Suzanne O’Connor’s Bargains LA

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Zannee's Blog

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Renting Vs Buying a Special Occasion Dress

By Suzanne O'Connor

Renting is vastly cheaper than buying …. Often 90% less that buying. A savvy way to save some dough, especially if you never plan to use the item again. I have rented nicer cars for events,  camping and hiking gear, large tools and home repair items. But you still have to consider how much or long you’ll be using a product to decide if buying or renting is better deal.

When we became avid campers we ended up buying our tents and gear. It was more cost effective than renting. But before we bought we rented till we knew how much we would use the gear.

My friend rented the cutest cocktail dress for a class reunion a few years ago. As a mom who is into outdoor sports, her life didn’t support buying a cocktail dress and the chances of her wearing it again were nil. She rented hers at a local store called One Night Affair in West LA. Got a $700 cocktail dress for $70.

But you can also rent special occasion dresses online: Sites like and offer dress rentals at 80%-95% off original retail. You have to become a member to rent,  but if you have a very active social life, are between the sizes of 0-14 you can really save using these sites to dress you for more formal occasions.

Renting designer fashion handbags is still a cool thing to do, especially if you like to vary it up a bit and always have the latest bag. Sites like (Avelle) sort of took the web world by storm a few years back. They have expanded their collections to include all sorts of accessories and they also have a sales page where you can buy a gently carried designer bags and accessories for 35%-65% less.

Even brides are renting their gowns instead of buying. Groom’s have been renting their tuxedos for years, which saves them considerable money and hassle. Brides typically buy expensive dresses only to wear them once and then pay for storage space. Many bridal salons now rent dresses and accessories for a fraction of the purchase price. Renting a wedding gown can run anywhere from 100-$1000. Considerable less than purchasing a designer gown. If you want to preserve your dress as an keepsake heirloom, or wearing a previously worn dress sounds awful, then renting isn’t for you.

Check out websites like  and to see the quality of rentals gowns. Make sure you start your search early as the best gowns always get booked first. For the best overall deal ask about rental packages with veil or headpiece tiara, petticoats and jewelry included. You should purchase your own bra and underwear.

Your contract with any rental company should include a guarantee that your dress will be clean and available for pick-up several days before your event or wedding. Ask detailed questions before signing anything.

Often easier on the bank account, renting has some advantages over buying.

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