Vendor Directory Spotlight: Little Borrowed Dress

Rental Bridesmaid Dresses (5)Here at APW, we’ve been big fans of Little Borrowed Dress from the very beginning. First off, the concept is flat out brillant. Instead of promising your bridesmaids dresses that they’ll wear again (Hint: they probably won’t) you can rent high quality bridesmaid dresses that they’ll love to wear, love to save money on, and love mailing back the next day. Brillant, right? Plus, if some of your bridesmaids want to rent, and some of them want to buy, Little Borrowed Dress can make that happen too. And, close to my heart (and so many of your values), Little Borrowed Dress is a woman-owned small business run by the talented and lovely Corie (I’ve had drinks with her, and can vouch that this is a woman working hard to build an amazing business to make the wedding industry better).

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Before we dive into exactly how the rental process works, and the ways Little Borrowed Dress has worked to streamline and simplify the process so it’s even easier for you, I want to talk about the dresses. Last year, Corie came down to San Francisco, and brought some dresses for me to try on, and twirl around in (in a bar, natch). And these dresses are amazing, ladies. They’re 100% silk, built to fit lots of body types, and all manufactured in New York City (so you’re supporting the garment district and local businesses, something I think is profoundly important.) Also New York City brides can go to  Little Borrowed Dresses’ new showroom to try on the dresses in person.

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But down to the nitty gritty. How does renting a bridesmaid dress work? Let me lay this out for you. This is how you do it:

  • Browse the collection online.
  • Order a free fabric swatch to see the color in person.
  • Place your order to reserve your bridesmaid dress.
  • Two weeks before the wedding, the dress arrives at your doorstep professionally cleaned and ready to wear.
  • The first business day after the wedding, place it in the mail in the pre-addressed / pre-paid packaging. Little Borrowed Dress handles the cleaning!
  • Plus, Little Borrowed Dress also sells the dresses new.  So if you’re a low maintenance bride, but have one high maintenance bridesmaid? Have her purchase the dress! To buy the dress new is $150, so you won’t be asking her to spend a fortune, but your bridesmaids that might be on a budget (or just don’t want to buy) can have the option of renting. Everyone’s happy.
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And now to the other key question: fit. How can you be sure that these dresses will fit your ladies, and all will be well? No surprise, Corie and her team have worked hard to iron out a fit system that takes care of you every step of the way. So I’m going to let Corie explain this in her own words:

We completely understand that it is scary to order something online and not know whether it will fit.  And we’re also very well aware that normal bridesmaid dresses never fit anyone without requiring alterations.  But we’re not normal bridesmaid dresses.  Here’s how we’re different and how we will ensure that your bridesmaids walk down the aisle in something they feel great in:

We use normal sizing—actually better than normal sizing. In our design process we use multiple fit models with VERY different body types. One is 5’4” with a fuller bust size and the other is 5’9” with a small bust size. If a style looks equally good on both of them, it is a keeper. We then add strategically placed elastic and built-in adjustment points to ensure it will fit different bust to waist proportions. If you fit into dresses from a place like the Gap without having to get them altered, you’ll fit in ours too!

We now send a second “back-up” size dress free of charge with all rental orders.

We are on-hand to offer sizing and style advice—different styles do look better on different body types and based on a few simple questions (or sending in a photo) we can steer you in the right direction as to which style will look best

We are committed to making sure your bridesmaids look and feel great—if they receive the dress and let us know within 48 hours that it doesn’t fit, we promise to make it right before the wedding date. Whether that means sending them a different style or size of dress to wear, or selling them the dress they ordered at a very discounted rate so that they can get it altered exactly to fit, we promise that your bridesmaids will have a dress that fits them when they walk down the aisle.

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And finally, pricing. Let’s discuss exactly what Little Borrowed Dress costs, both to rent and to buy:

  • Cocktail length dresses – $50 to rent | $150 to buy
  • Full length dresses – $75 to rent | $185 to buy
  • Discount for APW brides—use code “APW” to get 5% off all orders placed by 7/15/2012
Simple, easy. Done. (Can I gush about how much I love upfront pricing, in a wedding industry that always seems to be hiding the ball on what things cost?).
So enjoy ladies. Little Borrowed Dress is one of the smartest ideas for bridesmaids dresses I’ve ever seen, and it’s executed with such taste, skill, and love, that you can’t go wrong.

