Mainly located on the Iberian Peninsula and having smaller territories in form of islands in different parts of the lovely planet, this is Spain: the historic and gorgeous European country with powerful strategic background. Spain has diverse and magnificent coastline and divergence in its landscape and geography. Overall, Spain is a mountainous country, dominated by high plateaus and mountain chains. Due to varied geography, Spanish climate also differs from region to region.
Spain has a very long and interesting history. Romans named this territory as Hispania. It was a land where magnificent Mediterranean civilization was developed. After the Celtic and Iberians, Hispania was a part of the great Roman Empire that lasted for many centuries. Romans put a subtle impact and a great cultural foundation was put. Historic sites like the walls of Astorga, architectural ruins of Mérida and Tarragona are witnesses of the glorious past of this region under the Roman domination. After the collapse of the Romans, Hispania remained under the control of many successive regimes that continued establishing their impacts on the cultural patrimony.
The middle age history of Hispania glitters with the supremacy of Muslim rulers who made Cordoba as their centre and the great Andalusia state was emerged. Till the reoccupation by the Christians on Spain after almost 700 years, the region had possessed stirring and permanent features of the Islamic culture and enlightenment. Muslims introduced their unique architecture and built enduring buildings. New progressive irrigation methods were familiarized and drastic change occurred almost in every aspect of Spanish heritage. Muslims commenced the cotton growth in Andalusia and phenomenal silk industry was developed as well. Sheep herding was flourished that lead to wool production at massive level. Not only the people of Andalusia, but millions of other Europeans got acquainted with the new, innovated and unique clothing techniques and designs.
The cultural wealth reached to its peak after the reoccupation of the Christians after the fall of the Islamic regime with the capture of Granada in 1492. Foundation of new Imperial Spain was built and Spanish people explored new lands where they got settled and instituted their preeminence. Renaissance period was the ideal era for Spain, when Spanish predominance was established in many regions of the world and that lasted until the middle of the 17th century. Spanish brought the colors of different cultures from many corners of the planet and amalgamated in their heritage.
After the glorious period, a comparatively unstable and poverty-stricken era was started in Spain. For the successive centuries, Spain went through many bloodsheds, wars, political confrontations and catastrophes. The strongholds on the colonial empire were vanished and in the last century the country tasted dictatorships and monarch rules that ultimately lead to the exile of King Alfonso III. Doors of democracy were finally opened to Spain in the late 1970’s and Spanish social and civil values started again to grow on modern patterns. New cultural movements based on freedom appeared and the same are continuing rapidly in Spain today.
Heterogeneous Spain has a glorious traditional dress and the colors and history of Spanish culture are adorned with the mixed influences of classy and contemporary, cultivated and fashionable, modest and secular, multiple and diverse fusions. The Kingdom of Spain has the population of more than 45 million having the native Spaniards around 88% and remaining are the immigrants who mainly belong to American, East European and North African continents. Roman Catholicism is the main religion of Spain. Main aim to brief all of these aspects is to make you understand that traditional dress of Spain is a complicated inter-mixture of Roman, Spanish, Arab, Berber and Latin fashions.
Modern Spanish people are totally western in their routine lives. Fashion industry of Spain is making remarkable progress and enjoying good repute all around the world. But real growth in the fashion markets of Spain was commenced during the sixteenth century. It was an era when Moorish patterns in clothing like decorations of gold and silver embroidery or with pearls were become popular. Modesty remained the paramount feature in the Spanish dress designing as it was inherited from the Roman and Andalusia cultures. There are some classic examples of traditional outfits in Spain which represent the true clothing history of Spain.
Mantilla is a traditional headscarf made with lace which is especially associated with Spain. This normally covers the head and shoulders of the wearer and often comes with a high comb called a peineta. Mantilla was popular among the Spanish women during the 17th and 18th centuries and it is thought that the same was constructed by getting inspired from the Muslim women of North Africa.
The peineta is used to hold up a mantilla and in Spain, women still wear mantillas during Holy Week (the week leading to Easter), bullfights and weddings. Also a black mantilla is traditionally worn when a woman has an audience with the Pope and a white mantilla is appropriate for a church wedding, but can be worn at other ceremony occasions as well.
