Traditional Spanish Dress

The traditional Spanish dress has a very distinct look to it, it is flamboyant and colourful, reflecting the passionate Spanish culture. Just like the food and music of Spain, the traditional clothing ranges from region to region.

Traditional Spanish Dress

The warmer Central and Southern provinces with flamenco, bull fighters and cowboys have one form of traditional spanish dress while cooler Northern mountainous areas such as Galicia have been strongly influenced by the Celtic culture and this has created a very different style of traditional clothing.

Traditional Spanish Dress in Southern and Central Spain

Other regions of Spain have distinctive costumes as well, but it is the Andalusian style that is the trademark traditional Spanish dress to the rest of the world. If your image of Spain is one of provocative romance, ruffled skirts, shawls, flowers and combs in the hair and bull fighting – these are the elements deeply rooted in the traditional clothing of Andalusia.

Women’s Traditional Spanish Dress

The flamboyant and sexy Flamenco dresses that the Spanish women take such pride in are called “Trajes de faraleas”, always brightly coloured with many layers of ruffles in the skirt and sleeves that swish around as they walk.Traditional Spanish Dress

Though it pretty much covers a woman from head to foot, it seductively hugs the beautiful Spanish figures.

It is very impressive that women can dance Flamenco so expressively and aggressively with these restrictive outfits, but it also adds to the drama and beauty of the dance.

The large shawl called a “manton” is often worn too, intricately hand embroidered with floral patterns (the smaller shawl is called a mantonsillo).

With or without ruffles, polka dots (lunares) or flowers the trajes are always bold and colourful.

Women take great care in fiesta dresses equal care with their matching accessories of large earrings, hair combs and flowers.

Most commonly you will see this style of dress ferias and romerias.

Legend says that when the gypsies originally migrated to Spain, some five centuries ago, they arrived in this manner of dress. Though slight transformations have appeared stylistically, the style has virtually remained unchanged.

The Goyesca, getting its name from the famed Spanish artist Francisco Goya (born 1746), describes both the special costumes for both men and women from that time period and a type of bullfighting that one can still see today.

There are two types of bull-fighting, the first is the “Corrida de Toros” where the bull fighter battles the bull on foot and the second is the “Goyesca” where the bull is fought and killed on horse back.

Goya achieved his first popular success as a portrait painter to the Spanish aristocracy where he captured the beautifully elaborate and stylized clothing of the Spanish nobility of the time.

Traditional Spanish DressThis distinct form of traditional spanish dress continued to be popularly worn at bullfights and was given the name Goyesca, to reflect it being from that time period.

Nowadays, women dress in this style, called Maja, at the Goyesca bull fights usually seen at the annual ferias.

Identifying features of the costume are ruffled tops with tight bodices, and ornately embroidered long dark skirt.

A red faja (sash) was sometimes worn at the waist. Most notable though is the hair net, or tall hair comb with a lace shawl or veil draping from it. The maja was a popular subject of Goya´s paintings.

Mens Traditional Clothing

Andalucia has a history rich with romanticized stories of bandoleros (rebels/theives) and vaqueros (cowboys) riding through the arid plains and Sierra Nevadas, sleeping in caves along the way.

The vaqueros have a distinct costume known as the “traje corto” which is short jacket worn with highwaisted pants, white shirt, coloured waistband and the notable wide brimmed hat known as the sombrero de alanche. At the local feria you still will see horsemen dressed in this attire with their beautifully adorned horses.

The famous bandoleros where the similar highwaisted pants and top but with famous red bandana tied around their head.

Traditional Spanish Dress in Bullfighting

The costumes traditionally worn by bull fighters are beautifully tailored and embroidered colourful suits have been the standard dress for bull fighters for centuries. Spanish bullfighting has very strict rules, determining every detail from ritual stages to bullfighting attire. The bullfighting costume is essential to underline the importance and social status of a bullfighter and his superiority in the fight.

Spanish bullfighting costumes consist of a silk jacket, heavily embroidered in gold, knee length skin tight pants with white or brightly coloured stockings, and montera (a black bicome hat) and black slippers. The importance of the bright colours has particular significance in bull fighting concerns. Originally bullfighting was a privilege of nobility during the 17th century.

Traditional Spanish DressThen, lower classes started bullfighting to gain social status by becoming national bullfighting heroes. Although the bullfighting tradition has long ago entered the mainstream population and is no longer a nobility spectacle, it is still reflected in the way the spectacle is organized and the costumes that bullfighters wear to emphasize their social position.

The designs of typical bullfighting costumes are still based on elegant styles from the 16th -18th century bullfighting fashion (commonly known as the Goyesca period).

Typically, the richer coloured fabrics were more expensive, and thus a sign of upper class for those who wore them. But more importantly, the combination of red and gold shades, were associated with the blood and sand (which is a special yellow sand); hence, bullfighting costumes conform not only to the past noble traditions, but also to the entire atmosphere of colours and shades of the bullring, producing an enormous aesthetic effect on the spectator, enhancing the effect of grandness and visual impressiveness of the performance.

Traditional Spanish Dress in Northern Spain

The popular running of the bulls in Pamplona is where you will see the local people dressed in the traditional white pant and shirt with a red bandana around their neck, typical of the people who work with the bulls in the countryside.

The most unusual (not typically Spanish) may be seen in the area of Galicia where a strong Celtic influence has the women dressed in delicately embroidered clothing and the men in kilts customarily worn in Central and Southern Spain but also incredibly different from its bordering neighbours. Bagpipes are the traditional instrument and the bright and flamboyant colours of “Flamenco” are replaced by a less colourful style which perhaps represents the cooler weather, tougher lifestyle and economic strife that Galicia has suffered in the past.

The Celtic connection is obvious with both music and clothing, especially similar to that of the Scottish and Irish.

Clothes worn in the Castille-Leon provinces are quite different from that of its Galician neighbours and provinces to the South.

Black jackets and short pants (or skirts for the women) with white shirts are worn. Brightly coloured ribbons adorn women’s hair and colourful floral embroidery adorn the jackets and skirts also include among the multifariousness of traditional Spanish dress.

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