Goddess for a day
Can't afford a designer dress? You can still go to the ball, says Bairbre Power as she explores dress hire
We've all done it -- spent a fortune on a single-use posh frock that we'll never wear again. Just the mere sight of 'the elephant in the wardrobe' is enough to put us in a bad mood, because it reminds us of our silly and costly mistakes.
The guys have done it for years, but girls are only beginning to cop on to the benefits and savings of the rental scene for formal occasions.
Covet in Dublin's Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, Daisy on Galway's Eglinton Street and The Ivory Closet on Shannon Street, Limerick, are major players in this sector, and their awesome selection ranges from designer chic to serious vintage and long/short versions of American bling.
A newcomer to the market, Cari's Closet recently opened on New Street, Malahide, and the stock is sensationally up to date -- in particular the autumn/winter 2012 Malene Birger mint-green column dress with gold chain detail down the back.
Classy beyond words, it rents out for €150 for three days.
The store was opened by Lisa Duffy and named after her daughter, Cari. A social worker by trade, Lisa did some research while pregnant with Cari and saw a gap in the market for luxurious lends in north Co Dublin.
'Weekend' went out to investigate the store, which has been hailed as a Pandora's box for any fashion-ista. Brands for hire include Hervé Léger (king of the 'bandage' dress), Alexander McQueen, Roland Mouret, Elie Saab, Badgley Mischka, DVF, and the funky Sass & Bide label.
For the bling girl, it's sequins central when you look through the dresses from Jovani, Sherri Hill and Australian designer Rachel Gilbert.
Rental charges run from €30 to €250 for a three-day rental, and that covers the cost of the dry cleaning, which they do.
Of course, most girls rarely fit into borrowed dresses, so the gowns can be altered temporarily and the shop offers a courier service all over Ireland.
There's also the option of insurance to cover rips or tears.
PS: The good news is that Cari's Closet will sell the dress if you rent it and then fall in love with it.