Dressed CLT is bringing the Rent the Runway concept to local closets

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Some women live by Rent the Runway, a national company based in Los Angeles that allows you to rent designer clothing. I’ve perused the website prior to events probably four or five times, in search of a dress that I could justify renting without the ability to try it on first.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for some, but for others, it means wearing designer clothing without the price tag.

Bernadette Maulion loved the idea of renting clothing, but had trouble with the RTR price tag and not being able to try potential rentals. How are we supposed to know how a dress will fit in real life?

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Enter graduate-project-turned-real-business Dressed CLT. Dressed CLT allows you to loan dresses for cash back or store credit as well as rent dresses from its inventory.

As of now, Dressed CLT is focusing on growing inventory and working out the kinks of renting, but Bernadette’s dress inventory is already 300 dresses strong and the end of year goal is 1,000.

Here’s the scoop on how to loan your dresses to Dressed CLT and my quick tips for making it an easy process.

(1) Visit the Dressed CLT website and scope it out. This isn’t consignment, so if you’re savvy on that, make sure to note the differences.

(2) Email the team to make an appointment and receive the details on how to rent. Appointments can be held at the Dressed CLT studio, in your home, or at a coffee shop (like mine).

(3) Go through your closet and pull dresses that you’re willing to loan. She’s currently on the lookout for dresses in smaller sizes (00-2), larger sizes (10-14), and dresses that are special and unique in some way. Although the inventory is heavy on middle sizes and classic LBDs, she’s not opposed to seeing those. I basically pulled every dress I haven’t worn in a few months or have over-worn. Carrying nine dresses around Uptown wasn’t very fun, but I’m excited for other women to be able to enjoy my closet a little, too.

(4) Head to your appointment! You’re going to love Bernadette. She makes the meeting easy and seamless and is truthful, yet friendly. She has to be picky on her selection, but Dressed CLT caters to all women, so trends are broad. She can’t take everything, but will talk you through why she does and doesn’t take dresses and will ask you fit and brand questions.

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(5) Sign your contract, check out what your dresses will rent for, and get excited to see them pop up on the website for others to peruse and rent. There’s an insurance policy in place and everything is dry cleaned before and after each rental.

(6) Receive your rental payments quarterly (10% for cash or 20% store credit) and let Dressed CLT know when you want your pieces back. They’ll need some time to take them off the site.

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Photo courtesy of Dressed CLT

The loaning process is incredibly easy and they do all the work.

Because Dressed CLT is currently growing their inventory, they’re not fully renting yet. So here’s my quick take on how to get the most out of this new Charlotte concept:

(1) They only accept dresses, so leave skirts, tops and pants at home. Dressed CLT heavily caters to sorority women, women with a heavy event calendar and wedding guests. These events mainly require dresses and let’s be honest, it’s easier to rent a dress than to rent a look you need to put together.

(2) Be honest with yourself about what you think others will want to rent. Leave the Forever 21 and hole-y dresses at home. Clients will want to get a good bang for their buck, and these scenarios are the opposite.

(3) Tell Bernadette about sizing issues with the dresses you’re loaning. If it says small and fits large, let her know. This is great information that she’ll include on the website.

(4) Get excited to start renting dresses locally. You’ll be able to try on dresses you’re interested in before renting, and get style advice to go along with it.

The faster we grow her inventory, the sooner we’ll be able to rent. So, if you’re reading, take a quick break from life and go check out your closet. Are you willing to loan out some old gowns you’ve had or that sleek business dress you no longer wear? If so, go visit their website and get an appointment on the books.

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Cover images courtesy of Dressed CLT

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Jordan Dollard
| @dollardje
Resident fashion expert and chocolate cake connoisseur. Covering fashion and retail across Charlotte.