One of my dearest friends was involved in planning this past weekend's Children's Charity Ball at the Hartford Golf Club to benefit The Bridge Family Center in West Hartford. She invited my husband and me to be guests at her table.
Well, what is the first thing that a busy mom thinks when she is invited to a fancy affair?
What on earth am I going to wear?!
Knowing I had zero time to shop for a dress, I rifled through my closet to see what might magically appear. I found two outfits that could possibly be semi-appropriate for a winter party. One, a velvet-ish dress from a discount store that I never wore because it had the annoying tendency to stick to my legs with a static-cling vengeance. Does anyone wear slips anymore? I'm just not sure.
Second, a satin-y strapless paintsuit that I was utterly thrilled still fit me after twelve years gathering dust...but, it seemed oddly out-of-a-fashion and I didn't want to be plagued by a late-90's vibe during one of my few nights out as a grown-up.
When I discussed this important quandary (sarcasm) with a girlfriend, she said: "Why don't you Rent the Runway?"
"Rent the Runway?!" I asked, perplexed.
She went on to explain that this is an online service which she learned about on The Today Show.
"Why not?" I thought.
I checked out the web site -- RenttheRunway.com -- and was surprised to see a vast array of pretty gowns from designers such as Shoshanna, Calvin Klein and Cynthia Rowley. I picked out a lovely deep-red dress by Zac Posen called "Love At First Sight"...which was the topic of many jokes....and I went for it. I rented this $600 dress for $50.00, with a coupon for a "first-time renter". I thought this was a pretty affordable endeavor. But, still, I was really wondering if renting a garment would be great...or disastrous.
The dress arrived two days before the party. When I answered the door, my affable UPS guy said: "Hey Sarah - you rented the runway?! Have a great time at your shin-dig!" I laughed....the logos all over the box don't exactly make this a secretive move.
I raced upstairs to investigate my mysterious rental. Would it be too small? Would it smell? Would I end up wearing the staticy discount dress, after all?
Miracle of all miracles, it fit like a glove. And, the company sends along a free spare dress in the next size, just in case. It was beautiful...no weird spots...no weird scents.
Well, I sashayed around the party in "Love At First Sight" with great success. I am used to wearing rumpled Mom clothes...lucky to find something without any stains or wrinkles...so, it was a treat to feel good during a rare night out.
The only complaint I have is this: sending the dress back was confusing. Rent the Runway instructs folks to place the dress in a pre-paid padded envelope and simply stick it in any blue USPS box, just like a letter. But, my post office box had a big sign on it: "No items larger than 13 ounces, please!" So, I waited until this morning to hand it to a postal worker myself.
But, all in all, this was a good experience....kind of a fun experiment with a high-end garment that I would never plunk down the cash to purchase.
Tell me...would you rent a dress for "Mom's Night Out"?!