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Chola Inspiration 1

For my alter ego project I was a chola. At first I did not know what to choose as my alter ego. But after some thinking and looking through different identities I decided to become a chola. I thought it would be interesting to dress, act, and look like a chola because I am definitely not like one at all.  For those of you that do not know what cholas are, they are Mexican or Mexican-American girls who are typically in a gang. It originally meant someone who was of a mixed descent. The meaning varies in different areas, but it has to do with someone’s income and their manner of dress. The term cholo came after the Pachuco style faded away since the new style was much more casual. I was inspired to be a chola since I am a Mexican American and I did not know very much about cholos and I also wanted to experience it firsthand.

My normal style is very diverse, I tend to dress casual sometimes, but I mainly like to dress girly.  I like to wear bright colors, floral prints, knits, nylons, and clothes that are totally different from cholas. I tend to wear mostly natural makeup with red lipstick and eyeliner; I do not spend too much time doing it. I like to wear my hair straight or curly with straight bangs. I knew that in my alter ego my style, makeup, and hair would totally change.

Some before pictures of how I normally look:

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For my makeover I wore a white wife beater khaki pants that I bought at Goodwill, two different plaid shirts that I borrowed from my boyfriend a red one and a blue one, blue Nike Cortez’s that I borrowed from my cousin, big bold gold jewelry, and a burgundy bandana.

The night before I tried out my chola look for the first time I was really nervous. I watched Youtube videos on how to act, dress, and look like a chola. The makeup tutorials were the most helpful. I had to practice the night before so that I would not be as lost in the morning. I hoped that I wouldn’t get laughed at or jumped while wearing the outfit.

Being a chola is very high maintenance. It took me a lot longer than usual to get ready in the morning. Getting my eyebrows done just right was pretty difficult every day. Doing my hair took a lot of extra time also. I had to tease it and use a lot of hairspray. I also had to iron my clothes well, especially my pants I had to make sure that they were well creased in the center.

Day 1: November 26th

On my first day as a chola I started off the day by going to school. As I drove to school I tried to get in the mood by listening to much more gangster music than I normally do. Once I got to school I felt nervous and a little embarrassed to get out of my car. While walking to class I got a lot of weird stares and a few double takes from others on campus. Having others look at me like that made me feel very uncomfortable. Once I got to class I received many different reactions. Mostly I just was not recognized at first. Then when they knew who I was they were very surprised to see me in such different attire. One of the students asked, “Is that a new student?”  I felt like everyone thought that I looked weird dressed like a chola. Halfway through the school day I just wanted to take off the outfit and change I just was not comfortable. While in other classes I got some positive reactions that liked my chola look. Then I went to my boyfriend’s house and he was not too surprised to see me dressed like that since he helped me plan it out. Our friends invited us to eat and he asked me if I was actually going to go out like that and I said yah! He was a little embarrassed but I told him not to be. Once we were out with our friends one of them told me, “Why are you wearing that?” My other friend told me, “Haha that’s typical you always dress weird.” Then I felt even more uncomfortable because I wondered if I actually looked as weird as everyone made me feel. I was not looking forward to the next days as a chola.

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Day 2: November 30th

The next day I was a little more prepared for people’s reactions and just thought positive. This time around I tried to incorporate much more of the chola attitude since I did not put it out as much the first day. I also added a bandana and wore a red plaid shirt with everything else the same as the first day.  It was hard for me to act like a chola because I always want to smile at everyone, but I felt like I should not. I added the bandana since my hair would not stay up the first day. I started off the second day by going to Monte Dollar, a ghetto store in my neighborhood. I need to get the bandana there. While inside everyone was staring. One of the ladies inside saw me and laughed at me. While the worker was ringing me up she just smiled, but I could tell she really wanted to laugh. I got my bandana then I went to a park in my city with my boyfriend. I specifically chose this park because I knew that some cholos actually hang out there. I was excited but a little scared that a real chola might say something to me. Luckily no one approached us, but I did get stared at a lot. Then I went to my aunt’s house. My family actually liked my outfit. They were happy that I was trying out the chola look. I was actually pretty surprised with their approval of the look, but it made me feel a lot better about my new look. I felt like I could actually wear it one more day.

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Day 3: December 1st

The last day as my alter ego I ran errands with my mom most of the day. I went to Joann’s, Best Buy, Target, and got some food. My mom chose to go out with me on this day because she was scared that something would happen to me if I went out as a chola by myself. I told her I would be fine but she insisted to tag along. My dad also saw me and asked if I just really liked the look and if I wanted to become a chola now, he was worried about me. But I told him I only had one more day of the look and I was done. While shopping in all of the stores that we went to, everyone stared at me. I felt like I had a huge sign on me attracting attention. I think I made some people feel uncomfortable also. Most older people that I saw me would look at me and quickly look away, as if something were wrong with me. At Joann’s one of the workers was extremely nice to me, she even looked for extra coupons to give me discounts on the items I bought. I was not sure if she was nice because she liked my look, or if she was just scared of me. I assumed she just really liked my look, hopefully. This day went pretty well I started getting used to the stares and laughs from everyone, they did not faze me as much as they had on my first day.

