“Ra ra Rasputin, Russia’s greatest love machine”

This song cracks me up so much ahh! “Rasputin” by Boney M is essentially a biography disguised as a disco song about none other than Rasputin, the infamous mystic who served as a healer to the Romanov family, and, as many historians assert, contributed to the demise of their entire dynasty. I have been obsessed with Russian history since I was in grade school. I read a historical fiction book written as if it was the diary of Anastasia Romanov when I was like 10 and I was hooked. This interest was only solidified by my AMAZING 7th grade history teacher, Ms. Granquist, who really made the characters throughout Russia’s history come alive. In my opinion, Russian history is the closest thing we have to real-life fairytales. The good guys were SO good, and the bad guys were SO bad, and it’s so dark and brooding and romantic and oh, I could go on and on. I have not a trace of Russian ancestry, and yet I feel like I may have been a Russian tsarina in a past life, I’m that captivated.

But back to Rasputin. He was almost positively a rapist, in addition to having a ridiculous amount of willing aristocratic women who saw him as some sort of irresistible holy man. While rumors persist that Tsarina Alexandra and Rasputin were more than just weirdly close confidants, he was inarguably the only person she trusted to ease her hemophiliac son’s pain. When she started taking political advise from him, and impressing it on her husband Tsar Nicholas II…well, that wasn’t so great for any of the parties involved. Long story short, Rasputin was murdered, the entire Romanov family was murdered, and that was the end of Russian Imperialism.

Jump ahead sixty years to the 1970s and Boney M, a German pop group, wrote this ridiculously catchy song! It boils down the legend of Rasputin to a ladies man who took his lust too far and eventually ended up getting axed, but I don’t even care because it’s such a fun, ridiculous topic for a song. The beat is perfect for a roller disco, but rather than pair it with a 70s style outfit, I chose this forest green lace dress. This is one of those choices that may only make sense to me, but it’s because nearly every depiction and/or photograph of the Romanov daughters includes at least one of them in a lace dress, including the cover of that fictional diary that started my obsession. Lace must have been super fashionable at that time in Russia, and now when I see a lace dress I think it looks “1900s Russia.”

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Ra ra Rasputin
Lover of the Russian queen
There was a cat that really was gone

I found this gorgeous dress at a boutique in Brooklyn Heights, and I feel like royalty when I wear it…Russian royalty, in particular. 😉

Listen to it here! “Rasputin”-Boney M

“You got your demons, you got your desires, well, I got a few of my own”

I love the uniqueness of this marled knit, dark purple, maxi-length dress. It has a regality to it while being a casual, simple piece; the striking silhouette it creates elevates it to something that feels more sophisticated than just a sweater dress. This is something I love to wear when it’s chilly out, it’s so comfortable and warm. I think the length, dark color, and overall slinkiness make it feel dramatic, too, like something eventful will happen while wearing it.

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I think to that effect, “One of These Nights” by the Eagles is a good fit for this look. “One of These Nights” has a slinky sound to it, like something sensual and passionate is about to happen. Suspenseful is the word that best captures this song, and a dramatic dress like this is perfect for that suspenseful, sensual sound. This is one of my favorite songs by the Eagles, the lyrics are sexy and risky and heighten the dramatic nature of the music. This song makes me crave the passion and touch of a lover.

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I’ve been searching for the daughter of the devil himself
I’ve been searching for an angel in white
I’ve been waiting for a woman who’s a little of both

I’ve always loved that description, the embracing of the good and not-so-good in a person. It makes me think of the Mae West line, “When I’m good I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.”

Listen to it here! “One of These Nights”-Eagles

“What I feel, I can’t say, but my love is there for you anytime of day”

Spring is in the air! Which means it’s finally appropriate for more colorful, bright pieces again. Like this beautiful dress that looks like it could have been painted by Matisse himself. Short, flirty, and with three black bows that tie up the back, this is perfect for wandering the park on a warm day.

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Whenever the weather starts to change from winter to spring, “What is Life” by George Harrison comes to my mind. It’s such an upbeat, cheerful song that seems to fit so well with the bright and romantic feelings found in spring air. The lyrics are sweet and dreamy, though one friend once described them as “clingy.” I mean, you should never define yourself by another person, of course (I concede that “who am I without you by my side,” if taken literally, is a bit much), but I also believe you can find a person in your life that you can’t imagine living without, and I find that devastatingly romantic, and I believe that’s the feeling being sung about here.

