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The Evolution of Quinceanera and Sweet 16 Dresses

Quinceanera, in Latin traditions is the coming of age of a woman. Better known in many cultures as the celebration of the fifteenth birthday (“quince” is the Spanish for fifteen), this Hispanic celebration has merged with the American culture and is now celebrated on the sixteenth birthday or what is simply known as “Sweet 16”. This event is greeted by a festive and religious ceremony where God, family, friends, music, food and dance are the main highlights of the evening.

A girl celebrating her Quinceanera usually wears a ball gown. It is also customary that during the said occasion, the celebrant will receive or wear a tiara, a cross or medal, Bible and rosary and a scepter. Fast forward to the present times and with a more contemporary approach, celebration of Sweet 16 is usually done by holding a dance for teenagers that depicts that the celebrator is now open for a more serious and romantic aspects of life such as courtship and relationships.

During a Sweet 16 or Quinceanera, the main focus of the evening is of course the teenager celebrating her birthday. In this night, she is expected to be in elegant maquillage or makeup. Traditionally, this will be the first time that she will be wearing makeup; however, this is usually no longer the case today. The only thing that has been retained in the original tradition is the elegant ball gown which is worn by the celebrant. Customarily, the preferred color is white, but because fashion has helped evolve and bend traditions, there is no required color to be worn by the celebrant anymore.

Aside from the traditional ball gown, Quinceanera celebrants of this generation are also wearing popular fashion designs such as the mermaid or trumpet dress which is a full-length Quinceanera dress that shows the wearer’s body curve. Then, there is also the A-line Quinceanera dress that is tight on the waist and loose on the hips. Also, an empire cut is a good option for celebrants who are not as physically mature as other girls her age. An empire cut dress fakes the body’s shape because it creates a pear-shaped torso effect.

For the dresses of today, sky is the limit as long as the Quinceanera celebrant can wear it confidently. There is not much rules to follow as for the cut, fabric and even style of the Quinceanera dress. One can have a couturiere and have it customized or can buy a ready-to-wear evening gown for the night. It can be made with trains, ruffles, flowers, sequins, appliques, tiers, embroidery, pleats, and everything that one can think of. Experimenting and using lots of mix and match techniques will go a long way in customizing your own Quinceanera dress.