One of the nicest things about the feria is that everyone of all ages is welcome to come join in the fun from children to the elderly. Even on Ladies Day the fun of dressing up is not restricted to just the young women. The older women all get dressed up too and there is none of the hangups you get about whether someone of a certain age should be wearing this, that or the other. They're all enjoying themselves alongside the young ones embracing the same frivolous frills, flounces and flowers as their younger counterparts without a care in the world and I for one think they look fabulous.
None of this hiding away home and not going out dancing because it would be unseemly and undignified at your age. They're all out dressed to the nines and hitting the dance floor at all hours of the feria!
This jaunty, shorter style of feria dress was probably first made popular in the fifties and is as a popular choice with older women as the younger girls. Very elderly women often add a pair of cheeky knickbockers underneath as the lady in the following photo demonstrates.
This lady in a shorter yellow and purple number was quite a character and put on quite a show for a circle of enthused onlookers. Traditionally in Jerez during festivities a group will form a ring and clap a flamenco rythym, one person will sing while another enters and does a little solo dance called bulerias in the centre of the ring with shouts of encouragement from everybody.
You couldn't stop this woman dancing one cheeky and entertaining bulerias after another and at one point she did a dance move where she dropped to her knees! She's photographed here waiting to go in the ring yet again while the young girls give her palmas (clap the rythym for her) and the lady in black and white sings for her. You'll see the frills of her knickbockers peeking through under her yellow skirt and it's quite common for older ladies to purposely flash them at the audience when they're dancing as a kind of crude joke.
I also love to see some of the alternative feria outfits worn instead of the traje de gitana. I thought this woman's heavily embroidered shift dress was wonderful because although the shape of the dress was thoroughly modern, the pattern of embroidered flowers was reminiscent of the traditional embroidered shawls worn at weddings and used by flamenco dancers.
I spotted this lady dancing in one of the casetas. I thought she looked so elegant that even though my photos of her are not great it is still worth showing what she wore because she stood out in the crowd in this shift dress of coral guipure lace.
And would you check out those super elegant D'Orsay heels in a matching colour! I would have guessed this lady was around her mid sixties and she was tearing up the floorboards dancing in these with as much enthusiasm as much younger women around her. And I bet her legs are in that fantastic condition because she didn't let anyone dictate to her that she should stop dancing in high heels as she got older!
I hope I have even half as much lust for life as any of these ladies when I get to their age. We all tend to get so many messages about what we should and shouldn't be wearing or doing as we get older that it tends to get depressing when you consider what the years ahead hold. So I love seeing how women that come from other cultures which are a lot less self conscious than ours often don't give two hoots for such rules. We could learn a lot from them, not just with their take on what they wear but for their joie de vivre. So it's decided then - when I grow up I want to be Andalusian!