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Then I’ll try my best to make everything succeed

I love the hopeful, dreamy feelings of spring, it’s like all of the most beautiful emotions are heightened. The world feels a bit more magical than usual, and I think this song and this dress help capture that mood a little bit more.

Listen to it here! “What is Life”-George Harrison

“You didn’t know that rock and roll burned, so you bought a candle and you lived and you learned”

“Once Bitten Twice Shy” is the most ridiculous, over-the-top song…so surprise, I love it. The cover by Great White is made to be played super loudly when you’re in the mood to rock out all vampy and performance-like. This song is insanely sexual but in a cheesy way, some of the lyrics genuinely make me laugh out loud when I hear them. And even better, the song doesn’t take itself seriously at all, which makes it so much fun to get into. Air guitar, hair whips, knee slides, you have to go all out dancing to it.

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The lyrics imply that rock n’ roll turned this once innocent girl into a sex-crazed, untamable woman that the singer can no longer trust to be faithful, so I chose this dress for it, because it’s an innocent looking sweatshirt dress, but with the laced-up cut-out in the chest, there’s a suggestion of something not-so innocent there. This dress is so comfortable and easy to wear, and I really love the edgy touch of the cut-out, it elevates it from item of pure comfort to an item making a statement.

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By the look in her eye, she was givin’ what she got

I definitely inherited my love of this kind of song from my mom. My mom is 11 years younger than my dad, and they definitely fall into the “younger, more fun” and “older, more mature” stereotypes. It’s funny because this is mirrored in their music tastes as well; my mom is all about 80s rock and the hyper-sexually inappropriate, while my dad is much more into music based on its soul and skill, with Bruce, Bob, and The Grateful Dead being some of his favorites. Which was great for me, I got exposed to the best of both growing up. But while my mom also enjoys my dad’s music, my dad cannot handle some of my mom’s songs de preference. All it takes is one sexually explicit lyric for my dad’s trademark, “Jesus Gerette, turn this off,” to which my mom laughs evilly and turns it up louder. She’s still the only mom I know who regularly listens to Meat Loaf and Ozzy. Some of my friends who love music as much as I do tease me for liking Meat Loaf and Ozzy too, but what can I say, I am my mother’s daughter.

Listen to it here! “Once Bitten Twice Shy”-Great White

“I’ve searched the whole world over, to find a heart so true”

For a polished and sophisticated look, this suede, grey asymmetrical zip top with a slight cowl neck is a dream. I love how beautiful this top is, the material couldn’t be softer and the zipper running up the right side of the piece, as opposed to the center, creates a more striking silhouette. I paired the top with black skinny jeans and black ankle boots for a two-tone, streamlined look.

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When I was walking down the street the other night in this outfit, “High on You” by Survivor came on my playlist and it felt so perfect in the moment. I was feeling very put-together, very confident, a little powerful, and a little lost in my own daydreams, and these are all emotions that are amplified when I listen to “High on You.” This is SUCH a dreamy song, it instantly makes my chest swell with happiness. The music itself is very romantic and dreamy in that very specific 80s rock way, but my god, the lyrics!!! I LOVE this song for its lyrics. I think it captures so well that overwhelming mix of excitement and loss of control you feel when you’re falling in love, it really is “complete intoxication.” How maddening is it when you want someone so badly, to the point where you can’t stop thinking about it and it’s overwhelming you with pang?! But this song is also so happy, the best of the heightened emotions one feels falling in love. And the way the woman is described! “Smart and coy, a little crazy, the kind of face that starts a fight,” I love that so much. I also really love in the first verse when it suggests their meeting was fated; “It’s understood, I had to reach ya, I let the wheel of fortune spin.” It often seems like women are more likely to subscribe to the idea of being destined to meet or be with someone, it makes me happy to hear a man sing about this.

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I can’t stop thinking ’bout you girl
I must be living in a fantasy world

Sometimes I feel like I live in a fantasy world…not because I daydream too much (though I’m probably guilty of that too), but because fantasies seem to come to reality in the most magical, amazing ways possible.

