Feliz Quinceanera: The Anatomy of 15 Anos Dresses

The Quinceanera is a coming of age celebration that dates back to ancient Spanish and Mezo-America. This once in a lifetime rite of passage brings friends and family together to celebrate the 15th birthday of a beloved debutante. The apex of this daylong event, featuring a church service, party, and ceremony, is not the girl, but the quinceanera dress. Today’s 15 anos dresses follow the style of the classic ball gown [vestido de baile formal] with many modern accouterments.

Dress styles [tipos de vestidos] are determined by formality, body shape and preference. Traditionally, the 15 anos dress is a ball gown – a form-fitted bodice [blusa] with a full, structured skirt. Classic styles are the A-line [linea A] or princess [princesa] which flares out from the waist. Created by the simple cut of the fabric or pleats and folds, the A-line dress is flattering to all body types. The sheath or column [tubo] flows straight from the neckline and enhances a slim or athletic figure. An empire gown [imperio] has a high-waist and draws attention to the bustline. The mermaid dress [vestido de sirena] hugs a curvy body and flares from the knees.

The most popular quinceanera gowns are floor length, but less formal dresses are trending this year. Tea length gowns [vestido de té] stop just at or below the knees. Cocktail dresses [vestido de cóctel], minis and micro-minis are progressively shorter.

Crinoline [crinolina], once made of horse hair or steel, is now made of fabric and plastic boning. Its bell gives both support and lift to a full gown. A crinoline may be replaced by petticoats [enagua], slips [resbalón] or tulle [tul]. Undergarments add volume to dresses and make the wearer look thicker. Girls of short stature can get lost in the folds. Dresses with no crinoline show limited pouf.

Neckline [escote] choices depend on the debutante’s neck length and breast size. The appearance of flesh can be complementary or deleterious to the debutante. Contemporary styles for 15 anos dresses are scoop [escote en U], sweetheart [corazón], strapless [palabra de honor] and V-neck [escote V]. Other options include off-the-shoulder [hombros caidos], square [quadrado] and halter.

Sleeves [mangas] are almost unheard of on 15 anos dresses with the exception of capped [capsuladas] and petal [pétalo].

The most beautiful 15 anos dress is the one that best reflects the debutante’s personality:

Dreamers should go with something like the turquoise and fuchsia Tiffany Quince Dress 26706 at Peaches Boutique (http://www.peachesboutique.com/Prom-Dress-Tiffany-Quinceanera-26706.aspx).

Traditionalists should try Mary’s Bridal Quinceanera Dresses Style 4200, found in red at ABC Fashion (http://www.abcfashion.net/marys-quinceanera-dresses-4200.html).

Pretty princesses might pair a tiara with the purple MQ-586 from The Rose Dress (http://www.therosedress.com/shop/products/itemMQ.asp?id=586&vendorid=MQ).

For sparkle and bling, check out Vizcaya Style 88006 Beaded Tulle in Blue Fusion or Orange Fusion at Mori Lee by Madeline Gardner (http://www.morilee.com/Quinceanera/quinceanera_vizcaya/88006).

For volume without length, look at the A-line Sweetheart Rhinestone Sleeveless Short Mini from Merle (http://www.merledress.com/a-line-sweetheart-rhinestone-sleeveless-short-mini-organza-cocktail-dresses-homecoming-dresses.html).

For length without volume, go with La Femme Embellished Ombré Chiffon Gown from Nordstrom’s (http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/la-femme-embellished-ombre-chiffon-gown/3438354?origin=category&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=&resultback=7128)

Be fun and funky in something like the pink and black organza gown from Quinceanera Galleria (http://www.quinceaneragalleria.com/pink-and-black-organza-quinceanera-dress/)

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