A few weeks ago I attended A Night of a Thousand Stars, which is the cocktail party and dinner during the Festival of Faiths.  I decided that rather than buy a dress, I would rent one from Rent the Runway.  Why not?  I had a coupon for $25 off my rental, which was $100, making a grand total of $75.   You can rent for 4 to 8 days, and that rental fee includes free shipping back.

I’ve been trolling the site for a few months now, but was scared to pull the trigger.  See, I’m not a “buy off the internet” kind of girl.  Especially not with clothes.  Especially not with clothes I cannot try on.  If I take 20 dresses into a dressing room, one might fit right.  So if I buy off the internet, and don’t have a backup outfit, I am really rolling the dice.

I found a designer that I had never heard of : a husband/wife team called Sachin + Babi.  I loved all their dresses, but loved this one the most.

Gray Gatsby dress, retail $495, rental $100

Here’s the back.  Pay attention to this part because I sure didn’t.

I read the reviews and the fit guidelines to finalize my decision.  I needed to know how it fits regular people.  Not this 20 yr. old Elle McPherson human ruler above.  Please note how the dress fits little Elle.  LOOSE is the first word that comes to mind.

Rent the Runway provides meticulous notes about how it fits.  And, you must not be in denial about your body.  For example, I know that I am “voluptuous” and “full-figured.”  My booty is no friend of the pencil skirt nor anything narrow.  There is not a straight or narrow part of my body.

Here’s the size and fit guidelines on this dress:

This dress runs true to size. We recommend going one size up for back-up size (see following fit notes for exceptions).

BUST: Great for any cup size – comfortable room for fuller busted women
WAIST: Fitted – fitted at natural waist with ribbon detail
HIPS: Fitted – skirt is somewhat narrow- curvier women should consider sizing up for length
LENGTH: Mid-thigh – (on a 5’5″ model)

UNDERGARMENTS: May be worn with any standard bra
FABRIC: Fabric has no stretch
GREAT FOR: All body types
(Model’s height is 5’9”.)

I bolded the parts I should have read with a little more attention.  But I was excited and glossed over these parts.

I received the dress in three days.  I got my size and the size up.  They arrived so nice and neat in a hanging bag.

This is where I make my second mistake.  I try on the dress about thirty minutes before I have to leave for the event.  My normal size was pornographically tight.  The size up was only soft-pornographically tight in the booty and short, short, shortity short.  I pull out my spanx.  My spanx hung out the bottom of the dress like bike shorts.  Do not panic.  Find emergency girdle skirt that I bought at the old McClure’s in Nashville in 1990.  It is a guaranteed five pounds off and a guaranteed no breathing for the rest of the night.  But it’s short and doesn’t show.

Now the dress fits.  I sit down to put on my makeup and realize the dress is so short that it goes all the way up.  I realize I’m going to have to cover myself with my napkin at the dinner (which I did).

When I walked downstairs, my girls first said “Oh Mama, it’s so pretty!  I love the sparkles!  Thank God you are wearing makeup!” Then upon second glance, “Mama, that’s really short.  What is Daddy going to say?”  Oh Lordy.  Of course, Michael loved it.  Men are pretty predictable.

 

Mama, it’s soo short!

 

Here’s the glamour shot taken by Lucie.

The event was a success.  The dress garnered many compliments between my covert moves of pulling it down or covering my lap with the tablecloth while sitting down.  Most notable compliments were from our waiter who told me I “looked like Beyonce” in the dress and a priest who told me it was “so beautiful and matched my eyes.”  So put that in your pipe and smoke it little Elle.  I bet nobody tells you that you look like Beyonce.

Here’s the best part.  When you are done with the dress, simply fold it up, along with the other dress that you did not use, and stick it in mail.  They provide you with a postage-paid envelope that can you just stick in a blue USPS mailbox.  You don’t have to clean it.  The only rules are that you have to return it the next day and that you check off a checklist.  So the EASY button has definitely been pushed here.

Dresses going back.  Bye Bye Beyonce.

The Verdict:

I would definitely definitely get another dress from here again.  However, I would read the product fit review like a hawk next time.  It is very honest and the only way to determine if you can fit into the dress without being able to try it on.

So when you read that the skirt is “narrow” and curvier women should size up–Heed that advice!

And when you read that it’s mid-thigh length on a 5’5″ model, that means that on a 5’7″ girl with a booty, that dress is going to look like a tennis skirt.

The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Advantages:

  • Inexpensive.
  • Can wear designer dresses for a fraction of the cost.
  • Nobody will have your same dress at event (well, most likely).
  • Easy to rent and easy to return.

Disadvantages:

  • Cannot try on in advance.
  • Your favorite dress might not be available for rent when you need it.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with Rent the Runway.  Email me at [email protected] or leave a comment below.  Happy Holiday Dresses!