I knew I wanted to wear sequins, so I set out on a vast search of the Internet to find the dress. On a whim I popped over to Rent the Runway to check it out. This dress immediately became the winner.
L.K. Bennett Sledge heels in Nude, Lauren Merkin clutch,
Kate Spade Lever Back Round earrings in clear,
J. Crew Pavé Link Bracelet
I only knew the premise of Rent the Runway and not the specifics. You rent high dollar dresses and return them. Kinda like a guy rents a tux, except this whole transaction is done over the Internet and no one takes your measurements nor can you take the dress for alterations. That scared me.
But once I read up on it, I knew this was the perfect plan for an event like this. They actually send you two dresses: one in the size that you think you need and a second in the size they recommend (for example, they might recommend that the dress runs big so order the second dress in a size down.) This is precisely what happened in my case, and the smaller of the two dresses fit. For long dresses, they have them in regular, long, and extra long lengths.
Also, you can rent for 4 days or 8 days. I went with 8 since I didn't know what to expect and wanted to receive the dress early enough to have some buffer in case I had to make an emergency mall run. If neither size had worked for me, I could've just returned them by mail for a refund minus the cost of shipping.
And the returning was so easy! They send a pre-stamped and addressed mailer, so all you have to do is fold up both dresses, seal them in the mailer, and drop them at the post office before noon on the day your rental is due.
I really loved this service, because as much as I love to hoard clothes, a special occasion dress like this is a one-time wear for me. We may go to a couple of charity events a year, but I don't like to wear the same thing. I know: ridiculous first world problem.
Rent the Runway is the best of both worlds--the cost is less than it would be to buy a brand new dress, and you get something awesome. I will definitely use this again.