Over coffee this morning, I read an interesting piece about a fast-growing, new trend to rent – not buy – luxury items, such as dress rentals. It seems that even in this dismal economy, the American appetite to acquire luxury goods hasn’t been dimmed, just redirected.
This concept isn’t new. Men have been renting designer tuxedos forever and rentals of infrequently used clothing – like evening gowns for events like pageants, proms and weddings -has been around for years.
I even investigated this option myself years ago when I was in the market for a designer evening gown. Knowing it was highly likely that I would only wear it once, I visited a rental shop near Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. Not finding anything that I loved, I went around the corner to (sadly, now defunct) Beautiful Beads and picked up a Bob Mackie for only $500. Off-the-rack? Yes. But actually a bargain compared to the rental prices of the designer gowns!
So when does renting make sense? And renting what types of items?
Intrigued, I had another cup of coffee and did a little online sleuthing to find that the “new renting” is not the exclusive province of evening wear. It’s now possible to rent everything from designer handbags, to sunglasses, to jewelry and even furs.
For example Lending Luxury offers the best special occasion dresses around. You can find the perfect dress for your size, even date and occasion by using our search filters. You’ll be instantly presented with hundreds of dresses from top designers. Select your dress and delivery date, then feel like a star for 5, 10, or 15 days. You don’t have to worry about shipping or dry cleaning, because that’s included. When your event is over, simply drop your dress at a USPS location. And, there’s a Buy Now option. So, if you fall in love, you can make it permanent.
Or, my personal favorite, Bag, Borrow or Steal offers a almost unbelievable number of guaranteed authentic designer handbags, jewelry, sunglasses and watches from Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Coach and even Judith Leiber. Unlike other rental options, Borrow or Steal members to keep items as long as they wish. The luxury accessory is available to be leased in one-month periods. If you’d like to show it off a bit longer, simply keep it and they renew the rental automatically… with no late fee.
I have an event coming up in September. So, if you see me sporting a fabulous dress or a Judith Leiber handbag, if you ask me where I got it, just whisper!
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Susan Said… WHAT?! is your guide to real style for the way you live. From fabulous fashion and accessories, to gorgeous gardens and stunning interiors, plus the latest products and tips for throwing parties, weddings, and events of all kinds. Susan Conforte McNeill is a wife, mother, author and entrepreneur. Susan is also the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait!