1. Shopping

Rent the Runway: Temporary glamour at a realistic price

My group trip to Vegas was months in the works, giving me plenty of time to shop for good deals on going-out dresses. Even better, I got a complimentary checked bag on the flight there, so I arrived with a roller stuffed with seven dresses. I wanted to be prepared for anything.

This isn't the story of how my final-sale finds from Piperlime and Express served me well in Sin City. It's about how I abandoned them for the allure of temporary designer glamour and have zero regrets.

My friend Ileana (of hair-tuck tryout fame) wasn't finding what she wanted to wear in Vegas in stores around Tampa Bay. She decided to reserve a flashy silver dress from a Rent the Runway boutique in Las Vegas.

Rent the Runway, as you may know, is an online store that allows customers to borrow designer dresses for a sliver of the cost. Normally, you pick out what you want from the store and they ship a dress to you in your size (plus a size above or below it, just in case). Vegas and New York City are the only places with stores.

The four girls of our trip decided to join her in picking up the dress. We figured, hey, maybe we'll try on some dresses too, just for fun, it'll be silly. Sure.

None of us could resist renting a dress of our own. The boutique was pink with bright lights, the dressing rooms came with sparkly heels, and, as if it didn't feel like a scene from a romantic comedy already, Clueless streamed in the background. It was plain fun.

We fell hard for this lacy black Diane Von Furstenberg number, as well as otherwise expensive pieces from brands we had never heard of before, such as RVN and Parker. I went with this sparkly copper dress from Opening Ceremony ($40 to rent) and complemented the deep neckline with Kate Spade chandelier earrings (also rented for $15).

This was one of our favorite parts about the trip. I thought of the extra expense as a better way to invest my money than a game of roulette, and it went with the spirit of the night of eating at a fancy restaurant and enjoying a show.

For just one night, this was our lifestyle.

The experience really forced me to reexamine my strategy of buying dresses for special events.

A rented dress won't be yours to keep, and I know very well how sentimental dresses can be. But it would not take up space in your closet, looking sad that it can't be worn all the time. Do we really want dresses for much more than a great picture and fond memories anyway?

I pulled some dresses with a rental fee of $30-$50 for the slideshow. You can pay more for a more valuable dress. The website allows you to narrow down merchandise according to your budget and browse customer's photos in the dress. Always better to get an idea of how a dress looks on non-model bodies, I say.

It's not all party dresses either. There are options for mothers of brides, brides (if you are so bold), and gowns for black-tie affairs (just don't forget my invitation).

Would you try Rent the Runway? Did you try it and have a negative experience? Let me know in the comments or tweet us @DealDivas.