Listen to it here! “High on You”-Survivor

 

“But it’s not that way, I wasn’t born to lose you”

A slightly sultry, classically romantic look. This is a cream colored, rose patterned dress with an off-the-shoulder fit. It’s ruched up the center in a style that became popular over the past year, making it equal parts trendy and classic. In these photos, I wore it with wavy hair (that instantly got snarled when stepping out on a windy night) and pendant drop earrings, and I’ve paired it with scrappy black heels and heeled black suede knee high boots. I would wear this for dinner with friends or for a romantic date.

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What I love most is the inherent romance of this dress. The sweet rose print and the subtle way it hits off the shoulders is very sigh-inducing. When I think of an equally romantic song, I think of “I Want You” by Bob Dylan. “I Want You” makes my chest ache, it’s so beautiful. Simple, pretty, and filled with his trademark poetic lyrics that paint an entire story between the lines, all within three short minutes. “I wasn’t born to lose you” might be one of my favorite lyrics ever written by Bob. And yet, it’s the striking contrast of the straightforward chorus that makes me the most emotional. There’s something so irresistible about the directness of the phrase, “I want you.” There are so many ways to imply this, to express this sentiment, but to boil it down to just, “I want you,” it gives it a sincerity, a power, a hunger. I think it’s one of the most attractive things to hear in the world.

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I want you so bad
Honey, I want you

And is there a better feeling than hearing these words spoken to you?

Listen to it here! “I Want You”-Bob Dylan

“I wonder if I’m dreaming, I feel so unashamed, I can’t believe this is happening to me”

I love this white linen dress with brown tortoise shell buttons. A sleeveless shirt dress is a great choice for a warm spring or summer day. This would be something I’d throw on for casual errands, lunch at a restaurant with outdoor seating, or to walk around and explore a city. I haven’t brought this dress abroad with me yet, but I could see myself exploring ancient ruins or a foreign town in this simple, comfortable look.

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The last time I wore this dress, I was driving around an East Coast suburb on a summer evening listening to the radio and Peter Frampton’s “Show Me the Way” came on. Nothing out of the ordinary made this stand out in my mind, except just how happy I was feeling about this song coming on, and how right it seemed to fit the moment. This song has always been associated with summer nights in my mind, and this memory solidified it. I’d love to listen to it in someone’s arms at an outdoor concert, or walking a beach with a lover and looking out at the ocean as it starts to get dark. “Show Me the Way” has a bit of an ominous sound to it, but that heightens the emotions of the song, which are so deeply romantic. I don’t necessarily find this dress deeply romantic, per se, but every time I see it I can’t help but think of “Show Me the Way.”

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I want you day after day

I know scent is supposed to be linked closely to memory, but for me, music is the strongest trigger.

Listen to it here! “Show Me the Way”-Peter Frampton

“You’re the hardest thing I ever tried to get off my mind”

This past fall at my parents’ house, I wore this green and blue plaid flannel. It’s so comfortable and rustic feeling, perfect for nature hikes and country outings. I love being outdoors and emerged in nature, especially when the seasons are changing and everything feels renewed and refreshed. A flannel shirt is the perfect warm, lightweight option to throw on, allowing you to focus less on what you’re wearing and more on the scenery around you.

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Being in nature brings out my love for Southern rock/folk music. The Band, Lynard Skynard, CCR, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Allman Brothers, Pure Prairie League, their music makes me so happy and inspired, like I could drop everything and move down to New Orleans or somewhere in the country and be so happy with a simpler life. It also makes me nostalgic for my time growing up in Wisconsin, from childhood (playing in the street, chasing after the ice cream truck, spending hours outside playing with our pets) to being a teenager (swimming in quarries, tailgating underage at Brewers’ games, driving around at night with nothing to do). Wisconsin is fairly different from the South, but it’s that simplicity, that emphasis on the outdoors, that relatively more carefree life that feels so familiar.

