Deals Episodes

Luxury Dresses on Loan

How many times have you bought an expensive, fancy, dress -- worn it once, then filed it away in the dark corners of your closet? Next time, rent it!

Mila Arzu, Sonal Parikh, and Misty Clow were each inspired by their own wardrobe dilemmas to open rental boutiques. Whether you are searching for a dress for a prom, wedding, or black-tie gala, these three ladies can help you save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.

"It only seems natural to rent a gown -- how long have you seen men renting a tux for their formal occassions?" says Mila, owner of Milad Bridal Boutique. "Pretty much all of my inventory are on consignment; we take very good care of it while it's here."

A brides-to-be makes an appointment, tries on dresses, and -- if they find they're perfect match -- chooses to buy or rent the gown.

Mila's priority it to rent out name brand wedding gowns for a fraction of the price. For example, a $7,700 Vera Wang (worn once) will rent for $750, as does an Amsale that once retailed for $2,000 . A $1,200 Anjolique dress (with tags) rents for just $450.

"I think it's perfect for brides who are starting a new life to save money," says one Milad enthusiast.

At Lakshmi's Closet, you can rent an Indian sari for as low as $60.

"I'd actually was just going to a friend of mine's wedding and was just tired of wearing the same dresses over and over again," says Sonal, the owner. "An Indian wedding is like five different events, so I ended up buying two outfits, and I was like, 'Man, it'd be great if I could just go to a place where they had new stuff -- like the best fashion -- and just rent it, and not have to worry about, 'Well I'm going to have to wear this five more times to justify this price.'"

Sonal was initially suprised by her diverse clientele. "We're getting all kinds of races who come to our Indian [special occasion] events, and they love wearing Indian outfits. You know, they've never worn things that are this elaborate and this colorful, and so when they do it, they just look like princesses," she says.

Red and white are the traditional Indian wedding colors, often worn by brides. One wedding sari, which originally sold for $1,000, costs $130 to rent. A trendier, more wearable lavendar and turqoise dress -- complete with stripes and polka dots and retailing for $195 -- can be yours on loan for a mere $60.

As an added bonus, each sari rental comes with a sari wrapping lesson from Sonal's mom, who instructs customers on the art of hand-pleating fabric.

Owner Misty of Couture House Rentals has a very basic pricing policy: regardless of the designer, every long dress rents for $69.99 while short dresses go for $49.99.

"We do that because we don't want you to make a decision based on the price of what you're renting," Misty says. "Rent what feels good, what makes you feel like Cinderella."

The one-of-a-kind inventory come in all colors and from far-flung countries like Israel and The Philippines. Many of the dresses can even fit a variety of body types, thanks to details such as removable tiers of ruffles and elastic bustlines. There's even a registry at Couture House that guarantees that no two women will wear the same dress from the store to the same event.

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