Rent the Runway: Rent the Dress, Own the Look

Story by Michelle Esteban of KOMONEWS.COM

On the red carpet or in the office, best-dressed can bust your budget. But now, the latest online shopping trend allows users to rent a dress, and own the look.

"I think it's actually kind of awesome," said Annette Bond, owner of Definitive Style by Annette Bond.

She is a personal image consultant with 30 years of fashion industry experience.

"Oh my gosh, I love it, what do you think?" asked Bond, of her client Angela Hildre, who beamed in a beautiful coral-colored one-shoulder dress.  "I love the color of it too," said Hildre from Bond's home office.

Bond calls online shopping a new option for clients like Hildre. Renting provides access over ownership.

"I try not to wear the same thing, so I want something new," said Hildre.

She can either pay retail for a department store gown, or try to rent the look for less.

"The fact that you could get a designer look, a one-of-a-kind look, and you don't have to invest the money," said Hildre.

It's, an online service that has 50,000 designer dress rentals that can be delivered to your doorstep.

For example, I rented a gold-sequined Badgley Mischka full-length gown, which retails for $620, for $70. That included shipping, taxes, insurance, a first-time ordering discount, and 5 bucks to rent earrings. My total price tag was $98.50.

And if the dress doesn't fit, the service provides a backup size for free. My order arrived on time, the first dress fit like a glove and looked as if it came right off the rack; not tired, used or overly dry cleaned. But their gowns are like Cinderella's chariot, they have to be returned in either 4 or 8 days - or else there's a late charge.

The clothing rental trend goes beyond the red carpet., for example, rents daily wear.

For a monthly fee, users get door-to-door service, and can buy anytime at a discount.

"There is something to be said for trying the dress on, and seeing how they feel and look in the dress in their body, their figure," said Shirdel. "I think a stylist is priceless."

You do have to know what works on your body type, before you rent.

"That's something you really need to watch," warned Annette Bond.

For first time renters: Keep these 4 tips in mind:

1. Have a budget and beware of the snowball effect.

2. Online sites makes it easy to over indulge with accessories, including shape wear and makeup.

3. Pay attention to fees, damaged clothing, or late returns. They can quickly add up.

4. Since models looks good in every outfit, always check out customer’s reviews and photos to get a real look at the rental on real women.

That red carpet look is not just for the celebrities anymore.