Best wedding-attire rentals
You're going to wear it for only one day, so save some cash on your---and your bridal parties'---big-day ensemble by borrowing threads from these local outfitters.
Fri Jun 10 2011
Albright Fashion Library
Mother-daughter team Irene and Marina Albright's trend-focused, designer rental haven is home to some of the city's best wedding-attire finds—that is, if you have the cash. With a $250 browsing fee (which serves as a credit toward your rental), a $1,000 spending minimum and rentals costing 20 percent of the retail prices that easily go up to the five digits, your bill can get steep quickly. Luckily, accessories come gratis, so you'll leave with a complete look. There are more than 15,000 designer gowns for the choosing, but you have only one hour to try them on (don't worry, creative director Patricia Black will help you sift through it all) and you get to pretend they're yours for one week. Fashion-forward brides will love Dolce & Gabbana's edgy-chic evening dresses, while Oscar de la Renta's sleek bridal gowns are perfect for a more classic woman. The Library also has a small men's selection, which includes slim-cut Dior suits ($500--$1,000 to rent). 62 Cooper Sq between Astor Pl and 6th St, second floor (212-977-7350, albrightnyc.com). By appointment only.
Since 1946, this tuxedo rental and retail spot has been helping gents suit up for their big day. Baldwin also lends out designer pieces from Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis, Joseph Abboud and Givenchy to celebs for red-carpet events such as the Grammys and the Tony Awards. Prices are more than reasonable: Ralph Lauren dress shirts rent for $25 (to buy $65--$325) and all dress shoes are only $20--$30 to rent (to buy $150--$300). Plus, you get to keep the goods from Thursday through Monday for weekend weddings (otherwise rentals are one-day only). It's okay if you go into the store a little clueless: Owner Stanley Farber and his staff will answer all your sartorial questions (do you wear suspenders with a cummerbund or vest?), and even teach you how to knot four types of ties. 1156 Sixth Ave at 45th St (212-245-8190, nyctuxedos.com). Mon--Fri 9am--7pm, Sat 10am--5pm.
Eisenberg & Eisenberg
For seriously low prices on tux rentals, head to this no-frills 113-year-old store, which stocks designer tuxedos from the likes of Geoffrey Beene, Calvin Klein and Zanieri. You can get in and out in less than 30 minutes, thanks to the knowledgeable sales team, who will measure and outfit you in a stylish suit in your price range. Most rentals run $95 to $140 (to buy $275--$700), while patent leather shoes rent for just $20 (to buy $62--$140). You can keep the items for up to five days—any more, and there's a $20-per-day penalty charge. 16 W 17th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-627-1290, eisenbergandeisenberg.com). Mon, Wed, Fri 9am--5:45pm; Tue 9am--5:30pm; Thu 9am--6:45pm; Sat 9am--5pm.
Fancy Wedding Center
It's worth the 45-minute trip from midtown on the N train for a visit to this ten-year-old shop, run by a local owner lovingly known as Mrs. Chen. You can outfit all of the women in your bridal party on a budget here: All wedding gowns and cocktail dresses, from labels like Mary's Bridal and Mori Lee, are just $120 to rent for three days. Traditional brides will covet Mary's Bridal lace strapless gowns (to buy $798--$958), though more modern tastes will appreciate Mori Lee tea-length floral organza frocks with satin tie sashes (retail $598). Complete your big-day look with faux-diamond-encrusted tiaras (to rent $25--$125, to buy $100-$400). 6604 Bay Pkwy at 66th St, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn (718-234-3442, fancyweddingcenter.com). Tue--Fri 11am--6pm, Sat 11am--5pm, Sun 11am--2pm. By appointment only.
You can score some serious deals at this downtown bridal spot, which rents current-season wedding and bridesmaids' dresses from Alfred Angelo, Mori Lee and Zum Zum by Niki Livas, and sells its past-season stock at 30 to 50 percent off. Alfred Angelo strapless mermaid gowns and Mori Lee modern fishtail looks are each $120 to rent for five days (sadly, these aren't for sale). If you're looking to make a more permanent investment, there are amazing finds in the sample-sale section of the shop. Keep an eye out for Alfred Angelo satin gowns with crystal beading (to rent $325, to buy $650) and beach-wedding-worthy Mori Lee ruffled gowns (to rent $371, to buy $560). Bridesmaids' dresses are all $60 to rent for five days, including Zum Zum's strapless tea-length empire dresses, which are flattering for all shapes and sizes. There are also plenty of accessories for purchase, such as footwear from Coloriffics, Dyeables and Touch Ups Shoes ($40--$75), NuBra Beach self-adhesive silicone push-up enhancer pads ($48) and JP MM crinoline full-length slips ($41--$49). 133 Chrystie St between Broome and Grand Sts, third floor (917-740-2328, jpcollections.com). Daily 10am--6pm.
Seekers Are Finders
Find a luxe clutch to pair with your evening gown at Brooklyn stylist Elena Humphreys's year-old vintage shop, where she rents and sells designer handbags for one fourth of the retail price per week, for up to four weeks. We trust her discerning eye, thanks to past jobs as creative director for brands like Adrienne Vittadini, Herve Leger and Max Azria. Add a little downtown edge to your ensemble with a Jill Stuart black vintage chain-strap bag that rents for just $49 (retail $195). The Gucci vintage bucket-handle tote from the '70s would usually be out of our price range at $750, but the $188-a-week price tag makes it more accessible for your big day. 145 Front St between Jay and Pearl Sts, Dumbo, Brooklyn (347-673-0995, seekersarefinders.com). Mon--Wed by appointment, Thu--Sun noon--8pm.