Dress rental website cuts prom costs for teens

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Boys have been renting tuxes for their prom for decades, but now there's a way for girls to rent dresses for the big night as well. (KGO-TV)

Proms have become big business and prom dresses are often the most expensive part of the whole night.

Boys have been renting tuxes for their prom for decades, but now there's a way for girls to rent dresses for the big night as well.

Danielle Balestra and Ellie Purpura are seniors headed to the prom.

A recent study from Visa found that people spend, on average, more than $900 to go to their prom.

"You include that with getting your hair done, your makeup done and your nails done, bus tickets. It all adds up," Ellie said.

The girls and their parents were happy to find a rental dress site that just launched late last year called Charlotte's Closet.

The website specializes in party dresses for teens and tweens.

"My daughter has a closet full of dresses that she's worn to homecoming and winter formals and prom last year that just stand there. She likes to look at them, oh, I love that dress, but she's never worn them again," mother Laura Purpura said.

"Last year, I bought my dress at a bigger department store and it cost close to $200," Danielle said.

Jen Forman is the CEO of Charlotte's Closet. "We average about 65 to 75 percent off that retail price," she said.

"Price really isn't an issue because they're all less expensive," Ellie said.

Laura and Ellie spent about $80 for their rental dresses.

The site is easy to navigate. The girls pick by type of event and, to increase the odds that one will fit, customers get to pick two sizes of the same dress for one price.

Then, the dress arrives three days before the party.

Danielle's dress fit perfectly and Ellie's was a little long, but with some hem tape it worked out just fine.

"It's like borrowing a dress from your girlfriend's closet and then not having to worry about dry cleaning and making sure, oh, it's my friends best dress, am I going to rip it," Laura said

Renters only have to pay $6 for damage insurance and a $12 flat fee for shipping and returns.

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