Why can women not rent formal dresses?

Today I had to go and rent a suit for my wife and I to go out to an opening dinner for a local charity shop that we support, and whilst I was stood there looking round the rails and rails of suits it really got me thinking. It struck me that there is not really any equivalent for women, they usually end up buying dresses and then only wearing them once or twice.

This seems to be getting more and more of an issue with the rise of Facebook, Twitter and other social media, as a large proportion of women don’t want to be photographed in the same dress twice.

The super glamorous designer dresses can be very, very expensive, unlike a tux where at most you are going to pay about £100, dresses can cost many times this.

To overcome this cost a lot of women currently buy a dress and hide the labels and then return it the next day, spending the whole evening out trying to ensure the dress remains in immaculate condition. This must be a nightmare for shops, and its a huge hassle, waste of time and area of stress knowing “what if” the return is not accepted.

The business idea
I think there would be a gap in the market for a service where women can look online at the equivalent of a dress shop, but instead of buying, it could offer nightly, or weekend rental of the dresses. You could also have a vast stock, in lots of different sizes. It would be relatively easy to have the dresses already pre-boxed up, and they are not overly heavy, thus would not cost too much in courier fees.

As an added “bonus” you could even allow for the adding of the event that you are planning to attend, so that if other attendees go to rent the same dress it could alert them that someone else will already be attending in an identical dress.

So what is anyones thoughts? Would this work as a new business venture?