Interpreting Inspiration With Lakyn's Favorite Albums
Using music as your muse.
It’s not that difficult to look at fashion images and simply adapt them to your own style and wardrobe: just parse out the elements that you like and recreate them with things that are more accessible to you. Easy peasy. I showed you how with the album art from (part i) Renaissance.
But what do you do when your inspiration is a bit more abstract? That is to say, not an image, and not fashion-related, but simply a mood, or a theme, or a vibe? What if it’s music?
Today, I wanna talk about five of my favorite albums of all time alongside five different ways to use music as your muse and, while we’re at it, take you on a brief journey through my life.
Not only is Fever to Tell by Yeah Yeah Yeahs my favorite album of all time, it’s also one of my favorite album covers (and the first CD I ever bought!). The chaos, the colors, the composition: it perfectly embodies the music it represents. From track one to the hidden track 12 (no longer hidden thanks to streaming and the fact that no one is willing to sit through 2 minutes of silence just to hear one last encore), FTT is raucous, eclectic, punk, and, above all, confident, just like the outfit I’ve put together with it as my soundtrack.
I wanted to capture the same frenzied feeling as the cover itself, while also sort of paying homage to what Karen O is wearing in her center spot: a mini dress and leggings (though, it may be a long tank top and jeans, just stay with me). I found the wildest and most chaotic print I could in this Pinko dress with all the colors from the cover, and then some. To keep the vibe going, we’re layering the dress over these mismatched Versace tights that carry the colors through. But, for contrast and balance—which, if you’ve ever seen YYYs perform, is provided by Nick Zinner and Brian Jones’ decidedly stoic forms in direct opposition to Karen’s energetic thrashing—we’re adding the most classic punk details: a chunky platform boot made for stomping and a dramatic fringe leather jacket made for movement.
While Karen tends to go a little more dramatic for her stage looks, I’d like to think she’d have worn this for an early bar gig.
Does any album capture the vibes of autumn quite like Metals by Feist?
Maybe I’m biased, since it not only came out in the fall, but its drop coincided with my very first pumpkin spice latte (I was a barista at the time). Either way, for this interpretation, I decided to take the cool-toned and neutral color palette of the album cover and apply it to my own fall uniform.
Cute sweater + long skirt + boots = the perfect outfit for cooler temperatures: at least here in LA where “cooler temperatures” means it’s still in the 70s (20s Celsius) during the day and near frigid (like 50F/10C) at night.
Metals is an album that not only embodies fall, but almost lures you into a false sense of security with Feist’s soft, crooning voice giving way to bombastic outbursts of sound. I’d compare it to the relative warmth of a heating lamp on a rooftop in Venice (California) that’s temporarily taken over by a blast of cold wind from the water. Or, perhaps, to a huge sculptural necklace in the middle of your cozy patchwork sweater, and edgy, chunky platforms (the same ones from the Fever to Tell look because #sustainability) poking out from your conservative skirt.
The Execution of All Things by Rilo Kiley is one of my favorite albums that I only discovered because of a (somewhat inferior) album by the same artist.
Under the Blacklight—specifically the song “Moneymaker”—came at the perfect time during my sophomore year in high school. And, indeed, only a few months later, I would be listening to “Breakin’ Up” on the bus to school the morning following my first breakup with my first boyfriend. But, it’s what my style was doing at the time that’s more interesting.
Like many, I was moving on from being “scene” into a general “hipster” with the added layer of being obsessed with California. So, naturally, I dove headfirst into Rilo Kiley’s discography.
I remember exactly where I was and what I was wearing when “A Better Son/Daughter” first blasted through the headphones on my Zune. And that’s what I’ve recreated here, through the more polished lens of nostalgia.
15-year old Lakyn loved a sheer top over a tank top (29-year old Lakyn tends to skip the tank) and you’d be hard pressed to pry my mid-calf height boots from my hands at any age. When I decided to stop wearing boring jeans, I immediately shredded them all into the tiniest shorts you could imagine, to be worn with tights underneath. And, because my high school was freezing, I’d always have an extra layer: in this case, a denim jacket standing in for the oversized denim shirt I would’ve lifted from my mom’s closet.
I grew up on Janet Jackson. Not only is Good Times one of my favorite TV shows of all time (it’s dynomite!), but I basically went to a real-life version of Fame because of the show. Not to mention, All For You came out at just the right time for me to choreograph my own full routine that rivaled the dancing in the video, I’m just saying.
Needless to say, when I finally attained the freedom to pick the music I wanted to listen to, my first task was to deep dive into the discographies of the women my mom played the most, including Janet Thee Jackson. It took me a bit to get to Control, but somehow, I picked the exact right time.
For those who don’t know, Control represented a sort of liberation for Janet. She had spent her early years under her father’s thumb, best known as a pretty wholesome TV actress. Following an annulment of her marriage to James DeBarge and a whole host of professional issues, Janet wanted her third album to represent a new chapter: one of self-actualization, of freedom, of control.
Like any millennial woman, I had my own sexual awakening sometime around my mid-teens/early 20s, and it was around this time that I discovered and re-discovered Control. So, to keep with the theme of what was going on both with Janet while she crafted this masterpiece, and me while I became acquainted with it, I created a look I would’ve worn during my self-reclamation period: a lingerie-inspired top and edgy patent leather mini skirt, topped off with a masculine oversized blazer that sort of mirrors Janet’s look on the cover. And of course, I’d never forget the platforms.
Do you ever listen to an album and craft an entire story arc for yourself based on the lyrics?
I was still deep in my party girl phase when Tove Lo dropped Habits (Stay High) and I absolutely devoured the album. To me, it was the ultimate ode to falling in love and maybe growing up a bit because of it. Or, at the very least, no longer needing to spend your weekends on the prowl.
While I’m vehemently opposed to changing who you are or how you dress just for a partner (especially a man), I am no stranger to and actively encourage making tweaks to your look as you move through certain stages of life and love.
As I, myself, transitioned from Samantha Jones to season 3 Carrie Bradshaw (when she was with Aiden), my Friday nights went from the dancefloor to dinner and drinks with my boothang, which inspired me to play up my flirty side in addition to my sexy, and that’s what this look is all about. I opted for an (extremely low-cut) blouse over a (see-through) bodysuit, (impossible to walk in) pumps over (danceable) platforms, and a tasteful coat over all of it (whereas before, a hoe never got cold).
Bonus: Vibes (Again)
Corinne Bailey Rae (by Corinne Bailey Rae) is one of those albums you put on when you’re feeling…calm. I personally tend to put the album on in my AirPods when I’m running my most relaxing errands: getting my nails done, picking up an order from a local boutique, buying fancy cheese and baguette from the market, and perhaps meeting a friend afterward for a glass of wine.
For this fantasy days’ attire, I put together my version of a chill look: sheer fabrics and a loose blouse I can “accidentally” leave unbuttoned for an unbothered appearance; a skirt with layers that go “swish” as I walk; and a metallic shoe that in real life would probably have a bit of a lower heel but in this vibey fantasy can be whatever I want, balls of my feet be damned.
I suppose when people imagine a life of leisure and the lady who lives it, they think neutral sweaters and “quiet luxury.” Tuh! Not my vibe. “Soft life” girlies on TikTok, eat your heart out.
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