Spain Summer Fashion: Guide to Dressing for Sun and Style


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Summer is one of the most exciting times to visit Spain, with plenty of sunshine, warm temperatures, and fun-filled events. Whether you’re planning a beach vacation or exploring the vibrant cities, it’s essential to dress appropriately for the Spanish summer heat. Spaniards take pride in looking presentable. Spanish summer fashion is all about staying stylish while also being practical and comfortable. In this post, we’ll explore general fashion trends in Spain for the summer season, including popular clothing styles, accessories, and fabrics. Here is some general Spanish summer fashion that will help you know what to wear!

Popular Spain Summer fashion in Spain

Summer fashion trends for women in Spain

Spain’s summer fashion varies from year to year. But some clothing styles persist:

Spanish women sometimes wear espadrilles, called alpargatas in Spain. They are in all the shoe shops starting in the spring. They’re a type of Spanish traditional footwear that originated in the Pyrenees and are made of natural materials, such as canvas or cotton. They have a flexible sole made of jute rope. They come in tons of styles, like espadrille flats, espadrille wedges, and sandals. Locals do not wear alpargatas every day to work or school, for example. They are reserved for relaxed occasions, like for weekends, a party, or a beach holiday.

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For an easy-to-pop-on skirt, a maxi dress or skirt is fashionable, light, and fashionable. They can look chic, especially when paired with leather sandals. Women make them more casual by pairing them with sneakers.

PRETTYGARDEN Sleeveless Casual Shirred Tank Top Tiered Maxi Dress Smocked Summer Dresses for Women 2023 Beach Long Sundress (Lake Blue,X-Large)

Women wear sleeveless tops and blouses in the summer. It is hot all over Spain, so a tank top or a sleeveless blouse will cool you down.

Dokotoo Womens Ladies Elegant Summer Casual Sleeveless Shirts Halter Neck Cami Shirt Fashion Ruffled Leopard Print Tank Top and Blouses White X-Large

Women also wear off-the-shoulder tops and dresses, which allow for plenty of airflow and show just enough skin to be sexy but not too much.

WDIRARA Women's Stretchy Off Shoulder Flounce Sleeve Sexy Slim Blouse Tops Shirt White S

Women also wear sneakers. Athletic shoes are literally everywhere, and they have infiltrated every age group. Running shoes are not for running anymore but for comfort and trendy athleisure style.

Summer fashion tips for men in Spain

Cotton polo shirts are the quintessential Spanish summer shirt for men. They are light and comfortable, and they are still stylish. You can wear them to work, to the beach, to dinner, to the bar, or to the club.

My husband is from Seville, and he has a rainbow of them! His mom loves to buy him new ones practically every year. (He has various from Massimo Dutti, El Corte Ingles, and Sfera.)

Stylish men also wear short-sleeved button-down shirts. They can look very classy in the summer without the man looking like he’s trying too hard. Men wear these shirts every day in the summer to work.

Men often wear their screen-printed t-shirts here too, especially for very casual wear, like going to the supermarket or hanging out with friends and family. They are not as dressy, but they are as popular as ever. If you’re here in Spain, check out shops like Pampling.

Men Spanish fashion includes all kinds of long shorts: cargo-style shorts, chino-style shorts, or even long denim shorts. Locals don’t wear surf or skater shorts.

The Right Fabrics and Colors to Beat the Heat in Spain

So, what kind of fabrics do Spanish people wear to beat the heat?

Linen is an excellent option for this, as it is naturally breathable and lightweight. The only drawback is that it wrinkles easily, but the un-smooth texture is part of the “natural look”.

Wear cotton to keep cool. It’s breathable, lightweight, and the organic texture feels good on the skin.

Synthetic, moisture-wicking clothes are good if you sweat a lot. It’s also good in humid environments, such as Barcelona or the Costa Brava. For synthetic fabrics, try polyester, rayon, or modal. Don’t shun them. They can be very light and breathable, and they can be easily packed in your suitcase without wrinkling. Personally, I love patterned polyester because it’s cool and you can’t see all the curves.

White and any light-colored clothing, like yellow and gray, reflect any light. And according to this article, even red keeps the body cool, according to science! Locals do wear dark colors in major cities.

Avoid dark colors like black and navy blue, which tend to attract heat.

Do not wear jeans. They are too thick and will make your legs sweat. I literally fold up my jeans and store them until late fall.

What to wear in Spain in the summer, according to region

Summer weather in different parts of Spain

Summer temperatures are the highest. People think that Spain is uniformly hot. Not true! It has three main climatic zones, and many cities have microclimates.

The coolest regions of Spain in the summer are in northern Spain, which has an “oceanic climate”. The regions are Asturias, Galicia, Navarre, and the Basque Country. These cities include Santander, San Sebastian, and Bilbao.

In mountainous regions like Galicia, the weather can be cooler and more unpredictable, so bringing layers such as cardigans or jackets is recommended.

The hottest climate is in the south of Spain, in Andalusia: Seville, Cordoba, and Granada.

In coastal areas such as Málaga, Valencia, and Barcelona, lightweight and loose clothing is ideal to beat the heat and enjoy the beachy atmosphere.

