It turns out renting dresses is easier and more economical than buying them.

Why You Should Rent And Not Buy Formal Dresses
Why You Should Rent And Not Buy Formal Dresses. (Photo: Instagram/belleoftheball45).

When Rent the Runway debuted, I scoffed. Why pay to rent a dress when you could just buy one and own it? Some of those dresses weren’t exactly cheap. They seemed to cost anywhere from $40 up to a couple hundred. I knew for a fact I could buy one at Forever 21 for that. But over the years, my friends and associates have dipped toes in the dress-rental pool and given it such stellar reviews that I decided to give it a chance, and it turned out that renting dresses is wonderful.

My younger sister is the one who first started raving about renting dresses. She is a very popular, sociable person who goes out a lot and attends many formal events. She’s also at that age when people she knows are getting married basically every weekend.

I think she told me she’s been to 75 weddings, and most of those have similar guest lists, which means one does not want to always wear the same thing.

After exhausting all her dresses, all my dresses, all my mother’s dresses, and even all the old bridesmaid and prom dresses we’d left in the back of our mother’s closet. She realized she was never going to wear one dress often enough to justify buying it and finally just started renting them. Now she has fancy clothes for every event.

Earlier this year, I was bemoaning the need to acquire dresses for my sister’s wedding because I recently had a baby, and my body has been going through some weird changes.

I wasn’t sure where it would be by the time the wedding came around or how long it would be in that shape at all. I didn’t want to pay for even a Forever 21 dress that would only fit for a week. So she suggested I try renting one, and I thought that sounded like a good idea.

I turned the actual selection of the dress over to readers because you guys are good at this, and I’m just going to let you pick all my clothes from now on. You guys did me a solid and picked a shimmery bronze Vivienne Westwood cocktail dress, which was great because Vivienne Westwood is always wonderful, and how often do we normal people get to wear her clothes? It was also wonderful because renting it was only $40.

I picked out the dress and placed my order for two sizes that I thought might fit. (You can order a second size for free, just because sizing is often weird on dresses.)

Because I was in Chicago and living near a Rent The Runway brick-and-mortar store, I opted to pick it up at the store instead of having it mailed to me. That way, I could try it on at the store and pick something else if it didn’t work out. But it did, and it was fabulous.

I should have worn heels for the rehearsal, though. Everyone else wore them, but I wore flats because it was raining and I thought we’d be outside.

I got to wear Vivienne Westwood for the day, and when I was finished, I just popped it back in the garment bag and dropped it at the store. I could also have just dropped the whole garment bag in the mail because it comes with a prepaid return shipping label, so I wouldn’t even have to go to the post office.

Now I’m sold. Renting dresses is great, and this dress apparently retails at $850, which means I would have to wear it 22 times to make it more economical to buy than to rent. I love it, but even if I owned it, I would probably not wear it 22 times.

Best of all, I did not have to pay for dry cleaning. Eff drycleaning.

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