Gilet is the traditional sleeveless jacket same like a vest or blouse which may be of knee-length height and is typically straight-sided rather than fitted. Today, it is used not only in Spain but in other European countries with many different designs and styles. Fashion gilets are usually made with fake fur or knitted one.
Maja was a traditional dress in Spain, usually worn in Andalusia regions by gypsy women that later put strong impact on the women clothing in Spain. It consisted of tied on sleeves, an inner vest with an outer jacket left open. It was also accompanied with mantilla or a black colored hat. It was adopted by rich class women also and became symbol of Spanish culture. It was transformed into a formal and fancy costume with the passage of time.
The traje de flamenca (“flamenco outfit”) is the costume worn by female flamenco dancers during their performances. The traje de flamenca is the most characteristic visual element of flamenco. It is a long dress that reaches to the ankle, and which is adorned with ruffles in both the skirt and sleeves. It is typically brightly colored and may be either plain or patterned with the most typical being the polka dotted traje de lunares.
Traditionally, the outfit is worn with hair up in a bun and is accompanied by a mantle worn over the shoulders. The dress can also be made in two parts, with a separate top and skirt. The traje de flamenca has undergone changes over the century or more that it has been in widespread use. This folkloric outfit has inspired numerous Spanish and international fashion designers.
Some Flamenco dancers also perform wearing the traditional Manila Shawl. It is an embroidered shawl that was originated in China. Traditionally, they were carried out in silk and they were embroidered by hand with floral motives of nature as flowers, birds, and other typical Chinese motives. Later any variations were brought in the designing of Manila shawl. Manila Shawl was named after Manila as the same were imported from China and imported in Spain via Manila port during the fifteenth century.
In Spain, capirote is a popular traditional hat which is in pointed shape. It was worn by clowns and jugglers who wanted to portray clumsiness or stupidity during medieval times. Because of this, pointed hats were used when vexing criminals. The criminals were forced to wear pointed hats and walk through the streets, while people threw rotten vegetables at them, spat on them, and insulted them.
Sombrero cordobés truly reflexes the Andalusia culture as it was originated from Cordoba, Spain. It is a wide brimmed hat which comes mostly in black color. Besides that sombrero cordobes are also popular in red, pearl gray, sea green and navy blue shades. The style became more widespread in the late 19th and early 20th century.
A Cantabrian albarca is traditionally pastoral footwear which is normally made with wood sole and it has been used particularly by the peasants of Cantabria, northern Spain. It somehow resembles with other European agrarian shoes but having some distinctive features in terms of woodworking process and in their use.
Spanish Christian community promoted an exclusively designed hat during the 19th century which is known as barretina. Today, the barretina is no longer commonly worn in everyday life, but is still used in traditional dances, or as a symbol of Catalan identity.
The community who dwells in the northeastern parts of Spain is called as the Aragonese whose people are known for their costumes worn in the traditional dances like jota. Muslim community is also famous for using the traditional the cachirulo or coronary handkerchief which was originally worn by the Moors until the 17th century. The most popular model today is formed by red and black boxes.
The traditional men’s dress of Spain was having design of outlaws and cowboys costumes. Spanish men loved to wear high waist trousers with a short jacket (traje corto) that was usually bedecked with certain elements and embroidery. All of these objects were linked together by a wide colored scarf at the waist. Sometimes the Spanish men preferred to wear a white ruffled shirt underneath the jacket. Hats were the favorite headdresses for Spanish men.
Bullfighters in Spain are particularly known for their beautifully adorned costumes which are customarily tailored in magnificent manner. Their traditional suits consist of marvelous embroidery with strong standards which really amuse the spectators by their designs. These designs date back to the elegant tailoring of bullfighting costumes during the 16th -18th centuries. 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.
This is really tough to cover all forms of the traditional dress of Spain as there are many variations in traditional costumes across the country in different regions having distinctions related to their own style and customs. Nowadays, Spanish entertainers especially dress up in the cultural celebrations and other festivities or national events to highlight and resent the individuality held by Spanish heritage.
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