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Cinco de Mayo outfits that don’t include mustaches or sombreros

Cinco De Mayo Fashion - FI
Photo credit: Pretty Little Things/Old Navy/ Zakharova_Natalia/Getty Images; Tiberius Catinas/Thanksgiving.com

You want to dress up, drink tequila and eat delicious Mexican food for Cinco de Mayo. Trust me, I get it. But Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that’s often fraught with cultural appropriation and an unhealthy dose of disrespect. That doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. By all means, grab your friends and head to your favorite spot and chow down, but before you do, know the history of the holiday and really think about what you’re going to wear, because it matters.

To put it plainly, mustaches, sombreros and ponchos often worn on Cinco de Mayo are racist stereotypical representations of Mexican culture. Don’t engage with them. Don’t wear them. Don’t support others who wear them.

So what can you wear for Cinco de Mayo that’s both festive and respectful? Well, it’s not as hard as you might think. Simply look to the culture for inspiration, to the vibrant colors found in markets in Mexico City or the designs of traditional dance costumes. Think inspiration, not appropriation, and think fun. Get ready to slay the day, but respectfully, of course.

Color

One way to be both festive and culturally sensitive is to embrace color. This is a warm weather holiday, after all, and, hello, it’s a party! Dress for the occasion. Rock all those colors you’ve ever been afraid to wear, because, let’s be honest, the tequila will help ease your nerves about that bright yellow piece in your closet.

1. Yellow romper

yellow-romper
Photo Credit: Lane Bryant

This romper is basically sunshine in a romper. If it just so happens to be raining for your Cinco party, you can light up the space. Plus, depending on where you live, it could already be scorching outside (as a Georgia girl, I intimately and unfortunately understand this), and this flowing chiffon isn’t just fun, it’s functional. Honestly, that’s the best kind of fashion.

MORE: Make vegan chocolate spiced cupcakes for Cinco de Mayo

2. Red maxi skirt

red-maxi-skirt
Photo credit: ASOS DESIGN

If you want something that feels inspired by Mexican culture but isn’t appropriative, this shirred waist maxi skirt is brightly hued and looks similar to the traditional dance costumes worn by Mexican women. Maybe you can do a little dancing yourself while wearing it.

3. Tie-front shorts

yellow-tie-waist-shorts
Photo credit: Pretty Little Thing

Um, hello, bow tie on the front of these shorts. Can we be best friends? Yes? Okay, great! See you at Cinco de Mayo. If you love a good look that shows off your legs, these shorts are for you, and the ruched top means that it’s perfect for pairing with a bodysuit so no pesky tucking in a shirt for you.

Print

While summer won’t quite have arrived when Cinco de Mayo rolls around, that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace warm weather prints to celebrate the holiday. After all, Cinco de Mayo and the beginning of summer are practically synonymous, so let’s get together and wear everything from florals to stripes to fruit-themed items.

1. Floral jumpsuit

floral-jumpsuit
Photo credit: Fashion Union

So, maybe I run late sometimes, but only sometimes, OK? In those cases, though, there’s nothing better than a jumpsuit. Put on one piece, and you’re done. Don’t worry about digging around in your closet (or dirty clothes bin, if we’re being really honest) for the perfect top or bottom. Plus, not only does this jumpsuit feature a perfect floral pattern, it’s a solid, gorgeous shade of blue. Yes, please!

2. Pineapple camp shirt

pineapple-camp-shirt
Photo credit: Old Navy

Pineapples on a shirt? I know, it doesn’t sound like your most stylish option, but if you can rock a boyfriend jean, you can definitely rock this boyfriend-esque oversized camp shirt covered in pineapples. If you took all those vacation shirts your dad used to wear (you know, the ones that made you want to cower in the hotel room) and made them stylish, they’d take the form of this shirt. It’s festive thanks to the print, just a little quirky because of the fit, and ultra comfortable. Basically, it’s a total Cinco win.

3. Lemon pants

lemon-printed-pants
Photo credit: BooHoo

In the immortal words of Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, who gave these lemon print pants permission? Permission to be so cute, that is. Obviously, this print is the clothing equivalent of making lemonade out of lemons, but there are even more perks than the print. The most important? The high-waist style, because let’s be honest, you need room for that Cinco de Mayo food baby, and these beauties will give it to you.

Ruffles

So maybe you have bad memories of being forced to wear frilly, ruffled dresses as a kid. Trust me, we all do, but ruffles have come a long way since the days of elementary school award ceremonies and family functions where you were stuck wearing those awful Mary Janes for hours. Now ruffles can be modern and minimalist but still totally festive.

1. Trimmed shorts

pink-ruffle-shorts
Photo credit: Junarose

Pockets! Sorry, I lost control of myself there for a minute, but hello, pockets. I’m obsessed with you. I’m also in love with the ruffle detail along the edge of these pink printed shorts. Plus, not to get too real, but that elastic waistband is calling my name for when I imbibe just a bit too much. You feel me?

2. Off the shoulder

yellow-floral-ruffle-shirt
Photo credit: Old Navy

Florals and ruffles say party to me. Seriously, though, this off-the-shoulder top is basically a sartorial vacation. Plus, thanks to the elastic around the neckline, this top can be worn as a V-neck or off the shoulder. We stan fashion versatility.

MORE: Boozy margarita pie is your drink & dessert, all in one

3. Ruffled maxi

yellow-floral-ruffle-dress
Photo credit: Show Me Your Mumu

I dare you not to dance in this maxi dress. Seriously, wear it and then come back and let me know how hard you sashayed your Cinco de Mayo away. With a single shoulder ruffle top and a sexy ruffled slit, this beauty is a summer dream, and it’s not just cute. We all know the comfort of a maxi — it’s basically sleepwear in a dress.

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