Recently I've had a few black-tie events in my calendar: first the grand opening gala of the Infinity Convention Centre, then the National Arts Centre's 20th annual gala with Diana Krall and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. And I didn't have a single thing in my closet for either.
Because pretty gowns are lovely but they're expensive, and honestly, most of the time we wear them once. Then they sit in our closets taking up space, gathering dust, and not doing anyone any good. So off I went to Ottawa's best-kept secret for affordable formal wear: Rent Frock Repeat!
Think of RFR as an extension of your closet. Or your dream closet. Like Carrie Bradshaw's closet in the first Sex in the City movie.
RFR carries hundreds of designer gowns and cocktail dresses, and in just a few clicks you can rent them for a fraction of the retail price. Smart, eh?
- the rental fee includes dry cleaning! Dresses and gowns can easily cost $50+ to clean, so this is mega.
- you won't be dropping a ton of dough on a dress that will gather dust in your closet.
- since each will be worn more than once, you'll lessen your fashion footprint when you rent.
- if you live in Ottawa or Toronto you can book a private fitting anytime to find styles and sizes you love
- if you don't live near the Ottawa or Toronto showrooms, RFR offers Skype fittings!
- you'll wish you owned ALL these frocks. I rented a Cynthia Rowley jumpsuit and a Narcès black cocktail dress in the spring and now I wished I owned both. But they retail at over $700 each... renting it is!
For the Infinity Convention Centre gala I rented an emerald one-shoulder sequin gown by Badgley Mischka, because if you can't wear head-to-to sequins for a black-tie soirée, when can you right?
I styled it up with sky-high Gucci heels from Alfred & Co., a vintage fur stole from Darling Vintage, and simple Kate Spade gemstone studs. I felt very Old Hollywood indeed.
Next up was the NAC's 20th annual gala. I was asked to host the red carpet arrivals in a Facebook Live broadcast, super exciting! Then I found out I'd also be interviewing Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the gala's honorary chair. WHAT THE WHAT?!?
I dashed back to Rent Frock Repeat and picked out another sparkly number, this time a navy cap-sleeve sequin gown with a dramatic cowl back, also by Badgley Mischka. BECAUSE SEQUINS. AND STRETCH.
This was a last-minute rental so I grabbed my fur and my Guccis and off we went.
The NAC gala was an absolute thrill. I interviewed humanitarian and philanthropist Gail Asper, mayor of Ottawa Jim Watson, United States ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman and his wife Vicki, and last but certainly not least, the radiant Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.
YOU GUYS. THIS HAPPENED. And she is every bit as lovely and gracious in person as you'd expect. I was so taken with her that I promptly forgot my next lines, but hey, it's not every day you meet a real life superwoman.
After my few moments with Sophie, everyone made their way into Southam Hall for a brilliant performance by Diana Krall and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. I swapped my Guccis for Hunters (rain, ugh) and went straight to Tennessy Willems (gown and all) for my weekly pizza.
Fueled by my favourite 'za, I headed home to swap my sequins for sweats, then fell into bed. What a night!
15% OFF AT RENT FROCK REPEAT
Gala season is in full swing, there are weddings galore (fall is the new summer), and holiday parties are just around the corner... so you may soon find yourself in need of a frock! No problem, I've got you.
Use promo code AMY613 to get 15% off all your rentals at Rent Frock Repeat! Enter the code online or mention it in-store when you rent. Easy peasy!
Never been to RFR? Book one of their seriously fun private fittings and try on a whole heap of dresses. When an event pops up you'll already know which styles you love most and which sizes to choose!
Don't live near an RFR showroom in Ottawa or Toronto? No problem. RFR also offers helpful Skype consultations to help you find the right frock. So go on Cinderella, snap up that perfect gown!