Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shopping Detox: Shop Your Friend's Closet, Plus a Rent The Runway Review!

I hate to go to an event in a dress I've already worn. While most men find this ridiculous, most women relate. Cocktail and formal dresses are a money suck. First, they are expensive. Second, because of the urge to wear something new to a formal occasion, formal dresses almost always get worn once. 

I attended a wedding last weekend, and I'll be back in Michigan on Friday for another. Generally, a save the date is my ticket to shop. Since I'm trying to be better about funds, I decided that I'd (at least attempt to) be more economical. 

First, I considered Rent the Runway, a website that lets you rent a dress for four days. 

I used RTR once during law school, and my review is mixed. They allow you to get two sizes in one dress, and they usually also allow you a backup dress. The backup dress that I ordered was wrongly sized, or had been stretched out. Luckily I was able to use one of the originals I had ordered, but it did feel a bit worn. I got a lot of compliments on the dress, but it wasn't one I would have picked myself had I been able to try it on. 

The dresses run from $40 - $450 to rent, with most running $60 - $200. On some occasions it may be worth it to spend $60 on a designer dress rather than a larger amount on something less unique or well-constructed. If you love the dress you rent, that's great; you probably wouldn't have worn the formal dress you bought more than twice. However, some of the dresses have been rented many times and you may not love what you get. I'd call RTR a toss up. They do have some great options though: I'm already eyeing this for a NYE wedding this year. 

Again though, you can't try on the dresses. Plus oftentimes you have to travel to an event/wedding/party. That makes the four day rental period somewhat unrealistic at times, and you'll pay more to rent the dress longer. I suppose you could ship the dress to a hotel, but that can add stress to travel (which I, who am always running late, find stressful enough without any added contingencies). 

Solution? ransack my friends' closets. 

Clearly that closet is a joke. We live in D.C. That closet is the size of my bedroom. But isn't it beauuutiiiful!?

So I moseyed over to a friend's place, where we uncorked a bottle of wine, and had a fashion show. She had (like most women) several party dresses that she had only worn once. I left with four different options, all of which I'd been able to try on, all the while having a second opinion in the room. 

Plus, we had a great time, for free. I plan to return the favor for a formal she has coming up. 

If you have friends that wear your size, this is a great idea - you get to have fun trying on clothes, and swapping dresses allows you to get more wear/use value out of those ones you've already bought. See! I am making economical sense! 


  1. Christine and I use this method allll the time!

    1. Its so nice to have more than one closet to delve into! College was the absolute best! It was like having a million closets!