Why Rent?

It's affordable. You can rent designer duds for roughly one-tenth of what you'd pay in a retail store. Besides, men have been renting tuxedos (and saving money by doing so) for ages.

It's green. Rather than relegate old frocks to the back of your closet (or worse, a landfill), dresses are cleaned and rented to somebody else.

It lets you dream. Keep up with the latest trends and your changing whims by renting looks you love, then leaving them behind.

The Perils of Renting

Sizing: Designer gowns are notoriously inconsistent when it comes to sizing. Rent the Runway ships dresses in two sizes to try and compensate for this fact. Regardless, many designs aren't even offered beyond a size 8. Ouch.

Label lust: The need to "dress like a celebrity" can get a bit out of hand. When so many people are struggling to afford necessities, renting a dress for its luxe label can seem excessive.

Selection: It remains to be seen whether designer rental companies can keep fashionistas' discerning palettes satiated, especially in an industry where what's "in" today is "out" tomorrow.

Dianna Baros is the editor and founder of, a blog about fashion, beauty and style for women on a budget. 

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