If you’re like many romantic women, you’re enamored of Spanish fashion’s seductive styles and vibrant colors. From flamboyant patterns to luscious fabrics, Spain boasts a beautiful spectrum of wardrobe options reminiscent of summer beach nights, smoky coffeehouses, and misty highlands. But dressing like an exotic Latin beauty begins with learning the ABCs of dressing like a Spanish goddess. Here are some pretty elements to incorporate into your wardrobe:
A is for azure: Blue should be one of the dominant colors in your wardrobe. With so many beautiful shades, there is a blue out there that compliments your skin tone. Fair beauties should search for pale blues that don’t wash them out or lovely medium blues; too dark of a blue may be too stark of a contrast against fair skin. Navy, however, is a brilliant alternative to black for olive beauties. Bright, tropical blues are the best for darker skin tones.
B is for bangles: Layer your arms in clinky-clanky bangles for a flirty effect or add subtle charm to an outfit by wearing a single bangle with matching earrings. Chunky bangles often look best in wood (or plastic textured like wood) with ethnic details like pieces of mirror or even embroidery.
C is for corduroy: Corduroy is artsy and chic, making it an ideal Spanish staple. Search for fitted flares or dollish jumpers in thin corduroy for a sleek look or thicker corduroy for an edgier look. Pair corduroy with less distracting fabrics (like plain cotton) to draw attention to your corduroy’s touchable texture.
D is for denim: Denim is versatile and can carry you easily from day to night if worn smartly. Think jackets, jeans, and skirts, even leggings! Denim can be worn with virtually anything and still look perfectly put-together, but just remember that a completely denim outfit is dull—so avoid wearing a denim jacket with jeans or a denim mini. Instead, mix up your fabrics and play around with textures!
E is for espradillas: Sport pretty feet in even prettier shoes! Shop for espradillas, elegant warm-weather shoes with Roman-style lace-up straps, in earth tones for a subdued look or bright colors for a festive feel. Espradillas are perfectly cute when paired with Bermuda shorts or flood pants.
F is for Florentine: Accenturate your collarbone by wearing a blouse with a Florentine cut, those regal square necklines popular during the Renaissance (think of the Mona Lisa’s duds). Florentines are ideally worn with tantalizing necklaces that draw further attention to the neck, but are also innocently pretty without any jewelry.
G is for gauchos: Wide-legged pants can be very slimming for the legs—when worn correctly. Search for pants that fit you well and you’ll always look sharp; they shouldn’t be too tight or too loose, but should graze the body in a flattering manner. Gauchos look great with sandals, or even with high boots that fully cover the calves and don’t leave a visible gap between the top of the boots and the hem of the pants.
H is for hats: Hats are a fabulous finishing touch to an outfit—and also great for protecting your hair and skin from the sun or the rain. Try wide-brimmed sunhats for day and mysterious berets for evening. But if you want your hat to be the focus of your ensemble, minimize other accessories, especially earrings, which should be kept small and simple.
I is for intarsia: Intarsia is a type of mosaic-like knitting that allows the design to be visible from both sides of the fabric, and looks beautiful on Spanish wool. Look for fun sweaters, chic bags, and funky hats in bright colors to pair with plain skirts, pants, or dresses.
J is for jackets: Cropped jackets, or boleros (the types of short jackets worn by Spanish bull-fighters), instantly polish any outfit—and have the added bonus of protecting your skin from the sun. Wear them over lacy camisoles or scoop-neck shirts with crisp pants or skirts.
K is for keyhole: Show just a peep of skin (or more!) with a keyhole neckline. A keyhole can be a sweet, flirty addition to a blouse or a devilish call for attention, depending on its size and how low down the cleavage line it is cut. Find a keyhole that works for you and then reach for a nice pair of earrings—a flashy necklace will only distract from a keyhole.
L is for leather: Renowned for its flourishing cattle industry, Spain is never short of breathtaking leather. For a rustic look, choose weathered leather purses, belts, and boots. For a more refined approach to this Spanish treasure, search for clean-cut lustrous pieces to match sleek shoes and close-fitting pants.
