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Quinceanera Attire: 6 Creative Choices for Your Guests and Corte de Honor

At special events, occasionally there are dress codes to follow if you’re a guest and not a participant. In general, at a wedding, you most likely wouldn’t wear a white ball gown, unless the bride says otherwise. At a Quinceanera, it’s also—in general—considered bad form for a guest to show up in an over-the-top ball gown or white tie and tails. But as a guest, you can still look fabulous in fancy dress, so here are some tips for ladies and gents honored with a Quinceanera invitation:

For the Ladies:

Cocktail Dresses

Cocktail dresses may be formal or casual depending on the design. They’re usually a little above or below knee-length and very comfortable to move around in and dance during the party. If you can, find out the celebrant’s color scheme, and choose a color that complements but doesn’t compete. Also, a cocktail dress should be fun and flirty, not skimpy and revealing. This honors both the atmosphere of the religious portion of the Quince, and also respects the sensibilities of the celebrant’s family, especially the elder generation that might be more conservative. Also, consider the formality—or casual tone—of the venue.

A quince celebrated at a theme park calls for a little more casual dress than formal taffeta of chiffon, but ultra-dressy attire is the perfect choice for a Quince held in a hotel ballroom or other fancy venue.  And if the Quince is a fancy masquerade ball, you can wear a cocktail dress with bling like beads or jewels.

You’ll also want to wear shoes that’ll work for you. If you know there’ll be a lot of activities—and there usually is quite a bit of dancing—you might like pumps or Mary Janes. Stilettos are sleek, but will slow you down. If it’s a beach Quinceanera, shoes depend on what’s noted on the invitation. Some allow flip flops and casual but dressy sundresses. Nude sandals also look great with pastel colored clothing.

Maxi Dress

Maxi dresses are lovely to wear to Quinceaneras. If you’re self-conscious in too short a cocktail dress, wear a maxi. They’re comfortable, practical and almost every body type looks stunning. Maxis are perfect for both formal and casual parties.  Formal maxi dresses are commonly styles in one color, so remember that darker colors are more slimming. You can wear either high heels or flats just as long as you’re comfortable walking and moving around.  

You could also choose a dressy hi-low hem for the best of both worlds. However, even with a hi-low, be sure to have the hem tailored so the back of the hem doesn’t sweep the floor like a train. Also, since maxi dresses are often soft and flowing, it’s fine to wear your Spanx or whatever else makes you feel beautiful.  

Tube Top Mini Dress

For younger guests, Tube top minis are age-appropriate and fashionable, and you can find plenty of styles that’ll work for both formal or casual events. A fitted tube top and a fluffy skirt can look elegant without upstaging the celebrant. Mini-skirt tube-top dresses also sometimes have wonderfully deep pockets for stashing your phone or lip gloss. Wear either heels or flats, whichever looks best with the dress style.

Also, make sure the tube top dress you choose is, well, secure on top. (You know what we mean!) Wear a fitted corset or shaper underneath, or wear a more tailored mini with a lace or sheer illusion neckline. Those still have a tube top silhouette but offer more coverage and support. A sweetheart neckline is also both lovely and trendy.

Evening Gown

If you’re invited to a Quince at a grand ballroom or another super-dressy venue, go all out in a floor-length gown and sleek heels or dressy pumps. Just one note: Don’t choose a dress that’s too see-through. The rule of thumb is, if you would wear it to church or a religious event, you can wear it to a Quince. Also, if your gown is strapless, has spaghetti straps, or is otherwise revealing, take a pretty shawl or a matching wrap for the ceremony.  

For the Gents:

Suits

You show up in a dark suit and tie with leather dress shoes—wow! You have awesome taste! Not all quinces call for super-dressy but know this: Shorts and jeans are a big no-no at a formal quince. T-shirts, sneakers, and rubber shoes are also taboo at a formal affair. A casual but dressy look would be a shirt and vest with a tie. Just make sure you don’t look like the celebrant’s chambelanes. At the least, consider wearing a tie, even if the party is casual. An exception is a party held at the beach or a very casual venue like a barn or theme park.

Damas and Chambelanes

Being asked to be in the court for a Quinceanera is an incredible honor. When it comes to what you wear, in this case, you’re off the hook because the celebrant selects the attire. The damas usually wear gowns which complement the guest of celebrant’s ball gown.  The chambelanes usually wear tuxedos or vests and ties that match the damas’ dresses

One note: If you’re in the court, the celebrant or her family often pays for the tuxedos or whatever the guys wear,  and also buys the dresses for the girl. You should still make sure your outfit is tailored enough to be comfortable, so if you need extra fittings, consider paying for those yourself, just to be polite.