Say Bye to Ballgowns! 15 Nontraditional Quinceañera Dresses

For a young Latina girl, turning 15 is major. Representing a girl’s transition to womanhood, the traditional celebration is defined by the voluminous white ballgown, which makes the quinceañera look like a low-key child bride. But while traditions are beautiful and important, they could also use an update.

When it came time for me to plan my party, I knew I wanted it to be the exact opposite of what I had seen my older cousins go through. While I was flattered — and by flattered I mean mortified — that I could wear a hand-me-down dress, I wanted nothing to with the tulle and bedazzling. Bless my mother — she indulged my every whim, since it was my day after all, and helped me search endlessly for the perfect dress: not poufy, not cheesy, and not traditional.

It was nearly impossible, but I ended up with an ethereal strapless empire-waist chiffon gown with a beaded belt, and I have never felt more beautiful than I did on that day. Flash forward six years, and quinceañera dresses have yet to enter the 21st century. It may be a rite of passage to turn 15 in our culture, but there is no reason to dread the cringey princess frock. Whether you’ve already had yours, are currently shopping, or are looking ahead to the big day, these dresses will fit every style and every budget.