Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wearing Anna Sui to my little brother's wedding - Rent Frock Repeat

I rarely have an event that I'll need a specific dress for but my mind was working overtime prior to my only brother's wedding in August. I didn't know where I was going to find something and to be honest I was dreading it.

Then I heard about a new business called Rent Frock Repeat that rented designer dresses for events for a fraction of the cost of buying them off the rack. I had some apprehensions such as if they would have dresses in my size and if they would have something that suited my style and the event.

You need to join Rent Frock Repeat to see their selection of dresses, but it's free and well worth your time. They will ship dresses anywhere in Canada, but if you live in the Greater Toronto Area you can also book an appointment to try on dresses. Once you've signed up, you can look through their inventory and save favourites to your profile. You can sort by colour, size, style, price range, designer, sleeve style, length, occasion, body type and neckline. As soon as I chose my dress size, my choices dropped significantly, which didn't surprise me. Designers don't tend to make their clothes in larger sizes. But I was not disappointed by the choices I had, not at all. Hello David Dixon! Hello Badgley Mischka! Hello Jill Stuart! Hello Christian Siriano! Hello Robert Rodiguez! I made a few selections according to price and style and booked my appointment.

Walking into the Rent Frock Repeat showroom was an experience. It's a large, open space filled with racks and racks of dresses. I answered a few questions (dress size, event, measurements), they took a look at my saved favourites, gave me a pair of 5 inch platform heels, and I was in the change room trying on my first dress, a purple, silk, 40s style, feminine Anna Sui. It had been one of the ones I'd chosen on the website, and despite the other 10 or so dresses I tried on, it was the one I ultimately chose.

But I should tell you about the other dresses I tried on. Kirsty, one of the co-founders, was choosing dresses for me based partly on the ones I'd selected on the website and on ones she knew would work on me. Each of the dresses, apart from one, that I tried on looked really good on me. Some of the stand-outs were:

  •  a beautiful blue and white sequinned David Dixon strapless dress. The sequins are matte, so they shimmered rather than sparkled and despite it's looser-fit, it's internal structure was actually quite flattering. I'd never worn a strapless dress before, and I was surprised how flattering it actually was (I've got very large breasts).
  •  a 50s-style, structured and dramatic peach and white Badgley Mischka. This one is very Mad Men, something you could see Joan Holloway wearing but in a darker colour. I looked great in it, but the neckline was too low for the occasion.
  •  a classic, red, structured, Jackie O-style David Dixon. I loved this one, but I felt too confined in it with its high, wide neckline. It also felt like something someone might wear to a work event.
  •  a dramatic, deep purple, slinky David Meister with an asymmetrical neckline and a jewelled embellishment at the shoulder. This was very sexy and absolutely fabulous on my curves but more appropriate for colder weather and an evening event.
  •  a navy Badgley Mischka with cold-shoulders and a jewelled embellishment on the waist. This is one of RFR's most popular dresses, and I can see why. It works on a number of body types, is slinky enough to feel sexy but in a sophisticated way. If I need a dress for an event in the fall or winter, this is definitely the one I'll rent.
Each dress that I liked was saved to my Wish List online for future reference and there are one or two that stick in my mind and are definitely going to be rented by me in the future! I just need the events!

That very first dress I tried on was still in my mind at the end of the dresses I tried on, so I wanted to try it again. Yes, that lovely, purple Anna Sui dress was the one I had to take. There was no question. It was perfect for an outdoor, summertime wedding, wasn't overly sexy (no cleavage!), the colour was very flattering with my skintone and hair colour, and it fit me near perfectly. 

I felt so beautiful and so confident in those dresses. At one point, I actually said "Oh my god, I love my body!" - how many times have I said that standing in an H&M dressing room? Never. There's something about trying on beautifully-made clothes and something about the way that they feel on. And wearing clothes that have been chosen based on your body type. I can't say enough about the experience. If you live in the Toronto area, and you have an event coming up, go and try on dresses at Rent Frock Repeat!

I paid on the spot ($115 for a four day rental) and saved on the shipping charges since I live a short walk away from Rent Frock Repeat and could both pick up the dress and drop it off.

