I love a pretty dress as much as the next girl, probably more in fact, but I have become quite aware of how many pretty dresses I have and how rarely they get worn. I’ve never been one of those girls who can only wear a dress once, that’s ridiculous! However, no one wants to wear the same dress over and over again (especially with the amount of photos which pop up on Facebook).
One of my best friends got married last week at a beautiful venue in West Sussex and I had quite a ‘mare deciding what to wear! Weddings don’t come round very often (although I’m getting to the age where they are more common) so I wanted to look amazing and enjoy the process of getting dressed up. A few months ago if someone suggested I go and hire a dress I would have immediately thought of a shabby shop on the edge of a town, stocked full of OTT prom dresses and mother-of-the-bride two-piece suits. In fact, the dress hire market has seen a whole new Hollywood style makeover – you can now browse hundreds of designer dresses online and have one shipped to your door for a big event, which is exactly what I did.
Hiring a dress allowed me to have something new (to me) to wear without spending an extortionate amount of money on something I might not wear again in the foreseeable future. It also meant I could be quite confident I wouldn’t turn up and find someone in the same high-street dress as me. Dresses for special events are absolutely perfect for the rental market, if I had my way we’d never buy a dress again, just share them around!
There are a few websites providing this service. I opted for Girl Meets Dress, co-founded by Anna Bance and Xavier de Lecaros-Aquise in 2008. Prior to founding the online dress hire platform Anna spent three years with luxury brand Hermes as UK PR manager. It took me a few weeks to decide on the right dress, I think it helps if you know what suits you and how a dress might fit your body shape (remembering that designer dresses come up quite small). You can order dresses to try on prior to your event for a small charge but I just went for it and ordered two dresses to arrive the day before the wedding. I could then see which fitted best and I only paid for the one I wore, both dresses were then sent back the next day (you can do three or seven day hire).
I wore the Nicole Miller Eva Dress in watermelon, which retails at £300 and I hired for £49. I teamed it with Jones nude leather peep-toe wedges which I’ve had for years and an ASOS feather clutch which I bought second-hand on eBay. I will definitely use their service again. Look out for introductory offers and discount codes.
Dress Hire sites: