In an attempt to fully immerse myself in Spanish culture during my year abroad, I decided to participate in all of Sanlúcar’s events and fiestas to the best of my abilities. This included learning how to dance sevillanas and purchasing my very own traje de gitana (flamenco dress) for the annual fair (aka. feria). As you all know, my year abroad turned into a permanent thing, and even though it took me a few years to get the dance down…I did purchase a dress that first year. 😉 I’ve learned a little bit about feria fashion since 2011 and this year has been my favorite one yet! I thought it would be fun to look back on some of my fashion faux pas and share the back story on how I created my look for this year’s fair.
Cringe. The photo on the left was my very first feria in 2011. I attended the fair in Puerto de Santa Maria and was SO EXCITED to wear my new dress. At the time I wasn’t aware that I needed to tuck in my mantoncillo (decorative shawl) or that girls typically wear the flower on top of their head…oops. After a few hours of dancing my flower drooped off to the side and eventually fell out (lesson learned!). I also started with the polka-dotted dresses because they’re the traditional look in Andalusia, but recently I’ve been drawn to solid colors. This is the first year since moving here that people assumed I was Spanish (until I opened my mouth)…so I must be doing something right.
Dressed to impress at this year’s feria
After attending several flamenco fashion shows I had my heart set on creating a custom-made traje de gitana...but when I tried on that red dress I knew it was the one! It fit like a glove (no alterations necessary) and the fact that is was under €200 sealed the deal. With a new dress sorted I decided to have the accessories custom-made instead. I went to Isa from In & Out to discuss accessory options (she also made my mother’s fascinator at my wedding). Isa instructed me to choose a fabric for my mantoncillo and based on those colors we would decide on the remaining complimentos (accessories). After searching for a few weeks I finally settled on a floral pattern with lots of colors.
Isa sewed my mantoncillo and added black flecos (fringe), she hand-made the earrings and arranged my flower crown to match. I was so pleased with the way everything turned out and the accessories pulled the whole look together. My complimentos came to a total of about €100, so my whole look cost under €300. Keep in mind it’s not uncommon to spend over a thousand Euros on feria dresses and accessories (in Seville for example), so this was a real steal! Check out some photos taken by photographer Jessica Aneback at Sanlúcar’s fair.