I booked the dress a few months before my brother's wedding which made me a little anxious. Choosing accessories without having the dress was a bit of a challenge, as was the persistent thought that I may have lost or put on weight in the months in between trying it on! But the day before the wedding, I picked it up and they had me try it on to be sure it still fit and that I still loved it. And it did and I did, to my relief. 

You want to see photos, don't you? Here you go. 

Awkward pose #1

The dress has little cap sleeves, a cut-out neckline and soft draping at the hips. Shoulder pads give a strong shoulder and it hugged my bust and waist down to the soft draping at the hips. I felt beautiful in it and it was incredibly comfortable. There was no pulling, tightness, riding up or down and I didn't feel the need to tug at it at all to adjust it as I typically do with clothes. I absolutely loved that I didn't have to be concerned about showing too much cleavage. The cut-out neckline covered my chest enough to not look too sexy or vulgar (as large breasts have a tendency to) but it showed enough skin to not look frumpy. The way the skirt hugged my hips and flowed down to gently skin my legs was so pretty and so easy to wear. The ruffle down the center of the skirt conceals a slit that makes it so comfortable to move around in. I felt like a real lady in this dress.

Awkward Pose #2

Slightly Less Awkward Pose

I didn't want to look like I was wearing a costume, so I paired my dress with accessorizes that made the entire look more contemporary. I love the combination of purple and green and knew that choosing an edgy shade of green would make it modern and a little edgy. 

Shoes - Shelly's of London, bought at Balisi.
I love these shoes. The T-strap is so retro and the thicker heel made them perfect for an outdoor wedding - no attempting to walk on grass in stilettos!

Wrap - Ralph Lauren from The Bay.
Clutch - Urban Expressions  from Balisi.
The gold studs on the clutch adds a touch of rock & roll to my look and the gold also ties into the brown and wood in my shoes.

Bangle - Forever 21.
How perfect is this bangle that I found at Forever 21 for about $5 CDN two days before the wedding? 

Earrings - Forever 21.

Delicate, sparkly, sophisticated little drop earrings that were ridiculously inexpensive. I think I paid $4 CDN for them.

I did my own makeup, of course, as well as the bride's (stay tuned for another post on her look). I kept it simple with softly glowing skin, defined brows, a thin eyeliner line, slight crease contour, soft pink blush and bright matte pink lips (MAC's Force of Love). I was short on time admittedly, but I don't think I would've done anything different to my makeup. 

My hair was done in finger waves with gently curling ends. Savanna at Parlour Salon did a fantastic job. 

Here it is from the back. I also want to note how much I love the shape the dress gives my shoulders. 

This is me with the bride and groom and my mother on the beach near the venue having our photo taken.

It was a beautiful day made perfect by Rent Frock Repeat. I was able to enjoy myself so much more without having to worry about my dress looking inappropriate or ill-fitting. They made it so easy to find a dress and I can't recommend them enough!

Oh, and when I picked up my dress, they provided me with a little bag of must-haves for my event:

Double-sided tape, lint removing sheets and a deodorant removing sponge - how incredibly thoughtful and clever! And of course, adorable packaging. 

It was less nerve-wracking that I expected to rent a dress. Of course, I was worried that I'd spill something on it, or tear it, or break the zipper, but just being a little cautious was all I needed to keep it in perfect condition. In fact the dress fit so well, and so comfortably, I didn't want to take it off at the end of the night. I think I'd have been able to comfortably sleep in it! (I didn't, of course.)

I have been telling everyone about Rent Frock Repeat. Everything about my experience with them was wonderful - exceptional customer service, attention-to-detail, and I felt special being one of their customers. 

Check them out at They're getting in more plus-size dresses soon and will change their stock with the seasons! I missed their first sale, held a few weeks ago, where they discounted some of the stock to make room for the new fashions, so follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook if you're interested in keeping up with what's happening with them.

Any questions? I'm happy to try to answer them.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Rent Frock Repeat for giving us the chance to wear gorgeous designer dresses for a fraction of the cost. 


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