What to wear (and what not to) when you go to the fair...
As tourists arrive at the Seville Fair in T-shirts and trousers, or summer dresses, cameras in hand and ready for action, they might get the impression that all the women are dressed in a traditional folkloric costume that only varies slightly in colour and cut from one person to another.
In fact, the styles change at the Seville fair every year, with new patterns, colours and dramatically different cuts in the traditional traje de flamenca or traje de gitana (flamenco dress). Not only that, but the supremely elegant traje de amazona (horsewoman) side-saddle skirt suits worn by those lucky enough to attend the fair on horseback also evolve, but only within very strict guidelines (one of them being – no sunglasses to accompany the suit; instead, a hat shades their eyes from the sun).
|Flamenco outfits are a must for ladies at the Feria.|
If you're wearing a form-hugging flamenca dress, use its hidden pocket under the outer skirt layer (so you don't have to flash your knickers) for essentials such as keys and mobile phone, plus a map of the recinto to find the casetas - published in newspapers or available from tourist offices and information desks at the Feria itself (one by the portada and the other at the end of calle Costillares).
Flamenca dresses are not cheap, and many women are happy to wear a second-hand one, rather than splash out hundreds of euros on a made-to-measure or off the peg. Try charity shops such as Humana, or look out for the pop-up sales that take place in the weeks and months leading up to Feria.
You can also save on preloved accessories – shawl, necklace, bracelets, combs and flower – in coordinating colours to match your dress. Most dresses have two tones, so you can choose one of them for your jewellery; or one flower in each tone. If you prefer to have brand-new accessories (especially earrings), then El Corte Ingles has a wide selection. Chinese shops will also offer plenty of options, but the quality will not be as good.
If you really don’t want to wear a flamenca dress, which is quite understandable and they are not a quick or easy option, then at least wear some accessories to get into the Feria spirit, such as a shawl, earrings and a flower in your hair. This will cost you less than 20 euros, and you’ll look (and feel) more part of the action.
In terms of footwear, most people prefer to wear comfortable shoes, such as high-heeled esparto sandals, with their long flamenco dress; if you want to make a noise on the dance floor, then flamenco shoes are the thing. Be aware that if it rains, the streets will soon turn to mud. You'll be dancing, and walking around, for many hours, and you´ll appreciate them even more as you join the long bus or taxi queue at 3am.
Those simply attending casetas tend to wear either suits, or sports jackets with smart slacks. If men want to fit in, then they should at least wear a button-up shirt and chino-type trousers, rather than jeans or shorts and a T-shirt.
The jinetes (horsemen) riding horses at the Feria wear a traje de corto, with cropped jacket, high-waisted trousers, and Cordobes hat (grey or black with flat top and wide brim; think the logo for Tio Pepe sherry).