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Affluent Latinos bring colorful, live-in-the-moment fashions to Chicago

Ladies gather in Elda de La Rosa's creations at theHispanic designers event.
Ladies gather in Elda de La Rosa's creations at theHispanic designers event.
Christopher Costoso

Chicago’s population of affluent Latinos adds vibrancy to the city’s fashion scene. Mexican-born Ximena Beltran, an executive level consultant who’s worked with Chicago’s biggest fashion figures, discusses the intersection between culture and fashion.

On May 29th, a collection of Chicago’s most influential women gathered for designer Elda de la Rosa’s most recent event, The Age of Opulence. Along with Anna-Fong and Horatio Nieto, Elda brings a distinctly Latin elegance to everything from evening gowns to wrap dresses. These designs keep curvier bodies in mind with formfitting shapes that balance sexuality with modesty.

Ximena explains the “opulence” displayed by these designers carries into the street style of affluent Latinos. “In the U.S., people wear gym clothes when they aren’t going to the gym,” she says, “but in Mexico, people put more effort into appearances.”

She accredits this aesthetic consciousness to class based societies and a cultural urgency. People dress up every day, not just on special occasions, Ximena claims. “You can tell in their appearances they’re not waiting for tomorrow.”

In family oriented Hispanic cultures, Ximena notes, “mom drives everything…and mom wants you to look presentable.”

Her own mother, who wouldn’t let her leave the house in flip flops or sweatpants, taught her you don’t have to dress expensively to look great. “She really taught us about fabric and cut.”

Purchasing attitudes also differ. “The culture in the US is more disposable,” Ximena explains, citing Forever 21 as an example. The desire to have something, “that will last a little longer and afford more versatility,” explains the high occurrence of designer purchases by affluent Latinos.

Many of Ximena’s outfits are inspired by markets in Mexico, where “the fruits and vegetables are so colorful, there is so much diversity even in the foods.” The Windy City welcomes this burst of lively style!

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