/best fit in my online RfR profile. I found that so thoughtful because a few months down the road when I need a dress for my sis-in-law's wedding, I'll be able to easily remember what I liked, how it fit, and Camille's handy styling suggestions too. Sweet.
My mind was wandering into the new year with weddings and other big events on the horizon but then I thought, "DUH, New Year's Eve!" If you're hitting up a cocktail party or even a big fancy gala on New Year's Eve, I can't begin to explain how much fun you'll have trying Rent Frock Repeat instead of heading to the mall. I mean: private service, no crowds, no buyer's remorse, and no dry cleaning. Do it.
Since I got to see a whole slew of dresses first hand, I've put together a collection of my favourites and I think you'll love 'em too. Click each pic for rental prices, my styling advice, and links.
WIN YOUR RENTAL!!
I loved RfR so much that I want you to give it a whirl! I'm giving away a $75 rental credit for Rent Frock Repeat, which is enough to cover all or most of your dress rental depending on the one you pick. Here's what to do:
2. Post a blog comment below telling me which dress you want to rent.
OPTIONAL EXTRA ENTRIES:
Contest is open ACROSS CANADA and closes this Wednesday December 23rd at 6:00pm EST.
What's that? You can't possibly wait til Wednesday? No worries, I got you.
Use promo code AMY613 and you'll get a whopping 50% off your rental! 5-0! So that hot taupe and black colourblocked number you were eyeing? It'll only cost ya 35 bucks. For a $455 dress. I'd been planning for a pretty casual New Year's but at that price I think I'll rent another dress just for the heck of it. Promo code is valid through January 15, 2016.
So are you going to rent a frock? Comment below and I'd love to see pics of your favourites!
We have a winner!!! Congratulations Josée Michelle, you've won a $75 rental credit for Rent Frock Repeat. Enjoy that beautiful one-shoulder Badgely Mischka gown, I'd love to see pictures when you rent it. :)