In inland cities like Madrid, the summer can be quite hot, but the dress code tends to be more formal, so consider dresses or button-up shirts and trousers for daytime activities or dining out. Cities in southern Spain are exceedingly hot.

You will probably not need to cover up with a sweater or jacket, even at night. But I recommend you pack one just in case.

Appropriate Clothing for Summer Activities in Spain

For sightseeing and exploring, opt for comfortable clothing such as loose pants or dresses and avoid tight-fitting outfits. You can wear shorts, but keep them at an appropriate length.

Comfortable sandals with a thick, supportive sole are recommended for walking around and sightseeing. Locals do not usually wear rubber flip-flops in the city or for everyday wear.

For a day at the beach or poolside, swimwear is obviously a must. Cover-ups or shirts and shorts are great for transitioning from the water to a nearby beach bar or restaurant. Spaniards dress more conservatively, even when at the beach. They usually cover their torsos before eating. Don’t you love that formality?

Finally, for outdoor sports and adventures, it’s best to wear breathable clothes and athletic shoes with good grip. Don’t wear anything too revealing, and make sure to protect yourself from the sun with a hat and sunscreen.

For a Spanish wedding, Spanish women dress to the nines. They wear a formal dress, either short or long, depending on the venue. Many also wear a fascinator or a big matching hat. I have never worn one to a wedding in Spain.

What Spaniards Wear at Different Ages

Kids’ Clothing

Little Spaniards tend to wear very casual clothes: sneakers, t-shirts, jean shorts, or even sports shorts. In dressier areas, like in parts of southern Spain and pijo parts of big cities, kids wear polo shirts and chino shorts. They may wear some nice leather shoes or white Adidas.

Summer Teen Fashion in Spain

I find teens, Gen Zers, and Zoomers to be an interesting bunch of dressers in Spain.

For example, here in Barcelona, ladies in their late teens want to dress sexy. I believe this is a fashion phenomenon in Western culture. They wear athletic clothes or gym clothes, even if they’re just hanging out with their friends: tight leggings, bike shorts, sports bras, or very tight, short cotton dresses. Otherwise, many of the young women will wear a decent blouse or t-shirt and denim shorts.

Seniors’ Clothing

If anyone dresses more formally, it’s the elderly age group. For example, elderly men’s Spanish style usually includes a cotton button-down shirt, slacks, and quality leather dress shoes or sandals. Sometimes they wear hats. Elderly ladies may wear a classic jacket, a loose blouse, and leather shoes or sandals. Of course, as I mentioned, many seniors are dressing casually these days and are wearing jeans and athletic shoes.

Dressing for summer nights in Spain

In the summer, the dress code for bars and nightlife in Spain is relaxed and casual. Lightweight fabrics like cotton or inexpensive synthetic materials like modal or polyester are popular. Women often wear dresses, skirts, or shorts paired with a blouse or a sleeveless top.

Sandals or wedges are commonly worn as footwear.

If you’re going to a nice dinner, err on the side of upscale and stylish. You don’t have to wear stiletto heels. Just wear what’s comfortable.

Of course, consider the venue and occasion when choosing an outfit. Some upscale bars and clubs may have a more formal dress code.

Tips for Your Summer Packing List for Spain

  1. Check the weather forecast before you go, and pack accordingly. This sounds like a given, but the climate has changed considerably in the past decade.
  2. Watch out for pickpockets! Consider buying an anti-theft purse; the zipper locks when you close it. It will give you peace of mind when you’re traveling from city to city. I love mine and use it every day!
  3. Bring a swimsuit if you plan on going to the beach! You can go topless if you wish, but it’s not like every woman is baring it all.
  4. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s strong rays. Sunglasses are also a must-have accessory.
  5. If you plan on doing a lot of walking or hiking, you must wear comfortable shoes. Break them in before you come—my brother who visited learned that the hard way!
  6. Bring a shirt with long sleeves in case you get a freak cool day or for the evenings.
  7. Don’t overpack. Keep your bag light, and it’s okay if you forget something. Spain has some of the best shopping for souvenirs, and it would be nice to bring a pair of leather sandals home with you.

Spain’s Summer Fashion Dos and Don’ts

  1. Check out famous Spanish brands before you come. El Corte Ingles, Zara, Mango, Massimo Dutti, and Sfera are interesting brands that will keep you up to date on the latest trends. For young women, try Stradivarius or Bershka.
  2. If you want to look like a local and avoid looking like a tourist, lean towards staying stylish rather than casual.
  3. Don’t wear any flamenco dresses or ruffled dresses. Female tourists coming to Spain have this idea that women like to wear traditional Spanish dresses all the time, but they don’t.

By Justine Ancheta

California native, churro aficionado, and mom of 3, Justine Ancheta writes fervently about Barcelona and Spain. Since 2008, she's been eating burnt onions (calçots) and tripping on cobblestones in the Gothic Quarter. She shares tips on popular attractions, exposes offbeat non-touristy spots, and gives insight on exploring Barcelona with kids. Her next Catalan culture challenge: top level of a human castle (castellers).

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