Colleen Carlisle: I Spy Style


Affordable Formal Fashions

Rental Dresses from Rent Frock Repeat

Every July, San-Francisco based jewellry company Stella & Dot hosts their annual conference, appropriately named Hoopla! 2011 marked the fourth anniversary of this spectacular event that would bring together 2000 women from all-over North America to celebrate the launch of the Fall line with a glamorous fashion show, in-depth product knowledge sessions and incredible sales and business training culminating in an all-out awards gala complete with hip DJ spinning until all hours.

These ladies really know how to party!

I once heard that a woman does not dress to impress a man but a woman dresses to impress other women. Making the Hoopla! awards gala the Super Bowl of out-dressing.

There have been many an occasion where I’ve bought something at Banana Republic only to hold my breath just waiting for someone else to be wearing the same outfit. Our lack of depth and breadth in the formal-wear category means we run the risk of - *gasp* - duplication.

Just around the time I was getting ready to start my San Fran shopping, a fabulous company was launching in Canada: online dress rental service RentfrockRepeat. My good friend and professional photographer, David Cyr of froghammer (also responsible for my amazing head shot here), captured the detail and mood of each and every dress they offer online.

Turns out, RentfrockRepeat is the answer to not just the Stella & Dot stylist but gala-hopping ladies everywhere! I’m sure I was among the first ten people to register to on their site and I began creating a wishlist and taking note of all that this fabulous company had to offer.

As I have said before, my dress size does run to the higher end of the scale. I loved that I could filter my choices so that I could immediately see what was available that would be instantly wearable. Even though there are only two or three dresses that I could choose from, I was in love with a neutral Grecian warrior princess style by Badgley Mischka with gorgeous jewelled shoulders. The way the bodice wrapped in front, hugged the boobs and fell meant that it would be absolutely flattering with room for the buffet!


After all those hours spent dreaming of internet dresses, I decided that I wouldn’t rent...this time. I turns out I wore a dress I had bought for my brother’s wedding the year before. It was purple taffeta and the perfect, simple dress to show off my Heirloom collection necklace, the Artemus. The mix of green hues looked fantastic with the intense jewel tone of the dress. Even better, the dress had been purchased online at for only $35! Hah! And it was being worn a second time. The Cost-Per-Wear (CPW, a term I throw around as much as Rachael Ray utters EVOO), of this dress was down to $17.50. After the compliments it received, it shows signs of dropping still!

Low and behold, even though I had not ordered my dress to rent this time, my beloved RentfrockRepeat didn’t forget me.  Membership to this club has its privileges. Unlike many online retailers that bombard your inbox with minor news, RfR has given me valuable discount codes thanking me for registering and invited me to attend exclusive trunk shows where I can try on their dresses for myself (although, I hear they are extremely helpful with any fit questions you may have and even let you order 2 sizes of your chosen dress to ensure the best fit).

As the seasons change and the company brings in more and more dresses, RfR will continue to email me occasionally with suggestions that fit my size and other preferences as well as discount codes.

Lovely ladies as they are, they’ve been kind enough to share a code just for YummyMummies: YUMMUM2011 gets you 15% off your rental. I’m dying for the opportunity to use their service soon! Invite me to your next ball...I’ll be the one in the rented dress.