We are planning on four days in Madrid in early May 2009, three in Seville, and three in Cadiz. By "unseasonable" in May, do you mean that a rainy day can appear now and then? Do we need to bring an umbrella? We do not wish to appear as tourists, but I am not sure what the everyday Spanish woman (in her forties) wears around Madrid. I'm sure the working woman must wear suit-type attire, but what about those just shopping or about their business generally? I have heard that not many wear bright colors. What I am most unsure about, is whether to bring a light cotton jacket, or heavier weight (but still unlined), or a lined black cotton blazer. And also the footwear; are black flats common or do they wear heels more than in UK when out shopping (even though low heels). My most comfortable shoes for a lot of walking are Clark's sporty type flats (Privo styles) with sturdy rubber sport-type soles, and trousers or dark jeans. Should I bring a skirt?
Any help would be much appreciated......thank you in advance.
I don't know where you got your clothing information from but you can certainly stop worrying!
Women here wear just the same clothes as they do in the UK. Bright clothes are seen everywhere and comfort goes before style on a day to day basis so flat heels are the sensible option. Suits are only worn by office type
business women - jeans or light cotton pants are usual everyday wear. A smarter outfit is useful if going somewhere 'posh' at night - smart casual is fine.
Weather in May can be mixed so do what those of us that live here do and carry a fold-up umbrella in your bag. A light jacket may be required at night when it does go cooler. Cadiz will be cooler than Seville.
Regarding your other post re. pickpockets just be sensible. Don't carry anything valuable about with you e.g. leave your Passports in the hotel room safe and don't wear obviously expensive jewellery. When in bars and restaurants keep your bag in sight at all times. If your handbag has a zip fastener hold it so that the zip puller is at the front so that it cannot be opened without your knowledfge from the rear. Most importantly NEVER 'buy' a flower from any seller - whilst you a routing for small change the seller and accomplices will have your wallet in a flash - just say a firm NO and walk on.
Spanish cities are no more prone to pickpockets than anywhere else in Europe or the USA. As long as you don't leave your brains at your departure airport - as so many people sadly do - you will be absolutely fine.
Have a wonderful trip. Feel free to PM me if I can be of help in any way.
I'll confirm most of what Brenda says. I'm hardly qualified to offer fashion advice but I would suggest that the average Spanish woman-about-town dresses somewhat smarter than is normal in the UK. However, your question suggests that you are probably not average, so don't worry; wear what you feel comfortable in.
Street crime is no better or worse than any big city. Keep your wits about you and you shouldn't have a problem. The most common form of pick-pocketing crime is for one person to distract you with a question while someone else picks your pocket or grabs something from your car. Be aware. If you decide to leave your passport in the hotel safe, carry a photocopy with you.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]