Growing up in New York, I never felt there was something I couldn’t wear. I could leave my parents’ house in Queens in a flamenco-style ruffle blouse, and no one would bat an eye. And I would do that, frequently: My family is from Spain, and these pieces made me feel closer to them, a little piece of Andalucía I could bring with me anywhere I went in the city.
They always felt like my thing, but ruffle blouses are one of the most inescapable runway trends right now. From Rodarte to Michael Kors, it seems like more designers are feeling inspired by the classic Spanish look. Call it the Rosalía effect. Now, the fashion crowd is catching up with what I’ve always known to be a wardrobe staple.
And my ruffle blouses are authentic. Every summer, I’d pack my bags to spend weeks with my extended family back in Spain. I’d look forward to it for months, counting down the days until I could sit in my abuela’s small apartment by the beach, pealing langostinos with my fingers. The highlight of the trip itself was always La Feria de San Fernando. Like most fairs, there are games and rides and flashing lights that tower over screaming crowds. There are also elaborate ruffle blouses with sleeves that are so long they cover your hands and flamenco dresses that trail along the sandy streets.
A relative of my abuela’s would make me and my sister flamenco dresses to wear by hand, and my dad would photograph us together in them for the family holiday card. The pose would always be the same: hands arched above our heads, shoulders pushed back, chin up, wrists twisted. (Now, we do it every time we hear “La Rosalía.”)
When our trip would come to an end, my sister and I would hang our flamenco dresses up in the closet, next to all the ones from the years prior, until the next Feria. But I’d always come home with my suitcase filled to the brim with vintage ruffled blouses to wear back in New York. I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I’m pretty much a walking flamenco emoji. I don’t deny it: Whenever I put one on, I feel at home, reminded of what it’s like to walk around La Feria with my family.
Plus even if they don’t remind you of home, they’ll definitely transport you to the south of Spain instantly.