The Spanish Language Blog

In the 16th century, Spain was the leader in fashion. Spanish clothing styles influenced the entire world and traditional dress was widely known for its elegance and decoration. As Habsburg Spain grew, Spanish fashions such as Spanish capes, vertugados and corsets became popular throughout Western Europe. Vertugados were bell-shaped hoop skirts made of boning, cloth and intricate constructions with thread under the woman's clothing. This style was cumbersome for Renaissance women, mainly because it took hours to get dressed as a woman.

Spanish traditional dress was heavily influenced by the Moorish culture, which dominated parts of the Iberian Peninsula from 711 to 1492. Moorish culture introduced the needle and with it popularized beautiful embroidery. They also popularized the use of jewelry (often as buttons), heavy perfume and necklaces. The color black became popular for special events and both men and women wore heavy gold necklaces with precious stones. In addition, Spanish clothing was often made of expensive and heavy fabrics and decorated with gold or silver threads.

Unfortunately, this Spanish fashion and associated clothing failed to evolve with the rapidly changing times. As a result, Spanish clothing became obsolete and gave way to French Dominance. Cities such as Paris were more innovative and began to take over the position as the leader of European fashion from the 17th century.

Today, Spanish fashion is very modern, but traditional Spanish clothing is still used for special occasions. Flamenco dancers still wear their typical Spanish dresses in red, black or white with their hair in a bun and a rose behind their ear. Male Flamenco dancers wear traditional costumes consisting of black or red shirts with classic pants. Nevertheless, clothing style in Flamenco is also subject to fashion trends.

Costumes of traditional Spanish bullfighters have also remained unchanged over the years. They are elaborate costumes inspired by flamboyant 18th-century Andalusian dress. Known as traje de luces ("costumes of light"), they are easily distinguished from others by the use of sequins, gold and silver threads and detailed embroidery.

In addition to Spanish costumes for special occasions, each region in Spain has its own traditional attire and Spanish dresses. They are not worn often, but you can often catch a glimpse of them during regional celebrations and parades.

Much of the traditional Spanish clothing is for special occasions and celebrations. The most common pieces still used today are: the mantilla, the peineta and the vest. The mantilla is a traditional Spanish veil often worn during religious celebrations and Spanish weddings. It is a light scarf made of lace or silk that is worn over the head and/or shoulders. The peineta is a large, decorative comb placed in the hair to hold the mantilla. It is a brownish comb with a special appearance and long pins to make the veil even higher. It is used on special occasions and originated centuries ago making it a traditional piece of Spanish clothing. The Spanish gilet comes from the Spanish word jileco, orchaleco in modern Spanish. It is a sleeveless coat and an important piece in traditional dress. In the 19th century, it was an embroidered bodice shaped like the body part of a coat, used for neat occasions. Today they are used for extra warmth outdoors.

Next Step

Let's talk! Browse our offer and let us help you create your own budget.


Interesting stories delivered straight to your inbox every month.