What to Wear Wednesday #3 RED DRESS Edition (Sean McConnell’s The Devil’s Ball song)

Hello Readers. 

It is time for another “What to Wear” post.

For the month of March, I started off with the theme of dresses.  However, I narrowed it down to RED DRESSES because of Sean McConnell’s The Devil’s Ball  song (he mentions a little red dress and the idea just flowed). 

The Devil’s Ball is a chilling song that starts with almost a Pink Floyd vibe (but not too much) and is about a tough relationship break up. It starts off:

“I started walking.

The day that we died.

I searched the whole world –

trying to find 

place that you told me

I had to go 

the only world left 

for my kinda soul…

I climbed a mountain, crossed a river of blood, I built a boat out of wreckage and wood; I sailed the ocean, finally found….. a hole in the earth, took it all the way down.

The riveting chorus then comes streaming in – and it pierces right into the soul (seriously):

“And I’ve been waiting – where – 

the angels fell. 

Cause you told me you loved me –

on a cold day in hell. 

Well I’m there tonight..

watching that snow fall.

Won’t you go with me

to the Devil’s Ball.


I am still processing the possible meanings layered in his song.

Maybe you could chime in with your thoughts after you hear it (if you decide to listen).

The Devil’s Ball Song:


I was catching up on Delancey Place excerpts. The Husband Hunters entry (here), which also mentioned balls (“ball” is from Latin word ballare, meaning to dance). McAllister was a social mastermind and he devised a plan to use dancing parties, or balls, to create an elite social group. This select group of “twenty-five wealthy men, and their families, would give two, and sometimes three balls a season, as exquisite as possible.” So you see – some of the snobby stuff we encounter was not by chance – it was propagated and designed. 



 Jamming again to McConnell’s Devil’s Ball song, he mentioned that little red dress:

I’ll fold a white flag –

into a boutonnière 

Wear your little RED dress

they’ll love it down here

I’ll show you off

to the boys below

They’re all makin’ bets 

that you ain’t goin’ to show 


But I’ll be waiting where….

So that, my friend, is what led to today’s RED DRESSES.


First – here the dresses that came to mind when I thought of McConnell’s song:

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I wondered

 how these dresses have changed over the years.

Here is what I came up with (not exhaustive, but a little samplin’):

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While looking for red dresses, did you know there is a store called the “Red Dress Boutique” – but they have very FEW red dresses for sale (and most were waitlisted – ??)

While looking for red dresses, I ALSO noticed that New Orleans has a red dress run coming up this summer:



Some of Toulouse-Lautrec’s art came to mind:

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Toulouse-Lautrec was a successful 19th Century French painter noted for colorful posters and “for imbuing marginalized populations with humanity in his art, including sex workers.” Toulouse-Lautrec was inspired (as were other artists at that time) by the influx of Japanese art (remember that in 1845 Japan opened up to the world and the freshness of Japanese art flooded art communities, which impacted artists like Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Degas).



Began to wonder about the red dress dye toxicity:

I once heard that “red” dresses were sometimes lethal because of the red dye.

However, it turns out that GREEN dresses were often the deadly choice because dress makers were using arsenic to attain a green tint. Mercury was being used for men’s hats and other items – and this comic depicts the deadliness that was found in the formal wear during the mid-1800’s:

The illustration appeared in Punch, a British humor magazine, a few months after a worker in the fashion industry died of arsenic poisoning.


And did you know that Henry Wdsworth Longfellow’s first wife, Mary, DIED when her dress went up in flames?

That led to non-flammable materials. 


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As we wind down this post, here is a snippet from Ana Linden’s book, Glass Slippers and Stilettos:



That reminded me of some famous red dresses that made an impact: 

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Did you like the Devil’s Ball song?

I am really enjoying the Secondhand Smoke album. 

Is there a famous dress that comes to mind when you hear “red dress” 

Thanks for reading.


