Look Like A Million Dollars Without Spending It

Thursday, 12 Dec 2013, 8:17:00 AM

Barbara Bishop

Barbara Bishop, Columnist
Santa Monica Mirror Archives
Barbara Bishop, Columnist

I had three black-tie galas to attend in the last month. Two major hospital galas, and one County Government black tie affair.

I had several black formal dresses in my closet, but none of them really called out to me.  It had been a while since I had attended a black tie/long gown gala, and I was in the mood for color.

But the last thing I wanted to do was to search for three dresses to buy. I did not have the time to search, nor did I really want to spend between $2,000 to $3,000 or more plus alterations, which I did not have time to do either. And, I was not going to break the cardinal rule of wearing the same gown to all events. God forbid I see someone at one gala, wearing the same dress as I wore at the other galas!

Driving down Sepulveda Boulevard about a month ago, I noticed a small space with a sign that read “One Night Affair.”

It was that place that rented gowns for the evening! A couple of my friends frequented the place, and always looked amazing at every function they attended. Maybe I should check it out.  

A few days later, I called, and made an appointment to view their gowns.  

OMG! I felt like I had gone to evening gown heaven. There was every color, style, and size imaginable. I recognized a dress that got Nicole Kidman on the best-dressed list at the Academy Awards several years ago. Awesome! I began to dig in.

I tried on at least 20 dresses. One of the galas was a 1920s theme. I chose a slate-blue beaded sleeveless gown that was altered to perfection for that event. The second one I chose was a turquoise beaded gown, with thin straps and a plunging neckline. Pretty and slightly sexy, the turquoise blue made me feel instantly happy. Again, a perfect fit with their alterations department on the case. The third one was a flowing red satin gown with beading along the décolletage. Understated and elegant, but red! If I were to buy all of them, it would cost me about $750 a piece. I rented them for $150 each.  

One Night Affair opened its doors in 1986. Owner Sharon Gilchrist realized that men had been renting tuxedos for every event, so why not have women rent high-priced designer gowns for an evening at a fraction of the cost? They house more than 1,500 wedding gowns, 1,200 evening gowns, hundreds of bridesmaids styles, and a collection of short cocktail dresses, complimented by a full line of accessories. According to their website, recently One Night Affair dressed more than 600 women for the Academy Awards.

What a find! What stopped me from going there was my height. I never thought they would be able to fit a short, curvy gal like me. What makes all the difference in the world when you wear a dress is the fit, and of course the cost.

Thanks, One Night Affair! One night turned into three!

Hot Flash Universe is the go-to source for women over 40 seeking insight into the hottest, most current trends, products, and issues. Topics are approached with candor, intellect, and a healthy dose of humor.

Barbara Bishop is President of Santa Monica-based BBPR, Inc. For comments or suggestions, email Barbara.bishop@bbprinc.com.

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