Outer Wraps

Marilyn Kestenbaum with well-wrapped family.

May 28, 2014  Prompt #28

Today, we turn to jackets and coats. What can we learn from writing about blazers, parkas, windbreakers, and leather jackets? From topcoats, overcoats, pea coats, and trench coats?

Coats can be metaphors for protection and for burden, helping ground your writing with tangible details.




  1. Choose a coat from your closet.  For five minutes, write a physical description of it. Describe its style, fabric, color, and condition. Does it have a scent? Is it a dress coat? An everyday coat? Where, when and how did you acquire it?
  2. Put the coat on. How does it fit? (If it is too hot to be wearing this coat, try to recall what it feels like to put it on in the winter or fall.) Is it loose or tight? Does it itch? What sounds do you hear when you zip, snap, or button?  Write about this for five more minutes.
  3. Next, mixing in the descriptions above, write about your connection with the coat. How do you feel wearing it? Stylish? Protected? Constricted? Where have you worn it to? Do you associate the coat with a person, place, or stage of your life?  Tell your story.

Further Writing

  • Write about your coat from another point of view. Imagine  you gave this coat away and someone bought it at a thrift store. Tell their story.
  • Find a photo of you, someone you know, or a stranger wearing a coat. Write a poem or micro-fiction about this person.

Variations for Writing Groups

  1. Take a field trip to a vintage clothing store or a thrift shop.  Try on coats. Take notes about the fit, the fabric, the style.
  2. Take photos. Write about the experience from your own point of view or from the perspective of a fictional character.

What did you think of this writing prompt? Share your thoughts.

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