I have written a short story based around a trip to the shop and my unusual changing rooms!

It's really only a tea and biscuit break story however I really hope you enjoy it and that it inspires you to visit one day.

Put your feet up, pull your tea and biscuit (oh who am I kidding...biscuits) a little nearer and let your imagination carry you away for a well earned five minute break.

Renaissance

After parking her car in the old market town, Kate looked around for the pay machine. To her astonishment she saw a notice declaring that parking was free for three hours. Unbelievable! Unheard of in London where you even had to pay for the privilege of driving in the centre of the city.

She made her way towards the large supermarket, identical to all the others around the country. After making her purchases, she looked at her watch. Yes, she had an hour to spare; she’d take a look around. Walking into the shopping arcade she caught a glimpse of herself in the window and sighed. Yes, it was definitely a ‘fat day’. She decided she needed some good retail therapy to cheer herself up

However, the shops were pretty boring. Same old chain stores, a closed down Woollies, a scattering of independents. She turned into an alleyway - a short cut to the car park she hoped.

And then she saw the shop. Renaissance. Greedily she eyed the fabulous array of sparkling vintage jewellery, arranged on an old fashioned dressing table in the window. She peered inside. God, this is different! She pushed open the door and walked in.

The owner looked as eccentric as the shop itself. She was rather a large woman with flaming red hair, dressed in a long black velvet kaftan, the jewellery she was wearing was overbold,. Large rings adorned her fingers, which were busily sewing, what looked like vintage lace. She looked up, smiled at Kate and left her to browse.

Entranced, Kate moved through the magic of full skirted 50’s ball gowns, austere 40’s utility clothing. 60’s and 70’s mini’s, flares, platform boots, and long flowing Laura Ashley dresses. She pulled out an assortment of clothes to try on.

Making her way to the dressing room, she was astounded to see they were decorated with the original covers of old Vogue magazines. Faces from every era stared at her as she undressed. The first outfit was a 1960’s black and white mini dress. As she smoothed it over hips she thought she heard a voice. ‘No lovey, you can’t wear that, you haven’t got the legs for it’.  ‘Oh dear’ she thought ‘I must be imaging things’, but she mused, ‘it’s quite right my legs are a bit plump’.

Next she tried a 1940’s blue crepe dress with a peplum. She thought it was lovely.
Again came a voice ‘No, no your bum looks big in that’. Nonplussed, Kate peeped round the curtain, there was no-one else in shop and nobody could have seen her anyway! Feeling unsettled she tried a pair of 1970’s psychedelic flares with platform boots. This time she heard a positive cackle of sniggers and laughter. ‘No,no,no’ said the voices in unison.

With a growing sense of unease Kate incredulously realized the models on the Vogue covers were talking to her. She looked at them carefully, not a smile, not a flicker of any eyes. Nothing, obviously it was  her imagination. Or was it?

Taking a deep breath, she looked one of them straight in the eye and said   ‘Ok girls, you tell me what I should wear with my big bum, fat legs and bad taste’. She heard a whisper ‘Go and get the 1950’s little black dress, like the one I used to wear’. Kate turned and saw Audrey Hepburn on the cover of Vogue, March 1958.

Then, ‘Try the red 1960’s shift dress’ said Twiggy from June 1966. ‘And hey honey, the green Laura Ashley’ drawled Jerry Hall . November 1974.

Stumbling from the changing rooms Kate darted around the shop gathering up the dresses. Glancing at the owner unconcernedly sewing some lace onto a dress, she wondered if she knew. Perhaps she should tell her, no she’d think she was mad.

Drawing the curtain behind her she tried the 60’s shift dress; the room reverberated with ‘oohs’. ‘Yes’  whispered  Twiggy, ‘that’s fab’.
 Next came the 70’s Laura Ashley. It was long and swirled softly around her ankles. ‘Groovy’ said Jerry
Last of all she tried the little black dress and turned to face Audrey. ‘Well, what do you think?’
‘You look wonderful darling, not as good as I did but still wonderful.’

Which one are you going to buy, they all wanted to know. ‘Why all of them of course,’ said Kate ‘you’ve all really helped me find something beautiful and unique. Thanks a million’ She blew them all a kiss and left .

She turned to see the owner watching her quizzically. ‘Ah’ she said ‘I see you’ve had the benefit of advice from my ladies, they don’t help everyone you know.’ Kate smiled at her as she paid, ‘what an amazing experience, I can’t believe it’s happened.’

Kate walked back to the car in a dream. She still couldn’t believe her experience, she was so pleased with her purchases and they were so right, every garment looked great. She was so looking forward to wearing them.

Nearing the car, she glanced at her watch. Damn, she’d been a lot longer than three hours and sure enough there was ticket on the windscreen. £60 fine. Still, thought Kate,  it was worth it!