Shop Talk

Rent Frock Repeat — Dress-rental company gives tips for perfect Holiday gala look

Rent Frock Repeat opened a storefront in the ByWard Market last year, enabling Ottawans to try on their would-be rental dresses. Here, Rent Frock Repeat‘s Rachael Regimbald and Lisa Delorme give tips on finding the prefect dress for Holiday parties


(Left) Rachael Regimbald and Lisa Delorme of Rent Frock Repeat in their ByWard boutique. Photo: Jessica Deeks
(Left) Rachael Regimbald and Lisa Delorme of Rent Frock Repeat in their ByWard boutique. Photo: Jessica Deeks

What are your top three tips for Gala dressing?
Lisa Delorme: Firstly, cocktail-length dresses and gowns are being worn to galas. If this is your first time attending an event and you aren’t sure which would be most appropriate, look for pictures on the Internet that show what guests wore in previous years. Secondly, if you will be photographed at the event, take pictures when you are trying on your frocks to help you narrow down your choice. Some look very different in pictures. Finally, will you be sitting or standing most of the night? Sitting? Think of how the top of the dress will look at the table. Standing? A gown might be best to hide your most comfortable but still super-cute shoes under the dress.

Rachael Regimbald: I ask if the woman would prefer to be overdressed or underdressed. Most women fall pretty firmly into one of those categories, and this will help determine the styles of dresses she tries on. Also, what is the venue like? Indoor or outdoor? Will there be stairs where a long gown would be tough to deal with? These types of questions will shed a lot of light on things like whether a train will be a nuisance and whether a light shawl would be appropriate. Finally, what is the formality of the event? For example, the Loft Gala was a fashion-related event, so women chose dresses that were a bit more edgy and fashion-forward. Women going to military galas tend to choose more conservative and traditional dresses.

Can you identify any trends for gala gear?
LD: Neoprene is really popular right now. But with gala dresses, it’s more about the most appropriate one for the woman. Women love the idea of classic styles. We have tons of one-shoulders that go out. Dresses with sleeves are our number one request. One trend that screams out this year is a two-piece with a long high-low skirt. Some come in looking for a trend, but 80 to 90 percent leave with the dress that’s appropriate for their body.

What is the cost of a typical gala dress at Rent Frock Repeat?
LD: A typical gala dress is between $120 and $150. For that price, they’re getting a dress worth $600 to $900.

I suppose it makes sense, as some galas happen every year and you don’t want to wear the same dress again.
LD: Absolutely. And sometimes women gain or lose weight or the next gala is taking place on a warmer day. We actually allow them to swap out dresses last minute if the weather forecast changes and the dress they’ve rented isn’t suitable anymore.

RR: That’s the advantage for someone living in the same city as one of our shops. But we will ship if there’s time.

Rent Frock Repeat, 107 Murray St., 613-241-7890