M is for Mother of Pearl: Spain has a close relationship with the Mediterranean and loves gleaning looks from the deep blue. Choose Mother of Pearl jewelry and blouses with Mother of Pearl buttons for sea-inspired glamour that is subtle yet elegant. Mother of Pearl looks especially beautiful against blues, purples, greens, and black.
N is for Nehru: A type of rounded collar similar to those found in Mandarin Chinese tunics, a Nehru collar is a pretty ethnic detail that will add interest to an otherwise boring outfit. Find blouses with flamboyant colors that speak of summer, like magenta, fuchsia, and tangerine.
O is for off-the-shoulder: Add an instant Gypsy flair to any outfit by throwing on an off-the-shoulder peasant top or sweater. Tops this elegant call for a pretty necklace that draws attention to the collarbone, or long, dangly earrings that show off the shoulders.
P is for paisley: Barcelona nights demand color and drama, two qualities that paisley can’t help but emit. Paisley looks fabulous on tiered skirts, peasant shirts, scarves, or a number of other items. To keep yourself looking crisp, limit yourself to one piece of paisley per outfit because head-to-toe paisley can be overwhelming.
Q is for quilting: For a folksy look, shop for quilted-style purses or coats. But to avoid resembling a 19th-century peasant, search for small patching in modern colors that is finely tailored.
R is for ruffles: Spain has a long-tradition of poetry—and what better detail for a poet than ruffles? Look for silk, polyester, or crushed velvet blouses in dreamy colors like antique rose, lavender, ivory, or pale blue. Modernize the outfit by wearing streamline pants (in a darker color than your blouse) with sharp shoes, like high-heeled boots.
S is for scarves: Scarves add an element of mystery and Old World glamour to any outfit. Wrap up your neck, pull back your hair, or add a sash to your dress. Buy a couple of scarves in solid colors and patterns, like paisley, geometric, plaid, and floral.
T is for turquoise: Necklaces, rings, bracelets, anklets, earrings, belt buckles, bright blouses—make your favorite accessory turquoise and you’ll be a natural beauty on the Mediterranean beach. Don’t overwhelm an outfit with too much of this color, however. Limit yourself to one or two turquoise pieces per outfit.
U is for unique tunics: Embroidered treasures, beaded beauties, or rich, ethnic patterns are a dama’s, or Spanish lady’s, fashion fantasy. Choose soft flowing fabrics to layer over more structured pants or shorts. Sandals are a natural pairing, but smart boots look great with tunics, too.
V is for vaquera: ‘Vaquera’ is the Spanish word for ‘cowgirl’ and the Spanish love anything that gives even a sneaking suspicion of the Wild West. Go for cowgirl boots, hats, and plenty of rustic leather or denim, but try not to look too “costumey”. Limit yourself to one vaquera piece per outfit (unless you really are a cowgirl!)
W is for wool: The highlands of Spain are famous for their quality wool, so be sure to find a classy sweater, pair of pants, or coat in an elegant color that matches your wardrobe. Spaniards are especially fond of autumn palettes, including colors like forest green, burgundy, abergine, chocolate, camel, navy blue, gray, and black.
X is for extreme jewelry: Natural stones in rich colors, wooden beads, tiger-eye beads, bronze, and copper are elements you should try to incorporate into your jewelry collection. If you can’t afford real stones, many modern jewelry designers offer convincing look-alikes made out of plastic.
Y is for yellow: Yellow is a fun, vibrant color that is especially cute for sundresses and tunics. Brunettes with pale skin are in luck because yellow is a wonderful color for them since it contrasts nicely with their hair and flatters their skin. But other women can wear yellow, too—they just have to be more selective about which shade to choose. If you have a lighter skin tone and blonde or red hair, look for pale or sunny yellows; if you have a medium skin tone, you should try mustard yellows; and if you have a darker skin tone, bright yellow will look great.
Z is for zipper: Zippers are clean, modern additions to a garment that make dressing quickly easy. To spice up a plain garment the Spanish way, add a cute keychain with ethnic beads and feathers to a zipper.
You don’t have to be from Sevilla to have style! Dressing like a Spanish goddess just requires an appreciation for color, patterns, interesting textures, ethnic details, and mystery.