In this economy, you might be wondering how to spend less money on your wardrobe without looking cheap. Teonna Ingram and Bree Lara have the solution. At their store, Borrow a Dress Couture (BADC), a girl can rent a designer dress from the likes of Vera Wang, Alexander McQueen or Dolce & Gabbana for three days for a quarter of the retail price. Since women rarely wear a formal dress very many times, dress rental, says Ingram, is a great way to “save money and still look fabulous,” especially with rental prices ranging from $35-$300. (Dresses are also available for sale in the $150-$3,000 range.) “Women, no matter what the economy, still have events they have to attend,” Lara notes. Inspired by tuxedo-rental stores, Ingram and Lara say they saw a need to have a similar establishment for women. “It’s bound to happen in Chicago. Why not be the first to do it?” argues Ingram.
Department stores have long had to deal with people who wear expensive dresses with the tags tucked in and then attempt to return them. Ingram says that her store allows a woman to borrow a dress openly, without the risk that she will have to pay for something she cannot afford. But Ingram and Lara report that their rental policy isn’t the only unique thing about their store. Filled with designer dresses from the current season, BADC has what Ingram calls “a diverse selection of great dresses that are in style now.” “You will not be able to find the dresses we carry here. If you do find them, their prices are outrageous,” Lara adds.
Ingram and Lara emphasize that, for them, BADC is a labor of love. Though both were previously professionals in fields completely unrelated to fashion, Ingram reports that fashion has always been “an underlying passion” and that she often thought to herself, “Why are we not so passionate about what we went to school for?” Lara explains that BADC addresses a problem that they have had as fashionistas themselves. Lara explains that she and Ingram have been “clotheswhores forever,” and that they knew that it was often far too expensive to dress fashionably. Despite the economy, Ingram and Lara are confident that their store will be a success. “We just thought this business would be recession-proof. Good times or bad, we would still be needed,” Lara declares. (Ilana Kowarski)
Borrow a Dress Couture, 3221 N. Sheffield, (773)904-8735, shopbadc.com