Growing up in Reynosa, Mexico, I was raised in a vibrant, loving, and pretty constricted Pentecostal household. Whether at home or in church, I was taught that, as a girl, I needed to be modest. While I was young, I understood that this meant that I needed to behave and dress in ways that didn’t attract “indecent and improper” attention. So I wasn’t allowed to follow most beauty and fashion trends and, instead, wore simple clothes to cover my body. While the girls around me donned fun maximalist or street style looks, my closet was always giving alabanza core: high-neck blouses and long, denim skirts. If the classic coro “Alabaré A Mi Señor” had a music video, I’d be the girl cast in it.
Hailing from diverse corners of Mexico, where garbs are often colorful and textured, my muted wardrobe felt isolating. So as I got older and started to build my own personal style, I rebelled against these homely looks. I started to wear form-fitting clothes, recreated ‘90s vampy makeup looks, and adorned my body with big, gold jewelry. And it felt liberating.
“Choosing to unlearn the sexist assumptions tied to modesty culture and dressing my body in a way that makes me feel confident helps me to return ownership of my body and life to its rightful proprietress: me.”
That’s because, in so many ways, wearing what I want to wear is freeing. While my Christian upbringing has gifted me with a beautiful faith, love, and community, the toxic purity culture I grew up in taught me harmful lessons, like the myth that dressing modestly can guard me from sexual violence in Reynosa, where rape, assault, and abuse are devastatingly high, or the idea that my body doesn’t belong to me. Choosing to unlearn the sexist assumptions tied to modesty culture and dressing my body in a way that makes me feel confident helps me to return ownership of my body and life to its rightful proprietress: me.
Yet, as my personal style journey continues to unfold, I’ve found that I, and many other beauty and fashion content creators, are returning to that once dreaded traditional and simple Pentecostal church aesthetic. Damas y caballeros de la iglesia, the long denim skirt is back. And, to my surprise, I’m choosing to wear it — but only in a way that complements my present personal style. This means I’m pairing jean skirts with form-fitting blouses that have deep necklines, ornate accessories, and grandiose makeup looks that defy meekness and modesty.
“Being in my alabaré era means I’m reclaiming clothes, styles, and trends in a way that serves me today — and that is worth praise.”
This is what my alabaré era looks like: Aesthetically, it weaves together so many important elements of my youth, personal rebellion, and eventual style reclamation. And it’s also about embracing and celebrating what brought it about in the first place: Latine traditions, love from family, and genuine empowerment expressed by …read more