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Lucky Haul: Rent the Runway Edition

Sure, it'd be nice to handpick my favorite looks from the runway each season, then have those dresses delivered straight to my door in 24 hours flat. But that's impossible, right? At least for those of us without staggering trust funds, A-list actor husbands or multimillion-dollar record deals.

Actually, it was easier than I imagined. Last week, I test-drove Rent the Runway, a luxe rental site launched by a couple of Harvard Business School grads and packed with Proenza Schouler, Richard Chai, Thakoon and Vera Wang. I'd heard great things about the two-year-old "Netflix for dresses" but had never tried it out for myself. Wiith Luckymag.com's holiday dinner approaching and my party dresses looking stale, the timing was perfect.

The process itself is simple: browse the site's considerable designer inventory, settle on a dress, pick your size and set the four- or eight-day span during which you wish to rent your piece. As a free bonus, you can choose to receive a second backup size in case your dress runs smaller or larger than anticipated—although sizing notes are included on the info page of most items, which helps. At the end of your rental, you just return the dress in the prepaid envelope included with your original shipment.

I finally settled on a floral dress by Prabal Gurung (my musical obsession Lana Del Rey wore a similar look several months back). Though the dress costs $1,850, for $250 it was mine Wednesday through Saturday. I then added a chain-wrapped Dannijo cuff (below, renting for $65) to my shopping cart—RTR loans out accessories and jewelry, too. I should add that I placed my order a mere three days before our party. Despite the formalwear-demanding season, there seemed to be plenty of (quality) inventory up for grabs.

The Prabal (in both my requested size and a backup one) and the jewelry arrived right on time. I got tons of compliments on the day of the event—my only regret was that I couldn't hold on to the dress forever. It isn't called Keep the Runway, after all. At least I got to enjoy it for a while—and at a fraction of the price.

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