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I learned that I should not judge others or laugh at them if I do not like their style because it is not fun being on the other side getting laughed at. I thought about Alexander McQueen and one of his quotes. “You can’t please everyone!” He was talking about design but it also has to do with styling choices and you can’t always please everyone. It is important to stick to what you like. I also thought about the clothing communication chapter in our readings. This chapter particularly stood out to me. My clothes were saying so much to everyone that was staring at me and laughing at me. I was being judged and stereotyped just because of what I was wearing which I thought was completely unfair.

Overall my experience as my alter identity was pretty interesting. It was not as fun as I thought it would be. I enjoyed dressing up and doing my hair and makeup; getting glamorous was fun. But the experience in the public was not as fun. I did not enjoy being stared at by most people that I walked by. I also did not enjoy getting laughed by strangers. I learned that some people are mean and will make you feel uncomfortable out of their own pleasure.  Even with the bad moments I did have enjoy my time as a chola. I thought that the clothes were very comfortable. The makeup and hair were not as comfortable since I had to retouch my hair and makeup a lot. My eyebrows were especially annoying since I smudged them off a lot on accident. This whole experience sounds very negative, but I got to see how people that actually dress like cholas feel. It was interesting to step into the shoes of someone else’s lifestyle. I do not think that I will go out as a chola any time soon again. But I might incorporate some of the chola aspects into my own style.

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Referring to highland rape, rape is a horrific act, why are magazines allowed to romanticize it and put it in advertisements?

Even though rape is a horrific act magazines still romanticize rape and sex because sex sells. These horrific acts attract people and get a lot press attention. Alexander McQueen’s “show was described as ‘aggressive and disturbing’ (Women’s Wear Daily 1995; 10)” (pg. 202). His designs are out in the press and get publicized, even though it is negative attention it still attracts buyers. Since people keep getting attracted and continue purchasing products the businesses keep putting the advertisements out there. Until these advertisements stop attracting the viewers these advertisements will continue.

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Is it possible for clothing to provide the type of protection McQueen try’s to create by making women look “so powerful no one would dare lay hands on them?

I do not think that it is possible to create a type of clothing that can make a “woman so powerfully sexual that no one would dare to lay hands on her” (pg. 207). Even if “a woman used her sexuality as a sword rather than a shield” (pg. 207). The clothes are still only clothes and can easily be taken off. Then once they are off, would the men still be scared to approach her, I do not think so. I do think that it is important for a woman to dress powerfully, but I do not think that the clothes alone can keep hands off of a woman.

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Are the opinions of the viewer or designer a more correct interpretation of fashion?

I think that the opinions of the designers are a more correct interpretation of fashion. The designers are the ones that are creating new styles, trends, and ides. The viewers are the ones that follow and adopt the styles and trends that the designers create. The designers are innovative; they are expressing their interpretations of fashion through their fashion lines. All viewers might not love the designers’ creations, but it is always important to remember that “you can’t please everyone when you design” (pg. 204). It is important to stick to ones views and be original while designing.

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Why is it appealing to sexualize or eroticize fashion?

I personally do not think that it is appealing to sexualize and eroticize fashion, but most fashion brands do it and keep doing it because sex sells. Most brands that sexualize fashion attract customers that think that they may look like the people in the advertisements if they purchase the products. The brands that sexualize fashion get much attention from people, whether it is from the customers or the press. Even though the sexualization is not healthy it will continue. It is dangerous, “a repressive society turns all eroticism into violence” (pg. 208). Sexualizing and eroticizing fashion are natural things to people which continue in society since most people think that it is appealing.

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1. What are the three cardinal attributes to define the sociologic phenomenon of fashion?   Provide a definition in your own words, based on what you read of each attribute.

“In a comprehensive review of the sociology of fashion, Thomas Schnierer suggested three cardinal attributes to define the sociologic phenomenon of fashion: its temporal, social, and material aspects” (pg. 160). The temporal aspect refers to fashion trends that are not long lasting. These types of trends are quick changing and do not stick around for very long. The social aspect refers to our sense of fashion in our surroundings. The clothes we wear can communicate a lot to the world about what we are doing, who we are, and our attitude. Clothes can say so much about who someone is, as I learned in the Dressing Journals that our clothes can speak to the world. The material aspect refers physical elements. These real elements are items that can be altered to fit ones need.

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2. What does it mean, “Fashion is Play” How do you play at fashion?  Provide examples, and images.

Fashion is play because it is very sociable. Our clothes can communicate our different attitudes and feelings with people and our surroundings. Clothes are also playful with different styles. We play with different styles until we find one that we really like. Even then we continue to play with our style and our clothes. Playing with fashion makes it fun. “Fashion changes its character when it is taken too seriously, when it lacks the characteristics of play, when it pretends to be more than it is” ( pg. 163-163). Fashion is much better when it is playful, if it weren’t playful then it would be boring.

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3. Define the Histrionic Attitude and Schizoid Attitude towards Fashion.  Provide examples from your own experience.