Which is why this shirt makes me think of a song like “Heard It in a Love Song” by The Marshall Tucker Band. This song is so unbelievably pretty. The flute used in the song is really unique, and Doug Gray’s voice has that perfect countryman quality to it; when he sings the chorus, it gives me chills. “Heard It in a Love Song” is so pretty and upbeat that you almost forget how sad the lyrics are, about a man telling a woman he’s leaving. The lyrics make my heart ache, but not unbearably so; it’s sad, but there’s also a “That’s just life” aspect to the song. Younger me would be have been like “No!! If you love someone, you stay with them, no excuses!!” but at 26, for better or worse, I have a more realistic understanding that you can really love someone but it doesn’t always mean they’re the right person to stay with.

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Heard it in a love song
Can’t be wrong

This song really makes me long for drives through the mountains or countryside, particularly in the spring and fall. Cities are amazing, but I think when I settle down I’m going to have to live somewhere closer to nature. My ideal situation would be a home with lots of land, equidistant from a major city and forests or mountains. I don’t think I would do well totally removed from city life, but I also want a big, beautiful backyard. And a dog to hike with off-leash…and some horses, I love horseback riding so much…and while we’re at it let’s throw in a deck with a hot tub and a long, wide driveway. The house I grew up in had a long driveway, and as kids my siblings, cousins, friends and I would jump rope, ride bikes, play Four Square and Kick the Can, draw with chalk, and play basketball all up and down it. I want that same experience for my future family.

Listen to it here! “Heard It in a Love Song”-The Marshall Tucker Band

“Come on now try and understand, the way I feel when I’m in your hands”

This black bodysuit is. everything. Comfortable, devastating, versatile. I love the back as much as I love the front, the crisscrossing of the straps looks so elegant across a nude back, and the front with it’s strappy emphasis on cleavage is such knockout style. For a warmer, layered look, I threw on a marled knit sweater with a deep open vneck, meant for revealing the top worn underneath. I paired the bodysuit and sweater with dark slim fit jeans.

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A look like this reminds me of Patti Smith’s version of “Because the Night.” Both this outfit and this song are rock n’roll, romantic, intense, and hot. I want to wear this while spending time with a lover, claiming that ownership of the night, engaging in a passionate, dangerous make-out session…amongst other things. This song is also deeply romantic, and the riskiness of being together that’s hinted at throughout the lyrics is so thrilling and electric to me. And, I know, how could I not choose Bruce’s version? I love Bruce with all of my heart, and he wrote the amazing lyrics, but something about Patti’s vocals resonates more deeply with me when it comes to this song. I think her voice brings an emotion to “Because the Night” that really stirs something in me, a hunger, a yearning.

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Love is a ring, the telephone
Love is an angel disguised as lust

If ringtones were still a thing, I think I would make mine Patti singing “Take me now, take me now, take me nowwwwww” on repeat, just for the evil little smile it would give me every time it’d go off loudly in public.

Listen to it here! “Because the Night”-Patti Smith

“If I blow my top, will you let it go to your head?”

I love the cut of this honey brown ruched dress, it’s very vavavoom but without revealing a drastic amount of skin, either. It fits like a glove but isn’t constricting, which makes it optimal for strutting around in. I find the uncommon, earthy dress color super flattering too, especially in the summer when my skin is very dark. Pictures never do justice, but with my hair messy and no make-up on, I feel like a mix between a Greco-Roman goddess and a First Nations princess in this dress.

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I feel so bombshell and vixen-y in a look like this that I have to dance around to a song like “Gimme All Your Lovin'” by ZZ Top while wearing it. I love songs about an animalistic, passionate need for someone, and ooo, this song delivers. I go crazy over the idea of being so enamored with someone, you beg them to give it all to you and only you, like you can’t get enough of them. And the idea of receiving that kind of affection! Being greedy is so sexy when it’s in a mutual, lustful, romantic, passionate context.

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I got to have a shot
Of what you got
It’s oh so sweet

The hot rock beat of this song just instills in me this physical urge to whip my hair around and dance around like I’m Tawny Kitaen in her music video heyday. I sometimes day dream about what would happen if I started dancing like her on a picture car on set at work…as an accountant I don’t get to visit set too often, so I giggle to myself imagining the crew being like “yep, time to send the accountant back” as I’m seen in the background doing the splits and bending over backwards on top of the hood of a Buick.

Listen to it here! “Gimme All Your Lovin'”-ZZ Top