Author Update – 3-31-2019

Here are the leftovers – with some dresses that could not be left out:

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Author Update April 3, 2019

Check out Joanne’s AIDS fundraiser Red Dress Bike Ride HERE











47 thoughts on “What to Wear Wednesday #3 RED DRESS Edition (Sean McConnell’s The Devil’s Ball song)

    1. Thanks so much Derrick – and as noted on your recent post-after seeings so much red here – I extra enjoyed your Sunlit garden photo shoot- my mind needed
      It 🌸🌼🌻🌺🌹🌱🌿

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi D – and rabbit trail was the best word for this post.
      And also a complete indulgence – I had some time
      Waiting at the collision repair shop
      And that allowed me to look up red dresses the other day. And then Sean’s song “devils ball” has been a highlight this week – did you have a listen ?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. well actually guess what? Hubs hit a raccoon and it did some serious front end damage (used BMW) and this must have been a raccoon on steroids because it took out the radiator, power steering something, hoses, belt, undercover, some framing unit – the list goes on (and thankfully covered by insurance) – thanks for asking amigo

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Fabulous red dress post Yvette. Love how you have wound art and music with the fashion. It must have taken ages to get it together.. Like the song. The song I thought that would be in there somewhere is

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi BB – the post was not that long – the Toulouse- lattrec art and comics all wiki and google and a matter of grabbing them-
      The time sucker here was getting dresses without the models – I just did not want any copyrights for faces and then also wanted it to be about the dress and the not the “airbrushed pissed off model” look! Hah
      Oh and another thing that took a bit of time – deciding which red dresses for which decade – early decades had less choices but the 60s and 80s had tons of choices
      Thanks for the feedback and the song!!!
      Perfection with your music selection here BB

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “airbrushed pissed off model” look! made me laugh. My besties daughter does make-up and hair for fashion shoots. I see lots of WTF is that all about photos 🙂 Good luck finding dresses for the LBD post 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I did like the song. Although I like the ball gown, I think the little red dress would be more fitting for a hellish dance… (cooler, for one 😉 ). Skipping down a bit, yeah, there is a reason people were mad as hatters, and it had to do with the chemicals, like lead, they used in the hats. There was a lot of toxic stuff in about everything during the 19th century – unless you grew your own food or were rich enough to buy fresh, you pretty much ate poison.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Trent – I was hoping you would drop by for this post and if I did not see you drop by – I was coming to invite you because of the song – so let me know your take (cos you are a music man) and
      Also appreciate the history tidbits – I did know about the hatters and while prepping this post had a small visit to a site that showed the way mercury was used as glue/sealants on hats –
      But sadly we have not learned from history in all ways –
      Maybe in some ways – but we are still making people sick!! Mercury in the flu shot and it DOES add up in the human body – and this is wrong wrong wrong!
      I am also against fluoride in the drinking water – wrong wrong wrong
      And then all this chemical plastic our food continues is constantly touching – well
      Plastics have heavy metals and other contaminants that leak into food- there are better plastics than others – but….
      Don’t want too say much more – but the world is is toxic for sure – just different then back then
      and we have a brainwashed, dumbed-down society (not all) but many who do not always think for themselves on health – it is always “ask your doctor” when sometimes they need to use common sense and think with their own wisdom!
      And have heard and retardant clothes – and some other fabric treatments – like stain resistant scotch guard – can be very bad for humans – even that memory foam has gotten some reviews where folks say the new ones leak air pollutants for a while (so be careful with your new
      Foam topper)
      Ok – enough -ha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I pretty much agree. I also know about the foam topper – The one we use on the Cape will air out for two weeks. The one in NH was only for a couple of days, I smell it – yuck – but it is getting less.

