Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rent-The-Runway For You Next Big Occasion

The red carpet is sizzling with gorgeous gowns on celebrities like Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston and Halle Berry. But I too have major events to attend to in the coming months, like my 40th birthday next month, and don’t have a thing to wear. On top of that, right now I can't justify splurging on another dress I might wear only once.

Rent The Runway to the rescue. Whew! Crisis averted.

I love this merino wool ruched dress by Catherine Malandrino. It can be mine for $50 for four crazy nights. It retails for $425.

This silk chiffon stunner by Temperley London is another great choice for the big night. It retails for $3,295, but it could be briefly mine for for $300.

The membership-only website is a new way of shopping for women like us who love fashion and want to look fabulous for an exciting dinner date or a girls' night out on the town , but don't want to open our wallets on the high designer prices. is an exciting new Web site that works like Netflix and lets you rent the latest designs from a bevy of luxury and contemporary designers for a recession-friendly price and then you simply drop it in the mail the next day.

“We are bringing the dream of a rotating closet to reality,” Lara Crystal of RTR said. "Finding that perfect dress is just a click away."

The way it works is first you browse from current season styles for a dress your love from an impressive list of highly coveted designers like Matthew Williamson, Robert Rodriquez, Yigal Azrouel and Catherine Malandrino. The dresses are organized by designer, style, trend (like timeless classics, return of the mini, flirty and feminine and lingerie inspired) or occasion (winter wedding, black tie affair, meet the parents or cocktail party). You get to keep the dress for four or eights days and you even receive a second size dress FREE to ensure a perfect fit when you pick a designer for the first time.

So that super flattering Catherine Malandrino ruched dress I’ve been eyeing for my big bash pictured above, which retails for $425, can be mine for $50. And if I’m undecided between two looks, I can have the second style (and the additional size) shipped to me for an additional $25.

I can wear it, look chic for the night and then simply pop in right in the mail in a handy, pre-paid stamped and addressed envelope, also provided. Dry cleaning is also included.

This shimmering frock by Badgley Mischka channels 1920s sensibilities and will absolutely help you light up the night. The A-line style dress retails for $595, but it can be yours for $75.

All the dresses are shipped in a RTR garment bag you get to keep as well as a “fix kit” of emergency going out products like fashion tape, bra converter, deodorant wipeouts.

RTR works closely with the designers to get their dresses directly in the hands of potential customers. So you get to have an evening in a Matthew Williamson dress and in return the fashion company hopes you will have such a great time you will be a loyal customer.

Co-founders and sectionmates at Harvard Business School Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Carter Fleiss started the business in 2009 after learning Jennifer Hyman’s sister couldn’t wear the too-expensive designer dress she loved because it was out of her price range.

Co-founders of Rent-The-Runway Jennifer Hyman, left, and Jennifer Carter Fleiss. Photo courtesy of RTR.

The cost of the rental is about 10% of the retail price and rental starts at just $50. There are about 1,500 dresses online from 37 designers and RTR is adding to the list all the time. This month they will have added Temperely London and Le Roc. In April, RTR will be adding jewelry from such designers as Ciner, Miquel Ases, Chan Luu, Kenneth Jay Lane and Gerard Yosca.

“We’re giving women access to the complete Carrie Bradshaw experience without the high cost,” Lara said.

If you want to become a member of Rent The Runway, holla back at me and I'll send you an invite for immediate membership.

Now you can’t complain you don’t have a thing to wear.


  1. Maybe I'll change my mind but right now this just doesn't appeal to me. I have no problem with wearing one dress multiple times. Of course, I've saved up a lot of dresses over the years and have a good selection to choose from now. But back in the day when I had two dresses, I just wore them over and over and didn't feel bad about it! Times have changed, I guess. Everyone's got to feel like a celebrity on a press tour.

  2. Brilliant idea. I can't wait to see what you eventually choose!

  3. What are we doing for your celebration?!

  4. What a great idea for this economy. I know you'll choose something smashing, xoxo rainie

  5. what a great idea...i guess it is similar to the handbag one...bag borrow something (i should know these things haha)

    my problem is that when i see a dress i like...i want to keep it...for other occasions...

    like wendy...i don't mind wearing a dress over and over...especially if i feel fabulous in it...and as i've gotten older...the size of my selections has grown as i have more to choose from...

  6. Hi Jennifer,

    thanks for the post! I love the idea and would love to rent one dress for my next birthday party too! Can you invite me at Bioltt at yahoo dot Com?


    Tina Li

  7. PLease send me an invite!!! Thanks!!!

  8. Hi Jennifer,
    I'm planning to go to my cousin's wedding in NY this October. I'd like to see what's available from RTR. Please send me an invite, thank you!

  9. love the blue dress

  10. Really good article, thank you for sharing, I will always look at the future, too talented.