It's been a while since I hit the steamy Miami pavement and strolled around the landmark Calle 8 festival in Little Havana, so I went last weekend. Right away, I caught a quick glimpse of the uber-hot--and now real papito--Jencarlos Canela, so I knew it was going to be a good day.

Thousands of families, perhaps a bit woozy from the hundreds of BBQ grills on both sides of the street, were enjoying mozzarepas, choripanes, chicharron and plaintain with picadillo as I became an accidental witness to the newest Latino fashion faux pas: flaggin'.

I'm all for patriotism! I applaud those who cheer and remember our beautiful countries in between World Cup years. However, I do believe there is such a thing as overdoing it. In my jean skirt, tank top, and flip flops, I must confess I was an outsider at Calle 8--I stuck out like a sore thumb.

On the one hand, I felt so proud of the Latino love: flags on keychains, flags on food signs, flags on hands, flags painted on bare chested Latino men. The kaleidoscope of colors, of countries, flavors, music and language was rich and celebratory. On the other hand, when a sweaty protruding gut (from a woman!) brushed against my elbow and I turned around to discover she was wearing only a pair of white shorts and a mini-halter top displaying the Cuban flag, I changed my mind.

It was right then that I realized there are a few things I wished I had known before leaving the house for Calle 8:

Less seems to be, in fact, less. Latinas showed off their curves and even pushed extra ones through ridiculously short cut off shorts and tiny graffitied bras.I was overdressed

Size matters. Latino men covered themselves from head-to-toe in flags but not the chicas. Their flags were sported on bras or no-midriff tees. Who knew you could say so much with a bra

No flag? No problem. Not that flags were hard to come by, but for the super committed they weren't even necessary. Just when I thought I'd seen it all, I came across beautiful folkloric dresses from Colombia on my way to the funnel cake and churros stand. This is a way to show pride I can get behind. 

What do you think of flaggin?

Image via Bob B. Brown/flickr

About the author

Andrea Slodowicz was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She loves living in Miami, where she can speak Spanish most of the time, and get empanadas and café con leche around the corner from her house.

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