Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Why I'll Never Buy Another Occasion Dress

Rent the Runway

Earlier this year, I attended my first wedding as an adult and this weekend, I’ll attend my second. I say, “as an adult” because it’s totally different than being 12 years old and having your mom pick out your dress for you. As an adult, you have to consider, maybe with or without the consult of your mom, the stated attire for the wedding, the time of the wedding (day time or evening), the season, and appropriateness for the venue (i.e. church vs not a church). So much to consider!


With that being said, I’m here for the simplification of the whole process of getting “occasion” dresses. Occasion dresses being any dress you would not normally wear and buy specifically for an occasion. When I thought about the fact that I have had not one, but two prom dress sitting in a closet for five years, I knew this wasn’t a road I wanted to go down as an adult who is trying to be more conscious of the things I buy and the reasons why I buy them. Chances are, I’ll never buy another occasion dress because, to put it plainly, they are a colossal waste of money and waste of the time put into finding them. Since I want you to be free from this dress burden, too, I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to get around it. And they’re all eco-friendly!


1. Rent a dress!
For the wedding I attended in May, I rented a dress from Rent the Runway. Rent the Runway is a really incredible, innovative solution to exactly the problem I mentioned: women buying expensive dresses to wear once for some occasion. Renting tuxedos has been a thing for a long time, and Rent the Runway essentially allows those of us who wear dresses to do the same. You can rent a designer dress for a fraction of the off-the-rack price. I got my dress shipped to the Rent the Runway store in Chicago and was able to try it on there and browse other available styles if I decided I wanted to exchange my rental. It was so, so easy and I cannot recommend Rent the Runway enough.

Rent the Runway is primarily an online store with some brick and mortar stores in large markets, but the online culture they have cultivated makes the shopping experience even better. Women who have worn the dress can upload pics and you can see how women who have body shapes like you look in the dress. I also love all of the filters on the site because they help you get to the dress you have in mind quickly. Also, open a color wheel in a new tab to see how the shoes or purses you have might go with the dress. Easy!


I have even seen smaller boutiques in Chicago offer dress rentals. Even if there isn’t a sign in the store, just ask -- the worse thing they can say is no.


2. Borrow a dress!
This is literally the oldest trick in the book, just borrow a dress from your friend, sister, mom, cousin, aunt, neighbor, whoever. Within your social circle, there is sure to be a treasure trove of occasion dresses amassed over the years. For the wedding this weekend, I’ll be wearing a dress of my Grandmother’s that I got repaired and tailored to fit. Sure, some costs were incurred, but not I-just-bought-a-new-dress costs.


Rent the Runway


3. Buy one dress and wear it every time!
Arianna Huffington is a big proponent of women repeating outfits and, dare I say it, she is really onto something. Women spend so much time and money searching for new outfits for every event they have to attend, meanwhile men will probably wear the same suit and not even think about it. If you have read the Crazy Rich Asians series, then you might remember that Astrid Leong would wear the same dress to every wedding she attended (she does this because she upstaged a bride once - yikes!). We should literally take a page out of this book. There is nothing wrong with wearing the same outfit more than once. Instagram might have us thinking otherwise, but nothing beats a well-made piece of clothing that can stand the test of time, like my Grandmother’s dress. Buy one nice dress, then wear the mess out of it and post a pic in it every damn time.

Keep up with the wedding festivities on over on my Instagram @thestylegrad.