Toreador outfits and fashion
From flamenco dancing to fiestas, the fascinating country of Spain and its rich traditions are a never-ending source of fashion inspiration.
One of its iconic traditions is that of bullfighting. The bullfighter or “toreador” is a dashing and heroic figure in Spanish culture. Part of the toreador’s appeal is the elaborate outfits, often embellished with metallic thread and sequins, that can be adapted to women’s fashion. The toreador look is one of fashion’s most breathtaking style statements.
Read on to know more about this enduring tradition and how it has influenced fashion past and present.
What is the toreador tradition all about?
The “toreador” is the principal performer in a bullfight. Note the use of the word “performer”. While bullfighting is a sport, it is also considered an art in Spain and attending a fight is just like going to the theatre.
At a fight, a bull is released into the ring and goaded by the toreador’s assistants. Once the bull is ready for action the toreador gets to work performing the “faena”. This is where he runs at the bull waving a bright red cloth, skilfully avoiding the bull’s attack with deft movements. The fight ends with either the toreador or, more usually, the bull, being killed.
The sport and art of bullfighting was brought to a global audience thanks to the opera “Carmen” by Bizet. Set in Spain around 1820, it features the beautiful gypsy Carmen and her romances with the soldier, Don José, and the toreador Escamillo, who eventually wins her from him thanks to his glamorous, swashbuckling image.
Its famous “Toreador Song” immortalised the role of the bullfighter and the adventure and excitement that accompanies it, reflected in vibrant, Spanish-style fashion.
What do toreadors wear?
While the act of bullfighting may not be to everyone’s taste, it is hard to deny the appeal of its dazzling outfits, which are all part of the performance.
Typically, a toreador will wear tight-fitting trousers, a vest, a cropped jacket and a cape, all designed to show off his muscular figure. Each item is skillfully embellished with gold embroidery, sequins, beads and rhinestones, earning the costume’s nickname “the suit of lights”.
Toreador clothing can take a team of tailors many weeks to create and cost thousands of euros.
How can I make toreador-influenced fashion choices?
Fortunately for fashion lovers, toreador style elements can be easily borrowed to create your own stunning ladies’ fashion and beauty trends.
One of the most recognisable pieces of toreador clothing is the cropped or bolero jacket. This versatile piece epitomises Spanish style with its distinctive lines and figure-flattering form. You can stay true to toreador style by wearing it with a tight-fitting top underneath and skinny jeans or slim-fit trousers, recreating the bullfighter’s silhouette.
Despite being inspired by a traditionally male look, your bolero jacket will look ultra-feminine paired with a flared mini dress for casual chic, or with a more formal bodycon dress for a wedding or any other formal event.
The bolero also looks fabulous with a strapless dress, showing your figure off and adding a touch of feminine charm.
Another key element of the toreador look is the embellishment that adds sparkle and glamour to the outfits. To recreate this vibe, seek out luxurious fabrics such as velvet and lace and anything embroidered with metallic thread or beads.
You can also channel the dramatic toreador image with your choice of colours. Scarlet red reflects the vibrant colour of the cloth used by the toreador, while rich maroons, purples and burgundies also make great colour choices and will contrast beautifully with any sparkly elements of your outfit.
The toreador’s traditional flat-topped hat, the montera, is also a distinctive element of this vibrant look. You can replicate it by opting for a black fedora, which is a great and fashionable alternative to the traditional bullfighter’s hat. Not just for men, this classic headgear adds the finishing touch to your outfit, whether you’re wearing tight trousers or a feminine dress, looking just as good with either option.
Inspired by the drama of the bullring
This popular style never goes out of fashion. And if you’re looking to impress or make a dramatic entrance, the toreador vibe is the one to go for. It’s perfect for a dressed-up and unique look for a formal occasion, and elements of its style can even be dressed down for more everyday chic. Have fun experimenting with one of the most distinctive and timeless fashion inspirations, inspired by the drama of the bullring.
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