Monday, September 16, 2013

Once upon a 16th of September - Happy Birthday Mexico and Mom!

September 16th is Mexican Independence Day (and my mom's b-day - Happy Birthday Mom!).  This is the day that is celebrated in Mexico as Independence Day.  Here in the U.S. we celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but that's another Mexican Independence Day (and the birthday of yours truly).  If you want to understand this in detail, Wikipedia will be your friend.

Back in the small town where I grew up, there were 16th of September celebrations and parades.  My father used to take my brother and me, dressed in our Mexican folk wear to the parades.  Sometimes he'd start talking with folks and they would let us ride on their floats.  Here's what we looked like back then:

My costume is the China Poblana, and I wore it any chance I could get.  The sequined skirt dazzled me when I stared up at it hanging from its perch in my closet, and I loved running my fingers over the smooth and silky embroidered flowers on the blouse.  Best of all, when I wore this outfit, the only shoes I was allowed to wear were my dressy shoes! 

My brother is wearing a Charro outfit, traditionally worn by Mexican horsemen and mariachis.  His suit was made of thick, unlined, wool coating (!).  Because it was so itchy, he wore a pair of "Toughskins" underneath the pants.  And even though he wore a thermal top under a long sleeve shirt, he could still feel the scratchy jacket on his skin and removed it as soon as he could. When we were outside, I froze and he baked.

For me, wearing my China Poblana outfit was like playing dress up in a princess costume.  For my brother, wearing his Charro outfit was a carefully orchestrated exercise in timing.  On the day we were scheduled to take this photograph at Olan Mills (Oh yeah!  Remember the wagon wheel?), I danced around the house for about 20 minutes in my China, while my brother continued to play with his cars in his jeans and long sleeved shirt(s).  When it was time to leave for the photography studio, our mom carried his outfit to the car on a hanger with the plastic dry cleaning bag over it.  At the studio, and only when the photographer was absolutely ready to take our picture, my brother put on the jacket and my mom helped him step into the Charro pants (over his jeans).  We smiled for the camera - click, click, click - flash, flash, flash.  When we were finished, my brother jumped off the studio platform, handed the jacket to my mom and began ripping off the pants.  Once the Charro outfit was off, he smiled even more brightly than he had during the photo shoot.  The results were in: Charro outfit on for only 10 minutes - he had set a record!  He swaggered out of the studio in his Thoughskins, and I followed twirling in my skirt.

Sadly, this 16th I won't be riding on a float in a parade with my brother or clocking his quick changes into and out of a Charro hairsuit, but I did haul out my "Frida Falda" in honor of Mexico's special day.

Frida Falda at the fountain

I made this self-drafted half circle skirt a few years ago from an Alexander Henry cotton wonderfully named, "Viva Frida."  Here's a close-up of the fabric in green.  I often think of adding sequins to some of the images on the fabric to pump up the vintage Mexican skirt vibe I've got going here, but it's one of those projects that's all or nothing.  Meaning, I can't get tired after adding 5 and call it a day.  If I started this sequin project, I'd have to add them all over the skirt, front and back, before I could wear it again.  ¡Ay Dios!  I'm not sure I have the stamina.

Truthfully, this skirt has been languishing in my closet for a while; but after today, I'm not sure why.  It swings when I walk, and the fullness of the skirt gives it a very "ladylike" silhouette.  I love the images on the fabric, and it coordinates with so much in my wardrobe.  It feels great to have rediscovered it!

Later this week I'll be traveling to California for my eldest sister's wedding.  Currently I'm working on some outfits for this exciting event - wedding outfit posts soon to come!

¡Hasta pronto y Viva Mexico!

1 comment :

  1. Ah, fond memories, although I don't remember most of what you talk about...go figure. Nice pics!


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