Flamenco dancers wear a tight-fitting Spanish dress that reaches the ankles and features ruffles in the sleeves and a layered skirt. The dress typically has red, black, white or bright colors. Most flamenco dresses have a polka dot pattern, but plain dresses are also common.
Flamenco dresses add an aesthetic element to flamenco performances. More than a traditional costume, the dresses reveal an essential component of the Spanish people’s cultural identity. Flamenco dancers typically arrange their hair in a bun, wear high heels, and put on a mantle. A mantle, which looks like a shawl, is worn over the shoulders.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, only Spanish gypsies regularly wore flamenco dresses. Over time, more women adopted the clothing style, and the Spanish dress eventually became the official costume for the Seville Fair.
Spanish flamenco dresses used to have shorter skirts during the 1960s and early 1970s. However, flamenco dancers started to wear the traditional, longer attire in the late '70s. Over the years, flamenco dancers began to wear flamenco attire with more vibrant colors and various embellishments, such as laces, flowers, embroidered ribbons, hand fans and fashion jewelry. Flamenco dresses are now available in numerous colors, patterns, ruffle layers and sleeve lengths.