From November to January, many of us wear our cutest (and sometimes fanciest) outfits to sit in our (or our relatives’) living rooms. It’s a shared experience among many Latinos and other communities of color, and every year it’s such a topic of discussion that people have now jokingly dubbed it “sala season.” While everyone follows their own set of rules during this time of year, we do know to expect to see our loved ones looking very fly and very often, wearing brand new outfits (especially for the New Year, because of good luck and whatnot).
But we wanted to learn a little more about how people picked out their outfits, so we talked to four Latinas to get a better sense of how they choose what to wear to sit in the sala.
"I joke that I'm the Kim Kardashian of my family."
Photo courtesy of Geraldine Estevez
“[For a holiday season outfit], I look for balance. So if I’m going with a loose skirt, then my top has to be formfitting. Color is also a big factor. Black is such a classy, easy choice, thus easy to gravitate towards. I try my best to stray from my comfort zone, picking a different color each year. Plus, I have this sweet tradition of matching my now 3-year-old nephew for one of the holidays, so whether that’s Christmas or New Year’s, I purposely pick a solid color instead of a pattern. This way, it can be easier for his mom to get him an outfit that goes well with mine.
“Dressing up is part of the excitement, and it gives me a bonus reason (aside from spending time with la familia) to look forward to the holiday season. We’ve got all kinds of characters in my family – from those who love to dress up to those who would much rather rock a holiday onesie as their sala season outfit. Since I joke that I’m the Kim Kardashian of my family (and choose to dress up even when everyone else goes casual), I think my family would look at me suspiciously if I wore something casual, like: ‘Are you feeling OK?'” -Geraldine Estevez
"[The outfit] has to be extra cute for the pictures that'll go around that whole year."
Photo courtesy of Sarah Camille
“It’s super windy/cold for Thanksgiving in Jersey, so [I picked] something that would look cute under a coat for the car ride and, of course, heels, always in heels. Black jeans to be extra comfortable, see through shirt for funkiness! Christmas light-up headband, because why not? And it’s Christmas for Latinos anyways as soon as October hits.
“[The outfit] has to be extra cute for the pictures that’ll go around that whole year and for my Tias to comment on FB and Insta and show my grandparents back home – SO nothing toooo revealing or toooo casual, bien bonita!
“[I] always have and always will [dress up], even if the dinner or any event took place at home. ‘Hay que ponerse lindo para la visita!’ [If I arrived casual, my family would say], ‘No te dió tiempo a bañarte?’, ‘Ni un pañito te pudiste pasar?’. And the endless comments as to why I didn’t ‘dress up.’ But I avoid those at all costs for family peace.” -Sarah Camille
"I look for outfits that will outshine all my primas and tías, lol."
Photo courtesy of Maria Gonzalez
“I did the jumpsuit because it was New Year’s and flashy is always in for that occasion. I had originally bought a dress to wear, but then I walked into Topshop and this jumpsuit was staring right at me! I just had to have it.
“I look for outfits that will outshine all my primas and tías, lol. I’m super dramatic and over the top, so I always go all out for holidays. I have my Christmas and New Year’s outfit laid out already.
“[I dress up] every single year! I love dressing up because it gives me a chance to show off my fashion style. When I was younger, I wanted to be a fashion stylist, so this is how I cope with not being one.
“[My family would] be so shocked [if I arrived casual]. I’m known as the fashion DIVA in my family. If I showed up underdressed, they will assume that I am sick or sad.” -Maria Gonzalez
Photo courtesy of Laura Figueroa
“I knew I wanted a sparkly outfit. I found this dress at Goodwill for $4. It had a black base color, which made me look slim. The black base also brings out the sparkle. I look for something that is figure flattering and sparkly. For Christmas, I try to find a red dress. If it’s New Years, I do metallics.
“I’ve dressed up for the holidays since childhood. It’s exciting to wear your best outfit and see your family members dressed up.” -Laura Figueroa