        Plastics is one of the biggest problems our planet faces right now, but a discussion for later…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the music. Easy to listen to, nice lyrics. I cannot think of a single famous red dress, although whenever I think of a woman wearing red I think of Nancy Reagan in her suits. She was all about red.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi ally – thanks for mentioning Nancy Reagan -perfect example – and for some reason my big memory of her was an interview I saw where she was sharing about how she started lifting weights. It was so long ago but I thought –
      Good for her – she is getting into weight lifting – hah

      Liked by 1 person

    2. And ally – just curious –
      If you had to wear one of the dresses here,
      which would
      It be?
      I don’t wear “red” but so wear maroon and never the tiny ones (so not me)


    1. Thanks for chiming in – check one off for 1940s

      And for the feedback on Ana’s snippet from her book.
      I think you follow her blog too so you might already know – but her writing often includes stirring up the senses and she often incorporates clothing items – the unassuming dress or the fluffy slippers and how they connect to a person….
      Have a nice day YC

      Liked by 2 people

    1. the pleasure is truly mine – and a highlight this month has been my discovery of his music.
      I had never heard of him until some friends asked us to go hear him play – and I did not expect much (actually had no expectations just was going with them) and the guy that opened was so good and then sean came out and it has led to a fun music month. My second favorite song from his album is “Alien” – and I might post about it later
      have a nice day


  4. What a haunting song! His voice is so beautiful … but sad.

    “Red dress” for me will always make me think of the Bike Rally from Toronto to Montreal in support of people with HIV/AIDS. My son and his husband have been active participants for several years and sit of the Board of this charitable foundation.
    In 2016 I was supposed to join them on their journey but broke my collarbone a month before departure. With the help of a friend, I was up at the crack of dawn to drive to Kingston to cheer them on “Dress In Red Day” when the riders and volunteers all rock red. It is one of the best days of the rally 🙂 Thanks for triggering a great memory 💕


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh the photos from your post are fantastic – glad to trigger the memory and appreciate your chiming in with it here. You enriched the post.
      When I was prepping for this post- I had to STOP and just pull back (almost walked away from it) because there was so many extensions. I did not know about your Bike Rally, but there while looking there were many American Heart Assoc events and then a lot of research came up (i.e. red dress effect).

      and haunting was a good word for the song. That is how I feel – wonderful voice – the variations in the music – and sad all the way. There is a desperation in his loss and I only had one relationship that even came close to feeling what I think the writer of that song was feeling.
      I am currently enjoying the whole album –

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great blog post! I do like the song, music and lyrics. Thank you.
    I thought immediately of book covers! The Red Tent and A Handmaid’s Tale. I don’t wear red but once a year. I have a red blouse that flatters me and I break it out during the holiday season. I once had to wear a SHINY red strapless dress as a bridesmaid and I felt, well, I felt like a whore. Reds just don’t suit me and boobs don’t help. Too much attention for me. I’m just sayin. Of course, I dress like a schoolmarm, mommer, which is dull, but I relate to the quote on finding a husband worthy of it, too. Oh wow, so many layers of symbolism, sexism, and old thinking in my head, hm? Eek! It’s my truth tho. My mother, the same. This all being said, I think I could pull off the 1940s dress at a party, with navy flats and a cocktail in my hand, not in my regular life.


    1. Hi Joey – thanks so much for this comment because you brought in a few important elements. Like how red can be ideal for holidays – and red clothing sometimes can have a whore-like vibe to it (red light district) and I do not have very many red items. Used to have a few red shirts for Xmas – but I do have a red rain jacket (business-like – and it is nice).
      and I really like the sound of the look with the navy flats with that particular dress for the right occasion. Also, I added in one more slideshow with the extra red dresses I had pics of – if you get a chance – see if you like any of those a little more. I do…) –

      When you wrote: “symbolism, sexism, and old thinking” – well you are VERY in tune with the layers that come with red dresses. While prepping for the post I stumbled across research and articles – and I almost QUIT this post because it was getting to be too much. But then I did NOT want to carry the post into the next month (if that makes sense) – so I went with what unfolded and just put up what I had.

