Chic Designer Dresses for Any Occasion and How to Wear Them for Less

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Finally ready to go out for a special occasion? As social gathering restrictions start to ease across the country, you may be looking for the best designer dress to ditch your sweatpants for, whether you’re heading to a wedding or finally reuniting with friends for an outdoor brunch.

Spring and summer tend to be a busier time on the social calendar, and when you want a new look each time it’s not very feasible to shop and purchase a different dress every time. To save money and time, we look to clothing rental websites, and if you love designer pieces (but don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars), Rent the Runway is an amazing shopping destination with a lot of choices.

The rental service offers an expansive range of clothes from over 700 designers, including Prabal Gurung, Oscar de la Renta, Reformation, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, See by Chloe and Ulla Johnson, and sizes ranging from 00 to 22. Rent the Runway offers three types of memberships — starting at $69 per month for up to four rental items monthly, starting at $99 per month for up to eight items and starting at $149 per month for 16 items. This way, you can swap and add new designer pieces each month to your wardrobe rotation without paying the retail price.

Ahead, ET Style has gathered the best designer dresses we’ve found on the Rent the Runway website that are great for different occasions and events you may have on the docket. Check out our top picks and learn more about each membership plan to sign up for Rent the Runway.

Dress for a Wedding

Whatever the dress code may be, Rent the Runway has a ton of options for wedding guest dresses in a variety of silhouettes, lengths and colors. We love the Sea New York dress for its versatility. The midi length, smocked bodice, ruffles and gorgeous print make this piece an all-around great choice for almost every type of wedding. 

Dress for Graduation

If you’re graduating this year (congrats!), you deserve a special dress to don for the occasion. We recommend choosing a style that’s comfortable and lightweight enough to wear with a cap and gown, such as this yellow mini by Reformation, featuring ruched short sleeves and an adorable ditsy floral pattern.

Dress for Brunch

Brunch with the girls or with Mom for Mother’s Day in the books? Well, there’s no better time to rock a gorgeous, trendy design for glasses of mimosas. This polka-dot fit-and-flare Derek Lam number with asymmetric hem is one we’re really excited to wear for al fresco dining.

Dress for Oscars Viewing

Conclude awards season with a bang in a red carpet-worthy dress for an Oscars viewing party. This hot pink A.L.C. stunner is a glamorous choice, thanks to the puff shoulders and faux-wrap skirt. Finish the look with statement drop earrings! 

Dress for a First In-Person Date Night

There’s nothing like a little black dress to make you feel confident and beautiful for a date. Consider this flirty Cinq à Sept LBD with a square neckline, puffed sleeves and form-fitting silhouette for your next in-person date night.


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