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A Disappointing Inaugural Dress Excursion

Attention ladies: If you’re looking for a show-stopping gown for your Inauguration Day soirees, you might want to take a pass on the Rent the Runway pop-up shop currently occupying LivingSocial’s Chinatown event space.

On the hunt for evening wear for our full inauguration weekend schedules, the lady of HOH (Neda Semnani), and her disciples (this reporter and Meredith Shiner), took a field trip to the online dress rental company’s pop-up shop in hopes of finding a fabulous black tie gown to rent for the inaugural balls on our schedules.

Upon arrival, we were immediately underwhelmed by the small selection of gowns to try on. To us, the entire purpose of a Rent the Runway pop-up shop is to mitigate the chance of renting a dress online that does not fit correctly. Having a small selection was a let down.

Even more so, there was a dearth of show-stopping, long gowns, which are in high demand for the litany of formal, black tie inaugural balls being held around the city. The three of us overheard sales staff telling women looking to rent long gowns that their choices were not available for rental on Jan. 21, the marquee night of inaugural events.

Sales staff at the event space were also for the most part unhelpful; none of us were offered help when we were contemplating the dresses we had on. Most curious.

The three of us – who have all lived in the District for a considerable amount of time – rolled our eyes when we overheard the sales staff explaining to a dress rental hopeful about conservative D.C. style. As women who live in this city, we respectfully disagree. At minimum, a stylist is meant to help their clients dress to their strengths, take risks, develop a look and, ultimately, a clear style.

Also, a warning for similarly curvy women like this reporter: There were not many larger sizes to try on. For the most part, you’d have to trust that the gown you order would fit in the size you choose – again, a let-down when you attend an event expecting to try on gowns.

Overall, the dress selection at the pop-up shop did not have enough “special” gowns to try on that were worth the price. We suggest you spend the time and shoe leather that goes into buying the gown that becomes your signature, rather than settling for the small selection at this D.C. event.

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