The traditional flamenco dress is mainly worn at Andalusian Festivals. The Spanish are a lively lot and enjoy celebrating at parties, fiestas, ferias and even some weddings. The main festivals in Andalusia concentrate around Spring and Summer. I’ve visited quite a few different ferias over the years that I have been living in Southern Spain.
The photo above is from last Summer. This was taken at the Corpus Christi Fair in Granada. This is at the end of May, beginning of June each year. The image below is from quite a few years ago in the Valley of Lecrin at the Festival of the Crosses of May. (Cruces de Mayo)
Depending on the type of celebration, time of year and even the time of day the clothes people where to these occasions varies. There are lots of accesories and different garments to choose from. It can be difficult to know where to start with flamenco dress and the different items available.
Typically festivals such as Romeria, cruces de mayo in some villages or other local festivals can be in the countryside. So boots or alpargata shoes are the best choice. I bought some Alpargatas one year for just 9 euros to match a pink flamenco dress I had.
The Feria such as Feria de Jerez, Corpus Christi, Feria de abril maybe on a concrete or sandy ground. These are generally easier to walk on but best not to wear huge heels.
As well as deciding on what is right for the occasion it also is good to consider if the weather will be hot and sunny or changeable.
Main Fairs in Andalusia
Some of the fiestas I’ve been to in Andalusia over the years
- Feria de Linares Celebrated at the end of August. Best to see at night when temperatures are lower.
- Feria de Jaen The last fair of the season is celebrated each October
- Feria de Almeria End of August each year.
- Feria del Caballo in Jerez de la frontera First week in May
- Feria del Corpus Christi Granada Last days of May and first days in June
- Cruces de Mayo in Granada and around the Valle de Lecrin First days of May
- Cruces de Mayo in Almeria First days in May
So if you are going along and want to add something typical to your outfit, you can accesorise with a colourful fan and a flower in your hair. Maybe if it’s hot, a typical embroidered shawl could will help to cover you up from the sun or even keep your shoulders warm if it’s cooler or cloudy. I read this article about Spanish fans which explains the gestures and language of them. Flamenco dress doesnt have to mean a made to measure dress each season. The accesories are cheap and colourful.
How to buy a flamenco dress
If you want to have the proper outfit then talk to the staff in the shop about the occasion that it is. The full Flamenco dress will only be an option for the Fair at Seville. If you are heading the a romeria you need to look at a bata flamenca which is a more simple design of Flamenco dress. This allows you to walk and move your legs easily as it has less fabric on the bottom.
When I have visited fairs at the height of summer in Jaen or Almeria I tend to keep it very simple, a floral cotton skirt and white strappy tshirt. First I need to ensure that I can try to keep cool is 40 degrees. Then I add some colour with gorgeous Andalusian dangly earrings, a flower in my hair and a hand painted fan. Large plastic bangles are also good to accesorise when its hot.
Jerez , seen in the picture above, in May was already at 38 degrees when I visited last year in May. Had to look good when wearing metres of fabric, if you wear a full traje flamenco, as in the picture below. The locals had it sussed though. The bars often have water vaporisers and some even air conditioning.
One last quick tip. Black eyeliner is often worn and also red lipstick or other dark shades. For children you can often find an inexpensive Flamenco dress and accesories for them. It’s great for them to mix in with the Spanish culture and join in the fun too.
After four years of ferias in Seville, Jerez and El Puerto, I seemed to have finally nailed down how to dress like a gitana. Feria is definitely my favorite time of year in Seville, and I wrote a post last year, too!