I am not sure if I get this right : "a secret prayer" means "she is a little fat so that she prays the zip could go up"?? (a little fat is a fact based in the novel). And I neither get the meaning of "a frugal generation" in the sentence, does it mean she does not have enough money when she made the dress?

Why is it a "result" dress??, the author put the " " on the word "result" to emphasize , but I have no idea at all what it looks like??

Here is the sentence:

……and instead put on my fourth option, a vintage dress in dark-red satin. It was made for a more frugal generation and I always had to say a secret prayer that the zip would make it up past my waist, but it gave me the outline of a 1950s starlet, and it was a ‘results’ dress, one of those outfits you couldn’t help but feel good in.

The context is :

The girl is going to a concert and she is trying on the fourth dress, and actually it turns out great on her later as the viewers approve her choice.

1 Answer 1


She secretly prayed that the zip would go all the way to the top, due to her waist being possibly slightly too large for the dress. The dress was made (not by her) for a generation previous to that of the wearer, perhaps her parents' generation or earlier still, and that generation spent less money on food of the fattening type. Thus people were thinner on average. A "results" dress (plural in the text) is a dress that gets [desired] results, e.g. favourable attention, admiration, requests to dance, etc.

She did not necessarily actually pray in a religious sense; she probably just hoped that the zip would go up. To be frugal is to be sparing or economical with money or food. To "get results" is to succeed.

  • yes! then I get it. I have mistaken it for her own making dress. now I grasp in this sentence that 'a frugal generation' referring to someone thinner or the dress cut for thinner people.
    – user86301
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 12:19
  • 1
    A frugal generation means people of a former time who did not spend so much money on cakes, fatty food, etc, as people do now. Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 13:14
  • seriously?? is it a common understanding, or just in this sentence? not because they were living in a time when material wealth is less than now? so that they have to be carful with money use.
    – user86301
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 13:49
  • 1
    "Frugal" doesn't mean "poor", it means "careful with resources". So yes, it is implying that people were more careful how they spent their money.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 15:01
  • Of course, a generation may well be frugal because there isn't a lot to go around :) Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 15:08

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