The historic attitude and the schizoid attitude have very different attitudes towards fashion, “one gives fashion too much attention, and the other condemns it” (pg. 166). The historic attitude towards fashion is largely dependent on the opinions of others. They put in extra effort and time to appear fashionable. The historic attitude can be seen amongst the majority of society. I have fallen into this attitude at times where I care to fit in at specific social settings. The schizoid attitude towards fashion does not care very much about what others think about them .They do not follow trends and to tend be alone and quiet. People with this type of attitude can be seen as lazy. I do not think that it is always lazy though, I think that it takes time to not follow trends and have a unique style.

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For my alter ego project I plan to be a chola. At first I did not know what to choose as my alter ego. But after some thinking and looking through different identities I chose to be a chola. I thought it would be interesting to dress, act, and look like a chola because I am definitely not like one at all. I tend to dress in a much different style. I like to wear bright colors, floral prints, knits and clothes that are totally different from cholas. I think it will be a lot of fun to try out but also very interesting. I think that I might get treated differently as my alter ego.

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A chola is a Mexican or Mexican-America girl typically in a gang. It originally meant someone who was of a mixed descent. The meaning varies in different areas, but it has to do with someone’s income and their manner of dress. The term cholo came after the Pachuco style faded away since the new style was much more casual. I was inspired to be a chola since I am a Mexican American and I do not know very much about cholos and would like to experience it firsthand. Even though I am a little scared about the outcome, I am excited.

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I plan to execute this look by changing my clothing style to begin with. I will wear the clothes that cholas typically wear. To begin I will wear khaki or blue pants that are creased and a black or white tank. To go over the tank I will wear a plaid long sleeve shirt and a bandana. For shoes I will wear Nike Cortez’s. For accessories I will wear big gold jewelry such as big hoop earrings, bracelets, maybe a bold big necklace or a rosary and rings. My hair will be big with my bangs puffed up high or cruched with a lot of gel and mousse. For makeup I will pencil in thin dark eyebrows, lip liner, and dark lipstick. I might also add some fake tattoos to give it an extra edge. I also plan to add some attitude to my personality. I need to make my voice less high pitched and with more of a Mexican accent.

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While in my alter ego I plan to go to different locations to see how different places react to my identity. My first location was inspired by the movie Selena because she was shopping at a nice store and she was rejected by the worker because of the way she looked. I think that in my alter ego I might get treated differently and like she was while at stores, I hope I don’t but I will see in the process. I also plan to hang out with my boyfriend and either go out to dinner or go out somewhere with him. I think that people might look at us differently since it would seem like an odd couple. Another idea is to go out to a bar with friends and see how it goes. Another idea is to go to school in my attire. My last idea is to go drink tea. I think it would be funny to go into a nice little tea spot in chola attire, since they do not normally go out to drink tea.

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I hope that my alter ego as a chola is successful!


November 10, 2013
The garments I chose laid out flat:

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Me wearing the outfit:

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Today is the last day of my dressing journal. I went out with my boyfriend in the afternoon. We grabbed a drink at Honey Boba and just hung out for a bit. Then I had to go home and finish homework. I chose to wear a green dress with black Chinese Laundry shoes. I wore minimal makeup and put my hair up in a bun. I accessorized with my promise ring, gold heart bracelet, yellow ring, and gold flower earrings. I wanted to feel girly and look nice today so that is why I chose this outfit. I felt nice about myself and I really liked my dress. My boyfriend told me I looked very pretty today. Today I thought about Barbie from the reading and I thought about how I wanted to look girly like Barbie. Overall this dressing journal has been pretty interesting and fun to see what my dressing style is like in about a week. I thought about clothing communication most throughout the whole process. I wonder what my clothes say to the world.


November 9, 2013

The garments I chose laid out flat:

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Me wearing the outfit:

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Today is the second to last day of my dressing journal. I spent most of my day at home painting then at night I went to eat with my boyfriend then I went to my friends house for a bonfire. I chose to wear a tan knit sweater, jean shorts, purple nylons, and black Chinese Laundry shoes. I curled my hair and wore a normal amount of makeup with purple lipstick. I chose this because I wanted to be warm while at the bonfire. While actually wearing this outfit I felt really comfortable and warm I also liked my outfit. My boyfriends and I accidently matched with the color of our bottoms so we thought it was pretty cool. Also my friends girlfriend told me that she really liked my outfit. I thought about clothing communication and if my outfit portrayed me being as comfortable and as warm like actually I felt.


November 8, 2013

The garments I chose laid out flat:

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Me wearing the outfit:

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Today I spent most of the day at home doing homework. Then at night I decided to go to my boyfriend’s house to hang out. I decided to wear black leggings, a black tank, a gray pancho, and brown Minnetonkas. I accessorized with my promise ring and a beanie to cover my hair since I decided to leave it natural. I wore red lipstick as my only makeup. I chose this outfit because I just wanted to be comfortable and be able to relax at his house. While actually wearing these garments I did feel comfortable, I also felt really warm. I did not receive any comments today, but I still felt good. None of the readings really came to mind today while wearing and choosing my outfit.