James Jeffrey

The unique style of Seville

Look beyond the scruffy tourists and you'll find sartorial elegance (and sausage dogs) at every turn

  • From Spectator Life

If you want to feel scruffy, head to Seville, the outrageously attractive capital city of southern Spain’s Andalucia region. It’s not just the abundant exquisite architecture – the city has one of the largest historic ‘old towns’ in Europe, with every bar, café and restaurant looking tiptop – but also the sartorial elegance that abounds among the local population, made even more striking by it coexisting in apparent easygoing harmony with the often plain awful turnout of us tourists and visitors.

If Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spain is the city of rucksacks and walking sticks, then Seville – currently Google’s most searched-for flight-only destination – is the city of smart shirts. I haven’t seen such a proliferation of the striped shirts that we associate with Savile Row and Charles Tyrwhitt since my time in the Queen’s Royal Lancers’ Officers’ Mess.

Women dance flamenco on Plaza de Espana in Seville [iStock]

The Bengal stripe pattern, of equal width solid-coloured stripes alternating on white, appears most popular. Blue and red lines dominate, though pink gets a fair showing too. When accompanied by boat shoes and a sweater draped around the shoulders – the Spanish version of a Hooray Henry – the look is known as pijo, which basically means posh. And Seville is renowned throughout Spain as being – or at least regarding itself as – posher than all other cities in Andalucia, notes Culture Trip, with Sevillanos being ‘more expensively and fussily attired than anyone else in southern Spain’.

Of course, the Seville women are even more stylish and pijo: women have so many more options. These range from long flowing dresses of a classical elegant style to those blanketed in colourful flower motifs or vibrant patterns. On top of that, Andalucia’s dramatic history of Moorish invaders and occupation has bequeathed an Arabian princess type of beauty mixed with the Iberian strain.

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