I Rented a Dress for Son’s Bar Mitzvah and Lived to Tell the Story

Bagley Mischka, Rent the Runway, and me

Bagley Mischka, Rent the Runway, and me

Buying a fancy dress for a party is just a waste of money and resources especially when you can rent a fabulous one at Rent the Runway How does a $2195 Matthew Williamson gown sound that you can rent for $300?  Or  Nicole Miller dress that you can rent for $50? No lie, people.  I did it.  And for my son’s bar mitzvah, yet.  (Call me crazy.)  My experience? Well you will have to read on.

Why Rent?

Girlfriend, let’s be honest with each  other.  How many times are you going to wear that dress again? Once or Twice?  No one like to see a party girl in the same outfit too many times.  Your chic’ness quote will take a nose dive.  But on the environmental side, think about the amount of resources used to make that dress that you only wear a couple of times.

Well having it “sustain-ably all” is my new mantra.  So you too can be a totally green, hip fashionista without sacrificing style and look.  Just to prove my point, I decided to be a guinea pig and took the gamble on son #4’s bar mitzvah.  With the help of Amy, Rent the Runway, fab stylist, we picked out 2 dresses that could adorn my pear-ess figure.  Did it work?  Yes and No.

Body Background

Just so you don’t slough off the article and say Anna must have the perfect body so she can rent any dress, stop right there.  I hate my body because I am a 2/4 on the bottom but a 4/with a strong lean towards a 6 on the bottom.  I have baby making hips and a J Lo butt.  It looks good on her.  Not me.

In addition, I am 5′ 3 1/2 inches and fall into the petite category many times.  (My boys say I am shrinking as I get older. *Sign*)  So, finding a gown that was going to fit my top and bottom is always a challenge especially when you can’t alter the dress.

The Gowns that Were Suppose to Work

Amy must have spent an hour with me.  Everything I liked, Amy would tell me it wasn’t going to look good on me.   The final picks?  See below:

Robert Rodriguez Black Label (Retails for $750 but rents for $100)

Robert Rodriguez Dress from Rent the Runway

Robert Rodriguez Dress from Rent the Runway



I rented the 6 and a free back-up 8 just in case.

Bagley Mischka Belle of the Ball (Retails for $595 but rents for $75)

Bagley Miskca Dress from Rent the Runway

Bagley Mishkca Dress from Rent the Runway



For an extra $25 I rented the 6 and the 8 just in case.

What about accessories?

You can easily rent a purse, matching earrings, bracelet, and necklace with your dress choice.  I rented the following Michael Ases earrings:

The Micheal Ases Earrings

The Micheal Ases Earrings

The retail value is $338 and I rented them for $35.  I have a small face and Amy assured me that the earring wouldn’t overpower my face.

Did I need a necklace?  Amy said no because the earring were just enough.  I was set to go.  My dresses would arrive on Thursday before the Bar Mitzvah!  I could have (and should have rented ) the dresses longer since this was such an important event.  I should not have left so much to chance. Bear in mind, the rental cost would be twice the price.


So, Did they Fit?

Now, remember I am bust-less.  Whatever I had, nursing took everything away.  I looked like a stick of gum in the Robert Rodriguez.  The 6’s top was an inch too big in the chest.  I needed a bust and smaller hips to carry this dress off, but it was so gorgeous, light in weight, and very flowy.  A princess gown.

The Bagley Mischka dress  was to die for since it hit me in all the right places.  The problem?  The top was a little bit saggy because I didn’t have a bust to fill it out. (Even rolled up socks didn’t help.) You can imagine my panic on Thursday when pictures were the next day.

I immediately shot a picture of me and called Rent the Runway.  Ashley was cool as  cucumber to my mass hysteria.  Given her “Dr” assessment of my picture, I could take the 4.  (Who doesn’t love someone who tells you can take a smaller size?)  She was ready to press”submit” when I heard dread in her voice.

“Someone just took it…,” she gasped.

Kill me now.  Stab me with a pick in my heart like a vampire.  I was doomed. T-2 days before the bar mitzvah….

Plan B. Rent Another Gown


Adams Whimsical Dress from Rent the Runway

Adams Whimsical Dress from Rent the Runway



Ashley decided the Adams Whimsical Dress would be my best alternative since the top of the dress was quite snug.  I just paid shipping and received both a  size 4 and 6 dress.

So?  Do we have a winner?  Um, too snug. I couldn’t fit into either the 4 or 6.

The Bagley Mischka and I had to come to an understanding and make the relationship work.  It was T-1 before the big day.  Thanks to my stepmother who used Hollywood tape on the front and back if the dress, I was a red carpet winner.  (RTR supplies the tape.)


People loved the gown and said I was breath taking.   Sure, I could have taken the size four dress to show off my girless waist but the size 6 worked.  The earring sealed the deal.  Everyone loved them and wanted them.

At the end of the night, I took off my dress and slipped it into the return envelope along with the jewelry.  Off it went to make someone else’s dream come true.

Would I do it again?  Yes and No.  Maybe I would rent for a longer period and pay more for such and important party to give myself some breathing room.  In addition, I waited too long to pick a dress. I really, really wanted the Matthew Williamson dress, but someone has great taste like me.  It wasn’t available.

Join the Conversation

  • Would (or have you) rented a dress from Rent the Runway
  • Would you rent a dress for an important affair?
  • Are you an easy clothing fit?
  • Do you have tons of dresses in your closets that you never wear again?
  • Do you think this concept would work for men?

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  1. 3


    Anna, I love this post too, just like Maryanne……saw it this morning via Linked In and got a good laugh. Good for you!

    You look smashing. I’m sure your son’s bar mitzvah was amazing. Now you can breathe!

  2. 7


    Congratulations Anne!!! You look so beautiful!!! ..As an experienced “Rent the Runway” girl, and one who did the very same thing for her son’s bar mitzvah, .glad to welcome you into the club and so agree with all you said. Thanks for sharing your experience and being a role model for others on a great, reusable, recyclable “oh so chic” opportunity! One of my experiences with Rent the Runway….http://climatemama.com/blog/697

  3. 9


    I have often wondered why men so often rent their tuxes, but women spend a fortune to buy theirs and no two women can ever show up in anything similar! Our local TV station recently made a big deal of high school students from poor families renting prom gowns. Maybe its a green saving idea (in both senses) whose time has come. Fascinating post!

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