My Mom, the Style Icon: Maribel Rivera

The rebellious style of a young Chilean woman in the ’80s wasn’t born of trends—
it was a personal declaration of independence.

J. Crew Sweater

A red cardigan fancies up jeans and dresses down dresses. 

In 1987, my mom, Maribel Rivera, was 24 and working as a teacher in the Biobío region of Chile. 
The dictator Augusto Pinochet was in power, and 
there was heavy government censorship, which meant very few movies and magazines. For her, fashion was a way to express herself in a hostile environment. My grandmother was a clothing buyer who traveled all over Chile, and my mom went with her, shopping along the way. She found this blouse and oversize cardigan in Santiago; the tinted glasses came from a shop in Chillán, nearly 300 miles south. My mother loved adding little accents, like the tiny bow at her collar; it’s a perfect feminine touch to top off her hipster-tomboy look. Chile is a much more open place today, 
but for my inspiration, all I have to do is head home. 


—Angela Rivera, 20, student, Concepción, Chile

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