“Degenerate the faithful, with that crazy Casbah sound”

This is such a great, casual dress for the hottest days of summer. Lightweight and shapeless, it won’t stick to you when it’s humid out, but it still provides coverage for when you’re not in the mood to opt for the skimpier summer fare. The high, square neckline is balanced by the cut-out back, and the asymmetrical hemline (long in the back, short in the front) creates a drapey feel that sashays as you walk. I’ve thrown a sweater on over my shoulders and worn this to work before, as well. I love the muted red and black tie dye pattern too, it’s subtle but more interesting than just a solid color.

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Between the airy nature and printed pattern, this dress makes me think of something I’d wear in the desert, which makes me think of Morocco, which makes me think of “Rock the Casbah!” “Rock the Casbah” by The Clash never fails to brighten my mood. I could dance to it allll day, whenever it comes on I have to turn the music up a little louder. I even have a tote from a Kate Spade collection 5 or 6 years ago that says “Rock the Casbah” on it in gold lettering, that’s how much I enjoy this song. My earliest memory of it is from childhood, when my entire Kennedy family would go up north to lake houses in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin every summer. We were listening to it on the water and two of my cousins were trying to explain the lyrics to me, but I was like 10 at the time so it was over my head (and they were 9 and 11, so who knows how accurate their analysis was.)

In actuality, the lyrics are about an Arab king who gives his pilots orders to bomb everyone in his kingdom who’s listening to rock music, but the pilots disobey and blast rock music from their radios all over the nation, causing everyone in the kingdom to dance… and rock the casbah. Quite fantastical, but inspired by a real ban on Western music in Iran in the 70s. I love the rebellious nature of the lyrics, I think the rock out and live and let live feelings transcend any nation or religion. The music is so fun and upbeat, it’s a perfect song for parties when you want to get people moving, or just create a happy mood.

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Rockin’ the Casbah
Rock the Casbah
I haven’t been to Morocco, Iran, or any Arab nation yet. I was in Malta last summer, which has a lot of North African/Arab influence, but it’s ultimately a Christian country. Morocco and Jordan (Petra!!) are at the top of my lists, and I already know one song that will be on the playlists when I go!

Listen to it here! “Rock the Casbah”-The Clash

“When I step out I’m gonna do you in”

Months before Hope Hicks made a similar look famous in Japan ( 😦 ), I found this amazing navy suit dress and thought it was too great to pass up. I love looks that take a traditionally masculine style and upgrade it to something ultra feminine, and I find this dark blue number with buttons all up the front sexy, flattering, and put-together. I wore it at my parents’ house last October with black kitten heels for a more demure touch.

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When I put this on, I hear ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” in my head, kind of as a joke, playing on the suit style of this dress. “Sharp Dressed Man” has the quintessential ZZ Top sound to it, with cool, mellow classic rock music and simple, easy lyrics. This is a classic feel-good song, the kind that makes you want to throw on cool aviator sunglasses and go take on the world. There is definitely truth to the phrase “look good to feel good,” and I take that to mean that sometimes dressing for how you want to feel helps stir up those emotions inside, almost like an outside-in approach.

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They come runnin’ just as fast as they can

I used to think that if I ever played MLB (lol), I would use this as my walk-up song, but I don’t think it’d be my first choice anymore. It really is a pump-up song though, and it’s a great choice to loudly play when you need to feel cool, calm, collected, and confident.

Listen to it here! “Sharp Dressed Man”-ZZ Top

“Everywhere I look I see your eyes, there ain’t a woman that comes close to you”

I have not neglected to write by choice, I promise! The past two weeks have been a whirlwind and so much has happened, I’ve hardly had a moment to myself, much less to write. I’ve started prepping for a new film (my first film experience!), started training for a new volunteer position (at a museum very dear to me!), watched West Side Story for the first time in two years (really can’t remember the last time I cried that hard), and, sadly, my grandmother passed away. It’s amazing the little time the world seems to give you to spend on processing a death…I got to town the day before the funeral, missed one day of work for the funeral, and then had to fly back early the next morning and head straight to the office from the airport. Granted, she was 97 and lived an amazing, full life, so there was no tragedy or shock to her passing, but still, my dad and my aunts and uncle lost their mother, and you’re never truly prepared for that. It was great to see my whole family, but it was all just so rushed, with the weight of having to get back to work the next day such a burden. I believe in a good work ethic, but at what point is it like this is really the priority right now?

