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Formal Wear for Women – The Curated Column from Armoire

Whether you’re preparing for an upcoming holiday, wedding, night out, prom or formal dance, or even a vacation, there are often a few times throughout the year when women need formal wear or evening gowns. From cascading crepe ruffles to beaded mesh details, the options are limitless–but oftentimes expensive. With Armoire, you can rent women’s formal wear for your upcoming event to avoid the high price, long-term commitment, and additional challenges of dressing for formal occasions. 

The cost of formal dresses

One of the biggest headaches of formal wear for women is the price point. Fast fashion has made some low-quality options available for less than $100, but to purchase a formal gown, you’ll likely spend between $100 and several thousand dollars–especially if you’re looking at designer styles.

With Armoire clothing rental, you can rent between four and seven items at a time–including formal dresses–with plans starting at just $69. Armoire carries brands including ASTR the Label, Black Halo, BCBG MAXAZRIA, Nicole Miller, Rachel Zoe, and Ray Darten–in addition to casual and everyday wear. Instead of one dress, you can wear new outfits for the entire event weekend for the price of purchasing a formal gown. 

Women’s formal wear styling help

Figuring out the right formal wear can be difficult in a traditional retail or ecommerce environment. A quick search for “formal dresses” can result in results of hundreds to thousands of options in a typical online shop. Who has time for that? Luckily, Armoire has several ways to help members identify the right formal attire for your event quickly.

When you join Armoire, you take a short Style Quiz to help us understand your fit and fashion preferences. Then, we present you with a personalized Closet of items we think you’ll love. If you update your Closet preferences to specifically show formal dresses, we’ll share the Armoire inventory that fits the bill–with your style requirements in mind. 

Even if you’ve dialed in your personal, everyday style, it doesn’t always translate to formal clothes. Thankfully, we also have stylists who can support your fashion needs. If you’re in the greater Seattle area, you can book an in-person styling appointment in advance of an upcoming formal event. Our local stylist will pull 10-15 items that meet your dress code, and you can try on all of them to see which formal dress fits best. You’ll leave our boutique after a highly-personalized session with the perfect formal outfit for your approaching plans. 

For our remote members, you can also tap into stylist expertise if you need more specific formal dress options to choose from. Request a virtual styling appointment or a stylist-built Closet or Case by getting in touch with our Member Experience team. Simply share some details about the formal attire dress code, and our stylists can pull together several formal clothing selections for you to consider. 

Sustainable formal attire

Social media has fostered a disdain for “outfit repeating.” Especially after attending a heavily photographed formal event, it’s unlikely that you want to wear the same look at your next formal affair. Unfortunately, this is at odds with trending consumer sentiment: an interest in living more sustainably.

Wearing clothing multiple times is much more sustainable than wearing an item once and tossing it aside. This is where clothing rental services come in handy. Armoire clothing rental offers a way to wear a formal dress once without feeling the guilt of that item haunting you from the back of your closet. After you wear the dress, send it back, and we’ll clean and prepare it for the next Armoire member to wear. 

Trends change quickly. It doesn’t make sense to invest in formal clothes for the long-term, especially if you’re exploring colors or silhouettes outside of persistent classics. Because a new, bold color or style might be more en vogue the next time you need a formal outfit, Armoire clothing rental is a way to ensure that your formal attire is fresh and on trend. There’s no need to commit to a formal dress for the long-term, especially if you’re not sure about the staying power of a trendy element. 

Cleaning formal clothes

Cleaning formal attire presents another hassle in dressing for your big event. Oftentimes, formal dresses are made from delicate fabrics that stain easily or that require special washing instructions and treatment. But you can skip the hand washing and dry cleaning with Armoire–cleaning and coverage of minor damages is included in your membership.

After you’re finished wearing your formal outfit, just drop it in your reusable mailer and send it back to Armoire. We’ll handle the rest. Reclaim your time spent dropping items off at the dry cleaner, and the dollars you’ve spent trying to get out those pesky stains. Armoire manages your cleaning now. 

Formal outfits for travel

Formal attire can take up a lot of precious suitcase space when you’re traveling. Gowns are not as easy to roll into packing cubes as typical travel jeans and tees might be. But if you’re traveling domestically, you can ship your Armoire Case directly to your hotel or other lodging, and send it back in the same reusable shipping mailer. There’s no need to take up suitcase space with a more voluminous, fancy dress. Travel lighter, despite the formal affair at your destination. 


Finding the right formal wear for women can be time consuming, expensive, and at-odds with your sustainability or minimalist lifestyle ambitions. With Armoire clothing rental, you can wear new looks to every formal event without breaking the bank. 


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