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    Charlestown cocktail-dress rental boutique offers emergency service

    Best Dressed owners Vicky and Nikoleta Lirantonakis.
    RLR studio
    Best Dressed owners Vicky and Nikoleta Lirantonakis.

    Call it a fashion emergency. YOU HAVE BEEN INVITED to an event that requires actually looking presentable. You fling open the closet doors, only to discover that you have absolutely nothing to wear. Panic!

    In days of yore, many settled on an ill-fitting frock in the nether reaches of the wardrobe, or they dashed out to make a regrettable impulse buy.

    Now the sartorial first responders at Charlestown’s Best Dressed offer a new option. The cocktail-dress rental boutique has launched a service where a stylist will materialize at a time-strapped client’s doorstep (or office) armed with dresses for a one-hour styling session. A client can rent a designer piece for $40 and up, plus a $100 styling fee. Clients who book the service get a 30 percent rental discount and can keep their wares for five days.

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    The service aims to clothe the busy, the indecisive, and the bored.

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    “Women are so critical of themselves. Something might not fit or we might have a dress lined up and not like how we look in it anymore,” says Nikoleta Lirantonakis, who owns the shop with her sister, Vicky.

    Others want to experiment with edgier styles, commitment-free. And some have grown weary of being photographed in the same outfit on social media, she says, and want to update their look without investing in a new wardrobe.

    Personal styling is nothing new, of course, but Best Dressed goes above and beyond: Stylists arrive with about two dozen dresses (plus jewelry and accessories), so it’s easy to find something palatable. It’s also less stressful to try on dresses at home, far from a boutique’s omnipresent mirrors and salespeople peeking around drapes.

    “I think people feel pressure in a store. You walk in and feel you have to leave with something,” says Lirantonakis, who encourages her clients to e-mail their stylist in advance with requests and celebrity photos to spur ideas.

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    One favorite? Jessica Alba.

    “She’s classic and on-trend, but never too far on-trend. And I think Boston is like that, too,” Lirantonakis says.

    Problem solved.

    Kara Baskin can be reached at kcbaskin@gmail.com.