Shop Talk

GREAT IDEA: Rent Frock Repeat offers practical (and pretty!) solutions to wardrobe dilemmas

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.

All the buzz in the lead-up to Ottawa Fashion Week is making us envious of those with walk-in closets full of designer duds. (Do those people worry about what to wear, or is it just a matter of taking a stroll through their personal collection and choosing something that strikes their fancy?) Indeed, we’ve started to wonder what to wear to the biannual showcase that is OFW. We’re thinking of taking a casual approach, and yet we can’t help but envy those that put together a killer ensemble and stand out in the crowd.

Mark & James violet one-shoulder minidress by Badgley Mischka. Retails for $345, rents for $90, sizes XS - L.

All these wardrobe woes (call them #firstworldproblems) made us remember a unique operation based out of Toronto. The gals at Rent Frock Repeat (RfR) seem to have a real handle on this mindset: the need to appear stylish and trend-savvy at important events, the realities of a clothing budget and closet space, and the availability of designer clothes — plus the time it takes to track down the right dress!

While we didn’t have time to rent-a-frock for this weekend’s OFW shows, we wanted to get the lowdown … and start planning for the next big event. In this week’s installment of SHOP TALK, we chat with RfR’s Kristy Wieber about what’s hot right now, how the business works, and what’s in her closet.

Where do you go to add new pieces to the collection?
We buy new, fresh off the runway, directly from the designer. We’re heading to NYC next week to buy for Fall 2012, but we also buy directly from Canadian designers as well.

What are your most popular dresses right now?
Right now, due to the gala/fundraiser season, we see a lot of floor-length gowns being rented for black-tie events.  It just makes so much sense to rent a gown for a charity fundraiser and use the money you saved on the dress and put it towards the charity.  Our motto is “Rent the dress, donate the rest!”

After renting a dress and falling in love with it, can I buy it?
No and trust us, our customers fall in love with so many of the dresses that they can’t wait for their next event to try out a different one.  RfR lets you experiment with fashion without the buyer’s remorse. Think of us as your virtual online closet — not only do we save you money, but closet space as well.

Do you offer styling advice on accessories to pair with each dress? Can I borrow these elements from RfR as well?

We absolutely do!  We have styling tips for each dress — just click on the tab “Stylist’s Notes” and you’ll find suggestions on different ways to wear the dress, as well as tips on shoes, accessories, undergarments, and even hair and makeup. And we have stylists available via online chat, phone, or email.

Since we can’t try them on before ordering, do you offer advice on body shapes and which dresses fit best?
Yes. Not only can you search for dresses by your body type and size, but we also send a second size for free to ensure fit.  In addition, we give measurements for each dress.

Where do you ship to?
We ship anywhere in Canada — to your home, office or hotel room. You decide when and where you want the dress to arrive and then when your rental period is over, simply put the dress into the pre-paid envelope we provide and drop it off at any Canada Post mailbox or office. (We take care of the dry cleaning.)

RfR CEO and co-founder Lisa Delorme is currently coveting this Tibi red and cream backless minidress. Retails for $600, rents for $115. Sizes 2 - 10.

Tell us what makes up your closet!
Casual, funky pieces that make up our daily wardrobe: jeans, t-shirts, blazers. And, of course, dresses that have been worn once that are just sitting there gathering dust — that’s one of the reasons we started the company.

What pieces do you covet right now?
From our own inventory, I can tell you that Lisa covets the Tibi Red & Cream Backless Mini and my favourite is the Camilla and Marc Lace Long Sleeve Dress. Not in our inventory — but we are hoping to bring it on soon — anything from Greta Constantine.

What’s your favourite brand?

Oh, this is such a tough question. We hate to pick just one designer because they each do something so well.  For example, Camilla and Marc always makes edgy, funky pieces with flirty silhouettes, while David Meister knows exactly how to flatter any woman’s figure. Christian Siriano always does something very unique, and we can count on Anna Sui for amazing prints.

Find out more at www.rentfrockrepeat.com

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  • Sarah

    I covet that Tibi dress!