Some people are probably going to gag at the thought of this, but have you ever considered renting a piece of clothing instead of buying it? After all, we rent apartments and cars, sometimes furniture and Blue-ray DVDs. So why not clothes.
Men have been renting tuxedos since that first junior prom. But what if you had been invited to a fancy social event and you just didn't have an extra $1,500 lying around to buy a new evening gown? What if I said you could go online and rent a $1,500 gown for $200?
Well you can and there are plenty of women out there who are already going to renttherunway.com to grab the latest fashions created by the hottest designers at a fraction of their retail price so they can wear them while they're, well, still in fashion.
How often would you wear a dress like that anyway? There aren't that many places you could go. So why not save hundreds of dollars and still keep your closets from getting over-stocked.
RentTheRunway.com rents thousands of dresses for a four- or eight-day period. The dresses are geared toward special occasions or limited use wear for those on a budget and the rental prices run about 80% off the retail price.
You'll find dresses from such designers as Nicole Miller and Proenza Schouler. New styles come in all the time and when a dress has been on the racks too long, they're put up for sale at 65% off. You can find these dresses on the clearance section of the website.
The dresses are organized on the site by style, designer, or occasions like a winter wedding, a girls-night-out or this-is-getting-to-be-serious-date. You select the dress and schedule a delivery date.
It helps to live in cities like New York City where you can get the dress that day. Otherwise it will be sent overnight.
If you're worried about the fit, the company sends the dress in two sizes and takes care of the dry cleaning afterward. Renting a dress requires signing up for a free membership, and then paying for the rental, $5 insurance, shipping and any taxes that may apply.
In the short time it's been up, renttherunway.com already has 600,000 members and it went live during the height of the recession when people were cutting back on their clothes budget.
This year, Rent The Runway says it's having its busiest season ever. A similar site is Bag Borrow or Steal which rents designer handbags and accessories. Since launching in 2004, it has over 2 million members in the U.S. alone. They rent luxury bags, jewelry, sunglasses and watches from high-end designers like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada.
Now, you're all set for that fancy New Year's Eve party with some money left over to rent a limousine for the night.