The Secret To Dressing In Designer For Less

by Rosie McKay

Spotted the dress you need for your next event on Instagram, but can't afford it? Dress rental is the answer. Here's all you need to know...

Coming from a big Italian family means that for us long as I can remember I have had a wedding, Christening, birthday or engagement party to attend every other weekend. 
I know it sounds silly but from a young age it was drummed into me and my sisters that wearing the same dress in front of the same people is a cardinal sin. So Italian, I know! 

With so many occasions to dress up for, it's little wonder I grew up to love fashion and inevitably became a stylist. It's through my career as a stylist that I came to realise that most of the looks worn by our favourite celebrities and influencers that we obsess over buying are actually borrowed just for the night - let's face it they would never attend an event wearing a dress they've worn before either! 

See Need Want Designer Dress Rental Dress For A Night Thurley See Need Want Designer Dress Rental Dress For A Night Jenifer Hawkins Talulah
Credit: Home page image and image of Steph Claire Smith courtesy of @thurley Both dresses available to hire from Dress For A Night

I often get asked by family and friends about the best place to buy occasion wear. It's often followed up with it feels like such a waste to spend so much money of something I'll wear once! So it's a huge relief to anyone with a busy social calendar that this idea or being able to borrow a designer dress for a night for sometimes as little as $79 is not just a service available to the rich and famous, but to also to us stylish fashion-loving ladies too! 

I got the low-down from Dress For A Night Founder Roxy Lehman on why renting instead of buying is on the rise, how the rental price is determined, and the all-important question of what happens if the dress gets damaged?

Why did you start Dress For A Night?

Basically, I had just moved to Sydney and I had the problem that so many of us have had before – three events in one week and nothing to wear. I couldn’t justify spending the money on a range of designer outfits nor did I know enough people to borrow a dress and so the seed of an idea sprouted.

I then started working on it as a hobby until it took over and become my main business!

See Need Want Designer Dress Rental Dress For A Night 1
Credit: Dress For A Night Founder Roxy Lehman, image courtesy of @dressforanight_hire
What are the benefits of adopting the trend of borrowing vs buying occasion wear?

The benefits of borrowing over buying are many; First of all, it’s more cost-effective than buying a brand new designer dress for every occasion; Next, it’s a great way to make sure you have a hot new look for every occasion; And also it takes the stress out of the situation by not having to worry about the washing, dry cleaning or maintenance of an expensive gown.

What brands are available to hire?

We house some fantastic brands, including Alex Perry, Nicholas, Elle Zeitoune, Thurley, Talulah and Nookie but we will be welcoming some awesome brands in 2017 … so watch this space!

See Need Want Designer Dress Rental Dress For A Night Thurley 3 See Need Want Designer Dress Rental Dress For A Night Alex Perry See Need Want Designer Dress Rental Dress For A Night Jenifer Hawkins Talulah 1
Credit: Thurley 'Apollo' woven dress available for hire from Dress For A Night, Alex Perry 'Paige' dress available for hire from Dress For A Night, Talulah 'Jen' Dress available for hire from Dress For A Night
Many people are afraid of what will happen if they damage a borrowed dress – how do you deal with this if it happens?

We expect customers to take reasonable care, but we also know that accidents happen. But, if you do happen to have an accident, we urge our customers to not attempt to clean the dress themselves! Our dry cleaners will be able to handle it.

For damage to fabrics, we do minor repairs free of charge as this is included in your Damage Insurance. Of course, if there are more serious incidents, there may be extra charges in severe cases for cleaning, repairs or replacement.

Why do you think this trend of borrowing for a night is gaining momentum?

Social media has made it so difficult for us to wear the same outfit more than once because nobody wants to be an outfit repeater! It’s also really easy to pop in or choose a dress online and have it delivered in time for your event without the massive cost of purchasing a designer frock every time you have an event to attend.

Dress for a Night is open weekdays and on Saturdays – no appointment necessary. Visit the Dress for a Night boutique in North Sydney, 245 Pacific Highway or rent a dress direct online nationally at


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