I was in the mood to do something crazy for my 24th birthday. It’s not a particularly special age; I just wanted to throw myself a party — and I wanted a special dress to go with it. Being from New Jersey, I hilariously ended up in Atlantic City with all of my friends. (I like a good round of blackjack. Sue me.)
While I could have easily taken a quick shopping trip to the mall, I had recently stumbled upon a new app called Armarium. It’s a quick and easy runway rental service and I had to try it. Based in New York, Armarium invites its clients to a showroom filled with a very select handful of dresses.
While you might be picturing flouncy pastel maxis fit for a wedding, the Armarium customer is more of a risk-taker. Unlike Rent the Runway — a site that offers similar services but more modest, playful brands like Monique Lhuillier and Kate Spade — Armarium’s labels are cutting-edge. They’re a bit more high-end and ultimately veer on the sexy side. The Armarium girl is going for a daring designer look. She might even want to flash some skin. She’s going out, or in my case, straight to the casino after a fancy dinner.
I immediately booked an appointment with the team after scrolling through Armarium’s available products. I had already eyed so many options for the upcoming weekend, and I wanted to try them on. Luckily, I got to preselect styles that were hanging in a dressing room for me upon arrival. But first, I talked fashion with the company leaders.
Armarium is brand new (its official launch date was in April 2016). Right now, the small team of stylists, called the Style Brigade, helps women walk through some of the most coveted and well-known designer pieces, most of which debuted on the runway just a couple of seasons ago.
These women, all well-versed in fashion, cater to the event you plan to attend, helping to accessorize your outfit with a clutch or jewels. And, if the dress you love needs to be tailored, your measurements are recorded in the showroom and your design is temporarily tweaked by the seamstress, free of charge, before being sent to you for wear. (I took advantage of this service, which we’ll get to later.)
You hang onto your standout look for four nights before it’s due back via messenger service. But remember: you’re getting to wear a truly unique ensemble for a fraction of the retail price. I’ll spoil the end of the story right now and let you know that it’s worth it.
Read on for a full look at my Armarium experience — it’s filled with high-slit, cutout dresses so sexy, I was afraid to walk when I tried them on. And of course, the romantic tale about how I arrived at my perfect match: a Fall 2015 Anthony Vaccarello number that made me feel like I’d just won a million bucks on my fabulous birthday at the Jersey shore.