Quinceaneras, bat mitzvahs, and ruffles ruffles ruffles

This is embarrassing.

Today I dressed kind of like a goth adolescent preparing for her quinceanera. Not that I've ever been to one, but like I've seen on Wizards of Waverly Place and late-night programming on Telemundo.

I imagine a quinceanera is kind of like a Latin American Bat Mitzvah, minus the Hebrew and phlegmatic accents.  For those non-Jews reading, allow me to explain exactly what it is. A Bat Mitzvah is a rite of passage for a thirteen year-old girl. It's a ceremony symbolizing the passage into Jewish adulthood, requiring years of preparation (in the form of tediously long Hebrew lessons, the consumption of bland, downright bizarre foods (gefilte fish, kugel, and charoset come to mind) and painfully long family traditions. For months beforehand you attend Hebrew school, where you learn violent songs about Passover and practice warbling your Torah portion with an ancient rabbi. On the big Bat Mitzvah day, you climb up onto the synagogue stage and read your Hebrew portion while your parents beam proudly from the congregation. Then you give saccharine-sweet speeches of tearful thanks to your parents and siblings. After synagogue there's a huge reception, either at a catering hall or restaurant, which is decorated with towering balloon sculptures and centerpieces made from fresh flowers and curled ribbons and cartoonish cardboard cutouts.

I had an epic Bat Mitzvah. My mother rented out an entire restaurant and invited every relative in the Tri-State Area (and some strangers from California.) I wore a off-the-shoulder white lace dress with rhinestones and beads and more lace and satin ribbons and pantyhose and white satin pumps. There were ruffles. Many, many ruffles. It was 1986, so it was okay.

The hotness that was thirteen year-old me in my Bat Mitzvah dress, with an entourage of male suitors.

In my adolescent years I attended quite a few Bat Mitzvah's, which was a fairly common experience as a Jewish girl growing up on Long Island. A Bat Mitzvah was announced with invitations constructed from four (or more) layers of embossed cardstock and translucent paper and satin ribbons, and packaged in it's own keepsake box. Each layer of paper symbolized how much money your parents were willing to flush down the toilet for your special special day. Invitations were no joke. Parents scrutinized them like Cold War spies deciphering code intercepted by intelligence agencies.

The typical Bat Mitzvah reception featured thirteen year-old's swaying to loud music (preferably from a band and not, God forbid, a DJ, because ohmygawd a band is like so much classier, you don't even want to know what the neighbors will think if we have a DJ, people will talk), and a Kosher buffet, and elaborately themed centerpieces (usually CANDYLAND!, or ON BROADWAY! or ADVENTURES AROUND THE WORLD!) and distant cousins shoving envelopes stuffed with money in your face. In my days, Bat Mitzvahs also included glow sticks and custom-made tee shirts with the date and location of the event, just in case you forgot where you slow danced for the first time and nearly got kissed right before your Grandma Helen interrupted looking for the ladies room.

As I looked at myself in today's outfit, with it's ruffled beaded sequined tunic, I immediately remembered my bat Mitzvah dress, resplendent in it's ruffled glory. I'll admit that I'm uncertain if this outfit is really me (and the tunic made me photograph lumpier than I actually am....and even after three kids, I'm in pretty decent shape) but I felt like trying something new. What do you think? Does it work or not? Is there something you'd change?

Forever 21 tunic; Gap Outlet jeggings; thrifted Justin boots; Coach bag; Forever 21 bracelets; Betsey Johnson gold watch; target rhinestone pyramid studs


  1. 1. Your bat mitzvah outfit is EPIC.
    2. I actually thought "Oh wow, that's really flattering" before you tried to say it wasn't, so I apologize...but you are wrong.

  2. L-O-V-E that shirt and your cute blog. So glad I found it. I'm your newest follower!!

  3. Wow, that dress is...something. ;)

    That shirt, however, I LOVE!!! You look fantastic in that top especially with those pants!

  4. Thanks everyone! I feel much much better about the top. The dress, however, is another matter entirely. Here's to 1986!

  5. You look cute, both now and in your Bat Mitvah outfit. Living on Long Island, I've been to a dozen Bar and Bat Mitvahs.

    Where did you grow up? (I live in Huntington.)

  6. That shirt basically begs you to dance in it. And if you don't it will dance by itself! Also I love your gaggle of suitors!


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