Taos style: casual but funky

Foto: Tina Larkin

Originally published in Taos News

Is there such thing as a Taos fashion?

Ramona Chavez, a native Taoseña and co-owner of Que Pasa, a clothing and music store, says yes. Definitely. The town’s fashion trend is casual but funky, relaxed, and above all, fun to wear.

This summer’s style goes well with the Taos’ fashion spirit. She sees women will be wearing lots of skirts and airy dresses.

“The trend seems to be loose and informal,” she said. “You don’t need to look businesslike… unless you are a lawyer.”

Soft colors and mixes, like cotton and rayon, are in style.

“We will see plenty of lace, too,” she said. “You can’t go wrong with a lace trim top or a romantic-looking vintage blouse. They are feminine and fresh, and can be layered over tanks and other pieces. ”

Chavez shows me a rayon knit top with lace trim. “It is stretchy, so you can use it loose or tie it at the waist,” she said. “It goes well with a pair of pants or a long skirt. And it can make any outfit look classy!”

Chavez herself looks classy with a single-strand pearl necklace and a V-neck blouse with frayed trims.

Que Pasa sells natural fiber clothing—cotton, hemp, and rayon. “In the winter, you can always find wools and cashmere,” said Chavez, adding that the inventory consists of new and pre-loved clothing.

“We are careful about handpicking the pre-loved garments sold here,” she said, “and make sure that they are high quality and in excellent condition. Some garments are barely worn.”

Hannah Cornelius, a UNM student from Dixon, is a fan of the store’s pre-loved selection.

“They have awesome stuff at the best prices,” she said. “Last winter I found a great goose down coat for 35 dollars.”

All the shoes, bags and purses in the inventory are pre-loved, though many of them can pass for new. The racks are neatly arranged and all of them are color coded.

The jewelry counter showcases sterling silver earrings, rings and chains, some with semiprecious stones.

Que Pasa is not expensive. The stretchy top is $29.99 and this is a common price for a variety of garments. Chavez tells me that they try to keep the prices down so people inTaoscan afford them.

“We want to make our merchandise affordable to the community,” she said. “We are also happy to work with people. For example, if someone is starting a new job and needs to put together a wardrobe that looks professional, or is going on a trip and wants to carry only a few matching pieces, we are here to help.”

Que Pasa also has a lingerie selection—pants, bras and camisoles—that ranges from elegant to sexy. Some clothes are made in town, like a one-hundred-percent cotton nightgown.

Victoria Cordova, a regular client, loves this particular section. “The Que Pasa underwear is really cute,” she said. “They have great costumer service; Mona and Tita would wrap up everything for you.”

There is also a small amount of men’s clothes, but, as Chavez said, “men would rather buy music than clothes.”

A popular section of the store, Que Pasa records, sells CDs and DVDs. They have music in Spanish and by local artists like Mezcal, Jenna from Questa, Roberto Griego, All Hurricane and Robert Mirabal, among others.

They also carry strings for guitars, violins, mandolins and ukuleles (singles and whole sets), and small parts for guitars.

There is a little bit of everything there. In that sense, Que Pasa is a typical Taos enterprise, but its unpretentious, everybody-is-bienvenido-aqui attitude makes it special and unique.

Just likeTaos’ style.

Tita Chavez, co-owner of Que Pasa, agrees with her sister about the “casual and funky” definition.

“But everybody has their own version of what funky means,” she said. “Most women here, young or old, have their own look and are not going to be dressed in a certain way just because this it is the newest trend. They have their personal style, and that is fine.”

However, as trends go, she said that this summer’s style seems to be headed toward a flowy and airy look, with soft fabrics and crochet accents on the backs and sleeves.

“For a while, outfits were quite fitted, but that is changing. Loose, colorful summer dresses are more popular now.”

Tita Chavez considers herself a casual, “jeans and t-shirts kinda of person,” but she favors old vintage jewelry and shoes.

“I have found great platform shoes here, in garage sales, and in secondhand stores,” she said.

One good thing aboutTaosis that few people are here to pass fashion judgment, no matter what you wear.

“Ours is a free spirit community; you can tell by the way people dress, both men and women,” said Tita Chavez. “And it is good to keep it this way.”

Que Pasa is located at 338 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Taos.

Phone:             (575) 758-7344      .




About dovalpage

Teresa Dovalpage was born in Havana and now lives in Taos, New Mexico. She has a Ph.D. in Spanish literature and teaches at UNM Taos. She also freelances for Taos News, Profile, Hispanic Executive and other publications. A bilingual author, she has published eight novels, six in Spanish and two in English, two collections of short stories in Spanish and one in English. Her English-language novels are A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004) and Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010). Her collection of short stories The Astral Plane, Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond was published by the University of New Orleans Press in 2012. In her native Spanish she has authored the novels Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006, a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain), El difunto Fidel (The late Fidel, Renacimiento, 2011, that won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009), Posesas de La Habana (Haunted Ladies of Havana, PurePlay Press, 2004), La Regenta en La Habana (Edebe Group, Spain, 2012,) Orfeo en el Caribe(Atmósfera Literaria, Spain, 2013) and El retorno de la expatriada (The expat’s return, Egales, Spain, 2014). Her short novel Las Muertas de la West Mesa (The West Mesa Murders, based on a real event) is currently being published in serialized format by Taos News.
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