Sisters Nikoleta and Vicky Lirantonakis were part of a group text when a girlfriend shared a picture of a black and champagne dress she had rented for a wedding at a popular website.
“We didn’t love it, and she said, ‘I don’t either, but there’s nothing I can do about it’, ” Nikoleta recalled.
Sympathy over the unflattering, ill-fitting dress rental quickly turned to strategy as the Salem sisters formulated plans for Best Dressed, their new brick-and-mortar dress rental boutique in Charlestown.
“We’ve found for a lot of girls online dress rentals didn’t work out, and they’re sent scrambling,” said Nikoleta. “This is the place you can try it on.”
Best Dressed, named for the sisters’ shared superlative from their high school days, offers a variety of brands from Milly and Nanette Lepore to Karen Millen and even a few vintage pieces. Rental prices range from $40-$135, and Best Dressed takes care of the dry cleaning and minor repairs. Nikoleta, 29, said the average customer is spending $70 for a 5-day rental.
“Boston has young professionals who have wedding after wedding. You can’t waste a paycheck on a person’s wedding,” she said.
The tiny boutique, located on the waterfront, currently rents sizes 0-14, and also offers costume jewelry for rental or purchase. The sisters hope eventually to expand to plus sizes as well as styles that appeal to more mature women.
But customers they already have, Nikoleta said, use Best Dressed as a way of taking the occasional fashion risk.
“With renting, women are going a little out of their style range — maybe a little edgier — because they’re not committing to it,” she said.Jill Radsken can be reached at jill.radsken@