      anyhow, some rabbit trails that came with the red dress (and omg were there many) but here are three I had to walk away from (and relate to your comment)
      1) The red dress effect and how “the pull of red is nothing new. Women have donned pinkish blush and bright lipstick for nearly 12,000 year” link is here:
      2) Strain (2012) discovered that “men rate women wearing red clothing as being more interested in sex, hinting that humans may be conditioned to associate the color with fertility.” Link is here
      3) Jardine (2014) noted that “even in the 1950s a woman in red could carry too many negative overtones. I have a grim memory myself of arriving at the Bordeaux home of my French pen-pal aged 11, in a neat red dress my mother had made me, and Dominique’s grandmother pronouncing tartly: “Elle n’a pas honte” – roughly translated, “She’s a shameless hussy” (link is here: https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29240820)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I could see how you could go down a rabbit hole there.
        I looked at the new slides, and while I note my blouse is very similar to the dress with the tie, where the woman has crossed her arms, I am just not a fan of red dresses, even Princess Diana’s, even Annie’s. My Sassy, she can wear red and look as fabulous and confident as Miss Lupita does in hers. I.Cannot.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Glad Sassy can rock this color – but I am with you amiga – NO red dresses for me (maybe a deep burgandy or maroon) and thanks for taking a look at the new set of dresses – and as fun as this post was – truly interesting – I move on from the topic – almost like having a small event that was a blast and then when it is over – you sigh and get to real life – nice topic to explore – but later on April I will be ready for my next “what to wear” post, which will be about jeans – or maybe jeans and blazers combined

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not a fan of running, but, hey, if one can do it in a red dress, I might be persuaded. 😀
    Anyway, it took a few days, but here I am, as promised. I started reading 4 times and kept getting interrupted. I’m glad you didn’t give up on writing the post, it sparked such an interesting conversation. Sorry I couldn’t make it with a better contribution than that fragment.
    Great red dress selection, I think I would wear some of them, even from the past decades (maybe not the ’80s one 😀 ). And I had no idea about green dresses being toxic back then, although I did hear about the hats, thus “mad as a hatter”. Crazy times, although we’re not having it much better, in some respects.
    I love “Lady in Red”, but it would have been much more predictable a choice. This one however is a fresh touch and it goes perfectly (it was the first time I heard it, btw, so thanks for sharing). The words are moving and somehow I feel there’s more to it than just the broken heart story. One wants something so badly, above anything else, yet that dream is out of reach, impossible – when hell freezes over. Yet one somehow overcomes adversities, turns the impossible into reality at any cost, fully aware of all compromises involved. paradoxically, one can have what one wants only in an undesirable world/society. And yet… when that level is reached, is it enough, will it be worth the sacrifice, will it even remain desirable? Will she even show up, in her red dress?… Or will it just be hell? Hmmm… layers, as always. 😉
    As for the two dresses… the little red one would have been my choice until a few years ago, but these days I’d go with the other one for the devil’s ball 😉 You made me realize I no longer have a red dress in my wardrobe. Skirt, trousers, several tops and other items, sure, but no dress. See, that’s why I don’t run. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hahah – love the bookmark with the “running”
      and it sure is not for everyone – but the red dress jogging could get a lot of folks out there…
      and thanks for the little snippet from your book (as noted before – it was cool how it just happened to match the delancey place of husband hunters – and then your snippet had the husband part – love when it lines up on its own)

      I also would not wear that 1980s one – hah
      Loved each part of your thoughts about the song (ugh so good)
      and esp. this: “And yet… when that level is reached, is it enough, will it be worth the sacrifice, will it even remain desirable?”
      you are right about “layers, as always”
      and I love when good writers give us some tasty lyrics to ponder – and even blog about – ahhhhh

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a nice bonus, lyrics with deep, different layers. About the fragment – had I had time to write that new one I was telling you about, it would not have fit as well (if at all).
        Oh, and I really hope that ’80s dress doesn’t make a comeback! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow!!!! Who knew about the dangers of wearing certain colored clothes? Interesting! Great info.

    The red dress (or might I say dresses) that comes to mind for me is in my closet. Red being my favorite color and dresses my favorite thing to wear has led me to the acquisition of many red dresses over the years. Some I haven’t even worn in a very long time. I must fix that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. well have fun when you get to wearing those sitting ones – 🙂
      and I noticed that nice red shirt (and dark suit) when you spoke at your son’s school. It was a nice outfit.

      Liked by 1 person

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