What Do Matadors Wear?

Copyrights by Sigfrid López/Moment/Getty Images

The matadors of the Spanish corrida, or bullfight, wear a ceremonial outfit called traje de luces, or “suit of lights,” and a montera, which is a traditional folk hat. The red cape that the bullfighters wave about is a muleta, and the sword used to deliver the killing blow is the estoque.

The traje de luces contains numerous components that vary depending on the role of the bullfighter. During any corrida, there are three bullfighters, or toreros, present: the banderillo runs alongside the bull, placing the banderillas, or “little flags;” the picador rides on horseback and makes the first incisions to the bull’s neck; and the matador de toros, literally “killer of bulls,” waves his muleta, dances with the bull and delivers the finishing blow.

The traje de luces of the matador de toros is more ornate than that of the other toreros and features finely crafted golden trim and accents. The picador and banderillo wear silver trim. When entering the arena, the matador wears a capote de paseo, which is a stiff, hard mantle covered in silk and lavish decorations. The capote de paseo is exchanged for a chaquetilla, a loose jacket that covers a corbatin and camisa (tie and white shirt). The taleguilla are form-fitting pants that are firmly fastened beneath their other adornments and stop just above the knee. Matadors put on two pairs of socks, called medias: the inner pair is cotton, and the other pair is made from a light silk. On their feet, matadors wear zapatillas, which are lightweight, flat-bottomed slippers.