If you see a flamenco show while you’re here, you may well be seized with the urge to buy a dress, along with all the necessary colour-coordinated accoutrements: jewellery, shoes, comb, shawl, flower and fan. There are countless shops in every town and city around Andalucia where you can buy all the gear, including El Corte Ingles, which is pricier but has an excellent selection; the variety of shades and styles can be dazzling, so it’s best to take time to browse and consider what image you’re going for.
They also come in mini versions, if you’re after a present for a (grand) daughter or niece. Little girls go mad for frills – you’ll be the popular auntie/granny if you come home with one of these.
Fans (abanicos) are a more compact buy, and come every price bracket from simple, affordable paper versions, up to handpainted silk ones inlaid with ivory and mother-of-pearl. Fans have their own language, which dates from the 19th century; by gesturing with her fan, a demure woman at a social occasion could indicate to a potential suitor her marital status/interest/disdain/desire for a kiss (scandalous!).
Leather is a good buy in Andalucia; you’ll see endless shoe shops in every town centre selling shoes made in Spain, from the chains like Paco Rodriguez, Pilar Burgos and Nicolas, to small, independent stores selling children’s footwear. Cordoba is especially well known for its stamped and embossed leather designs, called guadameci – look out for belts and boots; while Ubrique (Cadiz) is famous for its bags.