On the plane this weekend I had “Angie” by The Rolling Stones on my playlist, and I ended up playing it on repeat a few times. This song is so insanely beautiful, and it makes my chest ache. I usually associate The Rolling Stones with upbeat, fun, rock n’roll lifestyle music and Vietnam war movie flashback scenes, so this song stands out because it’s so somber and emotional. I also love that it’s about a very specific kind of break up, the kind where you still love each other, but it just isn’t working anymore to stay together, which makes it even more painful in my opinion. The music is so pretty and the lyrics are so heartbreaking, and Mick Jagger’s unpolished sounding voice actually works really well to convey a sincere, raw passion.

I think this dark purply-brown corduroy overall skirt with a long sleeve dark green shirt underneath goes well with this song. The dark colors and simple pieces play into the sadness of the music, and it’s feminine in a way that matches the lyrics and description of Angie. The overall nature of the skirt also has a slight vintage vibe to it, and I can picture the breakup in the song happening while Angie is wearing an outfit like this.

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I hate that sadness in your eyes

I could use a break from sadness right now, so I’ll probably be playing music that’s a little happier than “Angie” this week, but it was a perfect song to hear over the weekend and really let myself embrace.

Listen to it here! “Angie”-The Rolling Stones

“And I never knew the danger”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This was always a big holiday growing up in the Kennedy house, even though, as my mom loves to point out, my siblings and I don’t even have majority Irish heritage. Nevertheless! Some traditions I’ve kept up, like the fun music and green decorations, and others I’ve let go, like the bland food and Guinness. Visiting Dublin in September made me fall in love with the country of Ireland, and although it’s a much more religious holiday there, I would like to visit on Saint Patrick’s Day someday, for the experience.

In the meantime, it’s the one day a year I can wear this shamrock dress! This dress is clearly a costume, a feminine take on the stereotypical Irish leprechaun look. I got it in college, back when St. Patrick’s Day meant getting decked out in all things green and shamrock shaped and day-drinking until you’re crying in Central Park because you remembered John Denver is dead (whoops). That was one of my more memorable St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, when two of my best friends from Wisconsin came to visit me in NYC for the first time. It was a perfect spring day (we were wearing shorts!) and we danced around the park and made friends with strangers before going out in Hell’s Kitchen. The entire day was just carefree, youthful, happy bliss, the kind that makes your soul feel rejuvenated. I love thinking back on that memory, it still makes my chest swell with happiness.

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While I no longer have the desire to drink the holiday away, the music is still my favorite part. I like the traditional Irish folk songs and drinking songs made popular by many, many covers; they’re fun and something different from the music I listen to everyday. Songs like “Tell Me Ma” and “Marie’s Wedding” are catchy and happy, and as cliche as this is, the major gift-shop chain in Dublin plays a lot of these songs out onto the street all day, and it really does add to the mood when you walk past and hear them! There are some more modern takes on Irish style music too, and bands like Gaelic Storm and Flogging Molly are a nice change up from the classics throughout the day without losing the stylized sound.

For this look, I’m going to go with a traditional song covered by a band I always forget came out of Dublin: Thin Lizzy! I first heard their version of “Whiskey in the Jar” a few years ago, and I love it. It’s a very modern take on the song; you wouldn’t even know it was an Irish folk song if it weren’t for the lyrics, it has such a classic rock sound to it. But it’s soulful, has a great beat, and is very easy listening. I can’t remember why, but for some reason I associate this song with driving in the rain, in addition to St. Patrick’s Day. The music has that cozy sort of feel to it, so maybe that’s the reason?

