Friday Fiction – Dress for Success

There was something deeply haunting about this week’s FF prompt from Janet Webb. So much so that I almost went with a ghostly theme for my story. But ultimately, the story landed almost fully-formed on the page. There are too many Austins in this world, and I am grateful not to be married to one of them.



(Historical – though not *that* historical – fiction)

It called to her every time she passed, shaking its skirts, preening its bodice. But Austin would have gone mad if Janet spent her housekeeping on a frivolity. So she flirted with it from afar, sewing a quarter into the hem of her coat each week, pinning all her dreams on a dress in a store window.

Spring came. She mothballed her heavy winter coat, but not her dreams.

For a single night, the dress hung secretly on the balcony behind their tiny apartment. Austin slept soundly, Janet not a wink. Then the dress was gone, and Janet with it.



Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

34 responses to “Friday Fiction – Dress for Success

  1. well she deserves it as does he…

  2. One quarter at a time. What a terrific escape plan.

  3. A well-crafted tale!

  4. Clever, clever Janet. What a proud escape.

  5. First, I must protest that I don’t know any Austin and I’m still happily married to Bill (even without this dress.) Secondly, although the last line is good, I like this one best: “She mothballed her heavy winter coat, but not her dreams.” May we never mothball our dreams. And I’m thrilled that you liked the picture so much

    Lovely story. I hope her dreams last longer and are more substantial than the dress.


    • From what I’ve heard, you’re 100% better with Bill than any Austin. Story is entirely fictional, I just like to occasionally steal the name of the photo-provider for my FF contributions.
      and I agree about mothballing dreams – that was my favourite line too.

  6. Helena Hann-Basquiat

    Well done, darling.

  7. Loved the sentense

    She mothballed her heavy winter coat, but not her dreams.
    Great tale.

  8. Lyn

    “slow and steady wins the race” or in this case, the dress and freedom. Great take on the prompt 🙂

  9. And just like that ..she danced off into the night and a new life full of love and adventure!

  10. Dear Jenn,
    Count me among those that love the sentence…”She mothballed….” Well-written from beginning to hopeful end.

  11. I loved the personification of the dress and all the clothes metaphors you’ve woven into this. Beautiful job.

  12. Mystikel

    I loved the idea of the dress seducing her and how she ran off with it in the end.

  13. Oh I didn’t see it coming! I love that! 😀

  14. Pingback: Charlotte’s Dream | Lily Mugford

  15. Good story, and way to go, Janet!

  16. Very good, I love the way you have with words.

  17. You’re right, there are too many Austins in this world. And not enough Janets! Great story 🙂

    • Interestingly, I started off with a comment that there are too many Janets in this world. No-one should have to be in that position, but by the end of course, she is a lot better off than she could be. There are DEFINITELY too many Austins.

  18. This was just so atmospheric – it felt kind of desperate but then ended on a note of hope. Well done. And I agree, it was a kind of ghostly picture …

  19. Your story made me giddy. I loved it!

  20. Good for her. It takes a lot of guts to get out and save yourself in this type of relationship.

  21. John Hardy Bell

    Love this story!! I think I may have mentioned this in the comments section on my blog, but it would serve you better if I wrote it here. 🙂

  22. It’s not a very inconspicuous dress in which to run away. I can see her hiking down the street, skirts billowing and a rucksack on her back. 🙂

    • I think she’s not so much hiking as dancing down that street! A more rational woman might wear jeans and carry the dress, of course, but I’m not convinced Janet’s feeling rational, so you are probably right about the dress + rucksack combination!

  23. petrujviljoen

    I’ve been trying to remember the title of a story by Paul Gallico. Mrs Harris something or something … anyway, she’s a char in stiff upper lip England, sees this dress and saves up much the way your protagonist did. If a girl wants something … glad this one got away from the drudgery.

    • Ooh, I’ll look it up. Thanks. It’s defiitely not a unique idea – Dorothy Koomson’s The Woman He Loved Before also features a girl saving for a dress in this sort of way.

  24. Ohhhh, loved it. A well composed flash.

  25. She executed her plan to perfection. I’m confident she knew where she was going. Well done, Jenn.

    Just for the record, I loved the mothball line too.

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