Hispanic Style

Growing up, I attended a catholic school, which meant that from the ages of 4 until 17, I was wearing a uniform. I think that knowing exactly what to wear 5 days a week definitely stunted my fashion sense, since I never really had to think about it. On Sundays I wore white or pastel clothes, since we usually went to church and then spent some time with the family. But Saturdays… Saturdays were the days when I got to “experiment”. And man, did I get to experiment. I actually went a little nuts after my mom decided that at 13 I was old enough to pick my own clothes. I would go crazy and try to put on every item from whatever trend or phase I was going through and somehow make it “work”.  I look at pictures now and cringe because what in the world was I thinking when I went through my scene phase or my over-the-top hipster phase? I’m glad my mom let me experiment and let me do my thing without making me feel bad for wearing turquoise and black from head to toe -I know, those were rough years.

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As a direct result from my mom picking my clothes for so long and me going a little over the top with trends and my own choices, I wore black, grey, white and denim for about four years. I guess these were the years where I was done experimenting with colours and patterns and wanted something else. I was still very interested in fashion -buying magazines and obsessing over pieces on pinterest. I followed blogs and Instagram accounts dedicated to fashion, but when it came to myself, I was in a no-muss-no-fuss stage. And then one day I started trying on textures: faux leather, satin, faux fur, lace, wool, corduroy, velvet, sequence, glitter, denim, denim, denim.

 

I couldn’t get enough.

 

Now, if you know me personally then you know that I do have an everyday uniform: denim, t-shirt and comfy shoes. I don’t like going to class in something that I know will catch my professor’s eye because I hate participating -bad habit, I know- and for the most part, that’s just my college uniform. I hated uniforms growing up and even now I still basically rock one 5 days a week -the irony. BUT… the weekends are still for me and over the summer, I went back to my roots and started wearing colour again. And not just colour, but prints! I was channeling my #1 Latina style icon from the start: my mom; and let me tell you, that lady loves colour. And so do most Latinas

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It might me a generalization to assume that all of us Latinas gravitate towards bold, bright colours and vibrant prints, patterns and shapes -not to mention drama and texture. And it’s because it’s what we’ve been doing since the start. You look at most of our traditional gowns and they are beautiful pieces full of life and colour! Whether we live in the hottest of the Central American rainforest or the highest point of Machu Picchu, texture and vibrant colours are always there. We have managed to wear things that others might be scared of and make them part of our everyday lives. And at the end of the day: I love colour. I love print. I don’t care if it’s a stereotype -because sometimes stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason, and it just so happens that this one is true most of the time. And I’m happy with that.

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Latina women are very feminine and embrace boldness in the right way. It always looks good. And it’s not just colours that we tend to mix and match, it seems like we’re in this perfect line between boldly masculine and perfectly feminine. My theory on this is because it’s very warm during the summer time and sometimes you don’t wanna wear a dress or shorts or a tank top, so you go for a crisp shirt that keeps you protected from the sun and relatively fresh.

 

And this is reflected on almost every Latina fashion icon -that boldness and confidence to wear what makes them feel good. I guess that’s the key; we like wearing pieces that make us feel good… and maybe draw the attention towards us from time to time. Latina women have a real appreciation for beauty… We like to always look groomed, have the perfect hair, perfect nails. We like to cause an impression. It’s part of our heritage!

 

As further proof of the amazing style us Latinas have, here are a few of my all time favourite Latina fashion:

 

  • Eva Perón: Also known as: Evita. Her name might be familiar if you like musicals, but for those of you who don’t know her, she was the First Lady of Argentina who is mostly known for her compassion and dedication to helping the poor and those in need. This allowed Perón to develop a reputation as a spiritual and down-to-earth symbol of the country. She also made great strides for feminism, as she refused to take the back seat during her husband’s presidency.

  • Frida Kahlo: Without a doubt the name most of you will immediately recognise, Kahlo was a game changer. As a surrealist artist, she celebrated her Mexican and indigenous roots through her paintings, as well as her other identities -disabled, bisexual, woman, communist, among others. In the following decades, she became a feminist and LGBTQ icon that is now recognised by many for her paintings, as well as the flowers she wore in her hair.

  • Nina Garcia: This Colombian Girlboss is most known as the creative director of Marie Claire, but for many years now, Garcia has managed to have an increasingly successful career while also being able to put outfits together that seamlessly take her from dropping her kids off at school to editing a fashion magazine to filming an episode of Project Runway -since the beginning of the show.

  • Bianca Jagger: One of the most talked about icons of the 70s, Bianca is a total badass. She took styles that were tailored for men and transformed them into her innovative look. It was her fluidity in French, combined with her brains and bravado that made every instantly drawn to her -even Mick Jagger. After she retired her disco boots, miniskirts and gave Studio 54 a break, Bianca used her status to become dedicated to human rights in Nicaragua and help fight human brutality and oppression. Again: a total badass.

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  • Celia Cruz: The Queen of Salsa; do I really need to say more? While most singers came and went, Cruz’s career lasted nearly six decades, in which she undoubtedly changed the world with one word: Azúcar! She was strongly against Fidel Castro’s regime and was a strong voice for freedom in Cuba. And how can we forget the most important thing? She taught us to never be afraid of a monochromatic outfit and that “life is a carnival’ -La Vida Es Un Carnaval!

  • Rita Moreno: A legendary singer, dancer and actress has had an amazing career. She won praise for her role as Anita in the film adaptation of West Side Story and has also been known for her charity work. She’s still the only Latino who has earned the prestigious EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony).

  • Carolina Herrera: Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Carolina Herrera has always been a symbol of sophistication and elegance. She started her passion for fashion from a very young age, when her mother and grandmothers used to take her to see haute couture fashion shows from the age of 13. It’s no wonder she picked up on the elegance and style of the graceful women she surrounded herself with, and this transcends into her designs. She has created one of the most successful businesses in the fashion industry and continuously brings women classic, feminine and timeless designs. A true Latina icon and an inspiration to us all.

  • Selena Quintanilla: Last but certainly not least, we have Selena. Despite having her life tragically cut short, she accomplished more than most artists in her lifetime. She helped put Latin and Tejano music on the mainstream map. She was known as “The Queen of Tejano” and her voice transcended borders in hits like, “Como la Flor” and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.” Very few stars have been able to live up to the Grammy winner’s grace, talent, and ambition.

 

 

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