Photos: Elizabeth Messina, flowers from FlowerWild, makeup by Erin Skipley

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  • Kristin

    Well this is just the smartest idea ever! I have so many bridesmaid dresses in my closet that I will never wear again. These are supercute and such a great deal!

  • I am excitedly awaiting my three swatches!! I ordered the two grays and the drool-worthy yellow. I CAN’T WAIT TO RECEIVE THEM! I’m not going to force my bridesmaids to wear the same dress, but we’re going for a cohesive color palatte, and I can’t wait to tell them about LBD!


  • Corrie

    YESSSS. This is fabulous. Now if only there was a site where you could rent a wedding dress…Though I could see that posing a few more sizing issues, but I still feel like someone could make the idea work. :o)

    • Corie

      Hi Corrie! It is Corie here! Thank you so much for the very kind words :)

      Have you checked out PreOwnedWeddingDresses or ‘old fashioned’ ebay? Not necessarily renting (you’re right that would have more sizing issues!), but there are some great deals on buying once worn dresses. And you could resell when you’re done!

      • Corrie

        I always love discovering that there’s other female Cories out there! I have browsed PreOwnedWeddingDresses but haven’t looked too much into ebay yet. I’m pretty sure I’ll be going the preworn route if at all possible, so thanks for the suggestion!

        • I’m renting my wedding dress! Not online, but locally (I’m in Toronto) from a store called Best for Bride. They’ll hem it as needed, and it has a lace-up back so I’m not worried about the fit. I also looked into buying a pre-worn dress from The Brides Project, but ultimately didn’t find one I loved there. Options do exist!

  • Sarah S.

    This sounds so cool, but… any chance of getting bigger sizes? My girls need real plus sizes! 16/18 may cover one of my bridesmaids, but not all.

    • Corie

      Hi Sarah S! Unfortunately at this point size 16/18 is the largest we can make. When designing dresses you can only mark a pattern up and down a certain number of sizes before you need to make a new pattern to preserve the correct fit. At this point we’re just too small of a company to be able to make two sets of patterns for each style (yet!). As we grow we are certainly planning to add real plus sizes!

    • My sister and best friend are getting married (not to each other), and they wanted to do this, but I’m plus size, so they can’t. :( Any possibility you could custom make a dress in plus size, so the other girls can rent? I don’t want them to be punished just because I’m fat.

      • Tracy

        I had a very similar question–I’d love to offer my standard-size bridesmaids the option of renting from LBD; if you did custom plus-size dresses, I’d subsidize that cost for my plus-sized bridesmaids. It would be great if we could support your company and help you grow! :)

      • meg

        I’ll let Corie answer this (I suspect they’re just not a big enough company for this yet). But I will say I know she’s working really hard to make larger dress sizes happen, but that it’s an expensive problem for her to solve. I swear, every time I talk to her I learn new and fascinating things about how the garment industry works, and which problems are thorny ones to work out.

  • Taryn

    Once again, thank goodness for APW and their perfect timing. My bridesmaid dresses just fell through with just over four months to go! (Long story short we went off Etsy, and because of fabric distributor changes, the shop can’t make them the way we wanted them anymore. Super bummed, but too little time to waste being all Negative Nancy.) Anyhow, 2 questions for Corie: half of my bridal party are my old high school best friends and we’re all volleyball players, so they’re super tall and super skinny. Are the dresses all standard length? For instance one of my girls is 6′ tall and like a size 4 (unfair, I know), but we want long dresses. Have you guys run into length issues before with taller girls? Also I was creeping on the site and your FB page and saw different styles from past weddings. Are those styles still available or just the current 2 in long or short? Thanks!!

  • Hannah

    Did APW brides just excitement-kill the LBD website?? Or am I the only one it isn’t loading for?

  • Any chance little borrowed dress will be bringing back any dresses with sleeves? I’m helping one of my best friends pick out a place to get dresses for her bridal brigade, and some of us are curvier girls that would love a little cap/short sleeve, like the “Joanna.”

  • Alix

    Super excited to go try these on in person in a couple weeks! Love that it’s a NYC company!

  • Pam

    I to really want to use LBD, but one of my bridesmaids is plus sized so I don’t think I’ll be able to :(