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I said stand o’er and deliver, or the devil he may take ya

The guitar is my favorite part of this version, it’s such a standout part of the song and heightens the intensity of the music. Not the best choice for dancing, but perfect for a chill moment on this not-known-for-being-chill holiday.

Listen to it here! “Whiskey in the Jar”-Thin Lizzy

“Don’t you realize the things we did, we did were all for real, not a dream”

I am head-over-heels in love with this silk robe by Oscar de la Renta. Pale pink, black lace trim, and floor-length, it’s the classic Hollywood-inspired robe of my dreams. I received it as a Christmas present a few years ago, and I truly think I’ll wear it for the rest of my life. Wearing this makes me feel like I should either be crying while clutching a love letter to my chest or sitting on a balcony overlooking a foreign city while drinking champagne and writing in a journal. Oh, the romantic places my mind goes while wearing this!

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I’m going to channel the tragically romantic and pair this robe with “Telephone Line” by ELO. Most of my favorite songs by ELO are so upbeat and cheerful, but this one is sooo sad and makes my heart ache so deeply. Hearing Jeff Lynne sing about missing someone from the past and wanting to talk to them so badly just kills me. The music is so sad and gentle, and the lyrics so pained but still hopeful, ahhh it’s really such a beautiful song. This robe is perfect for the loneliness and longing he sings about, I can picture a woman with tears down her face wearing this and thinking of that person late one night.

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And I wonder why (the little things you planned ain’t comin’ true)

Sometimes I cry when I hear this song, it stirs my emotions so much. I love when music can make me cry! Even if it’s releasing pained emotions, I love the moments where you feel yourself being so deeply moved in such beautiful, connected ways.

Listen to it here! “Telephone Line”-ELO

“Everybody says she’s lookin’ good, and the lady knows it’s understood”

I love this striking black dress. The deep v-neck meets the skirt of the dress with a ring at the midriff, creating a cut-out silhouette that shows skin at the sides and back. I feel like such a bombshell when I’m wearing this. I think it’s great how it’s really nothing more than a simple black dress and something as small as the silver ring connecting the pieces of cloth elevates it to a more stunning look. I wore it with red lipstick and dark nails for a little extra oomph.

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When I really want an extra oomph in my step, I turn on “Strutter” by KISS. This is the ultimate feel-good, feel-badass, feel-like-a-woman song to me. The music itself is so intense and hot, and the lyrics about a good-looking woman strutting around and making men cry is so empowering!! (Not that making anyone cry is the goal). I love that this woman owns her looks but doesn’t engage all the men around her, to me that says she’s looking good because she likes to look good, not to get the approval of others. I love the idea that this woman is super sexy AND confident AND choosy about the men she gives attention to!! I can’t figure out if KISS considers this “strutter” in a positive or negative light…but as far as I know, KISS may have (unintentionally?) written a super feminist song, yay KISS!!

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She wears her satins like a lady
She gets her way just like a child
You take her home and she says maybe, baby
She takes you down and drives you wild

This song makes me feel unbelievably sexy and confident, I loveeee to blast it in my earbuds when walking down the street, I transform into a woman unstoppable. When I’ve really needed a pick-me-up, I’ve played this song on repeat and danced around, trying to channel my inner strutter. Usually she’s not too hard to find. 🙂

Listen to it here! “Strutter”-KISS

“When you take me in your arms and drive me slowly out of my mind”

This dress is so special to me. I bought it at Club Monaco a few springs ago and it has a lot of sentimental value. This dress is the lightest of pinks, with white accents and light pink and tangerine colored flowers. The bust is fitted, there are slight cutouts in the side, and the skirt is so flowy and airy, it sashays with every step you take, making you feel divine like a goddess. This is so classically romantic, it’s hard not to fall in love with the world a little more each time you wear it.

