Top Quince Trends

The quinceañera has been a tradition for many generations, but today’s quinces are not your mother’s traditional quinceañeras. Today, Latinitas push the limits of this coming of age celebration with new and exciting trends.

The Court
The vital quince court has been a staple in quince celebration. Now, courts come in all different varieties. Some are all girls or all boys, others have couples, and some have no court at all! Elodia and Bridal Novias specialty store is seeing more and more quinceañeras who elect to have smaller courts. “The parents just don’t want to spend the money on dresses and tuxedo rentals anymore,” mentions Elodia Adamson, owner of Elodia and Bridal Novias. Although courts are getting smaller, Adamson says that economizing does not mean the loss of the court altogether. “Courts are always going to be part of the quinceañera, whether it is large or small,” adds Adamson.

The Dress
The traditional image carries a strong image of a Latina girl becoming a woman in a beautiful white gown. The top trend in quinceañera dresses is no longer a vision in white, but in color. Color is no longer reserved for the court, and according to Elodia’s, “color brings excitement to the overall look of the celebration.” The top three colors for spring and summer at Elodia’s are fuchsia, turquoise and lime green because of their light and vibrant shades. In winter and fall, the top three colors are a more traditional ivory, chocolate brown and a dark rose red. “Usually, we see all shapes and sizes of dresses, short and long. Some quinceañeras even just wear wedding dresses,” says Adamson. “Even though we see many colors, we still see the traditional white.” With white being the staple, one wonders if the color trend this season will fade. Today, dresses become the focal point of the quinceañera, often carrying the theme itself.

The Theme
The idea of a quinceañera theme is a relatively new trend that has slowly become the standard in quinceañeras today. UniquelyQuince.com is a quinceañera leader for creating and perfecting themes. This online quince mecca specializes in theme sets and props, as well as displaying new and hot trends. This season, Uniquely Quince has themes that range from winter wonderland to rock and roll. The top five themes on Uniquely Quince include: fairy tale, castle in the clouds, red carpet, princess for a day, and butterfly garden. Although mostly whimsical, many other unconventional themes include: quinceañera royal, underwater wonderland, Arabian paradise, paradise island, and, if your quince happens to fall during this time, a Mardi Gras theme. Uniquely Quince also sells blank kits for those who are especially creative. Most themes take imagination, and a lot of time to put together.

Planning
In the quinceañera world, details are everything. From the flowers to the dress, many qirls are turning to a professional for the planning. Organizational skills are a must for laying out the theme to food, up until the day of; the big party. In the past, most of the planning was organized by the mom, tias and abuelita. One of the top trends occurring today involves quinceañeras choosing highly recommended event planners. Emily’s Flowers and Bridal specializes in quinceañera packages which include the custom dress, doll, photo album, commemorative wine glasses, pillow for shoes, and tiara. “We are always booked, so we only take about 20 quinceañeras a month,” informs Emily, the owner and operator of Emily’s Flowers and Bridal. Emily’s Flowers and Bridal plans and packages about over 200 quinceañeras a year, and often resorts to a waiting list. Because of the growing popularity of quinceañera planners, Emily suggests that parties book early. “As soon as possible would be the best time to start planning,” Emily recommends.

Accessories
Accessories no longer just include the usual rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. When being a queen or princess for a day, accessories must follow accordingly. A growing trend in quinceañeras are whimsical and royal accessories. “Scepters and tiaras are our number one seller, for every theme we see,” says Elodia Adamson. Adamson also adds that the tiara has become a growing staple. With so many styles and colors, any quinceañera can find the right one that corresponds to her theme. Although a little more elaborate, scepters are becoming more popular as well. “For the scepters, usually girls have a more fairytale theme that is little more elaborate,” describes Adamson. Uniquely Quince also specializes in scepters in different styles such as the “Corazón Scepter.” Scepters are not only for accessorizing, but have evolved into a modern tradition. Uniquely Quince suggests that, “The scepter signifies the responsibility being given to her [the quinceañera] as she becomes a young woman.”

Many trends stick, while others are in the moment only lasting long enough to bask in their fifteen minutes of fame. As trends become more popular, there is no telling if they are here to stay. When trying to create a trendy quinceañera, it is always important to watch the latest trends, but it’s also important be true to yourself. Oftentimes, the trends that stick are the trends that are timeless and define you. Even though there are many trends out there, there is one out there for you.

June 2009

Fifteens, Drama Queens and Sweet Sixteens

In the Latino culture, many girls celebrate their coming of age through a significant ceremony called a quinceañera. Usually this occasion is marked by a girl turning fifteen years of age, hence the phrase “quince.” As many generations of Latin Americans become settled into the United States and become more “Americanized,” the tradition of having a quince is becoming more and more obscured. When American social images and Latino traditions collide they create a new image of the quince. Many girls take that collision and mold a new idea out of the popular tradition. Some girls elect to have a sweet sixteen, a trend made popular by the MTV show of the same name. Others just say no to the whole idea of a coming of age celebration, a thought that would make any abuelita cringe. As the generations build and traditions fade, the meaning of what it is to have a quince is often lost in translation.

