Duke student helps supply affordable formalwear

CorrespondentNovember 7, 2012 

For college students, dressing well can sometimes be a daunting task. When mixers, formals and other events call for a nice dress, some students are left scrambling to find a suitable frock. Duke junior Liann Wu is making the search for affordable finery a bit easier for some of her classmates.

In her position as a Rent the Runway “It Girl,” Wu carries an inventory of high-end dresses available for rent, all in her dorm room.

“Girls are able to come to my room, see the dresses in person, try on however many they want and walk away with any of them for 24 hours,” she explains. “They do not have to worry about dry cleaning; I take care of that for them.”

Wu began working for the online service (, which allows clients to rent designer gowns at a fraction of their retail price, her first year at Duke. She worked as a social media rep and then a marketing rep before being named an “It Girl” – a campus representative who keeps an inventory of dresses on-hand for direct rentals. She carries Herve Leger, Zac Posen and other designer dresses, which her classmates can rent for either $30 for 24 hours, or through a subscription that allows unlimited rentals for $49 per month.

Wu was one of eight women chosen for the position out of more than 350 applicants nationwide. With an interest in pursuing a career in fashion retail, she feels the experience will definitely help her in the work world. “I am essentially running my own small business, and the responsibilities of marketing to sales to operations have given me the hands-on experience that will be invaluable as I start my job search next year.”

Opening night

The holiday shopping season kicks off in downtown Cary Thursday during the Holiday Open House, 4-8 p.m. Downtown stores such as Cute Buttons Gift and Paper Boutique, Stonehaven Jewelry, The Purple Polka Dot and others will have sales, refreshments and entertainment, including an appearance by Santa. Visit for more information.

Sleep tight

Bedtime gets a bit more fashionable with two big trunk shows at Lavender and Lace. Pine Cone Hill will bring chic sleepwear, bedding and more, and Peacock Alley will bring its collection of high-end bedding for a dual show, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday. There will be refreshments and giveaways during the event. Lavender and Lace is at 1902 Bernard St., Raleigh, 919-828-6007,

Moving on up

My Girlfriend’s Closet has a new home. The Apex designer resale boutique moved to a new space at 219 N. Salem St., Suite 103, inside the Salem Street Promenade. They’ll celebrate the move with food, prizes and more during a grand opening party 5-7:30 p.m. Thursday. Shoppers are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to donate to the shop’s neighbor, Western Wake Crisis Ministry. For details, visit

A new place to shop

Apricot Lane, a trendy women’s clothing store, opens its first Triangle location Friday in Raleigh’s North Hills. During opening weekend, the boutique will offer a 20 percent storewide discount. In addition, shoppers can visit the store’s Facebook page ( to receive a coupon good for a free bracelet and a $5 donation by the store to 3Strands, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting human trafficking.

Shop for the animals

Independent Animal Rescue of Durham hosts Shop for the Animals on Saturday at the Clubhouse at Lake Hogan Farms in Chapel Hill. The shopping event, open 2-4 p.m., will feature handbags, jewelry, home décor, cosmetics and more, with 20 percent of each sale benefitting IAR’s animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. Admission is free and refreshments will be served. For more information, call 919-403-2221 or visit

Do good, look good

Activate Good’s annual Couture for a Cause hits the runway Saturday at Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh. The event pairs Activate Good’s local nonprofit partners (Boys and Girls Club, Alliance of AIDS Services and SAFE Haven for Cats, among others) with area designers (Rebecca Walker, Lee Blackwell, Natalie Drennon and others) for a show of clothing inspired by each charity’s work. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door; VIP tickets are $75 and include special seating, access to the VIP lounge, food and a goodie bag. Proceeds benefit Activate Good’s volunteer programs. For details, visit

Jewels and gems

Bailey’s Fine Jewelry in Cameron Village welcomes Guy Bedarida, head designer and creative director for John Hardy, for a trunk show Saturday. Bedarida will be in the store 4-7 p.m. to meet with customers and autograph jewelry.

While in the store, shoppers can register for Bailey’s Digging for Diamonds contest, which gives two couples the chance to win a $10,000 diamond engagement ring during the halftime of the N.C. State vs. Boston College game at Carter-Finley Stadium or the UNC vs. Maryland game at Kenan Stadium, both on Nov. 24. Couples can register to compete at any Bailey’s location through Nov. 15. For more info, visit

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