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A dress this idyllic calls for an earth-shatteringly beautiful song like “Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me” by Mel Carter. This song could be straight out of a fairytale it’s so deeply romantic, with dramatic instrumental build-ups and passionate lyrical outbursts. Listening to it makes me feel like the world is so much more whimsical and bright, and that romance is the key to it all. I like to picture myself embracing and slow dancing with a lover to this song while wearing this dress, it would look so beautiful twirling around a dance floor.

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When you do I know that you will miss me

This dress and this song can change my mood at a given moment so much! I think it’s crucial to try and feel as hopeful and good about the world as you can, and letting yourself feel very fluttery and romantic is such a wonderful way to help do so.

Listen to it here! “Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me”-Mel Carter

“Singin’ them love songs, singin’ them straight to the heart songs”

This powder blue pantsuit! Polished and beautiful, with masculine and feminine aspects, I think it’s a powerful, sophisticated look. I love that it hits at the ankle, making it perfect to showcase heels with. I wore a beige pair of pumps in these photos, but I’ve also paired it with strappy nude heels and a statement pair of bright pink pumps. I like that the color is pale and muted, it balances the low-cut neck so as not to be too flashy.

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Something about a pantsuit like this brings the Bee Gees to mind, maybe because it seems like it’d be good to disco in. I love the Bee Gees, they have so many great songs and their music is so fun and easy to listen to. I think “Nights on Broadway” is a good match for this muted style, with it’s funky, slower disco sound. My mom calls this the original stalker song, because the lyrics are quite creepy and, well, stalker-ish. It’s one thing to pine after a person and make an effort to pursue them (yayyy-romantic) but another thing to follow them and insist you won’t stay away after acknowledging the line before they don’t want you near them (noo-scary). But it’s such a good song! And a Bee Gees classic.

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Make it like it was before

“Nights on Broadway” is the kind of song I’ve always wanted to listen to with a partner and goofily serenade to each other, because despite the lyrics it is a feel good, fun song. It makes me want to pull out my silliest disco moves while singing into an invisible microphone, over-dramatically and off-key, while a partner does the same back. True romance is being able to sing about stalking the shit out of each other, to each other.

Listen to it here! “Nights on Broadway”-Bee Gees

“Like a fool, I fell in love with you, turned my whole world upside down”

This forest green dress is such a staple in my closet. This is one of my favorite colors and I love the rich emerald tone of it. It fits like a glove and has a pretty asymmetrical ruffle across the bust, giving it a little bit of dimension. I feel sophisticated and attractive wearing this, like I could take on the world and look good doing so.

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I feel powerful in this, which makes me think of the power Eric Clapton sings about with Derek and The Dominos in “Layla, one of his most famous songs. Not that I’d ever want to be intentionally using that kind of power to torture a man’s emotions, but I do love hearing a man confess such passion for a woman in song! Layla has one of the most recognized guitar riffs in classic rock, it’s so infectious and emotion-stirring. This song was even the inspiration for my friend when she named her beautiful daughter Layla. Talk about a namesake song! (It’d be funny if she grows up to hate it.)

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Please don’t say I’ll never find a way
And tell me all my love’s in vain

I’m torn about the change in song at the end, the suddenly hopeful, romantic instrumentals. It really depends on my mood whether I want to listen to it or not…or if I’m out of skips on Spotify.

Listen to it here! “Layla”-Derek and the Dominos

“And to this very day, we’ve been livin’ our way, and here is the reason why”

This breezy t-shirt dress is perfect for running around outside in. I love that it buttons up the entire front of the dress, and the daisy pattern is sweet and youthful. I feel very effortlessly pretty in it, and very no frills.

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Which is why this dress is perfectly paired with “Spanish Pipedream” by John Prine. I love John Prine’s music so much, and “Spanish Pipedream” is one of my favorite songs of his. His voice is perfect for an upbeat folk song like this, and the lyrics are sooo dreamy to me. Don’t we all to some degree just want to run away to a countryside with the love of our lives and live so simply and peacefully?

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Blow up your TV, throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try and find Jesus on your own

Some days more than others I crave that kind of escape…John Prine makes it sound so easy, and maybe it is.

Listen to it here! “Spanish Pipedream”-John Prine