Something Old, Something New
When traditions seem too old fashioned, many girls take the quince situation into their own hands. “It was traditional and untraditional,” remembers Jazmyne, an eighteen year old Latina. Jazmyne’s quince was modeled after an Arabian night’s theme, complete with rhinestones, and magic carpets. “It was really fun and I’ll remember it as long as I live,” Jazmyne smiles. “I decided to have a quinceañera because it was a tradition family,” explains Jazmyne, “most of my family had had one so I decided to have one too.” In mixing up new and old, Jazmyne wore a traditional white gown but had a court of all girls. “I decided to just have a small group of girls, half family and half friends,” Jazmyne says. Jazmyne added personal style by choreographing dances that she and her court performed as entertainment for guests. Because this was such an elaborate touch, everyone in her court, including Jazmyne, had to practice often. “It was hard to get everyone to show up to practice and cooperate,” laughs Jazmyne, “two of the even girls got into a fight at one of my practices!” Although Jazmyne feels that her quince was not exactly like the traditional celebration, she feels that she represented her cultural identity and appealed to main stream America accurately. “A quince is just a fifteenth birthday party and it doesn’t matter how you do it,” says Jazmyne, “as long as you share it with the ones you care for.” Jazmyne hopes that the tradition of having a quinceañera continues grow in future generations of her family. But as generations grow, will they eventually lose this coveted tradition? Or will the tradition become so far stretched that it will no longer appear to be a quince anymore?

Breaking Tradition
Even when the quinceañera tradition runs rampant in a girl’s family, some decide to skip out on the whole thing. “Everyone had one, my friends, my cousins, and even my older sister,” says sixteen year old Latina Andrea. When Andrea turned fourteen, her family already had plans to throw her a quince celebration. “My family was excited about throwing me a party!” Andrea remembers. Andrea blames everyone’s excitement on her older sister’s celebration. “She had a very fun quinceañera, and everyone was asking me when I would have mine,” says Andrea, “I had a lot of fun but I didn’t want to have a traditional ceremony with the white dress and the doll.” Andrea often watched the show My Super Sweet Sixteen, and liked some of the ideas that they had on the show. “I liked how they were not so traditional, how you could show your individuality and be different,” Andrea explains. Andrea’s mom wasn’t sure that her daughter was serious about having a quince or sweet sixteen, so she put off planning. “She [my mom] was so used to planning a quince, because of my sister, that she would have probably made my sweet sixteen party into a quinceañera,” Andrea says. During this planning time, Andrea ended up moving to another city and planning for a party was put on hold. “I just was happy that I didn’t have to worry about this big thing that I wasn’t even sure about,” Andrea reveals, “and by the time I turned fifteen, I was happy just to have a small birthday party at my house.” Although Andrea never had a quinceañera or sweet sixteen, she is fine with her choice and can’t wait for the next quinceañera or sweet sixteen celebrations in her family. When Andrea wanted to find a middle ground, her ideas went against the traditional grain. It seems as if younger generations are beginning to think differently about the quince traditions. Even if girls have some sort of coming of age celebration, it is unclear if they will incorporate older traditional symbolism into their celebration.

My Big Fat Sweet Sixteen
12 year old Latina Alex plans to have a fairytale like coming of age celebration.”I want a sweet sixteen because I want to different,” Alex says, “almost all the women in my family had a quinceañera.” Alex has big plans for her sweet sixteen and hopes to make it a celebration no one will forget. Although she is only twelve, Alex can already picture and pick out the specific look for her day. “Hot pink, lime green, orange and turquoise are the colors that I want to use in my theme” describes Alex. Because she is having a sweet sixteen, Alex elects not to have a court or chambelan. “I want it all to be about me,” Alex smirks, “every girl has a chance to be a princess, and have a special day of her own.” Alex has high hopes for the future as she becomes a young lady and her family introduces her to society. “I like the idea of a quince, but it’s just not for me,” Alex says.

When traditions fade and new ideas collide, it is certain that younger generations will draw out their interpretations about coming of age. Although it may seem as if the quinceañera is slipping out of style, all hope is not lost. As many new immigrants bring traditional ideals into the “melting pot” that is America, these sacred traditions will not fade away easily. When coming of age, many Latinas are faced with the excitement and wonder of quinceañera and sweet sixteen traditions. Now more than ever, girls are discovering new trends, breaking tradition, going all out and finding their individuality within these meaningful ceremonies. Whether you are a fifteen, sixteen or even a drama queen, it doesn’t matter how you step into your future, as long as you don’t forget your past.

January 2009

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